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


Published: May 8, 2014 12:34PM
Updated: May 9, 2014 10:52AM
Actor George Clooney testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 14, 2012, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sudan. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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