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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 ?
Some staunch opponents of the Syrian regime are suspicious of Akkar's Alawites and believe that they are loyal to Assad.
Syria's Alawites pay a heavy price as they keep burying more of their own for fighting on the side of Assad's regime.
Killer love: The Alawites and the West It seems the West is now fine with a minority, sectarian Alawite rule of Syria.
These human rights violations have happened in the past, against Alawites and Kurds, but it doesn't have as much reach as the Gezi protesters," Deliveli said, referring to Gezi Park, the sliver of green space in Taksim Square where the protests began.
The largely Sunni town is home to a small community of Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs.
The rebel commander Abu Badih agrees: "We dont target the Alawites but the regime s accomplices who live among all of the country s sectarian communities.
And the CHP lobbying initiative aims to put the sympathy of Turkish Alevis behind the Syrian regime by drawing parallels between Alawites and Turkish Alevism.
also described the attitude of Baal-Mohsen Alawites as mere reflections of a Baathist regime striving to establish a sectarian statelet of its own.
His status as a wanted man will create a distance between him and the population in that region of his family sanctuary; mainly Alawites and Christians who won't want to carry his criminal burden or even defend him.
For their part, Alawites in the city, whose support for the government is by no means universal, worry about vendettas and vengeance.
France, whose mandate covered present-day Syria and Lebanon, applied a policy of divide and rule on the Syrian side by splitting it up into four autonomous administrations covering Damascus, Aleppo, the territory of the Alawites and the mountains of the Druze community.