Page:A short guide to Syria (1943).djvu/12

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serious breach of manners to even inquire about the women. So even if you are invited to a home, you will not see much of the women.

In public, many Moslem women go veiled. If a woman has occasion to lift her veil while shopping, do not stare at her. Look the other way. Do not loiter near them when at the bazaars. Do not try to photograph them. It will cause trouble.

Never make advances to Syrian women or try to get their attention on the streets or other public places. The desert or village women may seem lo have more freedom, but they do not. Any advances on your part are sure to mean trouble, and plenty of it. Syrians will immediately dislike you if you do not treat their women according to their standards and customs.

These rules are important. Don't make a pass at any woman. It will cause trouble. And anyway, it won't get

you anywhere. Prostitutes do not walk the streets, but have special quarters.

Religion. Questions regarding religion arc as distasteful to Syrian Moslems as are questions regarding women. It is well to avoid any kind of religious discussion or argument.

Two-thirds of the Syrians are Moslems, and the remaining third are Christian. The Moslem community is more or less set off by itself and recognized by its veiled women, the sombre, dignified aspect of the men and by their mosques. The distribution of Moslems and Christians is roughly according to the boundaries of Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon is mostly Christian, while Syria is mostly Moslem.

Both the Moslem and Christian groups are broken up into subdivisions or sects. One of the more important Moslem sects are the Druze. The Druze live in a semi-desert section in the south part of Syria called Jebel Druze. They keep very much to themselves, are a proud and reserved people, and are noted for their daring and bravery in warfare.

The Moslems follow the religion founded by Mohammed. Do not call it the Mohammedan religion, for they do not worship Mohammed as Christians worship Christ. Mohammed is not God. Allah is God, and Mo-