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Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

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Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Nicky80 on Fri May 09 2014, 16:25

[size=36]Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian[/size]


With the news that George Clooney is marrying Lebanese-born human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin comes the question: Is she Muslim?
Kind of, writes Omid Safi in a Religion News Service blog.
The bride-to-be is a Druze, which started out as "a medieval offshoot of the Ismaili sect of Shi’ism," Safi writes.
The Druze movement traces its origins to Egypt’s Shia realm, which was established in Cairo in the 10th century, he writes. These believers "divided the human community to the select few who are initiated in the mysteries and the uninitiated masses. They prefer to refer to themselves as possessing secret, mystical knowledge (‘irfan), in a parallel way to what Sufis and philosophers claim."
The 1 million to 2 million Druze, who live mostly in Syria, Lebanon and Israel, are to Muslims, Safi writes, what Mormons are to Christians — they share origins and some common teaching but their "doctrines and practices ... would be incomprehensible apart from this wider Islamic tradition."
Clearly, we still don’t know much about Alamuddin’s actual beliefs.
Peggy Fletcher Stack

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Last edited by Nicky80 on Sat May 17 2014, 11:16; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added Druze to the title)

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Joanna on Fri May 09 2014, 18:17

So.....now the rumours will start....
"Alam is a Mormon".  Lol

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by ispy on Fri May 09 2014, 18:30


"These believers "divided the human community to the select few who are initiated in the
mysteries and the uninitiated masses. They prefer to refer to themselves as possessing
secret, mystical knowledge (‘irfan)"

I hope George Clooney relishes the gifts Amal will bestow on to him. His career and life
will improve dramatically by association with this one women dynamic Tour de force -

She came into his life at the perfect moment, bringing happiness, fun and true passion, where
family and friends had failed him. He said he felt lonely, with Amal he will never be lonely or bored again.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by phys major on Sat May 10 2014, 04:03

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Last edited by theminis on Sat May 10 2014, 05:06; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by theminis on Sat May 10 2014, 05:03

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Katiedot on Sat May 10 2014, 06:30

Back on topic, this is what someone told me on IMDb. Obviously I've no way of knowing whether or not the poster knows what they're writing about, but it sounds right to me:

Druze do not consider themselves Muslims...it started off an as offshoot of Shia Islam, just like the Bahai faith, but they are not "Muslim." Many, if not most Muslims don't consider the Druze to be Muslim...kind of like many Christians don't consider Mormons to be Christian.

In fact, the Israeli government recognizes this. Muslims are not drafted into the IDF (Israeli military), but Druze are considered a distinct community. They are Arabic-speaking citizens and they're drafted into military service...in fact, many Druze have achieved high ranking positions in the Israeli military and politics.

Druze don't generally marry outside their faith - not even with Muslims.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Nicky80 on Sat May 10 2014, 11:11

Oh that is interesting. I would have never thought they are so related to the Israel military. So if this is true I would say (and this is only my opinion) that Amal is not practicing her religion as she is now engaged to George who is somebody "outside" their faith.....

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Nicky80 on Sat May 10 2014, 16:46

Her an article found by Miss-Sunshine2020. Thank you

What is the religion of George Clooney’s fiancé, Ms. Amal Alamduddin? Druze? Muslim?

The news that George Clooney, the perpetual bachelor, had gotten engaged to Amal Alamuddin, a stunning Arab beauty, who (ahem, ahem) is also a badass brainy Oxford-educated international human rights lawyer—pardon us, barrister—has now officially gone viral.     Here   and here  and here.

On social media, many professional women, in their 30s and 40s, have expressed joy that Clooney was wedding a brainy (Ok, and stunning) professional woman.

Many human rights activists see this as an opportunity to bring attention to catastrophes like Syria.

Many Arabs are naturally seeing this as a confirmation of the attractiveness of Arabs.   [Just check out the outburst of pride on FB!]

There is the perhaps to-be-expected satirical reports Israel would now order strikes on “hot Lebanese women”.

And yet there remains the question:  what religion is Ms. Amal Alamuddin?   The reports are mixed, some proclaiming her as Muslim, and some not.

Here are the facts:

*Ms. Alamuddin comes from a Druze background.
The Druze started out as a medieval off-shoot of the Ismaili sect of Shi’ism.
*Druze prefer to refer to themselves as the “People of Divine Unity” or “The Monotheists.”

*They are primarily a gnostic movement.   As was the case with a number of other esoteric and gnostic movements in medieval Islam, they divided the human community to the select few who are initiated in the mysteries and the uninitiated masses.   They prefer to refer to themselves as possessing secret, mystical knowledge (‘irfan), in a parallel way to what Sufis and philosophers claim.

*The one to two million Druze in the world used to be concentrated in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.  Along with many other Syrians, the Syrian Druzes have been displaced.  Many are living today as refugees.

*   The origin of the Druze goes back to Egypt.   While Egypt today is largely seen as the epicenter of the Arab Sunni world, the origins of Egypt’s Muslim heritage actually go back to the Shi’i tradition.  (Likewise, Iran which today is the center of the Shi’i world was for much of its history the seat of Sunni learning.)     In the 10th century, the Fatimid Dynasty established an Ismai’ili Shi’i realm in Egypt.  Cairo was built as their capital, and the formidable Al-Azhar University—arguably the oldest university in the world—was initially started as a center of Shi’i learning.

