Arabic culture

Arabic culture

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Encyclopedia
Arab culture refers to the culture in Arab countries of West Asia and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, from Morocco to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. Language, literature, gastronomy, art, architecture, music, spirituality, philosophy, mysticism (etc.) are all part of the cultural heritage of the pan-Arab world.

Language


The Arabic language is the largest member of the Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 branch of the Afro-Asiatic
Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afroasiatic languages , also known as Hamito-Semitic, constitute one of the world's largest language families, with about 375 living languages...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 and Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

. It is spoken throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Arabic has been a literary language
Literary language
A literary language is a register of a language that is used in literary writing. This may also include liturgical writing. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others...

 since at least the 6th century and is the liturgical language of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, in addition to widespread use as a vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 language. Arabic is spoken in a variety of dialects. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the language of the media and of educated Arabs, is different from the everyday spoken Arabic.

Islam


It is sometimes difficult to translate Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic concepts, and concepts specific to Arab culture at the beginning, without using the original Arabic terminology. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 is written in Arabic, and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s traditionally deem it impossible to translate in a way that adequately expresses its exact meaning; until recently, some schools of thought maintained that it should not be translated at all. A list of Islamic terms in Arabic covers those terms which are too specific to translate in one phrase. While Arabic is strongly associated with Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (and is the language of salah), it is also spoken by Arab Christians
Arab Christians
Arab Christians are ethnic Arabs of Christian faith, sometimes also including those, who are identified with Arab panethnicity. They are the remnants of ancient Arab Christian clans or Arabized Christians. Many of the modern Arab Christians are descendants of pre-Islamic Christian Arabian tribes,...

, Oriental Mizrahi Jews, and smaller sects such as Iraqi Mandaeans
Mandaeism
Mandaeism or Mandaeanism is a Gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist...

.

Most of the world's Muslims do not speak Arabic, but only know some fixed phrases of the language, such as those used in Islamic prayer. However, learning Arabic is an essential part of the curriculum for anyone attempting to become an Islamic religious scholar.


Religions


Before the coming of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 most Arabs followed a religion featuring the worship of a number of deities, including Hubal
Hubal
Hubal was a god worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia, notably at the Kaaba in Mecca.-Hubal in Mecca:Hubal most prominently appears at Mecca, where an image of his was worshipped at the Kaaba. According to Karen Armstrong, the sanctuary was dedicated to Hubal, who was worshipped as the greatest of the...

, Wadd
Wadd
Wadd "Love, Friendship", known variously as Ilumquh, ʻAmm and Sīn, was the Minaean moon god. Snakes were believed to be sacred to Wadd. He is mentioned in the Qur'ān as a deity of the time of the Prophet Noah....

, Al-Lat
Allāt
' or ' was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca. She is mentioned in the Qur'an , which indicates that pre-Islamic Arabs considered her as one of the daughters of Allah along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá....

, Manat
Manat
Manat may refer to* Azerbaijani manat, unit of currency in Azerbaijan* Turkmenistani manat, unit of currency in Turkmenistan* The designation of the Soviet ruble in both Azerbaijani and Turkmen* Manāt, the goddess of fate and destiny in pre-Islamic Arabia...

, and Uzza
Uzza
Al-Uzzá was one of the three chief goddesses of Arabian religion in pre-Islamic times and was worshiped as one of the daughters of Allah by the pre-Islamic arabs along with Allāt and Manāt. Al-‘Uzzá was also worshipped by the Nabataeans, who equated her with the Greek goddess Aphrodite Ourania...

, while some tribes had converted to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. It has been called the foundational experience of Christian life...

 or Judaism, and a few individuals, the hanif
Hanif
Hanif is a term that refers to those who maintain the pure monothestic Muslim beliefs of the patriarch Ibrahim. More specifically, in Islamic thought it refers to the people during the period known as the Age of Ignorance, who were seen to have rejected idolatry and retained some or all of the...

s
, had apparently rejected polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

 in favor of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

. The most prominent Arab Christian kingdoms were the Ghassanid and Lakhmid kingdoms. With the expansion of Islam, the majority of Arabs rapidly entered into Islam and became Muslims, and the pre-Islamic polytheistic traditions disappeared.

