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Perception of Alawi of non Muslim-does it contribute to Islamist motivation against fighting the regime?

Reader comment on item: Islam and Syria

Submitted by Shishir (United Arab Emirates), May 26, 2013 at 03:14

Dr Pipes,

In your excellent essay about the Alawis, you highlighted aspects of their belief systems and customs thereby making a strong case for their religion as a heresy of Islam.

So, are Al Qaeda affiliated groups fueled by desire to oust a regime which they consider apostates?

Is it a coincidence that they are supported by another totalitarian regime-Iran whose claim to be Muslims may be a tad tenuous? Iranians perhaps more than any other Muslim people revel in their pre Islamic heritage and observe Nowruz (Zoroastrian New Year) more fastidiously than the Islamic equivalent.

Is this the common bond that ties an Arab nationalist Syria and to anti Arab Iran?


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Roughly speaking, yes. Al-Qaeda has a horror of all Shi'ites and Alawis more than most. Tehran feels a sympathy for this Shi'ite-derived religion.

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