Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Secular" opposition to rival SNC is formed in Paris

On September 17th, a new Syrian opposition group emerged. The Coalition of Secular and Democratic Syrians (CFLD), formed in Paris, was created with the explicit aim of countering the Syrian National Council’s Islamist composition. This is particularly problematic given the West’s recent show of support for the SNC despite it being unrepresentative of the Syrian opposition in general. In contrast to the very strong Islamist/Brotherhood bias of the SNC, the new secular coalition, also referred to as the Syrian Coalition of Secular and Democratic Forces (CSDF), is made up of Christian, Muslim, Kurd and Arab activists all united behind the idea of a secular and democratic Syria.

This is by no means an anti-religious coalition, but instead one that is concerned about the Syrian uprising being hijacked by Islamists, and particularly by the Muslim Brotherhood. As one of its members Sheikh Ma’shooq al-Khaznawi told France 24: “If we want Syria to enjoy a prosperous future, there must be a separation between religion and state. We do not have a problem with God and the Prophet and the Koran, but with people who are the self-appointed spokesmen of God.”

More details on their general philosophy can be found on the website of one of the organisers of the conference in Paris in which the Coalition was formed, and on the Coalition's facebook page.

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