At present, most Arabs are Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s by religion. Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 dominates in most areas, overwhelmingly so in North Africa; Shia Islam is prevalent in Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, southern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and adjacent parts of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, southern Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, parts of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, northern Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Ibadi
Ibadi
The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar...

 are primarily in Oman and are also present in Algeria and Libya. There are some religious minorities like the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, Ismaaili Shia and other offshoots of Islam.

Reliable estimates of the number of Arab Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, which in any case depends on the definition of "Arab" used, vary. According to Fargues 1998, "Today Christians only make up 9.2% of the population of the Near East". In Lebanon they now number about 39% of the population, in Syria they make up about 10 to 15%, in the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 the figure is 3.8%, and in Israel Arab Christians constitute 2.1% (or roughly 10% of the Israeli Arab population). In Egypt, they constitute 5.9% of the population, and in Iraq they presumably comprise 2.9% of the populace. Most North
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n Arabs (about two-thirds) are Arab Christians
Arab Christians
Arab Christians are ethnic Arabs of Christian faith, sometimes also including those, who are identified with Arab panethnicity. They are the remnants of ancient Arab Christian clans or Arabized Christians. Many of the modern Arab Christians are descendants of pre-Islamic Christian Arabian tribes,...

, particularly from Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

.

Jews from Arab countries—mainly Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, , also referred to as Adot HaMizrach are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus...

 and Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen . Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet...

—are today usually not categorised as Arab. Sociologist Philip Mendes asserts that before the anti-Jewish actions of the 1930s and 1940s, overall Iraqi Jews
History of the Jews in Iraq
The history of the Jews in Iraq is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BCE. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities....

 "viewed themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith, rather than as a separate race or nationality". Prior to the emergence of the term Mizrahi, the term "Arab Jews
Arab Jews
Arab Jews is a term referring to Jews living in the Arab World, or Jews descended from such persons.The term was occasionally used in the early 20th century, mainly by Arab nationalists, to describe the 1 million Jews living in the Arab world at the time...

" (Yehudim ‘Áravim, יהודים ערבים) was sometimes used to describe Jews of the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

; the term is rarely used today. The few remaining Jews in the Arab countries reside mostly in Morocco and Tunisia. Between the late 1940s and early 1960s, following the creation of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, most of these Jews left or were expelled from their countries of birth and are now mostly concentrated in Israel. Some also immigrated to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (where they form the largest Jewish community, outnumbering European Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

) (see Jewish exodus from Arab lands
Jewish exodus from Arab lands
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

).

Islam


Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: ) is a monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 based upon the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, which Muslims believe was sent by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 through Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, as well as teachings of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 recorded in the Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. Followers of Islam, known as Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s (Arabic: ), believe Muhammad to have been God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

's (Arabic:
{{Arab culture}}
Arab culture refers to the culture in Arab countries of West Asia and
North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, from Morocco to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. Language, literature, gastronomy, art, architecture, music, spirituality, philosophy, mysticism (etc.) are all part of the cultural heritage of the pan-Arab world.

Language


{{Main|Arabic language}}

The Arabic language is the largest member of the Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 branch of the Afro-Asiatic
Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afroasiatic languages , also known as Hamito-Semitic, constitute one of the world's largest language families, with about 375 living languages...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 and Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

. It is spoken throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Arabic has been a literary language
Literary language
A literary language is a register of a language that is used in literary writing. This may also include liturgical writing. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others...

 since at least the 6th century and is the liturgical language of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, in addition to widespread use as a vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 language. Arabic is spoken in a variety of dialects. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the language of the media and of educated Arabs, is different from the everyday spoken Arabic.

