Druze in Lebanon
The Lebanese Druze people are believed to constitute about 5% 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.
Under the Lebanese political division (Parliament of Lebanon Seat Allocation) the Druze community is designated as one of the five Lebanese Muslim communities (Sunni, Shia, Druze, Alawi, and Ismaili). Lebanon's constitution was intended to guarantee political representation for each of the nation's ethno-religious groups.
The Druze faith is a monotheistic Abrahamic religion that follows the Five Pillars of Islam. However, certain Muslim groups regard them as Rawafid(روافض) or "Deserters of true Islamic faith". However, other sources claim that the Druze faith does not follow the Five Pillars of Islam, "fasting during the month of Ramadan and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Thus, they are not regarded by Muslims as Islamic and are seen as Rawafid(روافض) or "Deserters of true Islamic faith" ". The Druze beliefs incorporate elements of Ismailism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism and other philosophies. The Druze call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid "People of Unitarianism or Monotheism" or al-Muwaḥḥidūn."
The Druze follow a life style of isolation where no conversion is allowed, neither out of, or into, the religion. When Druze live among people of other religions, they try to blend in, in order to protect their religion and their own safety. They can pray as Muslims, or as Christians, depending on where they are. This system is apparently changing in modern times, where more security has allowed Druze to be more open about their religious belonging."
The Tanukhids inaugurated the Druze community in Lebanon when most of them accepted and adopted the new message that was being preached in the 11th century, due to their leaderships close ties with then Fatimid ruler Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.
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 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". 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.
In May 10, 2008 as part of the 2008 Conflict, clashes occurred between Hezbollah forces and Druze militias in their mountain resulting is casualties on both sides. The clashes started in Aytat, near Kayfoun and soon expanded to cover many spots in Mount Lebanon including Baysur, Shuweifat and Aley. Most of the fighting was concentrated on Hill 888. After negotiations a ceasefire was called in from outside the country before Hezbollah could call in artillery support. Releases from Hezbollah leaders in 2016 stated that bombing the mountain with close-range artillery from the South and longer-ranged artillery from Syria were both an option and greatly considered.
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. The Lebanese Druze are estimated to constitute 5% of Lebanon's population of approximately 4.3 million, which means they amount to 215,000.
- Fakhr-al-Din II, a Druze prince and an early leader of the Emirate of Chouf.
- Emir Majid Arslan, a Druze leader and head of the Arslan feudal Druze ruling family.
- Emir Shakib Arslan, a Druze prince and notable Islamic scholar.
- Emir Talal Arslan, Lebanese politician and the head of the mostly Druze Lebanese Democratic Party.
- Kamal Jumblatt, an important Lebanese politician.
- Walid Jumblatt, a Lebanese politician and the current leader of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP).
- Nabil Kanso, a Lebanese-American painter.
- Akram Chehayeb, a Lebanese politician, member of parliament,and Minister of Agriculture.
- Ghazi Aridi, a Lebanese politician, and member of parliament.
- Raghida Dergham, a Lebanese-American journalist based in New York.
- Amal Clooney, a London-based British-Lebanese lawyer, activist, and author. (Druze father and Sunni mother.)
- Mona Abou Hamze, TV presenter
- Ramy Ayach, singer/ popstar
- Samir Kuntar, member of the Palestine Liberation Front representing Hezbollah
- Casey Kasem, Lebanese-American born in Detroit radio personality/DJ
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- Chouf District
- Shia Islam in Lebanon
- Sunni Islam in Lebanon
- Maronite Christianity in Lebanon
- Christianity in Lebanon
- Roman Catholicism in Lebanon
- Melkite Christianity in Lebanon
- Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Lebanon
- Protestantism in Lebanon
- Religion in Lebanon
- Lebanese Democratic Party
- Progressive Socialist Party
- Lebanon - International Religious Freedom Report 2008 U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 2013-06-13.
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