The Fate of Syria’s Christians

March 19, 2012 11:41 am 0 comments

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Photo: wiki commons.

What is the alternative to Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria? Just consider which groups in Syria are especially for or against Assad—and why.

Christian minorities, who, as 10% of the Syrian population, have the most to gain from a secular government and the most to suffer from a state run by Islamic Sharia law, have no choice but to prefer Assad. They are already seeing aspects of the alternative. A recent Barnabas Fund report, “Christians in Syria Targeted in Series of Kidnappings and Killings; 100 Dead,” tells how “children were being especially targeted by the kidnappers, who, if they do not receive the ransom demanded, kill the victim.” In one instance, kidnappers videotaped a Christian boy as they murdered him in an attempt to frame the government; one man “was cut into pieces and thrown in a river” and another “was found hanged with numerous injuries.”

Accordingly, it is understandable that, as an earlier report put it, “Christians have mostly stayed away from the protests in Syria, having been well treated and afforded a considerable amount of religious freedom under President Assad’s regime.” After all, “Should Assad fall, it is feared that Syria could go the way of Iraq, post-Saddam Hussein. Saddam, like Assad, restrained the influence of militant Islamists, but after his fall they were free to wreak havoc on the Christian community; hundreds of thousands of Christians were consequently forced to flee the violence. Many of them went to Syria.”

In short, should “rebels” get their way and topple the Assad regime, the same brutal pattern experienced by Iraq’s Christian minorities—who have been likened to, and killed off like, dogs, to a point nearing extinction—will come to Syria, where an anti-Assad Muslim preacher recently urged Muslims to “tear apart, chop up and feed” Christians who support Assad “to the dogs.”Last week alone, some 70 additional Christian homes were invaded and pillaged, and “for the first time in the history of the conflict in Syria, an armed attack has been made on a Catholic monastery,” partially in search of money.

And who are these “rebels” who see and treat Christians as sub-humans to be exploited and plundered to fund the “opposition” against Assad? Unfortunately, many of them are Islamists, internal and external, and their “opposition” is really a jihad [holy war]; moreover, they are acting out anti-Christian fatwas that justify the kidnapping, ransoming, and plundering of “infidel” Christians.

As in Libya, al-Qaeda is operating among the Syrian opposition; Ayman al-Zawahiri himself “urges the Syrian people to continue their revolution until the downfall of the Assad regime, and stresses that toppling this regime is a necessary step on the way to liberating Jerusalem.” Both the influential Yusif al-Qaradawi and Hamas — the latter supported by Assad’s ally, Iran— back the “rebels.” This overview should place the “opposition” — who they are, what they want — in a clearer context.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Obama, who was remarkably reticent when Iranians seeking Western-style freedom tried to revolt against the oppressive Islamist regime of Iran, made it a point during his recent State of the Union Address to single out Assad by name as needing to go (not that the Republican presidential candidates seem to know any better; see Andrew McCarthy‘s recent article where, drawing on America’s other misadventures in Islamic nations, he shows how the U.S. has little to gain and possibly much to lose by supporting the anti-Assad opposition).

The lesson here is clear: while it is true that not all of Assad’s opposition is Islamist—there are anti-Assad Muslims who do not want a state that will be run by Islamic Sharia law —the Islamists are quite confident that the overthrow of Assad will equate with their empowerment. And why shouldn’t they be? Wherever Arab tyrants have been overthrow—Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and so on —it is Islamists who are filling the power-vacuums. Just ask Syria’s Christian minorities, who prefer the dictator Assad to remain in power—who prefer the devil they know to the ancient demon their forefathers knew.

Raymond Ibrahim is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.