Religion in Lebanon

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Religion in Lebanon (est. 2014)

  Islam (54%)
  Christianity (40.4%)
  Druze (5.6%)
Breakdown of sects of Lebanon's religions
Religion Percent
Shia Islam
  
27%
Sunni Islam
  
27%
Maronite Catholic
  
21%
Greek Orthodox
  
8%
Melkite Catholic
  
5%
Armenian Orthodox
  
4%
Protestants
  
1%
other Christian denomination minorities
  
2%
Druze
  
5%
Graph showing a breakdown of the various main religious groups in Lebanon, 2008.
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

Lebanon has several different main religions. The country has the most religiously diverse society of all states within the Middle East, comprising 18 recognized religious sects.[1] The main two religions are Christianity (the Maronite Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church) and Islam (Shia and Sunni). There is also the Druze minority religion, which 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).[2][3]


No official census has been taken since 1932, reflecting the political sensitivity in Lebanon over confessional (i.e. religious) balance.[4]

The most recent study conducted by Statistics Lebanon, a Beirut-based research firm, found that approximately Lebanon's population is estimated to be 54% Muslim (27% Shia; 27% Sunni), 5.6% Druze, who do not consider themselves to be Muslims, 40.4% Christian (21% Maronite, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Melkite, 1% Protestant and 5.4% other Christian denominations like Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt).[5]

The CIA World Factbook estimates the following: Muslim 54% (27% Shia, 27% Sunni), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% Maronite Catholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Melkite Catholic, 1% Protestantism in Lebanon, 5.5% other Christian), Druze 5.6%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus, and Mormons.[6]

Lebanon also has a Jewish population, estimated at less than 100.

Legally registered Muslims form around 54% of the population (Shia, Sunni, Alawite). Legally registered Christians form up to 41% (Maronite, Greek Orthodox-Christian, Melkite, Armenian, Evangelical, other). Druze form around 5%.

Lebanon thus differs from other Middle Eastern countries where the Muslims are overwhelming majority and more resembles Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania, both in Southeastern Europe, in having a diverse mix of Muslims and Christians that each make up approximately half the country's population.

Current political and religious issues[edit]

Under the terms of an agreement known as the National Pact between the various political and religious leaders of Lebanon, the president of the country must be a Maronite, the Prime Minister must be a Sunnite, and the Speaker of Parliament must be a Shiite.

Although Lebanon is a secular country, family matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance are still handled by the religious authorities representing a person's faith. Calls for civil marriage are unanimously rejected by the religious authorities but civil marriages conducted in another country are recognized by Lebanese civil authorities.

Non-religion is not recognized by the state, the Minister of the Interior Ziad Baroud made it possible in 2009 to have the religious sect removed from the Lebanese identity card. This does not, however, deny the religious authorities complete control over civil family issues inside the country.[7][8]

Geographical distribution of sects in Lebanon[edit]

Lebanese Muslims[edit]

Lebanese Muslims[9][10] [11][12][13][14]
Year Percent
1926
  
16%
1932
  
49%
1985
  
75%
2010
  
61%
2014
  
59.5%

Lebanese Muslims are divided into many sects like Shiites, Sunnites, Druze, Alawites, and Ismailis.

Lebanese Shiites are concentrated in Southern Lebanon, Baalbek District, Hermel District and the south Beirut (southern parts of Greater Beirut).

Lebanese Sunnites are mainly residents of the major cities: west Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon. Sunnis are also present in rural areas including Akkar, Ikleem al Kharoub, and the western Beqaa Valley.

Lebanese Druze are concentrated south of Mount Lebanon, in the Hasbaya District and Chouf District. 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).[15][16]

Lebanese Christians[edit]

Lebanese Christians[9][10] [11][17][13][18]
Year Percent
1926
  
84%
1932
  
51%
1985
  
25%
2010
  
39%
2014
  
40.5%

Lebanese Christians are divided into many sects like Maronites, Orthodox, Melkites, and Protestants.

Lebanese Maronites are concentrated in the north Beirut (northern parts of Greater Beirut), northern part of Mount Lebanon Governorate, southern part of North Governorate, parts of Beqaa Governorate and South Governorate.[19]

Lebanese Orthodox are concentrated in the north Beirut (northern parts of Greater Beirut), Lebanese North areas including Zgharta, Bsharre, Koura, and Batroun.

Lebanese Protestants are concentrated mainly within the area of Beirut and Greater Beirut.

The other Lebanese Christians are concentrated also in similar areas like in east Beirut (northern parts of Greater Beirut), Mount Lebanon, Zahlé, and Jezzine.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alfred B. Prados (June 8, 2006). 8, 2006)Update.pdf "Lebanon" (PDF). The Library of Congress. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  2. ^ Lebanon Country Study Guide Volume 1 Strategic Information and Developments
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Country Studies. "Lebanon Population". Retrieved November 25, 2006.
  5. ^ "Statistics Lebanon Beirut-based research firm". 
  6. ^ "Lebanon". (July 2014 est.)
  7. ^ Piero Gheddo (2009-02-13) LEBANON Religious affiliation to disappear from Lebanese documents – Asia News. Asianews.it. Retrieved on 2013-09-26.
  8. ^ Religious Affiliation Can Be Removed From Lebanese ID Cards. Barcode Nation (2009-02-25). Retrieved on 2013-09-26.
  9. ^ a b "2012 Report on International Religious Freedom - Lebanon". United States Department of State. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  10. ^ a b "Contemporary distribution of Lebanon's main religious groups". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  11. ^ a b "CIA World Factbook, Lebanon". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Najem, T. (1998). "The collapse and reconstruction of Lebanon" (PDF). University of Durham Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "International Religious Freedom Report 2010 - Lebanon". US State Department. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Contemporary Religious distribution of Lebanon's main religions". theodora.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  15. ^ Lebanon Country Study Guide Volume 1 Strategic Information and Developments
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ Najem, T. (1998). "The collapse and reconstruction of Lebanon" (PDF). University of Durham Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Contemporary Religious distribution of Lebanon's main religions". theodora.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  19. ^ Lebanon Maronites Overview World Directory of Minorities. June 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2013.