Islam


It is sometimes difficult to translate Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic concepts, and concepts specific to Arab culture at the beginning, without using the original Arabic terminology. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 is written in Arabic, and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s traditionally deem it impossible to translate in a way that adequately expresses its exact meaning; until recently,{{when|date=November 2011}} some schools of thought maintained that it should not be translated at all. A list of Islamic terms in Arabic covers those terms which are too specific to translate in one phrase. While Arabic is strongly associated with Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (and is the language of salah), it is also spoken by Arab Christians
Arab Christians
Arab Christians are ethnic Arabs of Christian faith, sometimes also including those, who are identified with Arab panethnicity. They are the remnants of ancient Arab Christian clans or Arabized Christians. Many of the modern Arab Christians are descendants of pre-Islamic Christian Arabian tribes,...

, Oriental Mizrahi Jews, and smaller sects such as Iraqi Mandaeans
Mandaeism
Mandaeism or Mandaeanism is a Gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist...

.

Most of the world's Muslims do not speak Arabic, but only know some fixed phrases of the language, such as those used in Islamic prayer. However, learning Arabic is an essential part of the curriculum for anyone attempting to become an Islamic religious scholar.


Religions


Before the coming of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 most Arabs followed a religion featuring the worship of a number of deities, including Hubal
Hubal
Hubal was a god worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia, notably at the Kaaba in Mecca.-Hubal in Mecca:Hubal most prominently appears at Mecca, where an image of his was worshipped at the Kaaba. According to Karen Armstrong, the sanctuary was dedicated to Hubal, who was worshipped as the greatest of the...

, Wadd
Wadd
Wadd "Love, Friendship", known variously as Ilumquh, ʻAmm and Sīn, was the Minaean moon god. Snakes were believed to be sacred to Wadd. He is mentioned in the Qur'ān as a deity of the time of the Prophet Noah....

, Al-Lat
Allāt
' or ' was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca. She is mentioned in the Qur'an , which indicates that pre-Islamic Arabs considered her as one of the daughters of Allah along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá....

, Manat
Manat
Manat may refer to* Azerbaijani manat, unit of currency in Azerbaijan* Turkmenistani manat, unit of currency in Turkmenistan* The designation of the Soviet ruble in both Azerbaijani and Turkmen* Manāt, the goddess of fate and destiny in pre-Islamic Arabia...

, and Uzza
Uzza
Al-Uzzá was one of the three chief goddesses of Arabian religion in pre-Islamic times and was worshiped as one of the daughters of Allah by the pre-Islamic arabs along with Allāt and Manāt. Al-‘Uzzá was also worshipped by the Nabataeans, who equated her with the Greek goddess Aphrodite Ourania...

, while some tribes had converted to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. It has been called the foundational experience of Christian life...

 or Judaism, and a few individuals, the hanif
Hanif
Hanif is a term that refers to those who maintain the pure monothestic Muslim beliefs of the patriarch Ibrahim. More specifically, in Islamic thought it refers to the people during the period known as the Age of Ignorance, who were seen to have rejected idolatry and retained some or all of the...

s
, had apparently rejected polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

 in favor of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

. The most prominent Arab Christian kingdoms were the Ghassanid and Lakhmid kingdoms. With the expansion of Islam, the majority of Arabs rapidly entered into Islam and became Muslims, and the pre-Islamic polytheistic traditions disappeared.

At present, most Arabs are Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s by religion. Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 dominates in most areas, overwhelmingly so in North Africa; Shia Islam is prevalent in Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, southern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and adjacent parts of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, southern Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, parts of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, northern Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Ibadi
Ibadi
The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar...

 are primarily in Oman and are also present in Algeria and Libya. There are some religious minorities like the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, Ismaaili Shia and other offshoots of Islam.