The full articulation of the Druze teachings go back to the sixth Fatimid caliph, al-Mansur, more commonly known as al-Hakim bi Amr Allah (r. 996–1021 CE).  It is hard to be certain of al-Hakim’s actual teachings, because there are so many polemical accounts which portray him as having made claims to divinity.  But some of these may well be attempts to retrospectively dismiss him.

After al-Hakim, Hamza ibn Ali, claimed particular access to Qur’anic and Biblical wisdom.   The name Druze refers to a follower of Hamza named Al-Darazi who eventually came to proclaim himself as the “imam” instead of Hamza.    The teachings of the Druze reflects many of the notions of the Isma’ilis, including that of cycles of revelation and inspiration revelation.

So here is the ultimate question:   Are the Druze Muslims?
It depends on whom you ask. Probably a decent analogy would be to that of whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are Christians. Today increasingly many Christians (including some evangelicals) have moved in that direction. What remains indisputable is that the Druze had their origin among a distinct Shi’i gnostic movement, and the doctrines and practices of the Druze would be incomprehensible apart from this wider Islamic tradition. It may be even useful to compare the Druze with the Baha’i movement, another much more recent offshoot of Shi’ism.

So, is George Clooney married to a Muslim?   Is this part of the Muslim plot to Take.   Over.  The world?  
The cruel Muslim(ish) plot to take over the world by snatching the person the headlines keep calling “the world’s most eligible bachelor”?

Let’s take a deep breath, and relax. Congratulations to the lovebirds.  And let us hope that they can be a small part of bringing the attention of the human rights community and activists to Syria, which is so urgently in need of healing.   And wish them a long life of love, companionship, friendship, joy, and delight.

Some of the above information has been obtained from an encyclopedia entry on the Druze, which provides more details on their practices.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Nicky80 on Sat May 10 2014, 16:59

Here is more. This article is more interesting and more in details about the religion....found by Miss-Sunshine2020. thanks,  Give Flowers  Interesting what they wrote about George.....and what it could mean for him.....

But Is It Good for the Druze?

George Clooney’s reps have yet to make the official announcement, but all the tabloids and gossip sheets are reporting that the Hollywood heartthrob recently popped the question to his girlfriend of less than a year, Amal Alamuddin. The 36-year-old Beirut-born and London-based human rights lawyer (who speaks French, English, and Arabic) is said to be a good match for the screen star who celebrated his 53rd birthday last week, but that’s a given—Clooney’s past paramours have included cocktail waitresses, models, and a professional wrestler. The more interesting question is whether Clooney is good for the Druze, the small confessional sect of which his fiancée is a member.

The Druze are a heterodox offshoot of Shia Islam that dates back to the 11th century. Most of the world’s less than a million-and-a-half Druze live in the Levant. There are roughly 20,000 Druze in Jordan, 125,000 in Israel, 700,000 in Syria, and a quarter of a million in Lebanon, home to what is perhaps the most influential Druze community, led by Walid Jumblatt. An opponent of the Syrian regime and onetime pillar of Lebanon’s pro-democracy movement who now sees his sect caught in the middle of a Shiite-Sunni regional war, Jumblatt welcomes the Clooney-Alamuddin announcement as rare good news. He is eager, he wrote me in an email, to throw a party for the actor at his ancestral home in the Chouf Mountains. “Tell me when George Clooney will be coming to Lebanon so I can greet him in Moukhtara. I will bring a delegation of Druze sheikhs,” Jumblatt gushed. “As for Amal Alamuddin, well, she is lucky.”

“Sure it’s good for us,” says Makram Rabah, a doctoral candidate in history at Georgetown whose research is on the role of his own Druze community in the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). “Any media support on his end making Druze look good is welcome,” says Rabah. “Instead of being on the front page of the news section when we’re killing and dying, we’re now featured in entertainment magazines.”

And it’s good for the future groom, too, says Rabah. “My advice to Clooney is to take advantage of his association with the Druze. Her village, Baakline, is a nice place to spend a vacation. And since he’s done advocacy on Sudan issues, he should know he is much safer going to Lebanon than Darfur.” Also, says Rabah, he should embrace the sect’s customs. “The essence of Druze tradition is tribal,” he explains. “So visiting with the Druze at weddings and funerals are duties. And then he should also drink arak,” the anise-flavored liqueur that is Lebanon’s national drink, and which the Druze, in spite of their Muslim identity, drink in abundance. “It would be good,” adds Rabah, “if Clooney learned how to dance the dabke.”

“Clooney better acquire a taste for yerba maté,” says Rola Abdul-Latif, a Lebanese-born Druze who lives in Washington, D.C. Maté is the tea-like beverage that Druze immigrants to Latin America brought back home with them. “But the really big thing is food,” says Abdul-Latif. “Being passionate about food is a way to get close to the hearts of the Druze.”

Abdul-Latif’s husband, the non-Druze journalist Hussain Abdul-Hussain, also has some advice for Clooney. “The upside” of marrying a Druze, jokes Abdul-Hussain, “is that if he is worried about having to learn a new religion, he won’t. Most of the Druze themselves know nothing about their faith, so he doesn’t have to fear awkward moments at holiday celebrations like Passover or Christmas, because there aren’t any holidays.”

