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Who is Amal Alamuddin, reported George Clooney’s new fiancee
An International lawyer who believes in one God, Allah, and in Reincarnation
By Ali Younes
The news that 36 years old Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin is reportedly engaged to American actor and Oscar winner George Clooney, 52, took Hollywood and the Middle East by storm. For one thing, Clooney is considered Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor and to finally get “ hitched “ by a Lebanese human rights lawyer who lives in London shocked a lot of people in Hollywood, and delighted a lot of people in Lebanon.
As reported earlier by Ray Hanania, the Managing Editor of the Arab Daily News, Alamuddin was born in Beirut, Lebanon of Druze Muslim parents. Both Clooney and Alamuddin are human rights activists and reportedly met last year while working on a surveillance satellite program involving the use of killer drones during conflicts in many countries.
Alamuddin studied at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. She graduated from New York University of Law in 2011 and she specializes in International Law. She works with the prestigious internationally recognized Civil Rights law firm of Doughty Street Chambers in London, England. She also worked an advisor to King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifah of Bahrain as his advisor on Human Rights.
Amal is the daughter of Ramzi and Bare’ah Alamuddin of London. Her parents fled Lebanon during the civil war in the 1970s and resided London ever since then. Her Mother is a well known journalist for Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper. The Alamuddin family religion is generically known as “Druze” which is a sect that branched out of mainline Islamic Shia traditions in the early centuries of Islam. Its adherents however prefer to call it muwahiddoun, or “Monotheists” referring to their belief in one true God. Allah. One of the main tenets of Druze religious beliefs is the doctrine of “ Reincarnation.” When I asked Lebanese American writer and Journalist Zouheir Halabi if Amal Alamuddin believes , as a Druze, in reincarnation, he said: “ definitely, any Druze, observant or not, believes in this religious doctrine”. Reincarnation is a belief that the soul begins a new life in a different body after the biological death of the other body. As to whether the Druze religious law permits Druze women marrying outside the faith, Halabi said it is legally and technically permissible and there is no religious law or tradition that prohibits Druze men or women from marrying outside the faith, not only into other Muslim traditions but also to Christians Jews. Mainstream Islamic laws render the marrying of Muslim women to non-Muslim men as null and void.
Although, for Alamuddin, the possibility of marrying Clooney does not violate her religion, but she , in effect , and from a traditional perspective, will no longer be part of the Druze community because she is now part of another tradition by way of her husband. From a modern western perspective, however, this might sound absurd, especially for the British-Lebanese Alamuddin who obviously does not put too much weight into what tradition has to say about her choice of who she should love or marry .
According to the book “The Druze Sect, Its History & Creeds” published in 1963 in Cairo and authored by Dr. Muhamad Kamel Husain, The Alamuddin family is a feudal aristocratic family that traces back its history in Lebanon to the 14th century where it fought several wars against another princely Druze family, “ the Ma’en” of Mount Lebanon. The Alamuddin. However, were not able to maintain their rule over their land holdings or establish a long lasting political power in the region because of their military defeat at the hands of the Ma’en ruling dynasty. The family, however, still owns vast land holdings in Lebanon and still has its own family Palace in the village of “Ba’qalien “ where Alamuddin father, Ramzi was born and raised. Although the Alamuddin are historically Druze, some branches of the family have, over the centuries become Sunnis and Shia.
As far as the reaction of Alamuddin reported engagement to Clooney, Halabi said that “ all of Lebanon is proud” and said rather, sarcastically, that the feelings there seems as if “all of Lebanon is now engaged to Clooney”
(You can reach Ali Younes at: aliyounes@theArabdailynews.com, and on Twitter @clearali)
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Ali Younes is a Senior Political Analyst for The Arab Daily News online newspaper. He is a veteran news-editor, Journalist, and a Middle East analyst working for major American news network . He is based in Washington, D.C.
Reach Ali at email@example.com
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