Reliable estimates of the number of Arab Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, which in any case depends on the definition of "Arab" used, vary. According to Fargues 1998, "Today Christians only make up 9.2% of the population of the Near East". In Lebanon they now number about 39% of the population, in Syria they make up about 10 to 15%, in the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 the figure is 3.8%, and in Israel Arab Christians constitute 2.1% (or roughly 10% of the Israeli Arab population). In Egypt, they constitute 5.9% of the population, and in Iraq they presumably comprise 2.9% of the populace. Most North
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n Arabs (about two-thirds) are Arab Christians
Arab Christians
Arab Christians are ethnic Arabs of Christian faith, sometimes also including those, who are identified with Arab panethnicity. They are the remnants of ancient Arab Christian clans or Arabized Christians. Many of the modern Arab Christians are descendants of pre-Islamic Christian Arabian tribes,...

, particularly from Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

.

Jews from Arab countries—mainly Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, , also referred to as Adot HaMizrach are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus...

 and Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen . Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet...

—are today usually not categorised as Arab. Sociologist Philip Mendes asserts that before the anti-Jewish actions of the 1930s and 1940s, overall Iraqi Jews
History of the Jews in Iraq
The history of the Jews in Iraq is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BCE. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities....

 "viewed themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith, rather than as a separate race or nationality". Prior to the emergence of the term Mizrahi, the term "Arab Jews
Arab Jews
Arab Jews is a term referring to Jews living in the Arab World, or Jews descended from such persons.The term was occasionally used in the early 20th century, mainly by Arab nationalists, to describe the 1 million Jews living in the Arab world at the time...

" (Yehudim ‘Áravim, יהודים ערבים) was sometimes used to describe Jews of the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

; the term is rarely used today. The few remaining Jews in the Arab countries reside mostly in Morocco and Tunisia. Between the late 1940s and early 1960s, following the creation of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, most of these Jews left or were expelled from their countries of birth and are now mostly concentrated in Israel. Some also immigrated to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (where they form the largest Jewish community, outnumbering European Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

) (see Jewish exodus from Arab lands
Jewish exodus from Arab lands
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

).

Islam


Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: {{Audio|ar-al_islam.ogg|الإسلام; al-islām}}) is a monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 based upon the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, which Muslims believe was sent by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 through Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, as well as teachings of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 recorded in the Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. Followers of Islam, known as Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s (Arabic: {{lang|ar|مسلم}}), believe Muhammad to have been God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

's (Arabic:
{{Arab culture}}
Arab culture refers to the culture in Arab countries of West Asia and
North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, from Morocco to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. Language, literature, gastronomy, art, architecture, music, spirituality, philosophy, mysticism (etc.) are all part of the cultural heritage of the pan-Arab world.

Language


{{Main|Arabic language}}

The Arabic language is the largest member of the Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 branch of the Afro-Asiatic
Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afroasiatic languages , also known as Hamito-Semitic, constitute one of the world's largest language families, with about 375 living languages...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

 (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 and Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

. It is spoken throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Arabic has been a literary language
Literary language
A literary language is a register of a language that is used in literary writing. This may also include liturgical writing. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others...

 since at least the 6th century and is the liturgical language of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, in addition to widespread use as a vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 language. Arabic is spoken in a variety of dialects. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the language of the media and of educated Arabs, is different from the everyday spoken Arabic.

Islam


It is sometimes difficult to translate Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic concepts, and concepts specific to Arab culture at the beginning, without using the original Arabic terminology. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 is written in Arabic, and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s traditionally deem it impossible to translate in a way that adequately expresses its exact meaning; until recently,{{when|date=November 2011}} some schools of thought maintained that it should not be translated at all. A list of Islamic terms in Arabic covers those terms which are too specific to translate in one phrase. While Arabic is strongly associated with Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (and is the language of salah), it is also spoken by Arab Christians
Arab Christians
Arab Christians are ethnic Arabs of Christian faith, sometimes also including those, who are identified with Arab panethnicity. They are the remnants of ancient Arab Christian clans or Arabized Christians. Many of the modern Arab Christians are descendants of pre-Islamic Christian Arabian tribes,...

, Oriental Mizrahi Jews, and smaller sects such as Iraqi Mandaeans
Mandaeism
Mandaeism or Mandaeanism is a Gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist...

