Many of our readers remember the Syrian Christian village known as Maaloula from last year. It was raided by Muslim fundamentalists and inhabitants were terrorized, tortured, forced to convert to Islam, and even murdered. In one instance, as Shoebat.com reported, a Christian man’s throat was slit after he refused to convert. The town, where the language of Jesus is still prominently spoken, was taken over by jihadists.
About a week ago, the regime of Bashar al-Assad took back the town. Assad, whom the Christian population in Syria prefers by a significant margin, visited Maaloula on Easter Sunday.
According to the Associated Press:
Maaloula is located some 40 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Damascus and is home to a large Christian population. The army’s triumph in the village was an important symbolic prize for the government in its quest to be seen as protector of religious minorities, including Syria’s Christians, who have largely supported the Assad family’s decades of rule.
During his visit to the village Sunday, Assad promised to defend Christians — who make up about 10 percent of Syria’s prewar population of 23 million — and protect churches that he said were part of the country’s cultural heritage.
“Nobody, regardless of the extent of their terror, can erase our cultural and human history,” the state news agency quoted Assad as saying as he surveyed damage to the Mar Takla Greek Orthodox monastery. Despite damage to holy sites in the village, Assad told state TV that “Maloula will remain steadfast in the face of barbarism of all those who are targeting the homeland.”
Try as many have to paint Assad as the worse of two evil sides in a civil war, the fact remains. Syrian Christians prefer Assad to the rebels while American politicians continue to sell propaganda that the jihadists are freedom fighters.