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Talking about faith at the tomb of the prophet. Part 2

September 6 2005

Islam - the religion of expansive. Therefore, the Orthodox people traveling in Muslim countries, should be ready to test his faith for strength. Once in this situation was the author of the article.

Beginning of article available here

And what happened to local Christians? Now some in Syria's ruling Alawite secular dictatorship [*] Bashar Assad. Formally, he separated the religion of the majority of Syrians - Islam - from the state, and I remember in Homs zahazhival even a cup of tea in the restaurants "infidels." So the first time in 1300 years of Syrian Christians enjoy religious freedom. However, how long it will last, nobody knows. Islam, as I had the opportunity to see - a religion, to put it mildly expansionary.

Most often, the Christians converted to Islam in a time of increased social and economic oppression, trying to get rid of the devalued status and be able to succeed in society.

Having won the VII century, Syria, the Arabs gave their Christian subjects to the status of "dhimmi" - people who are under the protection of Islam. Forced conversions were not. Conversely, in Literacy, a certified hand of the Prophet Muhammad, which had seen in the monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, explicitly states that "people of the book" (Christians, Jews) have the right to enjoy freedom of religion. True, in exchange for a renunciation of "subversion" and pay the poll tax - jizya.

Consequences are not long in coming. Due to the high educational level of the dhimmi Christians managed to take a prestigious social position in the Caliphate. Non-Muslims had a strong presence in trade and finance, in fact monopolized practicing medicine, of which almost completely manned lower and middle levels of the administrative apparatus. Arabs are willing to use the former Byzantine officials in the service in the tax department. Paperwork in Syria until the beginning of VIII century and was carried out at all in Greek. The Church hierarchy "infidels" not only was not destroyed, but even endowed with certain secular functions. For example, the Orthodox and Jacobite priests are often granted the right to collect taxes, the trial of co-religionists, the decisions of their family and marital and property issues.

However, the life of Christians under Islamic rule was associated with a number of limitations that stem from the peculiarities of Islamic teachings. Many churches, starting with the luxury of the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Damascus were confiscated and converted into mosques. About missionary work among the Muslims there could be no question. It is punishable by death. Followers of Christ could not serve in the army. Men-Christians were forbidden to marry a Muslim. But while Muslim men can marry Christian women with the condition that their children will be Muslim.

In the 750, replacing tolerant Umayyads came to power, the Abbasid dynasty. With them every now and then flashed persecution. Many Christians were martyred, pogroms were churches all over Syria.

Violence by the central administration of the caliphate was summoned to the 855 urban uprising in Homs. After suppressing the rebellion, the Caliph commanded to destroy all the churches in the city and drive out the Christians. Persecution led to massive migration dhimmi to Islam and emigration, much of the Melkites (Orthodox) to Byzantium. Yet these were the exception rather than the rule. Otherwise it is difficult to explain the fact that the number of Christians in Syria under Arab rule remained very significant until the end of XI century, ie before the era of the Crusades. Crusaders only invaded and they generate the anti-Christian persecution broke ethnographic balance in favor of /> In the new time to strengthen the economic situation of dhimmi and the gradual adjustment of their rights with the Muslims went hand in hand with the weakening of the power of the Ottoman Empire. This began the penetration of Western capital, and many Christians have become successful businessmen. Their lobbbistskie opportunities have increased dramatically.

In 1855, the poll tax was abolished with the Christians. Then they were allowed to establish a cross over the temples, ringing the bell and put on a procession with icons and banners. This caused a massive surge of Islamic fanaticism. In all Syrian cities avalanche swept pogroms. In Damascus, in 1860, was destroyed a significant part of the Christian community and destroyed all the churches. Therefore, the tragic day on July 10 is now celebrated Antiochian Orthodox Church as the Memorial Day massacre of thousands of victims of Damascus.

Parish in the middle of last century in power, headed by Alawite Baath Socialist Party leader Hafez al-Assad, to soften the contradiction. But did not eliminate them altogether. In 1982 in Hama broke an anti-government Islamist insurgency, only with great difficulty suppressed with tanks and artillery.

In the spring of 2004, the arena turned into carnage already Damascus. Then, all blamed on foreign al-Qaeda. However, it is no secret that the country has radical Islamic opposition. Due to difficult economic situation, preaching jihad increasingly resonates among the poor, and, of course, a "fuel contingent," as students.

Now the followers of Christ are less than ten percent of the population. Due to strong emigration , The growth of anti-Western and anti-Christian sentiment, which is especially increased with the outbreak of war in Iraq, as well as some "peculiarities" of Syrian law and the education system, the number of Christians has continued to decline.

Formally, Christians and Muslims are equal in their social and economic rights. But the head of state under the Constitution can only be a Muslim. Recognized marriages Muslim and Christian, but still Syrian-Christian can not marry a Syrian-Muslim. In education, as much inequality. In Christian schools students are required to study Islamic culture and history. However, no mention of Christianity in educational institutions where Muslims go.

Material provided by the portal Sedmitsa.Ru

See also:

East is preparing to meet Christ?

Will Islam "gravedigger" of Europe?

Maria Pavlikova

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