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The People of Lebanon, Religion

Alawite, majority group, Druze, Protestant, Sunni

The government policy of confessionalism, or the grouping of people by religion, plays a critical role in Lebanonís political and social life and has given rise to Lebanonís most persistent and bitter conflicts. At the time of Lebanonís independence in the 1940s, there were more Christians than Muslims. In the following years, many Muslims immigrated to Lebanon and had a higher birthrate than the Christians; as a result, Muslims became the majority group in Lebanon. Today, an estimated 70 percent of Lebanese are Muslim, while most of the remaining 30 percent are Christian. Every personís religion is encoded on a required, government-issued identification card. The government recognizes 17 distinct religious sects: 5 Muslim (Shia, Sunni, Druze, Ismailite, and Alawite), 11 Christian (4 Orthodox, 6 Catholic, and 1 Protestant), and Judaism.

Article key phrases:

Alawite, majority group, Druze, Protestant, Sunni, critical role, identification card, Judaism, Christians, Muslims, social life, rise, result, following years, Shia


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