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Going Public: Minority Muslim Communities and Public Space in Syria (Prior to the Revolt)

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Chapter Summary

Over the last two decades the Ba'th regime has allowed for a greater visibility of religious diversity in Syria, also within the realm of Islam. Alawis and other non-mainstream Muslims communities have acquired a somewhat greater public presence, in particular in print media. Nevertheless, their presence in public space remains marginal. Their continuous marginality derives from the fact that the more established religious traditions, in particular Sunni Islam, had its predominance reaffirmed as a result of the policy to allow for a greater presence of religion in public space. Due to its majority status and its rootedness in the affairs of the state Sunni Islam re-asserted its status as public religion. Modern voices from within the Alawi community are predominantly apologetic in nature and giving in to the often highly critical appraisal of their faith by their Sunni Muslim critics.

Keywords: Alawi community; Ba'th regime; Muslims communities; public space; Sunni muslim; Syria



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