Op-Ed: Christians, Alawites and Jews Share the Same Fate
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
Maaloula is one of the last villages in Syria where locals speak the Aramaic spoken by Jesus and the early Christians. In a monastery in Maaloula there are the remains of Thecla, the disciple of Paul, who spent her life there caring for the sick. Not far from Maaloula, in a shrine in Damascus’s Great Mosque, you also find the relic believed tby the faithful to be John the Baptist’s head.
The famous village has fallen into the hands of "Syrian rebels". First, the terrorists vandalized a statue of Jesus' mother. Then they tried to convert the local Christians to Islam. They also proclaimed: "Allahu Akbar, we have won the city of crusaders, Maloula has been cleaned up of the dogs of Bashar".
Archbishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi were abducted by the rebels last April. Another priest, Francois Murad, was executed by Islamic terrorists (in early July, a video posted on LiveLeak.com apparently showed the Syrian priest being beheaded by the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in front of a cheering crowd).
It is not difficult to understand why the Christians in Syria stand with the Assad regime (Assad's Minister of Defence, Rajha Daoud, killed in a suicide attack last year, was also Christian). Under an Islamic regime that would replace Assad, Christians would have two alternatives, to quote Samir Nassar, Archbishop of Damascus: "The choice is between two bitter glasses, die or leave."
If the choice is between the secular ophthalmologist and the illiterate Wahabites, Syria's minorities will always stand with the first. That is why the greatest Arab poet, Adonis, never embraced the "rebellion" and was charged of being a "collaborator".
Thousands of Christians left the city of Qusayr after an ultimatum set by Islamic fundamentalists. "Christians, leave Qusayr within six days," read an edict distributed from mosques in the city. That is why George Louis, a priest of the parish of Qarah, near Homs, called the rebels "vampires who kill in the name of God."
Adnan al Aroor, a Sheikh exiled in Saudi Arabia and one of the leaders of the civil war against Assad, urged his followers to "tear apart, chop up and give it to the dogs", this referring to the meat of Christians, branded as "collaborators ".
Harba Hassan, a Sunni leader of the rebellion, said that "all the Alawites must be slaughtered." And the Christians? "Informants should be eliminated."
Terrorists have just shot dead 11 people, mostly Christians, in central Syria.
Mariam was a 15-year-old Christian from Qusair, 35 km south of the capital. The jihadist rebels conquered and occupied the town. While her family was able to escape, Mariam was taken and forced into an Islamic marriage. A fatwa produced by Yasir al-Ajlawni, a Salafi sheikh of Jordanian origin, declared it lawful, for opponents of the regime of Assad, to commit rape against "any non-Sunni Syrian woman." According to the fatwa, capturing and raping Alawite or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam.
10% of Syrians are Alawites, who were long known as Nusayris, "Little Christians". Syria is also home to several hundred thousand Druze, who are even further removed from Sunni orthodoxy (there are many Druze in Israel, loyal to the Jewish State). Along with Lebanon, Syria is the only Arab country where Islam is not the state religion and religion is not declared on the ID cards.
When in 2000 Hafez al-Assad, Bashar's father, passed away, the Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Hazim ordered tolling the church bells. Assad's father had many Christian councilors (Gebran Kuriye for domestic policy and Assad Elias at the foreign policy). Now the Syrian minorities are preparing for the day after. When the next world's genocide will begin.
Christian villagers in Wadi al-Nassara in western Syria, home to around 50,000 Christians, have just formed "popular defense committees" with the blessing of the Syrian government. Christians have now taken up arms like their brethen did in Lebanon against the Palestinian Muslims.
Everyone remembers the massacre at Shabra and Shatila in Lebanon at the hands of Christian Phalangists. But no one remembers what happened to the Christian town of Damour before that. It was in November 1976. Palestinian terrorists arrived in the village, bombing houses and churches, killing entire families, even exhuming the dead from the cemetery. 500 Christians were killed that day, prodrome of the expulsion of Christians from the multi-confessional Lebanon.
Now it is the turn of Maaloula, a symbol of coexistence between Christians and Muslims. How it goes there for the new "Crusaders", so will it go in the rest of the Middle East.
One of the main reasons that serves to explain the Russian strategic support for the Assad regime is the position of the Orthodox Church. When he had to explain what would happened to the Christians if the Islamists would take power in Syria, the Russian Patriarch Kirill evoked nothing less than the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, with "the carcasses of defiled churches still remaining in our country". Like the Greek Catholic Mar Elias Church in Qusair, which was totally destroyed by the rebels.
Professor John Myhill wrote a paper for the Besa Center at Bar Ilan University. His argument is that in a Middle East dominated demographically and culturally by Islam, it follows that Alawites, Christians, and Jews are natural partners. Jihadists openly call for the extermination of all of them.
In 1936, France reincorporated the Alawite State, then called the Government of Latakia, into Syria proper.
Separatist Alawite leaders – who wanted nothing to do with Islam – petitioned France’s Jewish prime minister, Leon Blum:
"The condition of the Jews in Palestine is the strongest and most explicit evidence of the militancy of the Islamic issue vis-à-vis those who do not belong to Islam. These good Jews contributed to the Arabs with civilization and peace, scattered gold, and established prosperity in Palestine without harming anyone or taking anything by force, yet the Muslims declare holy war against them and never hesitated in slaughtering their women and children, despite the presence of England in Palestine and France in Syria.
"Therefore we ask you to consider the dreadful and terrible fate that awaits the Alawites if they are forced to be annexed to Syria, when it will be free from the oversight of the Mandate, and it will be in their power to implement the laws that stem from its religion".
The most famous signatory of that letter, in which Alawites accepted Jewish sovereignty over the holy land, was Sulayman Assad, Bashar’s grandfather. They certainly don't like to admit it, but Alawites and Christians are slated to share the same fate as the Jews in the western Levant. It will be Caliphate or them.