I will tell you a story. Four years ago I was in Syria and was traveling by van to Marmarita, a Christian town located high in the mountains. It was the height of summer, in August, Christians were celebrating the feast of Virgin Mary. My companions were all Christians. The van’s engine broke down at midnight and we found ourselves in a very obscure and deserted place. We could have waited a day or more for any assistance. A passing man with a motorbike saw us and told us to wait. He was from a Sunni Muslim town. He went to the his village and came back with tools and repaired the damage in the engine. After the repair his clothes were covered with dirt but he did not even ask for money. This story clearly shows what was the atmosphere in Syria, what was the culture in this country. I was wondering if something like this had happened to me in another country. We would have been robbed and tied naked to a tree in most of them. In Syria there was great understanding and tolerance. Any kind of religious intolerance was not allowed and punished.
What happened, however, in recent years? Where this tolerance has gone?
But let us tell things in numbers. There are nearly 2.5 million Christians in Syria, about 10-12 %. Composition is quite colorful:
- Antioch Orthodox – 36%
- Syriac Orthodox – 22.5%
- Catholics – 26% (most are Greek Catholic)
- Armenian Church – 11% (around 200,000 Armenians, most of them live in Aleppo)
- Assyrian Church – 5%
There are Protestants and other denominations as well (Maronite, Jacobites etc.)
Around 330,000 to 350,000 Christians have fled from Iraq to Syria in the last decade. It is good question to ask why these people just fled to Syria. Many questions may follow: what will happen to the Christians in Syria?, where they will go?, what will happen to the oldest Christian monuments and temples?…
What was the situation and what were the rights of Christians in Syria before the civil war?
Rights of Christians in Syria
- In Christian towns Sunday officially is a holiday like nowhere in the Muslim world. In mixed cities all Christians have two hours for praying on Sunday morning.
- State finances the construction of churches and mosques
- Complete freedom of women, according to the beliefs and understandings of every religious group.
- Free education and health care for all religious groups.
- Constitutionally, Syria is a secular state and do not favor any religion over another.
- Christians have separate courts for matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance etc., which are consistent with the Bible.
- There is an agreement between all religious groups to not preach a religion to other religious groups.
- Very high percentage of Christians are highly educated.
Christians in the Arab world
- In Iraq, Christians were expelled by radical groups. Today their number is quite small there.
- In Saudi Arabia, Christianity is forbidden and sermons are punishable by death. There is neither a priest nor a church.
- In Qatar churches were not allowed until 2008, when christians finally were permitted to have some, but without religious symbols and without sermons.
- In Syria there are more churches than all the Arab peninsula put together.
- In many Muslim countries the rights of Christians are limited, there is discrimination.
- Violence against Christians (Copts) in Egypt.
The history of Christianity. Syria – the birthplace of Christianity.
When Pope John Paul II visited the country he said: „Syria is the cradle of Christianity.“ Indeed, it is the Syriac people who in fact founded and propagated this religion. Jesus spoke a Western Aramaic dialect, which today is spoken only within Syria, particularly in three cities: Maalula, Bah’a and Jubbadin. The etymology of „Syria“ derives from the Greek „Συρία“, a term which the Greeks used to describe the territory of the Syriac people – Assyrians, Arameans, etc. The Assyrian Church is considers itself as the oldest Christian denomination. In fact, Christians in Syria are descendants of the oldest Christians in the world. In biblical times, Damascus was the first baptized city and there were more Christians than any other part of the world. The Antioch Church is the oldest of the 4 ancient Eastern Patriarchates and it was founded by apostles Peter and Paul. The propagation of Christianity started with apostle Paul’s travel to Damascus. Today, the center of the Antioch church is in Damascus (it was temporarily moved to Lebanon) and patriarchates are traditionally Syrians. In Syria are present some of the oldest Christian churches and monasteries. This is why Syrian Christians are so attached to this country. Because it is the birthplace of Christianity.
But what will happen to this culture and its people?
Struggle for freedom and democracy, or destruction of Christianity?
This is what happened to the Christians after the uprising in Syria:
Mainstream media are spreading the lie that the Assad army is killing the Christians, but that is completely false. This regime saved 350,000 Christians in Iraq. It was Hafez al-Assad who converted the old constitution into a secular one. The true Christians murderers are actually religious-fascist groups such as al–Nusra, Al-Farouq and Ahrar al-Sham, all of which are fighting on the side of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), being the main part of it. This radical element comes from the Persian Gulf and it is unfamiliar to the Syrian culture. All these groups have the same ideology – jihad and the imposition of Sharia law, the same that is imposed in Saudi Arabia, where tolerance is just as likely as the probability to find a church in this sandy country .
