Rambo: What are Droozes in Lebanon? Part Christian part something else?
The Druze exist in Northern Israel, Southwester Syria and Southern Lebanon. Druze are a sect that branched off from Islam about 100 years ago.They have a strange religion where only the elders know the true secrets of the religion because they have books that no one else is allowed to see. In this way they are similar to the Yezidis in Northern Iraq, the Alawites in Syria, and even the Catholics in the Middle Ages.
Like the others, the Druze tell their people only a very watered-down version of the religion, so your average person doesn’t really have good details on what the religion is exactly about. Women play a significant role in Druze culture, and I think some of their priests are even women. In this way, they are odd in the Middle Eastern sense.
This may well be an ancient idea. As with the other two religions, you cannot convert into the Druze religion. Like the Yezidis, the Druze are not supposed to marry outside their religion.
Although to hardline Islamists, they often say they are Muslims. The Islamists usually accept this. They were often persecuted, so they took refuse in high mountains and hid out. They also practiced a lot of taqiyya to get out of persecution. The Druze have been loyal to Israel, though they have been treated terribly by the Jews. This is because it is Druze tradition to go along with whatever government is in whatever state they happen to be in. Druze must serve in the Israeli military. But some are now identifying as Arabs and refusing to serve. That’s illegal and some are going to jail for doing that.
In Syria, they support the state and are very anti-Israel. The Druze in the Golan under Israeli rule are still loyal to Syria, and they really hate Israel.
In Lebanon a lot of them work with Hezbollah. They’re real Israel-haters there too. Their leader is a man named Walid Jumbalat who is one of most cynical men in Lebanon. He’s all over the place all the time, always changing sides and positions. His politics isn’t really coherent.
They are very similar to the Alawites, a similar obscure mountain sect that has used taqiyya and obfuscation to confuse people about what they are. The Alawites are Muslims, although Islamists call them heretics because the Islam they practice is very odd.
2 thoughts on “Who Are the Druze?”
Informative and educational. Thanks for the tutorial. Many people may know the story of the Alawites (the Assads) and other minority Shia sects that are only about what, 12% of the Syrian people, seen as infidels by the majority Sunni Islamic sects around the world. The Sunni see them as having secret (non-Islamic) beliefs and should therefore not be recognized as true Muslims. The Druze have always been in a precarious position in Lebanon as you mentioned, as Syria has never seen Lebanon as an independent country but rather as a part of Greater Syria.
Yes, that is the argument. No one really knows what the Alawi believe because like the Druze, the main texts of the religion are held by elder priests, and they are never shown to commoners. Commoners instead get a watered-down form of the religion. Some Sunni radicals have done research into these secret books and laid out all of the non-Islamic aspects of Alawism.
For one thing, the worship Jesus and celebrate his birthday, Christmas. They also believe that when they die, they ascend into the heavens and become one of the stars in the sky. The women don’t cover their hair. The Alawi usually do not pray in the mosque, and they usually don’t go on Hajj. I’m not even sure if they fast during Ramadan! And Alawi men are quite fond of beer! It’s a pretty watered-down New Age type of Islam. However, if you ask an Alawi, they will vehemently state that they are Muslims, so at the very least, they see themselves as Muslims.
A similar Shia sect exists in Turkey called the Alevi. Very similar, heavily-watered down New Age type Islam. They are very leftwing and many are Communists. Women have a lot of rights in Alevi communities. The Sunnis in Turkey hate them and say that they are heretics. About 40 years ago, a hotel full of Alevis was burned down by Sunni Islamists. The event is still quite famous. The Alevi tend to keep a pretty low profile. They live in the mountains in the Central and North East of Turkey. Communist guerrillas have a lot of support among the Alevi.