The downside, says Abdul-Hussain, is that some Druze don’t like non-Druze men marrying Druze women. “He has to be careful which Druze he tells that he’s married to a Druze. He might run into people who won’t like it, even though he’s George Clooney.” That would seem to include members of the bride-to-be’s family. Interviewed by the local Lebanese press, Alamuddin’s grandmother Safa asked if Clooney was Druze. Told he wasn’t, she replied, “So what happened? There are no more young Druze men left?”

The Druze have been known to take their tribal solidarity to violent extremes. In an incident widely reported in the Lebanese press last July, a gang of Druze men beat and mutilated a Sunni man who’d eloped with a family member. Afterwards, Jumblatt excoriated his people. “It would be useful after the occurrence of the barbaric act,” he wrote, “for the Druze community to hold an internal dialogue over the future of the sect. .  .  . Where will the culture of rejecting the other that breeds intolerance and hate lead? Does that not create a threat to the future?”

Perhaps because of the Syrian war now engulfing the region, Jumblatt is often thinking about the future and where the Druze will find a place in it. He inherited his role after Bashar al-Assad’s father Hafez killed his father Kemal in 1977, and he’s preparing his own son Taymur to replace him. Given Jumblatt’s open contempt for the Syrian president, who regards him similarly, his end may come sooner rather than later. Jumblatts, as he likes to remark, don’t die in bed—like his father, his grandfather was assassinated. Even when joking, Jumblatt seems to see dark clouds ahead for himself and the Druze. “You can tell Clooney to do a movie about the Druze, and he could say that they are the last of the Mohicans,” Jumblatt wrote me. “I could be Geronimo.”

For such a tiny sect, the Druze have been an object of fascination for centuries. After Napoleon’s 1798 conquest of Egypt, Europe was mad for all things Oriental and the Druze’s esoteric wisdom—seemingly bred from a mixture of Ismailism, a heterodox branch of Shiism, as well as Sufism and Gnosticism—was appealingly exotic. Researchers and travelers visited the Druze heartland in the Lebanese mountains to uncover the sect’s mysteries. They came away with only wisps of smoke, albeit very colorful ones. In his travel book Journey to the Orient, the 19th-century French poet Gérard de Nerval relates a likely fictional interview with a Druze sheikh who, rather than answer Nerval’s questions about the Druze faith directly, spins out a long tale of impossible and forbidden love.

The sheikh’s story, which Nerval called “The Tale of the Caliph Hakim,” purports to chronicle the events leading to the mysterious disappearance, or death, of one of the Druze founding figures, Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985-1021 a.d.), the sixth caliph of the Fatimid dynasty, an Ismaili empire encompassing much of North Africa and the Levant with its capital in Cairo. Al-Hakim, often disparagingly referred to as the “Mad Caliph,” may have believed he was God incarnate. One of the faith’s earliest adherents certainly did—Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin al-Darazi, a renegade Ismaili preacher from whom it seems the Druze derive their name and whom other early adherents, including the Druze imam, Hamza ibn Ali, quickly came to consider a heretic.

Al-Hakim and Hamza ibn Ali dispatched letters to various communities in regions where the Druze are now concentrated encouraging them to accept the key Druze doctrine, tawhid, the knowledge of the oneness of God. The first letter is from 1017, when Al-Hakim announced the opening of the da’wa, or invitation to convert. In total there are 106 letters, dealing mainly with spiritual matters, which form the Druze’s sacred text, The Epistles of Wisdom. Perhaps because of political persecution, the da’wa was closed in 1043, at which point the Druze would theoretically accept no more converts—in practice it appears that there were many subsequent conversions. In any case, timelines are somewhat beside the point when it comes to the Druze. They believe that their souls never die but are reincarnated in the body of another Druze, a conviction that, according to one scholar, gives rise to the Druze saying, “We are born in each other’s houses.”

The apparently ethereal nature of Druze spirituality—which, again, the vast majority of Druze know little or nothing about—is in sharp contrast to their worldly reputation. The Druze are stout, hard-minded mountain men, farmers, and laborers, best known for their fighting skills and political agility—both of which talents are evidenced by the fact that this tiny group has survived the violent furies of the Middle East for nearly a millennium.

The Druze fought the Crusaders for nearly 200 years and then resisted the Ottomans. In the mid-19th century, the Druze were in conflict with their mountain neighbors, the Maronites, which in 1860 culminated in one of the region’s bloodiest episodes of sectarian warfare. The Druze and the Maronites were again on opposing sides when the Lebanese civil war erupted in 1975. Kemal Jumblatt, an Arab nationalist, leftist, and avowed Buddhist who saw similarities between Buddhism and Druze belief, cast his lot with the Palestinians, as did Walid when his father was murdered in 1977. It wasn’t until after the war that Jumblatt made his peace with the Maronites. He and Samir Geagea, head of the Christian militia that Jumblatt’s Druze fought in the mountains in a bitter reprise of the 1860 war, became two of the cornerstones of Lebanon’s pro-democracy March 14 movement.

For many observers, Jumblatt’s turnaround—from Syrian ally to opposition leader, from a Soviet client in the 1980s to a friend of the Bush White House a decade ago—was evidence of an almost deranged opportunism. To the Druze it all made perfect sense. They are by necessity opportunistic—a small minority that must bend with the wind or be broken by it. Israel’s Druze community, for instance, discerned very early during the 1948 war for independence that the Zionists were going to defeat the Arabs and cast their fate with the former. They are among the Jewish state’s proudest citizens, fiercest warriors, and most active politicians. Syria’s Druze community has also subscribed to the power of the state—taking Assad’s side in the three-year-long civil war.

