By Alexuas Rollins (Senior)
Freedom of religion is a right all Americans have guaranteed and protected by the United States’ Constitution, but that’s not the case for some civilians in Syria who are forced to practice a specific religion or else face harsh persecution and harassment.
Syria, also known as the Syrian Arab Republic, is located in the Middle East of southwestern Asia. In 2011 Syria faced a civil war when leader of the Syrian government Bashar al-Assad received opposition from civilian protesters. These protesters demanded that the leader be removed and there be a final end to the Asaad regime. Protesters advocated for this along with democracy through peaceful protest. Some wrote political graffiti, some led demonstrations among other things. This uprising angered the government and in response the government began killing its own people. It has been reported in 2014 that at least 200,000 people have been killed in Syria following the ongoing civil war.
The religion of Islam is the dominant religion in Syria. There are plenty of other religious practices but they are frequently looked down upon. Christians for example are heavily persecuted. Christians are even being crucified; they are literally being tied up and nailed to trees for the public to view. In the sections where the terror group ISIS enforces Sharia Law, citizens are forced to practice Islam, while people who practice other religions live in fear. Many followers of other religions have had to flee their native home of Syria to avoid persecution. In some cities in Syria,such as Raqqa, people who don’t practice Islam have to pay heavy tithes, or fees.
In the United States, however, some persecution may exist, but not to the degree of Syria.There’s a lot of of religious freedoms in the United States. Americans can really believe in any religion they want without discrimination. But, with the fear of violence from the Middle East, Muslims do often face discrimination and mistreatment as a result of terror attacks like 9/11 and the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. Many people generalize Muslims and believe they are all terrorists. Some people automatically include innocent Muslims who are peaceful in with extremists. Many people are afraid or angry at all Muslims because of these multiple terrorist attacks committed by a few Muslims. Muslims in America do gets insults and even thrown out of some places just because of their religion.
We as students must understand the challenges other countries face in order to appreciate the freedoms we have at home.