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(also called Alawi or Nusairis).

(1) Followers of a Shiite sect of the same name. The Alawites took their name from the Caliph Ali, who is venerated as the embodiment of god. The other name, Nusairis, comes from the name of Ibn Nusair (ninth century), who is considered to be the founder of the sect. The Alawites live in Syria and southern Turkey. Their beliefs are close to the beliefs of the Ismailis, but also include elements of ancient Eastern astral cults and of Christianity. The Alawites worship the sun and the moon, believe in the transmigration of souls, celebrate several Christian holidays and have Christian names.

(2) A dynasty in Morocco (from 1664); it is also called the Filali or Filali Sharifs.

References in periodicals archive ?
Alawites are also called Nusayris, in reference to Mohammed Ibn Nusayr, a pupil of Shiism's 11th and 12th imams whose exact birth and death dates are not known and who founded Alawism.
To the orientalist Louis Massignon (1883-1963), Alawism is a form of Islam that is deeply influenced by Christianity, Gnosticism, old Persian religions and Sufism, the newspaper said.
Alawism has not made up its mind as to whether it is closer to Shiism or Sunnism.
While Lebanon's refugee camps are believed to be hideouts for Lebanese, Palestinian and other suspected terrorists, Jabal Mohsen is home to many adherents of Alawism.