The Quest For Equal Citizenship: Middle Eastern Christian Narratives of Migration and Inclusion in the United Kingdom


  • Alistair Hunter University of Glasgow
  • Fiona McCallum Guiney University of St. Andrews



United Kingdom, Migration, Iraqi, Egyptian, Christian


This article explores how migrants experience the process of becoming (and being) citizens by taking the understudied case of Middle Eastern Christians of Iraqi and Egyptian heritage residing in the United Kingdom. It is argued that exclusion in the Middle East reinforces a sense of inclusion in the UK particularly due to the prevalence of the rule of law in the UK. However, by exploring a “clash of values” on the role of religion in society and sexual liberalization issues, it is suggested that Middle Eastern Christians’ support for equality and tolerance is not absolute, especially when they perceive societal norms as conflicting with religious teachings. Finally, the paper shows how the notion of “protective patriotism” is used by some Middle Eastern Christians to express their belonging to their new state by defending perceived societal values.

Author Biographies

Alistair Hunter, University of Glasgow

Dr. Alistair Hunter is a Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Policy at the University of Glasgow, which he joined in 2018. Prior to that he held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include ageing, migration, religious diversity, and end-of-life issues. His PhD was awarded the 2013 Maria Baganha Prize for best PhD in the field of migration studies, presented by IMISCOE, the world’s largest network of migration scholars. His first book, Retirement Home? Ageing Migrant Workers in France and the Question of Return, received an Honourable Mention in the 2018 Khayrallah Prize in Migration Studies. Email:

Fiona McCallum Guiney, University of St. Andrews

Dr. Fiona McCallum Guiney is Senior Lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the Director of the Institute for Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies. She works on the political role of the Christian communities in the contemporary Middle East. Her research covers government integration policies towards Christian communities, identity issues, Christian political participation in the region, religious leadership, migration, and diaspora. From 2013–2016, she was the Project Leader of a collaborative EU funded project that explored Middle Eastern Christian migrants’ experiences in the UK, Sweden, and Denmark. Email:


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