Syria's Druze community has borne the brunt of forced conversions by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.
The Jabal al-Summaq area in northern Idlib province was originally Druze but the original inhabitants were forced to convert to Sunni Islam under pressure from ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) in late 2013 and then redeclare their conversion at the hands of al-Qa'ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in early 2015. Currently, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – the rebranded Jabhat al-Nusra that was announced at the end of July 2016 with a supposed breaking of ties with al-Qa'ida – remains in control of the Jabal al-Summaq area.
Despite the rebranding, the imposed conversion policy has not been modified. In addition, despite the fact that Jabhat Fatah al-Sham no longer regards the original inhabitants as Druze but rather as Sunni Muslims in light of the conversion policy, the original inhabitants face legal discrimination from the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham judiciary department (Dar al-Qada) in being obliged to organize and ratify buying and selling contracts for agricultural and residential real estate through the Dar al-Qada in Salqin. This obligation is also imposed on non-Muslims deemed musta'min (e.g. Christians) but not on those who were born Sunni Muslims- something that I have confirmed through subsequent contact with the Dar al-Qada in Salqin.
As for real estate rent contracts in Jabal al-Summaq, these are at the present time being ratified through an official for Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in every village of Jabal al-Summaq. The owner of the property who is renting out must come every month to renew the contract. Otherwise, the owner will lose the right to benefit from renting out the property.
The Islamization program that has accompanied the conversion policy but has not alleviated the legal discrimination so far is partly realized through religious outreach in the form of Shari'i study courses/sessions (known in Arabic as dawrat shari'ia). The document I have obtained below concerns the schedule of lessons for the study courses that began a month ago in the Jabal al-Summaq village of Kaftin, under the supervision of the Da'wa and Irshad office, which is the da'wa (proselytization/religious outreach) wing of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. As can be seen, one of the teachers is Sheikh Abu Muhammad, a man I have discussed in a previous post. For more on the Omar al-Faruq mosque in Kaftin, see my post here.
Da'wa and Irshad Office
Jabhat Fatah al-Sham
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Table of the lessons by day in the Omar al-Faruq mosque in the village of Kaftin
|Saturday||'Aqeeda||Sunset||Abu Muhammad Izz al-Deen|
|Monday||Fiqh of acts of worship||Sunset||Marwan Jaber|
|Wednesday||Life of the Prophet||Sunset||Abu Aamer|
God- Almighty and Exalted is He- has said in His noble Book: "And say: my Lord, increase me in knowledge"- Surat Ta-Ha [Qur'an 20:114].
And the Prophet (SAWS) said: "Indeed God, His angels, the people of the Heavens and the Earth- even the ant in its hole and the fish- supplicate for the teacher of the people"- narrated by al-Tirmidhi.
Note: there is a Shari'i lesson for our sisters, mothers and daughters every Sunday at 3 p.m. after the al-'Asr prayer in the same mosque and with the attendance of da'i sisters [i.e. the women who engage in da'wa].
You are asked to attend, and may God reward you best on our behalf.
And praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum's Jihad Intel project.