‘The Holy Land’ has remained turbulent for over 60 years. Palestinians resent the loss of homes and land and aspire to have their own independent national status. Israelis, meanwhile, have felt threatened by those Arab states like Syria, which remain hostile to its existence, and fearful of violence by Palestinian militants.
Oman is generally considered to be one of the most developed and modernized countries in the region. Recently, it has faced an increase in unemployment, now at 15%, as well as scrutiny from human rights organisations such as Amnesty International for its treatment of civilian protestor
Of a population of roughly 31 million, it is estimated that approximately 15% of the population continue to live in poverty.3 With a 0.1% estimate of affected peoples, Morocco has one of Africa’s lowest rates of HIV Aids. However, unemployment and illiteracy remain long-term challenges, with literacy at only 54% on average.
RELIGION Almost all of Mauritania’s 4.1 million-strong population are Sunni Muslims, and Islam is officially the country’s sole religion. There are only tiny numbers of Christians and Jews, most of them foreigners. Only Muslims may be citizens, and converts from Islam lose their citizenship. Apostasy is legally punishable by death, but this sentence has never been carried out. Nobody may […]
Of a population of six million, only 1% is Christian, with 98% practising Islam. After independence following World War II, Jews in Libya faced great persecution, resulting in the exodus of 31,000 Jews to Israel in the 1950s.
Lebanon has always embraced its many religious communities. In the National Pact of 1943, which determined the multi-confessional nature of the Lebanese government, it was agreed that any President of Lebanon must be Maronite Christian, the Speaker of the Parliament a Shiite Muslim, with a Sunni Muslim Prime Minister and a Greek Orthodox Deputy Prime Minister.
Kuwait is ruled by an Emir, currently Emir al-Sabah, as well as a Prime Minister who is elected by popular vote, a national assembly and a municipal council. The position of Emir, or Sheikh, is hereditary. It was the first of the Gulf States to adopt an elected parliament. Shari’a Law is the main source of legislation, to which all residents must adhere.
Jordan has a population of 6.5 million, as well as an average of 1 million Palestinian refugees and 500,000 Iraqi refugees. Most recently, the outbreak of civil war in Syria has brought over 500,000 Syrian refugees to Jordanian soil.
Iraq currently has a population of 29 million people, of which 75% are ethnically Arab, 20% Kurdish, and the remainder a mixture of Iraqi Turkmen or foreigners. Due to the isolated pockets of population, resulting from the geographical characteristics of Iraq, there is much regionalism and ethnic division.
One of the most mountainous countries in the world, known internationally as Persia until 1935, modern day Iran has an average population of 66 million. One of the first areas to be occupied by Islamic armies in the 6th and 7th centuries, Iran maintains much of its religious history in its present-day culture, in the form of architecture, art and literature, which continue to draw inspiration from aspects of traditional Shiite Islam.