The Druze of Lebanon are different insofar as they stand on the sidelines of a political system designed to balance the country’s three largest communities: Christians, Sunnis, and Shiites. This affords Jumblatt what is effectively a permanent swing vote, and thus more room to maneuver and win concessions for himself and the Druze. Jumblatt is often called a “weather vane” as he is acutely sensitive to the region’s political winds. When he saw the United States unleash its military might in Iraq, he seized the chance and turned against his former Syrian overlords and jumped on the freedom agenda bandwagon. However, even after it was clear that neither the White House nor the international community was going to protect him, his Druze, or his country from Assad’s depredations, he continued to call out Assad and Iran and, closer to home, Hezbollah, which laid siege to the Chouf mountain fastness of the Druze in May 2008.

Thus, at a critical moment for the Druze, Jumblatt let fall the mask of the opportunist. He stuck his neck out in the knowledge that his enemies, Assad among others, have long memories and longer knives.

The leaders of minority communities throughout the Middle East, including Christian clerics, like some Western officials and analysts, say they prefer Assad to the Sunni-majority opposition because he protects minorities. Not Jumblatt. Two years ago he urged Syria’s Druze soldiers to stay at home and “refrain from participating” in the war to prop up Assad. “We must avoid being part of an axis against [Syria’s Sunni] majority in order to avoid future political repercussions,” he said, adding, “popular memory has no mercy.” His warnings were ignored.

It seems that no one is listening to Jumblatt these days—not about the dangers facing his Druze, especially in the midst of the Syrian conflict. I emailed him that Clooney’s engagement seems a golden opportunity. Here’s a man who advocates on behalf of Darfur and other foreign policy issues, and plays basketball with the American president, a close personal friend, Clooney claims. With Clooney marrying a Druze, maybe he could advocate on behalf of the Druze. Maybe after more than 150,000 dead in Syria, he could finally get through to Obama. Maybe Clooney could convince Obama to bring down Assad once and for all. “Please let me be far from the empathy of Obama,” Jumblatt wrote back, “and the butcher Bashar.”

Lee Smith is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and the author, most recently, of The Consequences of Syria (Hoover Institution Press).

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Jumblatt Welcomes Clooney To Druze Community

Post by Mazy on Sat May 17 2014, 07:47

I think maybe George should stay out of Lebanon???

Jumblatt Welcomes Clooney To Druze Community
May 12, 2014 02:10 PM
The Daily Star

This file photo shows Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney celebrating Rande Gerber's birthday on April 27 in Santa Barbara, Calif. MARCEL WINSTON/GETTY

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt welcomed George Clooney's engagement to Lebanese-British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, offering to throw the couple a party and expressing hope they would set an example of openness for the Druze community.

Jumblatt, the political leader of the Druze community in Lebanon, described the impending nuptials as “rare good news" in an e-mail to Journalist Lee Smith, according to an article in The Weekly Standard.

“Tell me when George Clooney will be coming to Lebanon so I can greet him in Moukhtara," he wrote, referring to his ancestral home in the Chouf mountains. "I will bring a delegation of Druze sheikhs.”

“As for Amal Alamuddin, well, she is lucky," he added.

Alamuddin has become a source of pride and fascination in her home country after news broke of her engagement to avowed bachelor Clooney.

In his article, Smith inquired whether Clooney is “good for the Druze,” the official sect of Alamuddin's father and a tight-knit community that follows a secretive off-shoot of Islam.

Due to religious restrictions, Druze are discouraged from marrying outside the faith. Last year, the family of a Druze woman who eloped with a Sunni man beat the man and cut off his penis, sparking widespread condemnation, including from the PSP.

Jumblatt criticized the insularity of his community and said he hoped that the new couple would spark a dialogue about the future of the sect.

“It would be useful after the occurrence of the barbaric act,” he wrote, in reference to the attack, "for the Druze community to hold an internal dialogue over the future of the sect. ... Where will the culture of rejecting the other that breeds intolerance and hate lead? Does that not create a threat to the future?”.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Alisonfan on Sat May 17 2014, 10:00

Ha ha ha, love the "cut off his penis"
Listen up George!

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Nicky80 on Sat May 17 2014, 11:14

Merged threads as the article refers to the above Lee Smith article

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Joanna on Sat May 17 2014, 13:58

Alisonfan wrote:Ha ha ha, love the "cut off his penis"
Listen up George!


Is that ALL you've read in those interesting articles ?



I dare you to relate your obvious enjoyment of the 

mutilation of a man's body to both your father, your male relations 

and all the boys in your primary school.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Katiedot on Tue Jun 03 2014, 14:14

A bit more about the druze found by Henway.  I have one small issue with this because it claims that a person can only be druze if both parents are.  IIRC Amal's mother isn't although her father is, therefore technically Amal can't be Druze.  Then why would her grandmother (who I assume knows this) be upset that any great-grandchildren won't be Druze when her own granddaughter isn't?

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Looking for Love in One of the World's Tiniest Religions

Think modern dating is tough? Try hunting for a husband or wife in the Druze community—adherents are forbidden from marrying outside of the faith.

