December 09, 2005
A "piquant" problem
ABU DHABI — The Ministry of Education was placed in a piquant situation when a family belonging to an Islamic sect sought exemption for their son from being taught Islamic Studies in a private school, claiming to be followers of an independent faith.
The ministry, which had not faced such a situation earlier, however, turned down the Lebanese Druz family's request, after it was proved legally that the sect belonged to Islamic faith.
So much for freedom of religion. Islam shouldn't even be coerced among muslims, let alone those that don't identify as muslims. Fortunately the situation is better in Levantine countries, the key homeland of the Druze:
"In Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, the Druze have official recognition as a separate religious community with its own religious court system."
There are several small and often obscure religious sects around the Middle East, from Mandaeans to the Yezidi. Many of these groups are found primarily in rural areas, and continue to suffer terrible prejudice and persecution today.
Posted by secretdubai at December 9, 2005 02:19 PM
Filed Under: Religious Minorities
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i'd be curious to learn how the ministry "proved legally that the sect belonged to Islamic faith".
in the levante the druze are recognized as "independent religious group", but it's not really clear to anyone involved whether they actually are non-muslims. the same goes for the alawites ...
Posted by: raf* at December 10, 2005 09:38 AM
I guess it doesn't help that the Druze keep key aspects of their faith secret. Not that that would really be any more or less motivation for discrimination against them, but it must make "proving" their separateness a little harder.
Posted by: zurn at December 10, 2005 12:59 PM
Well, I am sure there is a small issue of Druuze finding the ambiguity generally useful.
Except, obviously, in these cases.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at December 12, 2005 02:40 PM