Alawite women lack souls?
I'm typing this on a not-so-early Sunday morning following a long Saturday working as a TESOL interviewer at Ewha Womans University, and since my family is down in Daegu this weekend, leaving me responsible only for myself, I'm not heading off to church this morning but am instead staying home to recuperate from yesterday and from what had already been a hard week.
But I'm not totally without religion this morning, for I read a short article by Michael J. Totten, "Killing a Crocodile," which he has published online in the magazine Commentary, and I picked up some a couple of things that I didn't know about the Alawites:
Syria's ruling Baath Party is a secular nationalist regime made up overwhelmingly of minority Alawites, whom the likes of Al Qaeda would like to see murdered en masse. Alawites are one of the Middle East's relatively obscure religious minorities -- like the Arabic Druze and the Kurdish Yezidis -- who exist well outside the theological mainstream of the region. They're a secretive and heretical offshoot of Twelver Shiism, and their beliefs are fused with Christian and pagan elements. Some of their rituals resemble those of the indigenous and ancient Phoenicians. They drink wine in a rite that resembles communion. They believe women do not have souls. Unlike Christians and Muslims, Alawites do not proselytize. Outsiders are not even allowed to convert. They make up around ten percent of Syria's population, and can only rule the country through the brute force of an oppressive police state.I knew some of this already, for when I lived in Germany, I was friends with a Kurdish man who belonged to the Alawite religion, and he told me some things, but I didn't learn from him that the Alawites believe that women lack souls! In fact, I recall him telling me that his father had made some remark about women in the afterlife, which leads me to wonder if the Alawites have various opinions on this point.
And on that note, I retire for today.