The oldest and most densely-populated Druze communities exist in Mount Lebanon and in the south of Syria around Jabal al-Druze (literally the "Mountain of the Druzes").
The Druze's social customs differ markedly from those of Muslims or Christians, and they are known to form close-knit, cohesive communities which do not fully allow non-Druze in, though they themselves integrate fully in their adopted homelands.
Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir, whose father al-Hakim is a key figure in the Druze faith, was particularly harsh to Druze, causing the death of many in Antioch, Aleppo, and northern Syria.
Persecution flared up during the rule of the Mamluks and Ottomans.
While 42% of Druze say a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully, 51% of Muslims, 45% of Christians and 43% of Jews also take this view.As a religious minority in every country in which they are found, they have frequently experienced persecution, except in Lebanon and Israel, where Druze judges, parliamentarians, diplomats, and doctors occupy the highest echelons of society.Even though the faith originally developed out of Ismaili Islam, Druze are not generally considered Muslims, although Al Azhar of Egypt recognizes them as one of the Islamic sects, akin to Shia.But unlike the Kurds, who are largely Muslim, the Druze are a unique religious and ethnic group.Their tradition dates back to the 11th century and incorporates elements of Islam, Hinduism and even classical Greek philosophy.