JIHII JOLLYJUN 2 2014

“It’s a question people ask. I’ve been asked it myself. Are you only marrying this person because he happens to be Druze?” Fatin Harfouch tells me from her armchair in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Harfouch is 23 years old with green-blue eyes, lightly freckled skin, and long, dark hair. On her left hand she wears a big diamond engagement ring. On her right wrist she wears a multi-colored beaded bracelet: green, red, yellow, blue, and white—the colors of the Druze star. We’re at one of the regional conventions that supplement the annual National Druze Convention, organized by theAmerican Druze Society. Druze is a tiny Arab religion that originated in the Middle East 1,000 years ago. There are just over 1 million adherents in the world, with large concentrations in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel and roughly 30,000 in the United States.

The Philadelphia convention, attended by about 400 Druze, took place over four days in April.  In the hotel’s hospitality suite, catered Middle Eastern meals were served. Children did arts and crafts, older women drank Lebanese-style tea, and birthdays were celebrated. There were religious sessions for teens and adults. There was a young professionals mixer. Nearly everyone attended a gala-style party on the last evening.

Mothers hope their children will meet their future husbands and wives at the convention.
Several Druze mothers told me they hoped their children would meet their future husbands and wives at the convention. It’s how Harfouch’s parents met. It’s how Rima Muakkassa, current vice president and soon-to-be president of the American Druze Society, met her husband. The search for a spouse at these gatherings is supposed to be discreet, Muakkassa explained. But ultimately, the idea is to find fellowship with other Druze and hope it blossoms into something more—that’s why there are always singles mixers at these conventions.

This desire to marry someone within the faith is not just a preference—the religion prohibits exogamy. If a Druze marries a non-Druze, it will not be a Druze wedding, nor can the couple’s children be Druze—the religion can only be passed on through birth to two Druze parents. There are no conversions into the Druze faith.

Occasionally, high-profile cases of Druze marrying outside the faith pop up—for example, the recent engagement of Amal Alamuddin, who is Druze, and the actor George Clooney. Since Clooney cannot convert, and because he’s not Druze, the couple cannot have Druze children, which many, including Alamuddin’s grandmother, are not entirely happy about.


Muakkassa, of the American Druze Society, said that marrying someone non-Druze would never have been an option for her. “It would have come down to marrying Druze, or not marrying at all,” she said.

She met her husband at the 1994 convention in Long Beach. She lived in California, but he lived in Ohio. In order for the couple to continue getting to know each other, he had to travel across the country—along with his older sister, who came all the way from New York to chaperone their dates.

Muakkassa laughed as she explained all of this. Things have since become slightly less conservative in the past three decades, she said.

“I think most parents nowadays, although they are opposed to the term ‘dating,’ have gotten an understanding of the fact that if they want their kids to marry somebody Druze, they have to give them that opportunity,” says Harfouch.

She has been coming to these conventions since she was a child. Her father was the president of a regional ADS chapter in Michigan, and her mother organized the Society’s first several mini-conventions. She would attend religious seminars for teenagers taught by Sheikhs, or the select number of “initiated” Druze who have fully immersed themselves in religious life and are allowed to pray and read the faith’s holy text, the Kitab al-Hikma. All other Druze are considered secular, or uninitiated, and aside from a cursory understanding of the religion’s main tenets, which they are taught as children, most do not know much about the religion.

That’s why these types of educational sessions are held at conventions, especially for young people who might not have access to Sheikhs in their own cities. Kids might learn about Druze history, including its complicated connection with Islam and years of persecution by Muslims. They might also learn about cultural requirements, like modest dress and rules against tattoos and piercings. Most importantly, they learn about the central belief of the Druze faith: Humans are reincarnated lifetime after lifetime, which is one of the biggest reasons why exogamy is prohibited—marrying a Druze means continuing the cycle.

Harfouch sees being part of her religion as a rare and special opportunity. “I think the secrecy has a lot to do with the fact that the religion is closed,” she said. Over a thousand years ago, when the religion was officially founded (although the Druze believe the religion has existed since the beginning of time), there were two periods of openness when people were given the opportunity to become part of the faith. “Most people believe that your soul at that point in time chose to follow this religion and that was where you started your progression,” she said.
Marrying a non-Druze means turning your back on your family’s efforts to maintain the faith over many generations. “I always come across people who say ‘I would never want to rob my kids of the opportunity to be involved in something like this,’” she said. “I want to preserve that. It’s a kind of honor, to me at least ... and I can raise my kids to understand it at least, and to want to be a part of it.”

Many other young people grow up less knowledgeable about the faith and choose to marry non-Druze, though, which has led to a declining Druze population, especially in the United States.
“I think it’s hard for young people today who are raised here in the U.S., who are not around Druze people all the time, who, in a school of 5,000 people might be the only Druze person,” said Harfouch. “The Druze part is just a small portion of who they are. So I think coming to a convention is bringing it to the forefront of their mind ... and they can meet people who are just like them.”

For those who care about preserving the faith, dating is pretty difficult. “It’s not like we can go grab coffee and see somebody sitting there reading a book and say ‘Hi, can I get your number? I’d like to date you,’” she said.

Harfouch was at the gala dinner at the National Convention in Florida during the summer of 2011 when she met Samer Abou-Zaki, a media engineer at Microsoft. She was 19. He was 21. She lived in Michigan. He lived in Washington state.

Sparks didn’t exactly fly when they first met, but they kept in touch via the occasional Facebook message and the large number of friends they had in common.

Out-of-state dating is fairly typical for American Druze.