.

Most of the world's Muslims do not speak Arabic, but only know some fixed phrases of the language, such as those used in Islamic prayer. However, learning Arabic is an essential part of the curriculum for anyone attempting to become an Islamic religious scholar.


Religions


Before the coming of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 most Arabs followed a religion featuring the worship of a number of deities, including Hubal
Hubal
Hubal was a god worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia, notably at the Kaaba in Mecca.-Hubal in Mecca:Hubal most prominently appears at Mecca, where an image of his was worshipped at the Kaaba. According to Karen Armstrong, the sanctuary was dedicated to Hubal, who was worshipped as the greatest of the...

, Wadd
Wadd
Wadd "Love, Friendship", known variously as Ilumquh, ʻAmm and Sīn, was the Minaean moon god. Snakes were believed to be sacred to Wadd. He is mentioned in the Qur'ān as a deity of the time of the Prophet Noah....

, Al-Lat
Allāt
' or ' was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca. She is mentioned in the Qur'an , which indicates that pre-Islamic Arabs considered her as one of the daughters of Allah along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá....

, Manat
Manat
Manat may refer to* Azerbaijani manat, unit of currency in Azerbaijan* Turkmenistani manat, unit of currency in Turkmenistan* The designation of the Soviet ruble in both Azerbaijani and Turkmen* Manāt, the goddess of fate and destiny in pre-Islamic Arabia...

, and Uzza
Uzza
Al-Uzzá was one of the three chief goddesses of Arabian religion in pre-Islamic times and was worshiped as one of the daughters of Allah by the pre-Islamic arabs along with Allāt and Manāt. Al-‘Uzzá was also worshipped by the Nabataeans, who equated her with the Greek goddess Aphrodite Ourania...

, while some tribes had converted to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity
Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. It has been called the foundational experience of Christian life...

 or Judaism, and a few individuals, the hanif
Hanif
Hanif is a term that refers to those who maintain the pure monothestic Muslim beliefs of the patriarch Ibrahim. More specifically, in Islamic thought it refers to the people during the period known as the Age of Ignorance, who were seen to have rejected idolatry and retained some or all of the...

s
, had apparently rejected polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

 in favor of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

. The most prominent Arab Christian kingdoms were the Ghassanid and Lakhmid kingdoms. With the expansion of Islam, the majority of Arabs rapidly entered into Islam and became Muslims, and the pre-Islamic polytheistic traditions disappeared.

At present, most Arabs are Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s by religion. Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 dominates in most areas, overwhelmingly so in North Africa; Shia Islam is prevalent in Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, southern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and adjacent parts of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, southern Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, parts of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, northern Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Ibadi
Ibadi
The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar...

 are primarily in Oman and are also present in Algeria and Libya. There are some religious minorities like the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, Ismaaili Shia and other offshoots of Islam.

Reliable estimates of the number of Arab Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, which in any case depends on the definition of "Arab" used, vary. According to Fargues 1998, "Today Christians only make up 9.2% of the population of the Near East". In Lebanon they now number about 39% of the population, in Syria they make up about 10 to 15%, in the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 the figure is 3.8%, and in Israel Arab Christians constitute 2.1% (or roughly 10% of the Israeli Arab population). In Egypt, they constitute 5.9% of the population, and in Iraq they presumably comprise 2.9% of the populace. Most North
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n Arabs (about two-thirds) are Arab Christians
Arab Christians
Arab Christians are ethnic Arabs of Christian faith, sometimes also including those, who are identified with Arab panethnicity. They are the remnants of ancient Arab Christian clans or Arabized Christians. Many of the modern Arab Christians are descendants of pre-Islamic Christian Arabian tribes,...

, particularly from Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

.

Jews from Arab countries—mainly Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, , also referred to as Adot HaMizrach are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus...

 and Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen . Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet...

