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Druze - A religion that broke away from Islam about 1000 CE following the teachings of Darazi, Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad and Baha El-Din. Druze call themselves Mowahhidoon (plural) or Mowahhid (singular) which means "monotheistic." The religion is officially secret, and they do not proselytize. They believe in reincarnation and in abstract concepts of heaven and hell. They have few holidays, but celebrate the granting of the Qur'an to Mohammed (Muslim Ramadan). They do not perform the Haj - pilgrimage to Mecca. They are considered Muslims and Arabs. Druze are loyal citizens of whatever state they live in. Large Druze minorities live in Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

About 100,000 Druze live In Israel. The Druze formed a pact with the Israel government in 1948, serve in elections and vote in the government. Azzam Azzam, an Israeli Druze who was jailed on apparently false charges of espionage in Egypt for eight years, is an Israeli super-patriot. Druze in the annexed Golan heights are split in their loyalty to Israel and Syria, their original homeland. In Israel, "Arab" does not usually refer to Druze, even though they are Arabs - "Arabs" in Israel refers to Arabs living in cities or villages who are not Druze or Bedouin.

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information: The Druze - an Introduction by Hamad Quteish

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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