“We had a couple of group Google chats with people who were at the convention. Sometimes it would be 12 of us from all over the United States who would get on and talk and catch up,” she says. “He happened to be one of them.”

They exchanged numbers after about a month. Then, in December of 2011, Harfouch and her mom flew across the country to see him and other friends in the Seattle Druze community. They stayed in a hotel for about a week and met his family and friends.

That’s when the young pair knew they wanted to date. And so the long-distance relationship began—Abou-Zaki would fly to Michigan to see Harfouch every month or so. Out-of-state and, sometimes, out-of-country relationships are fairly typical for American Druze. “I know a couple that met at the same convention as us who were from Australia and the U.S.,” Harfouch told me. “They are married and have a child now.”

The following year, Harfouch and Abou-Zaki did the traditional tetmeem, which is sort of like a formal dating period before engagement. He and his entire family traveled to Michigan to meet with her family, including parents, uncles, aunts and brothers. “It’s kind of like a trial period,” she explained. “We don’t want to get engaged yet, but we think it’s the next step.”

Four months later, after asking Harfouch’s father and ensuring that her family could travel to Seattle with her for the engagement, Abou-Zaki asked for Harfouch’s hand in marriage. The wedding will take place in Michigan on August 30 of this year.

Like Harfouch, many American Druze who choose to marry within their religion are willing to overcome challenges along their quirky path to love, like the limited pool of eligible spouses and the strong chance of having to date long-distance. What seems to make it worth it is the chance to share and preserve a rich spiritual history with a spouse.

“When you meet somebody, and you like them, and you hit it off on so many different levels, and they’re Druze? Is it worth it? Probably, because you don’t find that everyday,” she said. “And that’s the truth.”

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LizzyNY on Tue Jun 03 2014, 21:37

Katie - Thanks for the article. It was fascinating to learn so much about the actual workings of the Druze community from someone on the inside. In some ways they remind me of the Ultra-Orthodox Jews' attitude towards marriage and the outside community. Maybe that's one reason they feel comfortable in Israel.

I share your confusion over her grandmother's attitude. Apparently Amal is not Druze, so her children can't be either. Maybe the grandmother is regretting that her son married a non-Druze in the first place?

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by melbert on Tue Jun 03 2014, 23:47

But was Baria originally Druze and then dropped it?  That would still make Amal born Druze, maybe just not practicing?

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LizzyNY on Wed Jun 04 2014, 00:12

Mel - I don't think she was. I remember reading that Amal's father married out of the Druze faith.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Silje on Wed Jun 04 2014, 02:07

In an article in "now.mmedia.me/Amal Alamuddin from Druse family of sheiks"it says that Amal's mother is a sunni muslim from Tripoli.

There are several other mentions of the father marrying outside the faith.This would mean Amal is not Druze.

But it is hard to find info about the family on the net.The father supposedly returned to Lebanon in 1991. The three siblings are sometimes descriped as younger and sometimes as older.Sometimes there is talk about the brothers being from the fathers first marriage.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by fava on Wed Jun 04 2014, 02:14

Well if her mom is from Tripoli she is not even Lebanese.....

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Silje on Wed Jun 04 2014, 02:20

There are two towns called Tripoli, one in Libya and one in Lebanon. Her mother is Lebanese.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by fava on Wed Jun 04 2014, 02:22

Silje wrote:There are two towns called Tripoli, one in Libya and one in Lebanon. Her mother is Lebanese.

Thanks-- I learned some geography today!

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Silje on Wed Jun 04 2014, 02:56

I found an other article in ArabAd" The life and times of Akram Miknas". He is Amal's mother's brother who just turned 70 years old. He talks about his two younger sisters and about being born in Tripoli, Lebanon.His parents were divorced and his mother died when he was only 12 years old. She was one of the first university educated women in Lebanon.

A divorce in the late 1940's or early 1950's that much have been pretty unusual.

Amals maternal grandmother was probably an interesting woman.But if she died in 1956 it's not going to be easy find info on her.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Nicky80 on Wed Jun 04 2014, 05:34

Thanks Silje, in case somebody is interested, below you find the thread where we have more details posted about Akram Miknas also an article from "ArabAd"....

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Nicky80 on Sun Jun 08 2014, 11:19

Here a bit more 

AP Interview: Druse head scorns Hezbollah on Syria

BEIRUT — The decision by Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group to join the civil war in neighboring Syria and fight along President Bashar Assad's forces was a historic and moral "mistake" toward the Syrian people, a leading Lebanese politician has said.

The harsh criticism by Walid Jumblatt, who leads Lebanon's minority Druse sect, reflects his increasing pessimism about the bloody conflict next door, now in its fourth year.

Although he leads a minority sect, Jumblatt is a pillar and a mainstay in Lebanese politics and is often referred to as the country's "kingmaker" because of his small bloc's track record of tipping the balance during key votes in parliament.

"Hezbollah intervened in Syria and did not care about the Lebanese (public) opinion," Jumblatt told The Associated Press during a recent interview at his home in Beirut. "This is a historical and moral mistake toward the Syrian people."

Hezbollah's fighters openly entered the fight in Syria in May 2013 and were instrumental in helping Assad's troops push back rebels and re-capture strategic towns and rebel strongholds along the border with Lebanon and near Syria's capital, Damascus.

