Amid the chaos and carnage in Syria what is happening to the Christian community there? No end seems to be in sight to the torture and slayings ordered by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime which, in five months has left over 2,200 Syrians dead, 3,000 missing, 14,000 imprisoned and 12,000 injured.
The Christian community in Syria, which dates back to the time of St Paul and his conversion on the road to Damascus, makes up 10 per cent of Syria’s population of 22.5 million. Since 1970, the Assads, who are Alawite, a small Shia Muslim offshoot, have stayed in power with a coalition of religious minorities, including the Christians – allies together against the huge Sunni majority. Christians are favoured in many ways. There are now three Christians (two Catholics and one Greek Orthodox) in the government and churches, like mosques, get free electricity and water.
A Catholic news agency in Rome has written that the majority of Christians in Syria have continued to back Assad’s authoritarian rule, stressing that this contrasts with the majority of Christians in Egypt who were supporters of the Arab Spring revolution. But, as foreign journalists are banned in Syria, such a statement can only be an assumption. I personally found that many Christians, fearful of the network of spies and informers, are terrified of the consequences of talking even anonymously…
The rest and more in the Catholic Herald here.