The Population of Syria and Their Religion
The allepo Alawite form part of a significant branch of the Islam, Alawi Muslim Community in Syria. In essence, they are known for following the twelve school of the Shia Muslim. The sect traces its origin in 9th century when it was founded by Ibn Nusay. It is the reason the Allepo Alawite are at times referred to as the Nusayir. The Allepo Alawite form 11% of the present Syrian Population. However, there is another sect of the population that lives in Ghajar and the Golan Heights.
In respect to their religion, the Alawite are termed as secretive. They practice a unique form of Islamic religion that is little known among many people. In essence, its secretive nature is as a result of the isolation they endured from the main stream society when they were persecuted by the Sunni who are the majority in Syria. For instance, they believe in the veneration of their Iman Ali. Consequently, they invest their divine attributes to him. There are other elements of the religion. For example, they believe in divine incarnation. They permit their members to take alcohol. They also celebrate events such as Christians and Zoroastrians calendar celebration
The Allepo alawite have contemptuous attitude towards the Ottoman Empire. In essence, it is because of the oppression that they did undergo in the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman attempted to convert them to the Sunni Islam. Consequently, the Alawis rebelled against the ottomans. They, therefore, chose to maintain their autonomy in their place of stay. However, in subsequent years the Ottomans sought to influence the Allepo Alawites by employing some of their leaders as tax collectors. They carried this action under the famous itizam system. The leaders who chose to support the Ottoman got jobs in the empire. Subsequently, the Allepo Alawite rebelled against the French. For example, in December 1918, the leader of the Alawite called Saleh arranged for a meeting to urge people to rebel and dismiss the French from Syria. Despite his arrest, he managed to organize the Alawites into rebel forces that would revolve against the French. It is important to note that these are some of the key instances of opposition. In the later years the Allepo Alawite supported the French. In fact, they advocated for their continued rule in spite of the accomplishment of their mandate. The French sought to befriend the Alawite and encouraged them to join the military group. They had a purpose to use the big number to counter the massive Sunni majorities that were a threat to the stability of their governance.
It is vital to note that the Alawite have been in support of the Assad government. In fact, during the civil war of Syria, the Alawites did suffer. It was as a result of their allegiance to the Assad government. Consequently, many of the young Alawite men were killed. The war posed a lot of fear to the Allepo Alawites. They fear that such deaths could lead to the distinction of their community. Currently, the Alawites enjoy the support of the Assad regime despite their refusal to publicly admit. The Allepo Alawites have poor economic status. In essence, most of them are poor peasant farmers. They cultivate what can sustain a minimal section of their life. The economic dominance of the Sunni lowers their ability to fetch income to the community. Consequently, they are poor compared to the empowered Sunni community.
The Damascus Christians
The Christian community in Damascus thus comprises of an estimated 10% of the population. Damascus is the first region that received the Christians faith through the ministry of Peter. In fact, there were more Christians in Damascus than any other part of Syria. However, they were affected by the military expansion of the Islamic Umayyad Empire. Consequently, the non Muslims who chose to stick to their native faith did pay hefty taxes. Moreover, they were oppressed and not allowed to own land. The pressure was aimed at encouraging to them to embrace the Muslim religion.
The Damascus Christians follow the teachings of Jesus as their life manual. They uphold the family unit. They believe in monotheism. There is only one God and his son Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin. They believe in his suffering death and resurrection. The Damascus Christian religion is embedded on the Greek Orthodox Church. It accounts for its patriarchal presence in Damascus. In essence, Saul was Tarsus was converted in his road to Damascus. However, Jesus was already known in Syria.
It is important to note that the Damascus Christians were in support and part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire had brought to an end the scientific movement and went further to Isolate the Arabs. Most of the nationalists did conspire and assisted the empire in the capturing of Damascus and its Christian population. However, the most notable incident of the Damascus Christians was their massacre in 1860. It occurred when the Druze together with Maronites fought and it spilled over to the city. Thousands of Christians died.
Damascus Christians are in support of the Assad regime. In fact, they are key partners in the Assads approach of the minority rule. Forming an estimated 10% of the population, they receive valuable business contract. Moreover, some of them get critical government posts. Damascus Christians have remained fairly supportive to the regime. However, it has made them suffer distrust among the Islamists complexion that characterize the opposition.
