The Introduction lays out the primary task for this book; to examine the shifting constructions of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East with a focus on two primary questions: how the socio-political groups that we define as minorities engage (or are excluded from) various sites of power and, secondly how state practices with regard to minorities (and ostensibly based on Islamic authority) intersect and inform modern constitutionalism and international law. In undertaking this task, we outline a number of challenges, first amongst these is to avoid a limited and reductionist view of the Middle East and, as we fix our focus on minority rights in the Middle East, we set out a second challenge; to ensure that we do not graft a conceptual concept on to a society or, as White argues, we risk ‘losing sight of how the social and political groups these categories describe appeared and developed’.
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