In Syria, Alawite Muslims are kind of like the Mormons of Christianity: they’re a branch Islam, but many Muslims, especially the Sunni majority, don’t consider them legitimate. That’s always been a problem for Alawite president Bashar al-Assad. Now that at least 17,000 people are dead in a revolt against the Assad regime, we explore why theological differences are playing a huge role. Our interview first aired in March 2012.
Pictured: The old Syrian flag for the Syrian Republic (1932-58) has become a symbol of the revolution, waved by anti-Assad protesters.
Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma