Research Support

The Institute for the Study of Religion in the Middle East (ISRME) offers small grants to individuals to support research projects focused on minority, emergent or endangered religious communities in the Middle East, Turkey or Pakistan and the relations between such communities and majority religious traditions.  ISRME research grants are offered, in accordance with the core mission of the Institute, to advance scholarship on Middle Eastern religious communities, to better disseminate such scholarship, and to encourage connections between scholars and institutions working in this field.

Instructions and Eligibility Criteria

Online application for Research Support

ISRME supported projects
This research project explores cultural formation, with special reference to modes of belonging, for three Turkish Protestant congregations in Istanbul, Turkey. Using empirical research the project will investigate how these Protestant believers with a Muslim background experience modes of belonging in everyday life and how religious and congregational practice foster Christian formation and a sense of belonging in their new context as Christians. Furthermore, how believers construct, combine and negotiate different modes of belonging as experienced in everyday life will be studied through narratives of believers. This qualitative research seeks to describe and understand how Turkish Protestants who have come from the Muslim Turkish mainstream society position themselves in terms of religious identifications, national belonging and family relations. Belonging is approached as a multiple concept, and considered as the outcome of practices that foster religious and ethnic identifications. In contrast to historic Orthodox churches in Muslim-dominated post-colonial contexts, most believers [more]
While Abraham is often seen as a common starting point for dialogue among monotheistic faith communities, many approaches to “Abrahamic dialogue” do not grapple with the Abrahamic texts of Genesis and the Qur’an in enough detail for meaningful comparison. This work introduces a model for comparing particular Biblical and Qur’anic narratives, along with their use by Christians and Muslims respectively. Bristow builds on the tight connection between narrative and worldview to enable theological comparison of these distinct but related worldviews. The Biblical/Christian worldview categories of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation are juxtaposed with Qur’anic/Muslim categories of Tawhid (Oneness of God), Prophethood and Afterlife in three sets of polarities in order to catalyze deeper comparison. The main body of the study examines the Genesis Abraham narrative, the New Testament treatments of Abraham, the Qur’anic Abraham stories, and finally the use of Abraham by Turkish Muslims. [more]
Since the late Nineteenth Century the idea that the Qurʾan should serve as the sole source of Islamic faith and practice has been articulated by a variety of Muslim thinkers in a variety of places. The idea itself is easily summarized: If the Qurʾan stands alone as the pure revelation of God, perfect and incomparable both in origins and transmission, then it must be the exclusive source of guidance for the faith and practice of Muslims. This apparently simple extrapolation from standard Muslim beliefs about the Qurʾan might be uninteresting except that most Muslims through most of Islamic history have thought differently. While we find traces of Qurʾan-only ideas attributed to early theological movements, notably the Kharijites, such ideas gained little traction. The classical position, powerfully argued by al-Shāfiʿī, made the Sunna of the Prophet equal in authority to the Qurʾan, and more important [more]
The past decade has inaugurated a devastating new reality for the Christian minorities of Iraq and Syria.   The survival of these vulnerable communities has bee jeopardized by a deadly triad composed of the security vacuum resulting from the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Islamist violence, and the consequences of despotic power.  This chapter presents the current status of Christian communites in Iraq and Syria, providing brief historical background and then focusing on the seismic events that transpired from 2011 through 2014. Matthew Barber, "They That Remain: Syrian and Iraqi Christian Communities amid the Syria Conflict and the Rise of the Islamic State" in Hertzke, Allen D., and Timothy Samuel Shah, eds. Christianity and Freedom: Volume 2, Contemporary Perspectives. Cambridge University Press, 2016.[more]
Research we find worth a look
A report from a University of Notre Dame  project investigating responses of Christian communities [more]
Lucian Leustean (ed.), Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, London: Routle[more]
Samuel Noble and Alexander Treiger (eds.), The Orthodox Church in the Arab World (700-1700): An Ant[more]
Erica Hunter, "Coping in Kurdistan: the Christian Diaspora" in Religious Minorities of Kurdistan, [more]
Edited by Anh Nga Longva and Anne Sofie Roald Publisher's note:  The relationship between religiou[more]
Mapping the Global Muslim Population - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.[more]
As part of the Jinnah Institute’s Open Democracy initiative, ‘A Question of Faith’: A Report o[more]
Preserving the Freedom for Faith: Re-evaluating the Politics of Compulsion.  Abdullah bin Hamid Ali[more]
The Review of Faith & International Affairs. special issue: Islam and Religious F[more]