Middle East Religions from Comparative Perspectives—How Religion Is Shaping the Middle East

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 1332

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Business and International Relations, Vistula University, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: religion and politics; Islamic studies; Muslim communities; intercultural communication; cultural security

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Political Science, University of Rzeszów, 35-959 Rzeszow, Poland
Interests: Islam; Muslim in Europe; political and social systems of Arab countries after Arab Spring; international relations in the Middle East

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions is dedicated to the diversity of religions in the Middle East area. This topic is very broad, as it covers various religions, denominations and religious movements that have led to national, tribal, ethnic, historical, cultural and territorial diversity. It should also be emphasized that the Middle East is the birthplace of the five major monotheistic religions: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i.

Religious diversity in the modern world is a natural thing, which was caused by numerous population migrations that were especially intense in the last hundred years. However, despite this diversity, modern man has too little knowledge of other religions. This is because in many social circles of the modern world, religion is perceived as a particularly individual and personal matter of each person. We do not know how to talk about religion, and this problem is in regard to our own religion as well as someone else's religion. In order to solve these problems, it is necessary to undertake a broad scientific discussion on the religious diversity in the Middle East. The main purpose of this Special Issue is to show the problems, challenges, threats and opportunities resulting from religious diversity, so numerously represented in the Middle East. In addition, this Special Issue is open to the study of religions from different perspectives: past, present and future. Moreover, we want the problems of religious diversity to be presented by various research communities: religion experts, political scientists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, educators, sociologists and all researchers who deal with these issues. We are committed to an interdisciplinary approach to important problems arising from diversity: security issues, politics, culture and theology. An extremely important element of this discourse is also the issue of interreligious dialogue and communication in diplomacy in the international arena, which is often an important element in the strengthening or straining of mutual relations between nations and states.

Usually, the topic of the diversity of Middle Eastern religions is raised in the context of armed conflicts (Abdulmajid 2018; Helsing 2004) or ethnic conflicts (Entelis 1979). It is also the main topic of works looking for the sources of conflicts in the Middle East (Turan 2017). Increasingly, religious diversity is becoming the foundation of research on the identity of societies (Ali 2021; Harb 2016) in the Middle East. Finally, religious diversity is an element in the research on migration (Torrado and Asua 2023) and religious communities living in the diaspora (Breskaya et all 2023; Robinson-Bertoni 2017). All these aspects also significantly affect the problems that occur in multicultural societies (Malović and Vujica 2021), as well as in interreligious (Strahovnik 2022), intercultural and international dialogue (Adamski et all 2021).

In this context, we encourage the academic community to send proposals for texts that would, in particular, study the following themes related to the diversity of Middle Eastern religions. We are interested in theoretical and empirical studies, showing the issues from both an interdisciplinary and phenomenological perspective. We also expect a critical review of the literature on various aspects of religious diversity, and we encourage you to present new research methods that enable a comprehensive presentation of the issues under consideration.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 200–300 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editors (piwkoaldona@gmail.com, zsawicka@ur.edu.pl) or to the Religions Editorial Office (kallie.chen@mdpi.com). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purposes of ensuring a proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.


Adib, A. Religious Diversity and Conflict in the Middle East. Int. J. Soc. Sci. Humanit. Res. 2018, 6, 1–7.

Andrzej, A.; Piwko, A.; Sawicka, Z. Terrorism, Politics, Religion. Challenges for news media in the Middle East. Eur. J. Sci. Theol. 2021, 17, 11–25.

Amro, A. Unpacking the Arab part of Identity, Spring, and World. Mediterr. Dialogue Ser. 2021, 35, 1–11.

Olga, B.; Giordan, G.; Mignardi, M.; Sbalchiero, S. Attributes and Activities of Religious Communities in Italy: First Results from a City Congregations Study (CCS). Religions 2023, 14, 709. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060709.

John, E. Ethnic Conflict and the Problem of Political Identity in the Middle East. Polity 1979, 11, 400–410.

Charles, H. The Arab Region: Cultures, Values, and Identities. In Handbook of Arab American Psychology; Amer, M., Ed.; Routledge: London, UK, 2016; pp. 3–18.

Jeffrey, H. The Regionalization, Internationalization, and Perpetuation of Conflict in the Middle East. In Ethnic Conflict and International Politics: Explaining Diffusion and Escalation; Lobell, S.; Mauceri, P., Eds.; Palgrave Macmillan: New York, NY, USA, 2004. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403981417_8.