This turned the tide in the conflict, giving Assad's forces the upper hand against the rebels seeking to overthrow the Syrian leader, who last week won a third seven-year term in a presidential election derided as a farce by the opposition.

Now, the Syrian civil war will be "very long," Jumblatt said. Instead of fighting in Syria, he said Hezbollah should have focused on archenemy Israel.

"I say that the guns should be directed toward the Israeli enemy," Jumblatt added.

Jumblatt — whose Druse are like Assad's Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam — has been known for his shifting loyalties. His history with Hezbollah has been both complex and full of U-turns.

After the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Jumblatt sharply criticized Hezbollah and the Syrian government, which many in Lebanon blamed for the killing. Damascus denies it was behind Hariri's slaying.

In May 2008, tensions between Jumblatt's Druse followers and allies on one side and Hezbollah on the other erupted into street fighting in Beirut and nearby mountains, killing 81 people and nearly plunging Lebanon into another civil war.

In 2009, Jumblatt reconciled with the Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, who the following year personally mediated a meeting between the Druse politician and Assad. That meeting was a sharp turn for Jumblatt, who only three years earlier had called the Syrian president a "snake" and a "tyrant."
Then, after his last visit to Damascus in June 2011, Jumblatt again broke with Assad.

"We are still at the beginning of the war in Syria. In the long term, the map of the Middle East will be redrawn," Jumblatt told the AP.
"The main winner is the Islamic Republic," he said referring to Iran, which is one of Assad's strongest allies.

The Syrian conflict, which has so far killed more than 160,000 people, a third of whom were civilians, has sharply divided the Lebanese, and violence has often spilled into the tiny Arab country, killing and wounding hundreds here.

Many Lebanese Shiites back Assad, while Lebanon's Sunnis back the mostly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow him. Jumblatt has repeatedly urged his countrymen not to get involved in the Syrian conflict.
But from the topic of war, the Druse politician is quick to turn to lighter subjects when prompted.

Asked about actor George Clooney's engagement to 36-year-old Lebanese-British international law attorney Amal Alamuddin — who like Jumblatt happens to be a Druse — he smiled and said he hoped the couple would soon visit the Druse heartland.

Jumblatt said he would be happy to welcome Clooney in his palatial mansion in the Druse village of Mukhtara, high in the mountains over Beirut.

Clooney will bring us "great publicity," Jumblatt said. "He can make a movie about the Druse sect."


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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LizzyNY on Sun Jun 08 2014, 21:46



Now, the Syrian civil war will be "very long," Jumblatt said. Instead of fighting in Syria, he said Hezbollah should have focused on archenemy Israel.

"I say that the guns should be directed toward the Israeli enemy," Jumblatt added.


[size=16]Asked about actor George Clooney's engagement to 36-year-old Lebanese-British international law attorney Amal Alamuddin — who like Jumblatt happens to be a Druse — he smiled and said he hoped the couple would soon visit the Druse heartland.


Jumblatt said he would be happy to welcome Clooney in his palatial mansion in the Druse village of Mukhtara, high in the mountains over Beirut.

Clooney will bring us "great publicity," Jumblatt said. "He can make a movie about the Druse sect."

Nice to know that though Jumblatt's Lebanese allegiances may change from day to day, his hatred of Israel - America's staunchest long-term ally in the region - is unwavering. If George makes a movie about the Druse sect, perhaps he'll shine a light on their political opportunism and alliances with people who hate and want to annihilate the one democracy in the Middle East. Cozying up to this bunch would do nothing to enhance George's image in the US. IMO this article only raises more questions about Amal.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by melbert on Sun Jun 08 2014, 22:19

I am not taking this article lightly, however, since neither Amal or George has spoken AT ALL, we don't really know what her stand is on this stuff.  We all speculate because of her land of birth, and her mother's writings, that the picture portrayed is her.  But, we do not know for sure, do we?!

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LizzyNY on Sun Jun 08 2014, 22:31

Mel - If he really is thinking of politics, which I doubt, or even a more active global humanitarian role, then this is an issue he should be aware of and address because it affects his credibility. It's one thing to say she works on unpopular cases because that's where her Chambers assign her, but it's another issue altogether if her beliefs support America's adversaries. Someone needs to speak up about where she stands.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by melbert on Sun Jun 08 2014, 22:36

I am absolutely not disagreeing with you Lizzy.  I think that in MOST situations a man and woman getting married isn't important to the world.  But, because George is who he is, and does what he does, I hope that he already knows what her position is on these hot topics and what her beliefs are.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LizzyNY on Sun Jun 08 2014, 22:58

Mel - I was about to say I'm sure he does, but if he's really so besotted by her then I can only say I HOPE he does and is taking her political beliefs into account for his future plans. I just wish they weren't being so "private" about their plans that they've made her so hard to know.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Joanna on Mon Jun 09 2014, 02:27

I don't blame them one jot for "being private about 
their plans" 
What's it got to do with anybody else ?

I'm sure Amal is a decent human being and not planning on harming anyone. 
And so what if her "belief's support America's
 adversaries ?"

Is America SO insecure that it's going to be concerned about the future wife of a film actor who engages in humanitarian activities ?

Sorry, but I don't get the concern....and I don't mean 
to be rude about it. 
 sunny

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LornaDoone on Mon Jun 09 2014, 03:31

America isn't concerned.  I am concerned for George's ability to do his film work.  Now if he's decided he no longer plans to do that then go for it.

