February 26, 2013

Was Syria Really All That Secular?

Richard Spencer, Daily Telegraph

AP Photo

Throughout the conflict, I've read journalists and experts write about the Syria of "before" as a "secular" state, where people weren't particularly religious, where women wandered the streets at night alone, and hipsters drank in western bars and nightclubs. All sects and ethnicities mixed happily. There's a kernel of truth there but it's misleading, and it's aggravated by the fact that the worst offenders, whether pro- or anti-regime, or somewhere in the middle, are often those foreigners who know the country best: after all, they lived and worked, studied Arabic and socialised, largely in smart areas of Aleppo and Damascus where those statements are more likely to be true.

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TAGGED: Syria

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