The Wall Street Journal on Syria’s Christians

An interesting piece in today’s Wall Street Journal about the dire situation of Syria’s Christians, “Can Syria’s Christians Survive?” The secularism of the Assad regime has provided a space for Christians, mostly Catholic and Orthodox, who make up roughly 10% of Syria’s population. The opposition “Free Syrian Army,” made up principally of Sunni Muslims, has murky ties to Islamists, and Christians worry what will happen to them if Islamists ever gain power – as Islamists have done in other Arab Spring revolutions, like Egypt’s. One possibility the article suggests is a restoration of classical dhimmi restrictions on Christians. (I’m not sure where the reporters got that idea; even the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt hasn’t seriously proposed restoring the dhimmi rules). The more likely outcome is that Christians will be caught in a crossfire between Sunnis and Alawites — the sect to which the Assad family belongs, which Sunni Islam sees as heretical — and be forced to leave the country, as Iraq’s Christians did in the last decade.

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