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bPakistan’s eighty million population, felt threatened by the bstrong fundamentalism of Pakistan’s Sunni Muslim President bZia.

Syria: Sunnis versus Alawites versus Druzes

bSyria is “blessed” with an abundance of religious sects. The bmajority of the population is Sunni Muslim (65 to 70 percent), bbut the country is controlled by the Alawite sect, a Shiite off- bshoot. On August 31, 1979, an Alawite religious leader was as- bsassinated in Syria’s largest port city, Latakia. Thousands of bSunni Muslims demonstrated against the government, and b2,000 troops had to be brought in to quell the revolt. At least five bpeople died.

bSince then, a growing rebellion against the government has bspread to every city in Syria. It is led by the Sunni Muslim bBrotherhood, and the roots of the rebellion are in the rise to bpower of the Ba’ath Party in 1963.

bFor decades the Sunnis controlled Syria; the Alawite and bDruze sects were powerless. Both the Druzes and Alawites, who bbitterly resented their lack of power, flocked to the then-out- blawed opposition Ba’ath party. At the same time the Alawites band Druzes found in the army jobs shunned by the more affluent bSunnis. When the Ba’ath, with army support, overthrew the bgovernment in 1963, the Alawites liquidated the Druze officers bin the army and proceeded to take power from the Sunnis. (It bmight be noted that the Druzes were also victims earlier of a blarge-scale massacre in their mountainous area, Jebel ed Druz, bsome thirty years ago. Lest one weep, let it be known that some bof the most vicious slaughter of Christians in Lebanon was bperpetrated by Druzes and Sunnis.)

bThe Alawites enacted measures against both the wealthy band middle classes (mostly Sunnis and Christians) as well as bagainst the power of the Sunni Muslim clergy. The almost daily bbombings in Syria, today, are the Sunnis’ response. Syria— bwhere two groups, both Muslim, both Arab, differing only in bsectarianism, kill each other. The reason? They are different and bthey both want power.

Egypt: Muslims versus Copts

bThe Coptic Christian Church split from Rome in the year b 

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