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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