ISIL terrorists in Syria compel Druze community to announce ‘Islam’
The al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has compelled Druze community in the Syrian province of Idlib to announce their conversion to “Islam” although they are officially acknowledged as Muslims in Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Druze in Syria didn’t wait for the terrorist groups of al-Nusra Front and ISIL to become stronger before announcing their neutrality. As a minority of about 30,000 people living in poor villages, the Druze felt it necessary to do so, al-Akhbar reported on Monday.
The Druze villages host about 50,000 refugees, who have fled clashes in neighboring towns.
A story titled “18 Druze villages announce their conversion to Islam in Idlib” was posted on Saudi websites. Druze officials in Lebanon and Syria refused to comment, not only to preserve secrecy, but also because it was hard for them to connect with people in the area due to phone network outages. However, these officials realize that the Druze in Idlib are in a tough situation.
Lebanese MP Talal Arslan was the only one to comment. He found the incident unusual, saying, “Druze, like other Muslim sects, believe in the message of our Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).”
According to sources, at the beginning, ISIL ringleaders treated Druze villagers well. The situation recently changed, and the Sharia committee demanded the Druze to “announce their Islam.”
Informed sources from inside Idlib said, “Druze villages in the district have always been an integral part of the population. … They have been living peacefully with their neighbors.”
Most Druze residents in Idlib work in agriculture, whether harvesting olives or cumin. Their villages are located about 14 kilometers away from the city of Idlib, which is controlled by the Syrian army, while the road leading to the villages is under terrorists’ control.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.
The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years.