This article is based on participant observation and in-depth interviews conducted between 2006 and 2010 in the eastern Anatolian city of Diyarbakır and the Tur Abdin area with members of the local Syrian Orthodox Christian community and its representatives. The discussion explores the often overlooked attitudes of Middle East Christians toward security issues in the context of recent demographic and socio-political changes. In particular, it addresses the determinants that explain the impact of Islamic mobilization on Christian minorities, looking specifically at Christian responses to emerging fundamentalism. This is a complex issue. On one hand, ongoing tensions threaten to undermine inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance and disrupt long-standing local equilibria. On the other hand, Western attitudes toward the Middle East and ignorance of the Christians living there contribute to the alienation of those local Christians from the West, thus creating an ambiguous situation. Regarding the Diyarbakır Syrian Christian community, this analysis brings out important insights that help to develop a broader understanding of pluri-cultural Middle Eastern societies that face growing separation and incomprehension, even between communities known to have coexisted for centuries.
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