Lebanon is a religiously diverse country, with 18 officially recognized religious groups. One of the minority groups are the Druze, estimated to have a population just under 200,000, but an official census has not been conducted in Lebanon since 1932.

With Lebanon's current population roughly estimated to be around 5.85 million (including 1.2 to 2 million Syrian refugees), Lebanese Druze can be estimated to represent less than 5 percent of the population. 

Druze also have significant communities in Syria, Palestine and Jordan, as well as among the Arab diaspora scattered throughout the Americas and Europe.

Nonetheless, the group's historic and continued political prominence positions them ever prominently in the national consciousness. Notably, high profile human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney comes from a Lebanese Druze family on her father's side. 

But despite the group's prominence, there are definitely some misconceptions and stereotypes. We talked to several young Lebanese Druze to find out what it's like growing up as part of the religious minority and what misconceptions people have.

Amal Alamuddin Clooney comes from a Lebanese Druze family

On how they're viewed in Lebanon

"Many consider Druze as a completely different religion, with a completely different idea on God. Some do not even know that it is also a monotheistic religion." 

– Tarek Nassreddine, 24 years old

"There was one thing that made me feel different and that was the lack of knowledge about my own religion." 

– Anonymous male, 22 years old 

"People don't really treat Druze differently but they always look at this community as if it's mysterious. It's always fun to see the reactions of people when they know you're Druze, some people are chill about it others get super curious and start asking the most random questions even thinking that we come from a different planet." 

– Venus Kaassamani, 23 years old

"Many people would make fun of Druze people because they see us as non-religious people ... because we don’t fast, or pray much, and the majority [of us] drink alcohol," 

– Anonymous female, 26 years old 

"I have close friends of different religions and most of them treat me the same as they would treat their friends of the same religion and even better." 

– Anonymous female, 22 years old 

"They don't treat you differently, but they look at you in a different way. Especially for people who tend to hang up on such things. Religion's kind of a big thing in Lebanon, not all the time. But in those critical moments when it comes up in conversation, you feel like it's coming towards you." 

– Anonymous male, 25 years old 

On questions they're sick of hearing

"I get asked these questions a lot:

1. Oh, so you drink matte? (No. And not all Druze like it!) 

2. How come you do not use the letter ق (qaf) when you're talking? (Because not all of us talk this way, and it's more of a mountain thing than a Druze thing.) 

3. You're Druze, so you believe in reincarnation and the after life? (Well, yes and so do some around the world. It has [even] become a scientific theory that is yet to be proven.) 

4. Oh, so you do not marry anyone who is not Druze, right? (Well I don't know about the rest of us, but to me I'd have to say, yes it is true. I mean I don't think this applies on all of us, but I think the majority of us do agree.)" 

– Anonymous female, 22 years old 

"Can I get a copy of your mysterious holy book?  Why don't you guys eat mloukhiye? Do you all cut off organs? (True Story)." 

– Venus Kaassamani, 23 years old

"How do you pray? Is it true that you can't learn anything about your religion before you're 40?"  

– Tarek Nassreddine, 24 years old 

"Do you drink? How can someone be religious and drink? What happen if you don’t find a nice Druze guy? You will die alone? 

I met a Druze guy, and you are Druze too, that’s enough, I think you can start a relationship! Do you want me to introduce you?" 

– Anonymous female, 26 years old 

On misconceptions

"The only thing that I don't like is that most of the people I meet think that Druze are closed minded, while they're not. At least the majority aren't. We're very intellectual. And the reason why Druze don't open up about their beliefs is because they don't want people to misinterpret their thoughts." 

– Venus Kaassamani, 23 years old

"This one time, one of my friends in class [in school], they were talking about religion, and he was actually a good friend and he said: "Oh we always hear that Druze are like, really bad people."

But he used the word najis [impure], the word Muslims use for describing dogs as unclean. And everybody in the class turned their heads, as if to see what I would say." 

– Anonymous male, 25 years old

"About the stereotypes, some people said to me: 'Don’t you think you guys feel superior because it is not possible to convert?'  

Man, of course there are many arrogant Druze that feel superior ... but this is not exclusive to this religion. I mean, I think all the religions have people who feel proud of their religion and see themselves as superior. 

Everyone thinks that their God is the right one."

– Anonymous female, 26 years old 

"Some think that Druze are practically atheists [and that] they know nothing about their religion and do not pray. 

Religious Druze are very committed to their beliefs and prayers. If a person is not fully committed, then there is no point to pretend ... unlike some other people who do not comply throughout the year but become fully committed at some point." 

– Anonymous female, 22 years old 

On what they like about being Druze

"What I'd say is that being Druze is very fun, because you can't really expect what people think about you or your beliefs."

– Venus Kaassamani, 23 years old 

"I like tradition and history, but honestly the fact that you cannot convert is something that I don’t get. I am happy to see that the new generation is becoming more open about this." 

– Anonymous female, 26 years old