The expulsion of Christians from Mosul by the Islamic State (IS) in the summer of 2014 marked the first time in nearly 2000 years that the Iraqi city lacked a Christian population.1 Along with the conflict in Syria and the other upheavals that have accompanied the phenomenon variously known as the Arab Spring, al-thawra or the Islamic Awakening, the emigration of Christians from their homes has accelerated in recent years. The Roman Catholic Pope Francis mentioned this during his visit to the region in May 2014, noting that these historic communities, among the oldest in the world, are decreasing to the point where their long-term existence is uncertain. This is because Christians in more stable parts of the Middle East are also leaving. This paper discusses one such example: the continuing emigration of Armenian Christians from Iran. For Iranian Armenians, the main incentive for emigration is the feeling of exclusion and alienation from the wider society. This has largely come about by the Islamic Republic’s promotion of a Shi’a-based Iranian identity which does not count minorities as full citizens. This in turn has led to the development of a sense of foreignness in Iranian society among Armenian youth. The lack of belonging makes their ties to Iran much less solid, and therefore makes migration a much less painful process. Furthermore, their parents, who were raised in the more pluralistic Iran of the last Shah, find it easier to identify as Iranians than their children.
Field of Research
169999 Studies In Human Society not elsewhere classified 1699 Other Studies In Human Society 2002 Cultural Studies 2204 Religion And Religious Studies
Socio Economic Objective
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
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