Nenad, M.; Vujica, K. Multicultural Society as a Challenge for Coexistence in Europe. Religions 2021, 12, 615. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080615.

Sarah, R.-B. Re-Territorializing Religiosity in Wholesome Muslim Praxis. Religions 2017, 8, 132. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8070132.

Vojko, S. Holism of Religious Beliefs as a Facet of Intercultural Theology and a Challenge for Interreligious Dialogue. Religions 2022, 13, 633. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13070633.

Trinidad, T.; Asua, G. Religious Diversity and Migration: Exploring Research Trends in an Increasingly Secular Spain. Religions 2023, 14, 770. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060770.

Kursad, T. Sources of Conflict in the Middle East: Borders or Stratified Identities? J. Def. Sci. 2017, 16, 85–113.

Prof. Dr. Aldona Piwko
Dr. Zofia Sawicka
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • diversity of religions
  • Middle East
  • interreligious dialogue
  • intercultural communications
  • religion and politics
  • religious identity
  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism

Published Papers (2 papers)

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18 pages, 446 KiB  
Transition, Emulation and Dispute over Authority in the Bábí/Bahá’í Faith
by Siarhei A. Anoshka
Religions 2024, 15(5), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050577 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 487
This text attempts to analyze the competition for the leadership role in the young Bábí religious community after the execution of their leader, Báb (1819–1850). With the elimination of many leaders, a small group stood out who were willing to replace the absent [...] Read more.
This text attempts to analyze the competition for the leadership role in the young Bábí religious community after the execution of their leader, Báb (1819–1850). With the elimination of many leaders, a small group stood out who were willing to replace the absent leader. Two preferences arose within the Babi community: forceful and pacifist. Motivated by the hunger to settle scores, supporters of the first option wanted to fight and reach the victory predicted in the Shiʻite tradition. The second option’s followers, however, rejected all acts of violence, preferring to look at the Báb’s texts, calling their worshipers to lofty ideals as a method of luring other people to the new religion. Presently, after the sentencing to punishment of the Prophet Báb, several people emerged among the former Shiʻites’ group who made claims to authority in the community. Nevertheless, quite quickly, the main confrontation came down to a conflict between two outstanding personalities. Mírzá Yaḥyá Núrí (1831–1912), representing the radical trend of Babism, nicknamed Ṣubḥ-i Azal, was fighting for leadership with Mírzá Ḥusajn-‘Alí Núrí (1817–1892), his half-brother, belonging to the peaceful Bábí party. This article describing the rivalry between two relatives for the leadership position also allows us to see the process of writing down, codifying and spreading the young Bayán religion. Full article
19 pages, 367 KiB  
Toward a Generalizable Understanding of Rightist Movements: Utilizing the Revolutionary Right’s Value Wars in Iran (1995–2009) as a Case Study
by Amirhossein Teimouri
Religions 2024, 15(5), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050525 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 481
Bringing rightist movement studies into the Iranian context, this study advances a generalizable understanding of the ideological, moral, and cultural activism of Islamist movements and their rightist counterparts. While numerous studies have discussed the economic explanation of rightist movements, I integrate Islamist movements [...] Read more.
Bringing rightist movement studies into the Iranian context, this study advances a generalizable understanding of the ideological, moral, and cultural activism of Islamist movements and their rightist counterparts. While numerous studies have discussed the economic explanation of rightist movements, I integrate Islamist movements in the Muslim world and rightist movements in the West to develop a generalizable cultural and moral explanation of rightist movements. Value and ideological conflicts, as well as moral outrage, drive this integrated understanding of rightist movements. The rise of innovative and contentious forms of millennialism in Iran—especially the increasing salience of the Jamkaran mosque, the rise of new media outlets and millennial discourses, and pertinent policies—provide evidence for proposing this generalizable understanding. I argue that the rise of performative contentions surrounding millennialism, known as Mahdaviat, within the pro-regime revolutionary rightist movement in Iran was Islamists’ ideological response to liberal threat perceptions. These threat perceptions were activated before the liberal Reform era (1997–2005). After the ascent of Ahmadinejad to power in 2005, ideological millennialism became the dominant discursive field in Iran’s state politics. Drawing on narratives of prominent Islamist figures and media personalities in Iran and events surrounding Mahdaviat, this paper advances a generalizable argument of the moral and cultural explanation of rightist movements. Full article
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