—are today usually not categorised as Arab. Sociologist Philip Mendes asserts that before the anti-Jewish actions of the 1930s and 1940s, overall Iraqi Jews
History of the Jews in Iraq
The history of the Jews in Iraq is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BCE. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities....

 "viewed themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith, rather than as a separate race or nationality". Prior to the emergence of the term Mizrahi, the term "Arab Jews
Arab Jews
Arab Jews is a term referring to Jews living in the Arab World, or Jews descended from such persons.The term was occasionally used in the early 20th century, mainly by Arab nationalists, to describe the 1 million Jews living in the Arab world at the time...

" (Yehudim ‘Áravim, יהודים ערבים) was sometimes used to describe Jews of the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

; the term is rarely used today. The few remaining Jews in the Arab countries reside mostly in Morocco and Tunisia. Between the late 1940s and early 1960s, following the creation of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, most of these Jews left or were expelled from their countries of birth and are now mostly concentrated in Israel. Some also immigrated to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (where they form the largest Jewish community, outnumbering European Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

) (see Jewish exodus from Arab lands
Jewish exodus from Arab lands
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

).

Islam


Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: {{Audio|ar-al_islam.ogg|الإسلام; al-islām}}) is a monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 based upon the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, which Muslims believe was sent by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 through Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, as well as teachings of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 recorded in the Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. Followers of Islam, known as Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s (Arabic: {{lang|ar|مسلم}}), believe Muhammad to have been God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

's (Arabic: {{transl
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

) final prophet.

With a total of approximately 1.2–1.3 billion adherents, Islam is the second-largest religion
Major religious groups
The world's principal religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups, although this is by no means a uniform practice...

 in the world, and is considered to be one of the fastest-growing religions. Like both Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Islam is considered to be an Abrahamic religion.

Islam began in Arabia in the 7th century. Under the leadership of Muhammad and his successors, Islam rapidly spread by religious conversion and military conquest. Today there are followers of Islam throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

Literature


{{main|Arabic literature}}

Arabic literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

 is the writing produced, both prose
Prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

 and poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

, by speakers of the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. It does not include works written using the Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

 but not in the Arabic language such as Persian
Persian literature
Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

 and Urdu literature
Urdu literature
Urdu literature has a long and colorful history that is inextricably tied to the development of that very language, Urdu, in which it is written...

. The Arabic word used for literature is adab
Adab
Adab or Udab was an ancient Sumerian city between Telloh and Nippur. It was located at the site of modern Bismaya or Bismya in the Wasit Governorate of Iraq.-History:...

which is derived from a word meaning "to invite someone for a meal" and implies politeness, culture and enrichment. Arabic literature emerged in the 6th century, with only fragments of the written language appearing before then. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, from the 7th century, had the greatest and longest-lasting lasting effect on Arabic culture and literature. Al-Khansa
Al-Khansa
Tumāḍir bint ʿAmr ibn al-Ḥarth ibn al-Sharīd al-Sulamīyah , usually simply referred to as al-Khansā’ was a 7th century Arabic poet. She was born and raised in the Najd region...

, a female contemporary of Muhammad, was an acclaimed Arab poet.

Mu'allaqat


{{Main| Muallaqat}}
The Mu'allaqat
Mu'allaqat
The Mu‘allaqāt is the title of a group of seven long Arabic poems or qasida that have come down from the time before Islam. Each is considered the best work of these pre-Islamic poets...

 (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: المعلقات, al-muʕallaqaːt) is the name given to a series of seven Arabic poems or qasida
Qasida
The qaṣīdaᵗ , in Arabic: قصيدة, plural qasā'id, قــصــائـد; in Persian: قصیده , is a form of lyric poetry that originated in preIslamic Arabia...

 that originated before the time of Islam. Each poem in the set has a different author, and is considered to be their best work. Mu'allaqat means "The Suspended Odes" or "The Hanging Poems," and comes from the poems being hung on the wall in the Kaaba at Mecca.

