Index / Peoples
The Druze, who count about 210,000, have an identity that is clearly separated from the larger Lebanese society, to an extent that they nearly constitute an ethnic group. Yet, they too speak Arabic.
There is a community with Persian origins, but no data available to their numbers, and a small community of Jews.
Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians and Circassians have come to Lebanon more or less as refugees following unrest in their homelands in the 19th and especially 20th centuries. Their identities remain strong, although they are active in society.
Palestinians, with a population between 410,00 and 535,000, have status only as refugees and are stateless. They enjoy many benefits from the state, but there is a general opposition in the population against naturalization and granting of citizenship; Christians fear their position as more than 90% of the Palestinians are Sunni Muslims; Shi'is are also against as the predominantly Sunni Palestinians live in refugee camps located to the Shi'i regions of Lebanon.
Syrians in Lebanon are considered alien by many Lebanese, their presence is a result of Syrian hegemony over Lebanon especially in the 1990's. The Lebanese government provide few services for this population, encouraging their return to Syria.
Iraqis in Lebanon are mainly refugees of varying degree, and not welcomed by Lebanese government which by all means wishes to avoid a new unreturnable community of refugees becoming permanent residents of the country.
Egyptians, together with smaller communities of Arabs from other countries, are welcomed foreign workers who may live in Lebanon for years but are expected to return home at some point.
Greeks and Italians are groups arriving in Lebanon with the migrations of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and they uphold their identity. The Greeks of Lebanon are Muslims, originating from Crete.