A victory for Syria’s “Islamic rebels” and an overthrow of President Assad would endanger Syrian Christians, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asserted on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, speaking out against U.S. military intervention in Syria.

“I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians. All of a sudden we’ll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted,” said Rand.

Rand Paul’s comments come weeks after Egyptian Coptic Christians were subject to an intense wave of violence directed at them by Islamist extremist groups scapegoating them for the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohammed Morsi. Four people were killed and over 60 churches damaged or destroyed in violence targeted at Coptic Christians for their support of the movement that saw Morsi taken out of power.

Christians make up 10 percent of Syria’s population and have expressed concern and fear since the Arab Spring protests began in 2011. Like many other Christian minorities in the Middle East countries like Egypt, Libya and Iraq, Syrian Christians often protected themselves by striking deals with the government, said Tamara Alrifai, the Human Rights Watch Advocacy and Communications Director for the Middle East and North Africa Division.

 

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