Lebanese Arabic Muslims

Quick Facts

Place of origin: Lebanon is located in the Middle East, between Syria (to the North and East) and Israel (to the South), with the Mediterranean Sea to its West.
Religion: Islam (57.7%), Christianity (37.1%), Druzism (5.2%)
Population: 6.8 million
Primary languages: Lebanese (Levantine) Arabic  
Secondary languages: French and English
Other Information:
  • Many Lebanese people are bilingual or trilingual. It is not uncommon for Lebanese people to mix Lebanese Arabic, English, and French into their daily speech 
  • Lebanon is largely Arabic in culture, yet diverges from its neighboring Arab countries in that it has served as an asylum for minority religious and ethnic groups oppressed by their native governments. Present day Lebanon is largely accepting of diversity and there are relatively positive attitudes between Muslims and Christians.
  • It is a very densely populated country and serves as a highly active commercial and cultural centre in the Middle East.
  • Religion plays a major role in Lebanese culture, society, politics, and legal systems. Lebanon recognises 18 different religious sects within Muslim and Christian religions, each of which is considered to represent a significant Lebanese community. 
  • Parliamentary representation is organised to reflect these partitions in society, and so seats are apportioned according to the dispersion of religion. This government structure is intended to prevent any religious community being privileged over another.
  • Ultimately, one’s religion often constitutes a crucial part of a person’s social and civil identity in Lebanon. Every citizens’ identity card specifies their religion, which determines how they interact with political and legal systems. As such, while some Lebanese people may not practice or observe a religion, they tend to identify with one legally given its role in the judicial and governmental systems. 

When did Lebanese Arabic Muslims first come to Canada?

Lebanese Arabic immigrants began coming to Canada as early as 1882, however in limited numbers until 1945. From then on, there were increasing numbers, especially in the 1960s and onward.

Where do Lebanese Arabic Muslims predominantly gather in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)?

Toronto has a large Arab community, home to 22% of the total Arab population in Canada.  Among the self-identified Arab ethnicities in Toronto, Lebanese Arabs make up one of the largest Arab groups, reportedly 15% of the Arab population.

Lebanese Arab Muslims have a noticeable presence in the city of Mississauga, as well as the North York and downtown core areas of Toronto, as well as the Don River Valley & Scarborough districts of GTA. There are also Lebanese in northeast Brampton, Milton, Richmond Hill, Ajax, Whitby, & Vaughn. There are multiple Lebanese restaurants & cafes dotted across the GTA.

Gospel impact among Lebanese Arab Muslims in GTA would ripple throughout their populations in Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Windsor, London, Edmonton, Fredericton, and Charlottetown.

Population estimate in the GTA:  29,750 people (73,285 in Ontario)

What are Lebanese Arabic Muslims' lives like?

  • Lebanese people are very literate and are likely to have higher education degrees. They are about as likely as the rest of the population to be employed.
  • For the most part, the occupational distribution of the Lebanese workforce is similar to that of the overall labour force. Employed Canadians of Lebanese origin, though, are somewhat more likely than other workers to be working in management positions, scientific and technical occupations, and in sales and service jobs. 
  • Canadian workers of Lebanese origin are also less likely than those in the overall workforce to be self-employed.
  • A large majority of Canadians of Lebanese origin have a strong sense of belonging in Canada. Yet, they also have strong ties to their Lebanese origins, and even have established community groups to stay connected. 
  • One of such groups is The Cedars Social Club (CSC) in Toronto. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Lebanese culture through social and educational events and activities, which began in 1991.
  • The CSC has actively pursued opportunities to strengthen social interaction between the dispersed Lebanese community in Toronto and the surrounding area. The CSC has no political or religious affiliations and welcomes anyone with an interest in Lebanese culture and heritage to join.

What do Lebanese Arabic Muslims believe?

  • Lebanese Muslims are divided into many branches such as Shiites, Sunnis, Druze, and more.
  • The Lebanese Shia and Sunni Muslims make up each around 27%–29% of the total population, while the Lebanese Druze constitute 5% of the population. 
  • The Lebanese government considers the Druze community as one of the five Lebanese Muslim communities (Sunni, Shia, Druze, Alawi, and Ismaili), yet most Druze do not identify as Muslims and do not accept the five pillars of Islam.
  • Lebanon’s Muslims are considerably more secular in their outlook than Muslims in other countries.
  • Although Lebanese Muslims consider Islam an important part of their lives, they place less emphasis on their faith than do Muslims elsewhere. In the six predominantly Islamic countries surveyed, Lebanese Muslims are the least likely to say religion is very important in their life.
  • Muslims in Lebanon are also less likely to identify primarily with their religion, rather than with their country, with equal numbers saying they think of themselves first as Muslim (30%) and saying they identify primarily as Lebanese (30%). Elsewhere, majorities or pluralities of Muslims identify more strongly with Islam than with their nationality.
  • Moreover, Lebanese Muslims are less concerned about the global role of Islam — just under half (47%) say it is very important for Islam to play a more important and influential role on the world stage. 

PRAY
for Lebanese Arabic Muslims in the GTA

  • Ask God to raise up GTA Jesus followers to meet and pray for Lebanese Arab Muslims, read the Bible with them, and share meals together.
  • Ask God to bring at least one gospel-centered Christian friend into the life of each GTA Lebanese Arab Muslim’s life and find ways to serve them.
  • Pray that GTA believers who have any training in evangelism to Muslims (e.g. Al Massira, Bridges, Engaging the Nations booklet, etc.) will be burdened to reach out to GTA Lebanese Arabs.
  • Pray for Lebanese Arab Muslims to have visions and dreams of Jesus that lead to salvation.

Resources

Urban Reach Assisting Churches is a peoples group website that seeks to provide an accessible online portal for receiving and sharing tools, information, expertise, and resources related to engaging and embracing the diverse peoples of Canada.
Click the Ureach Toronto Logo for more resources on Lebanese Arabic Muslims.
Prayercast is a website dedicated to activating prayer around the world.
For prayer resources on Lebanese Arabic Muslim peoples, click the Prayercast logo.

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