Ussama Makdisi Profile picture
Professor of History
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11 Aug 20
Some historical context for #Lebanon and its sectarian system.
1. The initial sectarian system was introduced in mid-19th century in Mount Lebanon when the Arab East was under Ottoman rule. The Ottomans regarded the novel sectarian system as a concession to European power.
2.European powers, however, regarded it as the key to "reforming" the Ottoman state. For Western powers, religious diversity in the Orient = sectarianism that had to be managed by "civilized" European powers.
3. Needless to say, these same Western powers did not view religious diversity in their own countries a problem that had to be managed by others, despite a long history of racism, antisemitism, and segregation in France, England, the United States etc.
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