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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hassan never says he thinks Assad may be toppled, but he believes the future will not be kind to Alawites.
The Alawites, belonging to a distant but secretive branch of Shi'ism, are remnants of the Safawid movement which was a Shi'ite theocracy.
<![CDATA[ This is a religious civil war between Alawites and Sunnis.
Assad is from Syria's minority Alawite sect and critics say the president has filled senior political and military posts with Alawites to impose his rule through sectarian loyalty.
"I left the meeting and found Israel's media had reported the IDF is preparing to receive refugee Alawites of Syria.
Alawites are a secretive sect of Islam and have come to the foreground in contemporary times thanks to their key role in ruling Syria where they are a minority.
Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said that minorities in Syria, among them Alawites and Christians, fear that should the Syrian regime collapse Islamist influence will grow, reported the pan-Arab daily AL HAYAT.
Dalila, an Alawite, has repeatedly warned against Latakia being used by the authorities to whip up sectarian fears among Alawites of a backlash against them if they lose power, instead of concentrating on transforming Syria into a democracy where all sects would enjoy equal treatment under a new constitution.
ANTALYA, Jun 2, 2011 (TUR) -- Syrian opposition groups, who gathered in Turkey for a conference, reaffirmed their support for anti-Assad protesters in Syria and pledged respect to Alawites on the second day of the "Conference for Change in Syria".
Khodr said that there is historical animosity between the Alawites and the Sunnis in Bab al-Tebbaneh, but that the conflict today is purely political.
Both Sadat and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia held the belief, as do virtually all practicing Sunnis, that the Alawites are kuffar (unbelievers) and mushrikun (idolaters, p.
The murdered were believed to be primarily Alawites, although the government said some Sunnis and Christians were killed as well.