Syrian Christians Fear for Their Future if Extremists Take Control
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2012 Jul 25
With Syrian president Bashar al-Assad possibly losing his grip on power and rebels making major inroads, a possible end to the bloody civil war may be in sight. But Syria's sizeable Christian community of more than 1.5 million is fearful for its future should Assad be defeated, according to Open Doors USA. Under Assad, Christians enjoyed a measure of freedom to worship in Syria, which is 90 percent Muslim. In fact, Christians were granted a degree of religious freedom not seen in most other Middle Eastern countries, before and after the Arab Spring. According to Reuters News, the rebels include the Free Syrian Army, al-Qaeda-style jihadists, the Muslim Brotherhood and local Sunni liberals. "If Assad falls, Christians in Syria are fearful of what will happen when a new government -- probably a radical Islamic one -- will come into power," said Dr. Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. "Will their freedom to worship end? Will persecution increase? Will they have to flee Syria with their families as have thousands of believers in Iraq? Already thousands have been targeted and have fled Syria. Some have been forced to flee from cities like Homs and seek shelter and help from Christian churches in the area. Christians who supported Assad could face reprisal from the rebels. There is just a tremendous fear for their future."