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Civil war in Syria led to calls for protection of Syrian Christians in the name of religious freedom. Photo: Kobby Dagan, Shutterstock Civil war in Syria led to calls for protection of Syrian Christians in the name of religious freedom. Photo: Kobby Dagan, Shutterstock

Chapter 5 – Religious freedom 
and the crisis in Syria

The “First Freedom”

In the United States, religious freedom is described as the “first freedom,” a fundamental human right and a sine qua non of modern democratic politics, if not of civilization itself. Americans, we are told, invented and perfected religious freedom.

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