27 September 2011
A Melkite Greek Catholic priest from southern Syria sits with his family.
(Photo: Armineh Johannes)
The Middle East’s Arab Spring has brought joy to some and grief to others. In Syria, the government of Bashar al-Assad is combating an uprising that has claimed more than 2,600 lives. Led primarily by Sunni Muslims, the uprising has also received some support from the Alawite community — a Shiite Muslim sect that dominates the government — and Christians, who include up to ten percent of the Syrian population. Despite their numbers, Christians have flourished under the Assad regime.
In today’s New York Times, we hear how many Christians in Syria are ambivalent about the uprising. They fear that Syria, without the current totalitarian regime, will descend into chaos as in Iraq, and that Christians and other minorities will bear the brunt of religious sectarian violence.
“What does freedom mean?” wrote one Syrian Christian to her confreres in the faith. “Every one of you does what she wants and is free to say what she wants. Do you think if the regime falls (God forbid) you will gain freedom? Then, each one of you will be locked in her house, lamenting those days.”
For more, check out the article “Fearing Change, Many Christians in Syria Back Assad” on The New York Times website.