Druze

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The Druze are a small religious community, with members in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. They use the Arabic language and follow a social pattern very similar to the Arabs of the region, but they do not consider themselves Arabs nor Muslims. They do not intermarry with Muslims or Jews. Some 300,00 Druze exist in the Middle-east today. The religion developed out of Ismailism, a religio-political movement based in the Fatimid Caliphate, in the 10th century.

In the State of Israel the Druze have official recognition as a separate religious community, and they have their own communal courts. They serve in the Israeli army and vote in its elections.

Druze is a myster religion, which does not allow its teachings to be taught to outsiders. They are publically open about very few details of their faith. One of their beliefs is monotheism, like Judaism and Islam. Their theology has a neo-Platonic view about how God interacts with the world through emanations (in a way similar to that in Kabbalah) and also is similar to some gnostic sects.

They appear to believe that God may be able to become incarnate in a human. They have very few religious ceremonies or prayer books. The three principles of the Druze faith are: guarding one's tongue; protecting one's brother; and belief in one God.

Druze believe in seven prophets-Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and Muhammad ibn Ismail. Individual prayer, as in Judaism, Islam and Christianity, does not exist. Smoking, alcohol, and the eating of pork are banned.