Syria: ISIS Imposes ‘Sharia’ on Idlib’s Druze

Israeli Arab Druze and Druze from the Golan Heights attend a meeting with Lebanese Druze leaders Walid Jumblatt and Talal Arslan in Damascus September 17, 2010. (Photo: Reuters - Khaled al-Hariri).

By: Firas Choufi

Published Monday, December 23, 2013

In Syria’s Idlib, it is no longer enough to have Mohammad as a prophet to be considered a Muslim. Though Druze are officially acknowledged as Muslims in Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has now compelled Idlib’s Druze to announce their conversion to Islam, or else.

Druze in Syria’s northernmost district of Idlib didn’t wait for al-Nusra Front and ISIS to become stronger before announcing their neutrality. As a minority of about 30,000 people living in poor villages, the Druze felt it necessary to do so. The 14 Druze villages host about 50,000 refugees, both opposition and loyalist, who have fled clashes in neighboring towns.

Yesterday, a story titled “18 Druze villages announce their conversion to Islam in Idlib” was posted on Saudi websites. Druze officials in Lebanon and Syria refused to comment, not only to preserve secrecy, but also because it was hard for them to connect with people in the district due to phone network outages. However, these officials realize that the Druze in Idlib are in a tough situation.

Lebanese MP Talal Arslan was the only one to comment. He found the incident unusual, telling Al-Akhbar, “Druze, like other Muslim sects, believe in the message of our Prophet Mohammad.”

Informed sources from inside Idlib said, “Druze villages in the district have always been an integral part of the population. … They have been living peacefully with their neighbors.”

Most Druze residents in Idlib work in agriculture, whether harvesting olives or cumin. Their villages are located about 14 kilometers away from the city of Idlib, which is controlled by the Syrian army, while the road leading to the villages is under opposition control.

Several sources said, “Since the beginning of the crisis, the villagers of Kaftin, Bireh, Maara al-Ikhwan, Kfarmas, Tlitita, Qaleb Lawze, Kfarkila, Abrita, and Jadein hosted refugees in their homes who had fled from neighboring towns. They didn’t distinguish between opponents and loyalists. Some of the men there slept on rooftops, leaving the homes for refugee women and children, while no sectarian troubles ever took place.”

Other sources said, “The Free Syrian Army (FSA) didn’t enter these villages and didn’t threaten its people because they knew that their relatives were living decently there. They avoided clashes because they wanted to preserve a safe haven for their families.”

All that changed when ISIS took the lead, leaving a few villages under the control of FSA remnants, while the ISIS Sharia committee managed villagers’ daily lives.

Sources also revealed that ISIS “usually demands majority-Sunni villages to declare their allegiance with a carrot and stick policy. Those who announce their allegiance to ISIS escape harm, while opponents are systematically killed, tortured, and deprived of their land.”

According to sources, at the beginning, ISIS emirs treated Druze villagers well, knowing that they didn’t side with the regime. The situation recently changed, and the Sharia committee demanded the Druze to “announce their Islam.”

Other sources claimed, “The committee had Druze khalawats, or places of worship, add domes and minarets to become official mosques, and ordered residents to respect the Islamic dress code for both men and women, and had men trim their moustaches.” It is reported that most residents abided by the committee’s resolutions.

The same Muslims who fought crusaders alongside the Mamluks and rebelled against the French mandate have been forced once again to proclaim their Islam for the sake of a “state” whose only idea about Islam is beheadings.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

I am sure that the druze in Idleb are not proud of changing their religion,i am sure when these garbage leave ,the villagers are going to be druze again. And before asking others to change their believes, these garbage should understand the meaning of humanity and how to be humans, because they are a disgusted spieces.

Immigration!!!!!!!.If your Druze and still live in the Middle East do me a favour and slap yourself. The smart ones moved out long ago and are happy living a respectable western lifestyle watching it all on TV.

1. Islamic states can't seem to move forward. ex. woman can't drive in 2013, sad!!!

2. The Druze in Syria have to deal with crazy Saudi funded Sunnis from hell!

3. The Druze in Lebanon have corrupt leaders and a joke of a leadership. Then again it doesn't help when your Lebanese, which means your on your own!

4. In Israel the Druze try so hard to fit it in, but how can they, they live in a "Jewish state" not a state. Hence not part of the long term plan! But then again who can blame them " Islamic states" are no better!!

Its a heart attack waiting to happen! swim if you have to!!

your comment does not provide any proper view; which apparently is based on ''let me leave comment behind'' I rather suggest keep out nonsense message.It is not taste good, neither does it sound well. Since it carries up no solution whatsoever I would rather tell you: please know well what you talking about--it is gonna be read all over the world.

How you dare to talk Islamic while the current situation in Syria is completely proxy war?
Saudi and Sunni Really? Wake up boy please go to school Once for all.

Listen you stupid DHL, instead of insulting others why don't you write something positive you dope ? you know well that EXTREME MUSLIMS will destroy Muslim world by just killing each other which will make ISRAEL happier , so go read the news little more and then come back you dummy .

The core of Islam is tolerance, Salam means peace. Islam teaches their is no compulsion in religion.
By taking this action, but Saudis rejoicing in this crime, and pretending its a victory, they (ISIS and Saudi backers) have tarnishing the image of Islam, and proven their own sick mentality. Those who believe in tolerance including most Muslims will have another reason to oppose the Syrian Rebels and Takfiris. The reality is that this mentality has become the norm among the rebels.
We cannot pretend that FSA who do not attack of force religious change among Druze who are neutral is somehow tolerance. If a person has an alternative political view, they should also be able to express it without being thrown off a building for the Tolerant FSA to be truly tolerant. The reality is the opposition , the whole opposition has a habit of killing those who do not submit. At the same time, while their may not be full tolerance in the government area, it should be noted that new political parties are being created every day, and will be allowed to participate in the free elections of 2014.

The lives of Druze in Lebanon are regulated by the French civil code and Hanafi madhab (with some customization). The sect's members in Idlib have just lost the French civil code. Whoopy doo!

So now, instead of shaving their mustaches to look like Brad Pitt, they are doing it to look like Zawahiri. Instead of wearing Western clothes, they're wearing Islamic. Instead of spending time together at home, they're doing so in a mosque... Tell me what exactly has changed? Compulsion?

A few centuries ago, the imam of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus was a Dirzi called al Sayyid al-Amir Jamal al-Din Abdallah al Tanukhi. The capital of Druze power in Mt. Lebanon boasted a mosque with muezzins calling all five prayers daily. If we're heading back to do those days, so be it. They've come and gone.

Whoopee doo?

Unlike Muslims, Druze do not pray (accept in their hearts).
Unlike Muslims, Druze do not fast.
Unlike Islam, the Druze do not attend the hajj.
Unlike Islam, one can only be born Druze – there are no outside conversions.
Unlike Islam, Druze are allowed to marry but once.

In essence, therefore, comparing the Druze with Islam is like comparing Catholicism with Protestantism: similar from a distance, a world apart upon closer inspection.

Your comments ridicule the vast disparities between both religions. The truth, they be similar in doctrine and dogma, but worlds apart in real-life application.

And one more point, unlike Islam, the Druze do not force any human being to convert their religion.

I should know, I am Druze.

Your comment makes no real sense:

"comparing the Druze with Islam is like comparing Catholicism with Protestantism" - while writing "Unlike Islam"...
mate...catholicism and protestantism are still part of christianity...also neo-evangelical churches in africa, orthodox and so on. there is no "one Islam" there never was. Islam has a core and has many versions, traditions...
even among druze people there is a wide range of different versions of practice and tradition....its strange that you dont know it.

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