George Town’s Diversity Safeguards its Religious Harmony

By Mick Dumper

September 2017 FEATURE
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In his notes from a recent field trip, a renowned scholar identifies some unique qualities behind the inter-faith goodwill found in Penang.All cities are arenas of contestation. The “harmonious city” is both a distant ideal and a contradiction in terms of a situation where residents jockey for influence, resources and security amid changing demographic, political and economic dynamics.In general, conflicts in cities are resolved through mediation and political processes which allow an uneasy equilibrium to prevail, but when these mechanisms...

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Mick Dumper

is Professor in Middle East Politics, University of Exeter, UK. His research is primarily on the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially future options for Palestinian refugees and for Jerusalem, and the politics of archaeology and conservation in the urban Middle East. His books include Jerusalem Unbound: Geography, History and the Future of the Holy City (2014); The Future of the Palestinian Refugees: Towards Equity and Peace (2007); The Politics of Sacred Space: The Old City of Jerusalem and the Middle East Conflict, 1967-2000 (2001); The Politics of Jerusalem Since 1967 (1997); and he is the editor of Palestinian Refugee Repatriation: Global Perspectives (2006).