5 Faith Facts on Religion in Syria – Critical Commentary

Posted on September 29, 2013 by



5 faith facts on religion in Syria

Written by Jay Loschky

in the Washington Post

    The goal of this article is to shed some light on the religious dimensions of the civil war in Syria. It explains the roles and characteristics of the major religious groups in Syria both before and after the civil war began. These major groups include Sunni muslims, Shia muslims, Alawite muslims, Christians, and extremists muslims. The article explains how before the conflict began, Syria used to be a beacon of religious tolerance in the region. The various religions coexisting with one another were peaceful and got along well compared to many other areas with several religious groups. It also spoke on how the Alawites, the current rulers, are actually the most secular of the various muslim groups in the area. They differ in several ways from Sunni and Shia muslims and often have much less religious zeal instilled in society and laws. The Sunni and Shia conflict within Syria today is not so much about the actual groups within Syria not getting along, which they have in the past, as it is about global Sunni and Shia differences. To go with the degree of tolerance that used to exist, Christians in Syria still support the Alawite rulers, while they support stability even more. Finally, the article touches on the fact that hardline muslim support is not as strong as it appears in Syria. Polls show that many Syrians are not actually for a Muslim state.

While the author of this article does stay somewhat neutral and stick to facts and polls, several biases are apparent. The most major bias that appears in this article is the difference in how Christians and Muslims are portrayed. The author goes into detail about the relationships between the different muslim groups and their priorities, while not giving much information on the Christians in the country other than saying that they want peace and stability above all else. I’m sure that it would not be incorrect to say that many of the muslims in Syria right now, as well as christians, want peace above all else and for the majority of people they don’t care who is in power as long as there is peace and tolerance once again. It also talks about how the Alawites are the most secular of the muslim groups in the country. It says this fact as if this automatically makes them better, or more peaceful than the other groups. Just because they are more secular, does not necessarily mean that they cannot perform atrocities and do evil just as much as any other group. History shows that secular groups as well as more extreme religious groups have all done horrible things to other groups of people. The author almost makes a case that the Alawites should stay in power because they are the most likely to keep peace and a non-muslim state, when in fact later in the article he says how among all civilians in Syria, including all different  muslim groups, the majority of people are not rooting for an extreme muslim rule or law.

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