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The Alawis of SyriaWar, Faith and Politics in the Levant$
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Michael Kerr and Craig Larkin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190458119.001.0001

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The Genesis of Syria’s Alawi Community

The Genesis of Syria’s Alawi Community

(p.27) 1 The Genesis of Syria’s Alawi Community
The Alawis of Syria

Aslam Farouk-Alli

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a complex multifaceted reading of the history of the Alawi community in Syria. It provides an opportunity to interrogate the way in which the religious and the political intertwine and shed light upon the current impasse in the country and the wider region. It examines how the Alawi community came into being, what its beliefs are and to what extent the sect's genesis and dogma have had an impact upon its evolution as a political community. In religious terms, the Alawi community has made major strides by re-integrating into the broader socio-religious fabric of Syrian society through asserting its mainstream Shi’a affiliation. Those within the community who are disinclined towards any religious affiliation have found a place in the secular spaces of society. Politically, however, the Alawi community as a whole has been hamstrung by its association with the ruling Asad clan, which has exploited religious identity to entrench autocratic rule.

Keywords:   Alawi history, Religious beliefs, Political community, Sectarianism, Syrian Alawis, Shi’a, Asad

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