» 06/11/2012, 00.00
Syrian Christians in the war between fundamentalists and secularists, Sunnis and Shiites
Samir Khalil Samir
Al Qabas, Kuwait's daily newspaper, reports the arrival in Syria of jihadists from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Pakistan. Among them many are under 18 years of age. Turkey serves as a transit point for weapons and people. A war of fundamentalism against the Alawite Shia and Sunni fundamentalism against the secularism of the Assad dictatorship. The distrust of Christians. The ambiguous West.
Beirut (AsiaNews) - Al-Qabas, the Kuwaiti Arabic-language newspaper, yesterday published an article stating that dozens of Kuwaitis have crossed the Syrian-Turkish border to fight in the jihad alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the 'armed opposition against the regime of Bashar el Assad.
According to sources close to these groups that have arrived in Syria, the offices of the FSA and other jihadists welcome militants from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Pakistan, provide them with Syrian identity documents, should they be captured by the regular army, and ask about their to leave their real identity documents to the Turkish border.
The FSA gave them weapons, after verifying that they have followed a military training in their countries of origin. Then, they send them into different regions of Syria, wherever necessary, to fight against the regular army. The FSA has also sent back a number of jihadists to their countries because they were under 18 years of age.
For its part, Jordan has arrested two Salafi militants who were trying to get into Syria, also to fight alongside the Islamists.
Meanwhile, the Directorate of Fatwas [in Kuwait], at the Ministry of Waqfs, has issued a fatwa (Islamic legal decision) allowing to anticipate the zakat (obligatory Islamic alms) prior to the original date to refugees and Syria's needy.
I would like to point out some important details:
- o The information comes from an independent newspaper in Kuwait, whose director, Mohammed Jassem al-Sager has received the International Press Freedom Award, for his fight for human rights. He was also a member of national assembly of Kuwait and President of the Arab parliament. He is anything but an ally of the Syrian regime.
- o 2. In theArabic text jihâd, means exclusively the armed struggle against the Syrian regime. Many times the term qitâl returns, which means "war", "fight to the death" (the verb qatala means "kill").
- o 3. The fighters are trained - in their own countries or elsewhere - before being engaged in jihad. Among them are the children, the FSA does not accept them, showing a sense of responsibility.
- o 4. No shortage of small arms. They are stored in Turkey near the Syrian border.
- o 5. Turkey contributes to the fight against the Syrian regime not as combatants, but by allowing the passage and the organization.
- o 6. All these form an alliance of militant Sunni Islamists. The Syrian regime is governed by Alawites (an offshoot of Shiism): So now the fight is between Shiites and Sunnis. In addition, since Syria's regime is secular, the opposition gathers anti-secularists, who are Sunni Wahhabis and Salafis.
- o 7. This explains the distrust of Christians towards the opposition to the regime. The opposition, which initially was against the dictatorship, torture, injustice and human rights, little by little, has changed to a radical Islamist trend (Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi) to eventually become a struggle between two Muslim tendencies: Sunni and Shia. Between two evils - a secular Baathist dictatorship and the Wahhabi religious dictatorship) Christians prefer the first, which they already know and with whom they have lived for a long time.
- o 8. The only real solution would be to renounce all dictatorship (secular or religious) and the building of a democratic and liberal state. Unfortunately, in the Arab world, this dream has been realized only in a modest way in Lebanon, perhaps because of the substantial presence of Christians, more prepared for this evolution.
- o 9. At present, it seems that Syria is unable to achieve that vision. On the other hand, the West, which could have had a positive role, in previous conflicts (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) has not given an example of fairness and democracy, but rather of following national interests under the guise of democracy.
Nuncio in Damascus: Do not forget the Syrians and pray for them
For Msgr. Mario Zenari, the conflict is likely to fall into oblivion. The dead are no longer news. Yesterday 10 children were killed in a neighborhood south of the capital. The Church is the only remaining institution offering hope and help to the people affected by the bombings, starvation and kidnappings. The invitation to say a prayer for the Syrians in view of Christmas.
Saudi Arabia and Iran battle for dominion of Islamic world
At the root of the political and economic problems that have resulted in the current standoff between the two regional powers, is two diverging forms of Islam: a more tolerant and rational Shia Islam as opposed to a more fundamentalist and violent Sunni Islam. Saudi Arabia is expanding its hegemony through economic aid, building mosques and supplying Wahhabi imams. Fundamentalism – a bed partner with IS ideology – is even emerging in tolerant countries: Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia. There is an urgent need to reform Islam if it is to be rescued from its most profound crisis in the last two centuries.
31/03/2015 MIDDLE EAST - ISLAM
Fr. Samir: Arab military coalition possible peacekeeping force to guarantee pluralism
For the first time in history, a dozen Arab countries have decided to launch a joint military force to fight terrorism. The idea in itself good, in practice is sliding into a sectarian struggle between Sunni and Shia. Instead they could fight the Islamic state, ensure the return of Christians in Iraq and in Syria, push for peace between Israel and Palestine.
Aleppo: the plight of the people, victims of the conflict between the army and rebels
AsiaNews presents a testimony on the situation in the Syrian city. Food prices are constantly increasing; certain goods are only available on the black market. Medicine is starting to run low, the health system risks paralysis. Without schools, volunteers organize lessons and games for children. The appeal from the International Red Cross.
14/01/2014 VATICAN - SYRIA
Pontifical Academy for Sciences calls for Iranian participation in Geneva II
In a statement to the international community, the Pontifical Academy outlines six main points for lasting peace in Syria. They include an immediate ceasefire, the creation of a humanitarian corridor and the democratic transformation of the political system. The plan is the result of a workshop on Syria held yesterday in Rome.
Liu Xiaobo: a torch that enlightens human civilization
The testimony of the great nonviolent dissident is the highest contribution to humanity in the last (sterile) 500 years of Chinese history. A priest from North China offers an elegy in memory of Liu (and his wife).
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.