Who Are The Druzes?

{This article authored by Samy Swayd was initially published in INTERCOM, Vol. 21, No. 1. October 1998; it was adopted here with a permission from the UCLA's International Institute.}


The Druzes
One Thousand Years of Tradition and Reform

The Druzes are a Middle Eastern minority group with their formal origins in the 11th century. They are perhaps one of the most misunderstood and understudied religious sects in the world. Most Druzes live today in mountainous regions in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Jordan. Taking all available figures into consideration, the Druze population is nearly one million with 40%-50% living in Syria, 30%-40% in Lebanon, 6%-7% in Israel, and 1%-2% in Jordan. In the U.S. there are approximately 20,000 Druzes.

Druze Communities

During the 19th and early 20th centuries Druze immigrant communities were established around the world and could be found in Australia, Canada, Europe, the Philippines, South and Central America, the United States, and West Africa. Like many other immigrants, they strive to preserve their traditions and maintain frequent contact with co-religionists. In the United States, for example, the American Druze Society (ADS) has organized annual conventions since 1946 and, more recently, established its main center in Eagle Rock, California. In fact, Southern California is home of the largest concentration of Druzes in the U.S.