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Not everyone is supporting the uprising against the country’s brutal regime. Khalid Ali reports from Damascus

ICC Note:

The Independent reports on the opposing outlooks Syrian Christians have toward the revolution and life after President Assad.

9/5/2011 Syria (The Independent) – In the gift shop of Damascus’ Chapel of Ananias, a middle-aged Christian man called Sari explained who he thought was to blame for the stories of government brutality emerging from his country.

“All the international media are liars,” he said. “Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN – they are all lying. There is no trouble here in Damascus.”

Syria’s more than 2 million Christians account for around 10 per cent of the total population and are just one minority in patchwork of different creeds. But in interviews this week, some of them said many in their community were uneasy about the anti-government protests convulsing their country.

According to one activist called Yusef, who used to be an organiser for his local church in Damascus, many Christians have no great love for the Assad regime. Yet large numbers are worried about what will happen if he falls.

“Many of them are not getting any benefits from this government,” said Yusef in his central Damascus living room. “On the other hand, they are not getting damaged. Some people are thinking, ‘in the future, maybe I won’t have the benefits but I will also be damaged as well’.”

The reasons for their opposition to the protest movement are manifold, said Yusef. Some have lucrative jobs as a result of government connections, while others “simply believe what they watch on state TV”.

There is also, he admits, a fear that Islam might usurp the secular – albeit repressive – brand of Baathist socialist rule in Syria.

“Right now Christians can celebrate Easter. They can wear whatever they want. They can go to the church in safety and they can drink if they want to.

“They are afraid they will lose all this if the regime falls down.”

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