The seven authors, who span a period of around 100 years, are Imru' al-Qais
Imru' al-Qais
Imru` al-Qais bin Hujr al-Kindi was an Arabian poet in the 6th century AD, and also the son of one of the last Kindite kings. His qaseeda, or long poem, "Let us stop and weep" is one of the seven Mu'allaqat, poems prized as the best examples of pre-Islamic Arabian verse...

, Tarafa
Tarafa
Tarafa , was a 6th century Arabian poet of the tribe of the Bakr.After a wild and dissipated youth spent in Bahrain, left his native land after peace had been established between the tribes of Bakr and Taghlib and went with his uncle Al-Mutalammis to the court of the king of Hira, 'Amr ibn-Hind ,...

, Zuhayr
Zuhayr
Zuhayr , was a pre-Islamic Arabian poet who lived in the 6th century AD. He is considered one of the greatest writer of Arabic poetry in pre-Islamic times. Zuhayr belonged to the Muzaynah tribe. His father was a poet...

, Labīd
Labid
Labid can either refer to*Labīd, the Arabian poet*Labid, a brand name for theophylline...

, 'Antara Ibn Shaddad, 'Amr ibn Kulthum, and Harith ibn Hilliza. All of the Mu’allaqats contain stories from the authors’ lives and tribe politics. This is because poetry was used in pre-Islamic time to advertise the strength of a tribe’s king, wealth and people.

One Thousand and One Nights (Persian: هزار و یک شب) is a medieval folk tale collection which tells the story of Scheherazade (in Persian: Šahrzād شهرزاد), a Sassanid queen who must relate a series of stories to her malevolent husband, King Shahryar (Šahryār), to delay her execution. The stories are told over a period of one thousand and one nights, and every night she ends the story with a suspenseful situation, forcing the King to keep her alive for another day. The individual stories were created over several centuries, by many people from a number of different lands.

The nucleus of the collection is formed by a Pahlavi Sassanid Persian book called Hazār Afsānah[9] (Thousand Myths, in Persian: هزار افسانه), a collection of ancient Indian and Persian folk tales.

During the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid in the 8th century, Baghdad had become an important cosmopolitan city. Merchants from Persia, China, India, Africa, and Europe were all found in Baghdad. During this time, many of the stories that were originally folk stories are thought to have been collected orally over many years and later compiled into a single book. The compiler and ninth-century translator into Arabic is reputedly the storyteller Abu Abd-Allah Muhammad el-Gahshigar. The frame story of Shahrzad seems to have been added in the 14th century.

Qur'an and Islam



The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 had a significant influence on the Arabic language. The language used in the Qur'an is called classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

; modern Arabic has diverged from it slightly. Not only is the Qur'an the first work of any significant length written in the language, it also has a far more complicated structure than earlier literary works with its 114 sura
Sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

s (chapters) which contain 6,236 ayat (verses). It contains injunction
Injunction
An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that requires a party to do or refrain from doing certain acts. A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions...

s, narrative
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

s, homilies
Homily
A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a homily is usually given during Mass at the end of the Liturgy of the Word...

, parable
Parable
A parable is a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human...

s, direct addresses stated to be from God, instructions
Sebayt
Sebayt is the ancient Egyptian term for a genre of pharaonic literature. The word literally means 'teachings' or 'instructions' and refers to formally written ethical teachings focused on the "way of living truly"....

 and even comments on how it is itself to be received and understood. It also contains layers of metaphor and is clear, a feature it mentions itself in sura 16:103.

Although it contains elements of both prose and poetry, and therefore is closest to saj or rhymed prose, the Qur'an is regarded as entirely apart from these classifications. The text is believed to be divine revelation and is seen as being eternal or 'uncreated'. {{Reference necessary|This leads to the doctrine of i'jaz or inimitability of the Qur'an which implies that nobody can copy the work's style, nor should anybody try.|date=January 2011}}

There was a marked lack of significant poets until the 8th century. One notable exception was Hassan ibn Thabit
Hassan ibn Thabit
Hassan ibn Thabit was an Arabian poet and one of the Sahaba, or companions of Muhammad. He was born in Yathrib , and was member of the Banu Khazraj tribe. According to tradition, he was the court poet to Muhammad.-Life:...

 who wrote poems in praise of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 and was known as the "prophet's poet". The Qur'an is important to Arabic; it is the source of many ideas, allusions and quotes, and its moral message is repeated in many works.

