|approx. 450 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Iran||700,000 - 2,000,000|
|Predominantly Islam; largest minority: Christianity; other religions|
The Arabs (Arabic: العرب ʻarab) are an ethnic group widespread in the Middle East and North Africa. Arabic is one of the Semitic languages, which is also the name of the ethnic family which they belong to.
Who is an Arab[change | change source]
There are three points which decide whether someone is considered Arab or not:
- Political: whether they live in a country which is a member of the Arab League (or the Arab World); this definition covers more than 450 million people.
- Linguistic: whether their main language is Arabic; this definition covers more than 423 million people.
- Genealogical: whether they can trace their ancestry back to the people who first lived on the Arabian Peninsula.
Minorities are the Iraqi Turkmens in some Arab countries. The Iraqi Turkmen people are often considered Arab, but they are an Turkic people ethnic group with their own language and culture. The same goes for Berbers and Bedouins.
There are many people who can be called Arabs by these points, but who do not think of themselves as Arab. Examples include modern Egyptians (Coptics) and the Syriacs (Aramaics/Assyrians). Although they live in countries like Syria or Egypt which is part of the Arab League and speak the official language-Arabic, they are different cultural groups. They have their own languages, culture, identity and churches, such as the Coptic Church and the Syriac Catholic and Orthodox churches. Even though many have assimilated to Arab society, they have their own heritage that spans 3,000 years.
Traditional genealogy[change | change source]
In Islamic and Jewish tradition, Arabs are a Semitic people from the Ishmaelites, who trace their ancestry from Ishmael, a son of the ancient patriarch Abraham and Hagar and of the sons from Abhraham and his Wife Keturah. Medieval Arab genealogists separate the Arabs into two groups: the "original Arabs" (Bedouin) of South Arabia, descending from Qahtan (identified with the biblical Joktan) and the "Arabized Arabs" (musta`ribah) of North Arabia (The Levant), descending from Adnan who is descended from Ishmael.
Religion[change | change source]
Most Arabs today follow the religion of Islam, whose greatest prophet is Muhammad. Christianity makes up the largest religious minority - most of the Christians that do consider themselves Arabs belong to the Greek Orthodox Church with smaller numbers of Roman Catholics.
While Coptic and Maronite Catholic Christians are native Arabic-speakers, many reject the Arab pan-ethnicity, but are still considered Arab by outsider sources.
References[change | change source]
- "Arabic Language - ninemsn Encarta". Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- "Brazil - Brasil - BRAZZIL - News from Brazil - Arabs: They are 12 Million in Brazil - Brazilian Immigration - September 2004". www.brazzil.com. Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- By (2008-01-29). "French-Arabs battle stereotypes - Entertainment News, French Cinema, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- "Inmigración sirio-libanesa en Argentina". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- "Our History". Arab American Institute. Archived from the original on 2010-05-10.
- Iran, CIA factbook (1% Arabic-speakers and 3% ethnic Arabs)Archived 2012-02-03 at the Wayback Machine
- The World Factbook World Factbook website Archived 2013-05-10 at the Wayback Machine
- "Mexico". www.worldstatesmen.org.
- Serge D. Elie, "Hadiboh: From Peripheral Village to Emerging City", Chroniques Yéménites: "In the middle, were the Arabs who originated from different parts of the mainland (e.g., prominent Mahrî tribes10, and individuals from Hadramawt, and Aden)". Footnote 10: "Their neighbours in the West scarcely regarded them as Arabs, though they themselves consider they are of the pure stock of Himyar.”  Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
- "Most Spoken Languages In the World". Archived from the original on 2016-03-26.
- Belge, Ceren; Karakoç, Ekrem (2015). "Minorities in the Middle East: Ethnicity, Religion, and Support for Authoritarianism". Political Research Quarterly. 68 (2): 280–292. doi:10.1177/1065912915580627. JSTOR 24371832. S2CID 154397743.
- The Coptic language survives only in certain religious rituals; it is not now spoken by Coptic Christians.
Other websites[change | change source]
- A is for Arabs: What the world owes Arabs and Muslims Archived 2005-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
- Maps of the Arab World Archived 2005-08-28 at the Wayback Machine
- News from Arabic countries
- Business news from Arab countries
- Arabia in ancient history - with a discussion of the ancient usage of the word Arab
- Araboo.com - Arab Guide
- Arabic Search Archived 2006-12-23 at the Wayback Machine - Arabic ThroughSearch