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Druze in Lebanon

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Druze in Lebanon

Lebanese Druze people


Total population
215,000[1]
Languages
Vernacular:
Lebanese Arabic
Religion
Shia Islam (Druze)
Related ethnic groups
Other Lebanese & Levantine Arabs  • Lakhmids  • Ghassanids Arabs  • Qahtani Arab  • Phoenicians

Druze in Lebanon refers to adherents of the Druze quasi-Muslim sect in Lebanon that is part of the Shia Islam denomination of Islam. The Lebanese Druze people are believed to constitute about 5%[1] of the total population of Lebanon. The Druze, who refer to themselves as al-Muwahhideen, or "believers in one God," are concentrated in the rural, mountainous areas east and south of Beirut.[1] Under the terms of an agreement known as the National Pact between the various political and religious leaders of Lebanon, the Chief of the General Staff must be a Druze.[2] Within the Lebanese context, especially political, the group is seen as an ethnoreligious group.[3][4]

History

An estimate of the distribution of Lebanon's main religious groups, 1991, based on a map by GlobalSecurity.org
Lebanon religious groups distribution
An estimate of the area distribution of Lebanon's main religious groups
Prophet Job shrine in Lebanon the Chouf region

The Druze community in Lebanon played an important role in the formation of the modern state of Lebanon, and even though they are a minority they play an important role in the Lebanese political scene. Before and during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90), the Druze were in favor of Pan-Arabism and Palestinian resistance represented by the PLO. Most of the community supported the Progressive Socialist Party formed by their leader Kamal Jumblatt and they fought alongside other leftist and Palestinian parties against the Lebanese Front that was mainly constituted of Christians. After the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt on 16 March 1977, his son Walid Jumblatt took the leadership of the party and played an important role in preserving his father's legacy after winning the Mountain War and sustained the existence of the Druze community during the sectarian bloodshed that lasted until 1990.

In August 2001, Maronite Catholic Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir toured the predominantly Druze Chouf region of Mount Lebanon and visited Mukhtara, the ancestral stronghold of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. The tumultuous reception that Sfeir received not only signified a historic reconciliation between Maronites and Druze, who fought a bloody war in 1983–84, but underscored the fact that the banner of Lebanese sovereignty had broad multi-confessional appeal[5] and was a cornerstone for the Cedar Revolution in 2005. Jumblatt's post-2005 position diverged sharply from the tradition of his family. He also accused Damascus of being behind the 1977 assassination of his father, Kamal Jumblatt, expressing for the first time what many knew he privately suspected. The BBC describes Jumblatt as "the smartest leader of Lebanon's most powerful Druze clan and heir to a leftist political dynasty".[6] The second largest political party supported by Druze is the Lebanese Democratic Party led by Prince Talal Arslan, the son of Lebanese independence hero Emir Majid Arslan.

Demographics

The Druze, who refer to themselves as al-Muwahhideen, or "believers in one God," are concentrated in the rural, mountainous areas east and south of Beirut. [1] The Lebanese Druze are estimated to constitute 5% of Lebanon's population of approximately 4.3 million, which means they amount to 215,000.[1]

Notable people

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Lebanon - International Religious Freedom Report 2008 U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 2013-06-13.
  2. ^ Programme on Governance in the Arab Region : Elections : LebanonUnited Nations Development Programme : . Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  3. ^ David Levinson (1 January 1998). Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 249.  
  4. ^ Michael Slackman. (9 November 2006) Christians Struggle to Preserve a Balance of Power The New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  5. ^ Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir (dossier), Meib, May 2003 
  6. ^ "Who's who in Lebanon". BBC News. 14 March 2005. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
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