The Washington Post
October 4, 2013
When radical Islamists tore down a cross and hoisted a black flag
above a church in the northern Syrian city of Raqqah last week, it
underscored the increasingly hostile environment for the country’s
Although Syria is majority Sunni Muslim, it is one of the most
religiously and ethnically diverse countries in the Middle East, home to
minorities including Christians, Druze and Shiite-offshoot Alawites and
Ismailis. But the country’s conflict, now in its third year, is
threatening that tapestry.
While the primary front in the war has pitted Sunni against Shiite,
Christians are increasingly caught in the firing line. The perception
that they support the government — which is in many cases true — has
long made them a target for rebel groups. Now, Christians say radical
Islamist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) , an
affiliate of al-Qaeda, are determined to drive them from their homes.