But she is an unknown in a very specific area that is of concern to Jewish Americans.

Joanna, I know you don't understand but I live in the US and I have Jewish friends.  If she is Pro Palestine here in the US - no matter what anyone else in the world may think - then she's percieved to be anti Israel and anti Jewish by association.

I don't know if she's neither but frankly, the fact that her family is associated with Arafat who is considered a terrorist to many here, is not a good thing.

Yes, it may not extend to Amal but she's going to be damned by that association whether you or anyone else in the world thinks it's wrong or not.

That's the reality in the post 9-11 world here in the US.

And as much as people may hate the US we are still one of the biggest funders of hundreds of governments who couldn't survive with out our money.  Many may not like that but I don't see many saying no the money either.



It's not insecurity Joanna, it's STILL ANGER.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Mazy on Mon Jun 09 2014, 04:20

I have to say I completely understand Lorna; being a transplanted New Yorker and American. We all had people that worked in the Towers building and around. Not too mention all the guys we had in the police and fire department. It was horrible. We even had one General that worked in DC and would have been right in that spot which got hit, if he went in that day.The hate lasts a long time even if you don't want it to. Bad things were done to some very innocent people because many didn't know what the enemy looked like. As if you could see a sign some where on a person. It has changed the US for ever. It gives me the shakes to think about it. We have many angry people here.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Joanna on Mon Jun 09 2014, 10:06

Thanks Lorna...I gather it's a big issue and my experience of it isn't sufficient to understand it.

I was looking at it more from a personal view regarding 
G & A as a couple.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LizzyNY on Mon Jun 09 2014, 22:50

Joanna - It isn't a personal issue. If he wants to go into politics here, she's a problem for the reasons Lorna and Mazy gave. If she's anti-Israel she could be a professional problem because many of the people in the movie industry are pro-Israel. There's still a lot of anger about 9/11 and the continuous threat from Midddle Eastern terrorists.

I am a George fan and want to see him happy, but I also live in NY. I will never forget that horrible day, or the effect it has had on our lives. We live with the constant awareness that the threat hasn't gone away and that there are people who want to see us dead just because we live in America. I want to know where she stands because I believe it can affect his career.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Maggy on Mon Jun 09 2014, 23:03

True, and don't forget the Christians that supports Israel, which is very large.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Mazy on Tue Jun 10 2014, 05:28

It's a sad situation. I feel for the many people that get targeted for abuse because of their looks or if the wear a turban on their heads as if they were the terrorists. I had a doctor in Fl; when I moved there that wore a turban and his wife; who was my main doctor, wore the saree. People were not nice I didn't know him as well; but she was a good doctor and was very good to me, she even cried when I told her that I was going to move to PA by my daughter.

I cannot honestly say what nationality that they were, but I liked them.I am not able to tell someones nationality by looking at them, maybe because I don't care. To me there are good and bad in all things, but, I am still very angry at the terrorist groups that attacked us.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Joanna on Tue Jun 10 2014, 12:26

Lizzy....the keyword here is "Tolerance" I believe.
One cannot remain living with anger forever because 
then the bad guys have won IMO.

It's not just USA that feels a threat from terrorists.
 Here in UK we've lived with it far longer than USA,
over 30 years including the IRA bombings and many recently in London.


Sorry for remaining off topic btw.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by Mazy on Tue Jun 10 2014, 19:03

I think one of the best ways are to learn more about each other's different customs and mores. All the good things about our nationalities and not the certain bad that is in all groups.

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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

Post by LizzyNY on Tue Jun 10 2014, 21:44

Joanna - I understand what you're saying and agree with you. I live in an area that is a multicultural melting pot - people from all over the world speaking a multitude of languages. As a teacher I worked with children from many cultures and got to know their parents as well. I do not "tolerate" them (I find that term condescending) I acccept them as friends and neighbors.

However, I am also aware that there are many people here who mistrust people from the Muslim countries because of 9/11 and the constant threats from terror groups.

If George wants a political career in this country it will have to be made plain that Amal has no connection to or belief in these groups, otherwise, IMO, she can only hurt him.

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fix quote location to better indicate Lizzy's comment end and Mazy's response

Post by Mazy on Thu Jun 12 2014, 04:03

LizzyNY wrote:Joanna - I understand what you're saying and agree with you. I live in an area that is a multicultural melting pot - people from all over the world speaking a multitude of languages. As a teacher I worked with children from many cultures and got to know their parents as well. I do not "tolerate" them (I find that term condescending) I acccept them as friends and neighbors.

However, I am also aware that there are many people here who mistrust people from the Muslim countries because of 9/11 and the constant threats  from terror groups.

If George wants a political career in this country it will have to be made plain that Amal has no connection to or belief in these groups, otherwise, IMO, she can only hurt him.

Lizzy you kind of said what I have not been able to articulate. Whatever nationality the 9/11 terrorist where doesn't mean that I dislike all the good people of that group. I try to take people for who they are without labels. But sadly as Lizzy said, we have far too many that don't in the US even 13 years later. I love the variety of characteristics in our backgrounds. I find the differences in our cultures very interesting and then you see the oneness among us.

It's not right this prejudice but there are a lot of ignorant people around. But I would hope Amal won't have too much of a problem. She's gotten some of her education, lectured and worked and most consider her British.







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Re: Is George Clooney’s fiancée Muslim - Druze? Yes, the way Mormons are Christian

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