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Middle East Eye’s top 20 stories of the year

From uplifting tales of humanity to the horrors of war across the region, MEE revisits our 20 most-read articles of 2015
A refugee boy looks through a window onboard a train for Serbia (AFP)

As 2015 comes to a close, Middle East Eye has compiled a list of our most popular articles on social media this year.

Although the Middle East and North Africa has been ravaged by war through the year, our most popular story is one of a heart-warming response to refugees arriving in Germany.

A Saudi mother’s ode to a son killed in a suicide bombing also makes the top 20, as does the story of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi, whose washed up body on a Turkish beach sparked global outcry about the plight of refugees fleeing war in the region.

In reverse order here is the complete list of Middle East Eye’s most popular articles of 2015:

20. Who are the millionaires behind the Islamophobic industry in America?

Columnist CJ Werleman charted what he says are the forces driving a rise in Islamaphobia across the United States.

19. Oliver Stone's American history: 'We’re not under threat. We are the threat'

Celebrated film director Oliver Stone spoke to MEE contributor James Reinl about how he believes the United States has spread chaos throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

18. The circus: How British intelligence primed both sides of the ‘terror war’

Columnist Nafeez Ahmed argued: “Britain’s loudest extremists have been groomed by the security services.”

17. The Chinese through Abbasid eyes

A recent translation of a 1,100-year-old report by an Arab adventurer and reported on by Jan Keulen allowed readers to see Tang Dynasty China through 9th century Arab eyes.

16. Al-Qaeda blow up 700-year-old mosque in Yemen

This was news of how al-Qaeda had destroyed an ancient mosque in Yemen, complete with before and after pictures of the mosque.

15. Goodbye forever, my son

Kowther al-Arbash, the mother of a young man killed while stopping a suicide bomber in Saudi Arabia, said her government must revise its heritage to stop further bombings.

14. Christian foreign fighters deserting Kurdish YPG in Syria because they're 'damn Reds'

This was a report by MEE's Alex Macdonald on how foreign volunteers fighting the Islamic State were leaving the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and joining other militias due to the group’s left-wing socialism.

13. Drowned Syrian toddler sparking global outrage identified as Alan Kurdi

MEE's Rori Donaghy reported the image and identity of Alan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian refugee boy who made news headlines and sparked outrage around the world.

12. Senior Saudi royal urges leadership change for fear of monarchy collapse

MEE's Rori Donaghy revealed that a senior member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family has circulated a letter expressing fear that the monarchy may collapse unless the king is urgently replaced.

11. Rare footage shows public beheadings in Saudi Arabia

Rare footage obtained by MEE's Rori Donaghy showed the public beheading of three people in Saudi Arabia, where more people have been executed in 2015 than in any of the past 20 years.

10. No Piers Morgan. This is how to destroy the Islamic State

Nafeez Ahmed responded to British commentator Piers Morgan’s article setting out how to defeat IS with his own plan.

9. Q&A: Probing Islamic State’s sex atrocities with the United Nations

This was a searing question and answer piece by James Reinl revealing the sexual crimes committed by IS.

8. EXCLUSIVE: The Emirati plan for ruling Egypt

MEE Editor David Hearst revealed, after seeing a strategy document, that the UAE is losing faith in the ability of Egypt's Sisi to serve the Gulf state’s interests.

7. Islamic State is the cancer of modern capitalism

Nafeez Ahmed set out why IS is a symptom of capitalism.

6.  Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990

Nafeez Ahmed looked at Western responsibility for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades.

5. Arabic tops Israeli charts as Yemeni sisters take Tel Aviv by storm

The surprise hit Habib Galbi - performed by a band of three Israeli sisters of Yemeni background named A-WA - rose to the top of Israel’s music charts, shattering records and all expectations. Alex Shams reported on it for MEE.

4. The collapse of Saudi Arabia is inevitable

Nafeez Ahmed argued that “deep-rooted structural realities means that Saudi Arabia is indeed on the brink of protracted state-failure, a process likely to take off in the next few years”.

3.  Crime and punishment: Islamic State vs Saudi Arabia

This was a list of punishments for similar crimes prescribed by Saudi Arabia and IS, reported by MEE's Rori Donaghy and Mary Atkinson.

2. Syrian passports found at Paris attacks scene were fakes made in Turkey

MEE's Mary Atkinson reported that Syrian passports found near the bodies of two of the Paris attackers were fakes that were likely made in Turkey.

1.  This is how one German town welcomed a coach-load of Syrian refugees

A heart-warming video showing a German town welcoming Syrian refugees fleeing conflict at home.

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