Druze emigration to North America began in the nineteenth century. The Druzes were settled in the areas of southern Syria, Lebanon, and Galilee. These people have preserved their identity wherever they have resided, and they have remained a closely integrated society. They have always defended and preserved their independence, and they have upheld their virtue
Since a Druze considers his body a mere robe for the soul, he does not fear death for it is only a tearing of his robe. In Epistle 35 of the Druze Scriptures, Hamza ibn ‘Ali says, “Whoever fears a human being like himself falls under his sway; the Unitarian is valiant by virtue of his faith.” Belief that the number of days of one’s life is fixed, not to be exceeded or diminished by a single day, and that the soul after leaving one body is immediately reborn in another, enhances courage and dispels fear of death.
Thus, when the Druzes began to emigrate, they were not running away from the changes and the upheavals that were constantly surrounding them in their father-land;. On the contrary, they merely intended to have a short absence from their countries to be able to better provide for their families and do away with poverty for their families.
Thus, the early Druze emigrants had no intent of a long absence from their homelands, nor did they envisage a permanent stay in the country to which they had immigrated. The married men had left their wives behind, and those who were single returned to their homeland for a bride when they decided to marry. Few brought their wives to live with them in the West until well after the turn of the century. The Druzes, have retained their culture and religion away from home as they did in the country of their origin.
The first Druze immigrants landed on the shores of the North American Continent in the late 19th century, and as the numbers of these immigrants rose, there was a strong desire and need for brotherhood, fellowship, kinship, and camaraderie among them. In 1907, a group of those immigrant Druzes who had settled in and near Seattle, Washington, and who were known for their sincerity and enlightenment, organized the first fraternal organization which they called “El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat.’ ( El-Bakaurat) is an Arabic word and means the first fruit. It was properly used to indicate the first fraternal-Druze society in the United States.
There is on record that Mr. Assaad Cramery from Ain Zahalta, Lebanon, along with Dr. Nasseem Saleem from Jubieh, Lebanon were the original founders of the “El-Bakaurat Ed-Dirziyat.’ Mr. Henry Flehan, ADS historian, has on record an emblem of the Seattle organization dated February 8, 1908. Mr. Abbass Dakdouk from Cleveland, Ohio gave Mr. Flehan the emblem in trust.
The Druzes are scattered all over the Middle East with the majority in Syria and in Lebanon The Druze emigrants now live in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, with smaller communities in Chile and Colombia. There are also some Druzes in the West Indies and the Philippines. Several thousand reside in the United States of America and in Canada, as well as , England and in other parts of Europe.” There is a large population of Druzes in Africa, as well.
Finally, for the American Druze to have a better understanding of those emigrants, who were their forefathers, and their heritage, I have tried to put together a brief thesis about the Druze, a tenth-century offshoot of Islam, and about their culture and religion.
World Druze Societies