Consequently, the Christian group in the Damascus is affluent. It is because of the massive support that they receive from the Assad regime. They have big business tenders and other influentials posts within the government. As a result, they are able to make laws that favor them. However, they have suffered persecutions from the Muslim Jihadists. In fact, currently, there is an increase in Christian refugees that emanate from the region. They are under emigration. They express their fear against the anti-government rebel group. It is because there are Syrian armies whose primary quest is to empty the region of the Christians. The Islamist have merged with the Arab spring and become intolerant towards accepting that Christians have equal rights. Moreover, they carry out the murder as acts of ethnic cleansing.
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The Druze of Jabal Al Arab
The Druze of Jabal al- Arab Form a significant section of the population of up to 3%.This is an estimated number of over 500000 Druze populations. They refer to themselves as the Druze because they are believers in one God. They did live in the highly populated rural setting of south Damascus. The place is known as the Jabal al Arab. They thus obtain their name Jabal al-Druze which is common.
In respect to their religion, the Druze is a monotheist religion. In essence, it does not uphold the five Muslim pillars. Consequently, Muslims do not recognize them as part of their team. For instance, they do not fast during Ramadhan. They also do not take part in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The Jabal al-Druze has chosen to incorporate significant religious elements. First, they embrace Ismailism and Neoplatonism. They believe they are people of significant faith in regard to their belief in one God. A study of their lifestyle indicates that they lead an isolated life. In fact, one is not allowed to convert from one religion to another. Consequently, when they come to live among people, they try to blend with aim of protecting their religion. Consequently, they have the ability to pray like Christians or even Muslims depending on the environment. However, the current freedom of worship has enabled the Druze to establish their religious orientation without any fear.
It is important to note that before the accomplishment of the Ottoman Empire, the Druze were ruled by the emirs. Evidently, they were a semi-autonomous community. The Jabal al-Druze have their own court. Consequently, they can handle matters of jurisdiction that pertain to marriage divorce and adoption among others. The emirs are also their spiritual leaders. They emanate from an Arab culture. Consequently, the main language is Arab. It is vital to note that despite it being a small group, the Druze has a defined standing in the countrys group of minority. Most members of the community have attained distinct political spheres.
The Jabal al-Druze revolves around a closely knit family. Consequently, they enjoy cordial family relations. They hold religious meetings on Thursday nights. They enjoy spending time together. As a result, they often visit one another. Hospitality is an important feature of the Druze culture. Moreover, they are generous in nature. In fact, they have a sense of hospitality and honor. As a result, they excel in taking care of the orphans, widows and the less fortunate in the society. For instance, if the members of the extend family cannot take care of a person, the larger community comes in. The Druze have a radical belief towards the family structure. First, they believe in the equality of the man and the woman. They advocate for the abolition of slavery and the distinction of the church from the state. They have struggled to ensure that they keep their values. It accounts for their autonomy in Syria. However, it is vital to note that their autonomy is superimposed. Consequently, the Druze are poor. They languish in poverty because of their detachment from the rest of the society. They have tried to make a living from peasant farming. However, they have not succeeded.
The Druze were in opposition to the Assad regime especially during the civil war. In fact, their leaders have openly emerged to oppose the regime. In some instances, the religious leaders have faced imprisonment for not choosing to celebrate the reelection of the Assad. The opposition is further evident among the community members. Many of them have refused to serve in the Syrian army that constitutes most of the Arabs. Nevertheless, there is a small number of the Druze that have pledged loyalty to the Assad regime. In regard to the French regime, the loyalty of the Druze made them a quick target for the French. In essence, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, the Druze did live under the ruler ship of the Christians. They did not submit to the Christian leader and hence were at odd with the French regime. They had fears that the French were affiliated to the Muslims groups that had contributed to their suppression. Consequently, they started the Druze rebellion in 1926 against the French. However, it failed and the French authority remained in power. It is vital to note that the Druze population is small to take any powerful position in matters of national significance. Consequently, the Maronite Christians and the Sunni Muslims continue to dominate the positions. However, the French granted them one privilege of having their own jurisdiction.