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This paper asks the question: Are the GCC Shi‘a engaged in their own “Shi‘a Spring movement”, and, if so, what does this mean for the future of Shi‘a communities in the Arabian Gulf? While the “Arab Spring” is a movement that is shared among an entire ethno-linguistic group, Shi‘a protesters belong to a group that have be both politically and religiously marginalized in the modern GCC states. Shi‘a protesters face discrimination not only from GCC political authorities, but from GCC citizens, some of whom are fellow Arabs. In addition, this paper examines both the overt and more subtle forms of discrimination imposed on the GCC Shi‘a community during the first phases of the Arab Spring movement (2011-2013).


Shi‘a, Arab Spring, Arabian Gulf, Human Rights, Islam, Sectarianism

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Copyright © 2015 by Molly Benjamin Patterson

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