Published by Review of Faith and International Affairs, Vol 9, No 2 (Summer 2011)
Without a doubt, the treatment of religious minorities in Muslim-majority states continues to be a major human rights concern. For some observers, ill-treatment of religious minorities is largely due to deeply-rooted theological reasons, if not inherent social attitudes. However, while it is impossible to deny that such factors lead to persecution of minorities, there is an often-overlooked variable in the picture, which is the socio-political context in which theological and social attitudes are legitimized or utilized. In fact, a brief look at history shows a dynamic pattern, rather than any essentialist doctrinal or attitudinal factor that somehow makes poor treatment of religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries inevitable.