It is no coincidence that Moafak al-Asaad, who is tried in Bulgaria for preaching of radical Islam (and ring-leader of those Islamic processions in Pazardjik), is Riad al-Asaad’s cousin, commander and leader of the Free Syrian Army . Their whole family is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. So how can be we convinced that they are a ‘secular’ army and fighters for „freedom“? Freedom? After all, all areas where FSA takes control immediately turn into black radical points where sharia law is imposed and the flags of Al-Qaeda are waved, along with the flags of FSA. All Christians are fleeing in panic from these places. In some Aleppo parts, in territories conquered by the Syrian Free Army, the so-called rebels have established a slave market, where kidnapped young adolescents and children are being sold to perverts. Can you believe that such things exist in modern times?
On top of that, Saudi cleric Yasir Al-Ajlauni issued a fatwa which authorized the rape of non-Sunni women by the so-called rebels. This is not an isolated case. Threats and fatwas issued by Salafi clerics can be heard all the time. Some of them call for the demolition of all Alawis and their bodies to be thrown to the dogs.
You can understand why all minorities make a stand for Assad. They simply have no choice. They are under threat of being destroyed. This article is not intended to advocate Assad, nobody favors dictatorships. But do they have choice? Secular dictatorship with democratic elements or religious fascism with bearded murderers? Even now the Syrian constitution is thousand times more democratic and billions of times more secular than the constitutions of all Muslim countries combined. Is democracy present in Bahrain? Or in Qatar? Or in Saudi Arabia – the avatar of the US foreign policy? Or Kuwait? Are Christians and secular people in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia happy? Where are the Christians in Iraq? What claims can these countries have toward Syria? No, they need to learn tolerance from the Syrians, and they should stop trying to impose and integrate Salafi-Wahhabi elements in the Syrian culture. Because they are not compatible.
The representatives of the Syrian opposition in foreign countries have only one goal: concealing the crimes of the so-called Free Syrian Army. So therefore they have to pay to troubled Christians in order to create the illusion that Christians are on their side. To fool the masses outside Syria. Such as the corrupt Turkish agent George Sabra and Michel Kilo, who did not dare to raise the issue of Christians in Syria. Yes dear opposition, you are like archaeologists and antique hunters who obsessively are looking for strapped Christian whose voices can be bought with Qatari money. Unfortunately there are always few of them.
Utilization of religious conflicts
This technology of destruction of an inconvenient country is well designed and it operates flawlessly. We saw it in action in former Yugoslavia where Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox were fighting each other. We have seen it in Afghanistan, where the US-funded mujahideen destroyed the country and convert it into the poorest and most miserable nation in the world. Sudan was divided into North and South on religious grounds too. Iraq currently is virtually split into three parts – Shia, Sunni and Kurdish.
Similarly such conflicts may erupt in Nigeria, with its Muslim north and Christian south. And Nigeria possess some of largest oil reserves in the world… Religious „shells“ may explode in Lebanon, in Iran and possibly Cyprus. All important in the gas/oil game.
Unfortunately this technology was imposed in Syria. The use of such technique always leads to polarization of the society, and it becomes extremely dangerous in countries where ethnic and religious differences are present.
And how such conflict can be started? Very easy. Professional violent gangs are imported in the country of question and they start committing crimes against various ethno-religious groups and incite them against each other. These gangs cause confusion that escalates to tensions and hatred, which later transform to a bloody civil war. The aim is infrastructure destruction . And when you destroy the country’s infrastructure is much easier to take the control and to accommodate a puppet president, and thus to set your companies to exploit natural resources.
Democracy is not a monopoly over the natural resources for the benefit of certain corporate giants. Monopoly is a totalitarian device. Democracy is not imposition of religious fascism that kills the secular masses. Democracy requires competition for the benefit of the masses and religious and cultural freedom.
Will Europeans save Christian culture in Syria?
The only hope (except the Orthodox Church in Russia) of all Christians in Syria is Europe to wake up and give them a hand. Europeans should realize that if they keep this up they will become a party to a crime against the Christians in Syria and against all secular people and against all the minorities. They take part in the destruction of the oldest Christian culture in the world and the birthplace of Christianity will be transformed into Saudi Arabia. The oldest relics of Christianity, the churches, the temples and thee monasteries, they all will be destroyed. For two thousand years Christianity has been surviving in this country and now it will be completely whacked for 3-4 years. The only hope of secular population of Syria is that sanity will prevail and they will not become victims of the gas oil interests of countries such as the U.S. and its vassals from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama was emphasizing all the time that he’s Christian but he should be ashamed of himself and should become aware of what is happening in Syria. And it is GENOCIDE AGAINST CHRISTIANS. Yes, these Islamist groups are working for corporate interests of the U.S., but they have also declared Jihad to the al-kafr (infidels) and are about to erase the entire ancient Christian history from the face of the Earth. But even if we remove the religious element, how is possible this to happen in the modern world? How is possible all people in the world to be fooled that easy and deceived to believe in a big lie?
There are over 80,000 mujahideen in Syria. Why nobody is bothered by the fact that each country can become a victim of this „oil“ radicalism?