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© Collage: The Voice of Russia

The fall of Bashar al-Assad’s regime would mark the end of the Christian civilization not only in Syria, but also in the entire Middle East, experts are afraid. Already today in the region the followers of Christ’s teachings are prosecuted and their lives are endangered. After Christianity all the traditional religions could disappear here.

Those who wage a war now against Bashar al-Assad are people connected with the international terrorist organizations, like al-Qaeda for example. They do not accept the values of any religion besides their own. That is why anyone who does not share their views on life and politics are considered “alien”. Farid Salman, head of the Ulema Council of the Russian Association of Islamic Accord voiced this opinion in his interview to the Voice of Russia.

Al-Qaeda is one of the Islamist movements which does not consider Christians to be human beings. If in traditional Islam, Christians and Jews are people of the Scripture, then from the point of view of the radical Islamists, Christians and Jews are not only not partners in the dialogues between various religions, but are not human beings at all. Such phenomenon can be currently observed in Egypt. As soon as the Salafi and the Muslim Brotherhood got a fraction of power under the ousted president Morsi, interreligious controversies and fighting started immediately. As a result the majority of Christian Copts were forced to flee from the country. The Copts are not only the country’s indigenous population, but historically they opened the gates to Islam for the Arabs in Egypt. The same thing is now happening in Syria”.

Farid Salman is convinced that in the event the Islamists gain power over Syria, the scenario of destroying Christianity would be a lot more severe than it was in the neighboring Iraq for example.

“Unlike the situation in Iraq, in Syria the relations between the Christians and the Muslims were a lot more stable and deep. If in Iraq the relations between the religions were purely those of a partnership, in Syria they have a humane and humanitarian nature. That is why the Islamists’ attitude to Christians would be absolutely different. From the Islamists’ point of view everything connected to Christianity must be destroyed. And I saw with my own eyes that already now in Syria all the Christian heritage of the country is being destroyed”.

The worries of the Russian mufti regarding the future of Christianity in the region are not in vain, which has multiple times been confirmed in the modern history of the world, thinks Roman Silantyev, an expert in religion and Islam.

“Today we have a lot of examples when after the victory of the Vakhabis the Christian population was killed. Few Christians are still left in Iraq, and in Afghanistan there are practically no Christians. The indigenous Christians have long disappeared from Saudi Arabia despite the fact that they had appeared there much earlier than the Muslims. In general, Christians are discriminated against, killed or forced out in countries where the Vakhabis come to power. It is a global problem. We are observing the same thing in Nigeria, Pakistan and a number of other countries”.

By declaring a “crusade” against Bashar al-Assad’s government the Western countries do not ponder on the fact that in essence they are signing a death sentence to Christianity in Syria. Azhdar Kurtov, a political analyst and an expert at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies expressed this point of view to the Voice of Russia.

“Watching the statements made by Western politicians and the publications in the Western press, I want to point out that the problems that are raised in connection with Syria usually deal with the violation of international human rights of the civilian population. At the same time, the issue of inter-religious problems is either ignored, purposefully silenced or moved to the background. On the one hand, it is understandable. It is not the government forces that attack the Christian population and the communities of other faiths which do not belong to radical Sunni organizations. But while in the capitals of the Western world the politicians state that their main goal in Syria is the compliance with the high norms, including human rights, they need to pay attention to the unpleasant circumstances of the escalation of interfaith fighting in its extreme form”.

According to many historians and political scientists it is the presence of Christians in Syria and in the Middle East that has served as a guarantee for the preservation and strengthening of traditional civilized Islam in the region.

Milena Faustova

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