Aside from the Qur'an, there is the hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

or tradition of what Muhammad is supposed to have said and done. The entire body of these acts and words are called sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

(way), and the ones regarded as sahih or genuine are collected into hadith. Some of the most significant collections of hadith include those by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj
Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj
Abul Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj ibn Muslim ibn Warat al-Qushayri al-Nisaburi was the author of the second authentic sahih collection of hadith in Sunni Islam, Sahih Muslim.-Biography:...

 and Muhammad ibn Isma'il al-Bukhari.

The other important genre of work in Qur'anic study is the
tafsir
Tafsir
Tafseer is the Arabic word for exegesis or commentary, usually of the Qur'an. Ta'wīl is a subset of tafsir and refers to esoteric or mystical interpretation. An author of tafsir is a mufassir .- Etymology :...

or commentaries
Close reading
Close reading describes, in literary criticism, the careful, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of text. Such a reading places great emphasis on the particular over the general, paying close attention to individual words, syntax, and the order in which sentences and ideas unfold as they...

 on the Qur'an. Arab writings relating to religion also include many sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s and devotional pieces as well as the sayings of Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 which were collected in the 10th century as
Nahj al-Balaghah or The Road to Eloquence.

Arab Media


{{Unreferenced section|date=May 2010}}
Prior to the Islamic Era, poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 was regarded as the main means of communication on the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

.{{Citation needed|date=April 2011}} It related the achievements of tribes and defeats of enemies and also served as a tool for propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

. After the arrival of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 other forms of communication replaced poetry as the primary form of communication. Imams (preachers) played a role in disseminating information and relating news from the authorities to the people. The suq or marketplace gossip and interpersonal relationships played an important role in the spreading of news, and this form of communication among Arabs continues today. Before the introduction of the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 Muslims obtained most of their news from the Imams at the Mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

, friends or in the marketplace. Colonial powers and Christian Missionaries in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 were responsible for the introduction of the printing press. It was not until the 19th century that the first newspapers began to appear, mainly in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, which had the most newspapers per capita.

During French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 rule in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in the time of Napoleon Bonaparte the first newspaper was published, in French. There is debate over when the first Arabic language newspaper was published; according to Arab scholar Abu Bakr, Al Tanbeeh (1800) published in Egypt and Junral Al Iraq (1816) in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 according to other researchers. In the mid-19th century the Turkish Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 dominated the first newspapers. In the Northern African countries of Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 and Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 the French colonial power built a press link between mainland countries.
The first newspapers were limited to official content and included accounts of relations with other countries and civil trials. In the following decades Arab media blossomed due to journalists mainly from Syria and Lebanon, who were intellectuals and published their newspapers without the intention of making a profit. Because of the restrictions by most governments, these intellectuals were forced to flee their respective countries but had gained a following and because of their popularity in this field of work other intellectuals began to take interest in the field.
The first émigré Arab newspaper, Mar’at al Ahwal, was published in Turkey in 1855 by Rizqallah Hassoun Al Halabi. It was criticized by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and shut down after only one year. Intellectuals in the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 soon realized the power of the press. Some countries' newspapers were government-run and had political agendas in mind. Independent newspapers began to spring up which expressed opinions and were a place for the public to out their views on the state. Illiteracy rates in the Arab world played a role in the formation of media, and due to the low reader rates newspapers were forced to get political parties to subsidize their publications, giving them input to editorial policy.

Freedoms that have branched through the introduction of the Internet in Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 are creating a stir politically, culturally, and socially. There is an increasing divide between the generations. The Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 is in conflict internally. The internet has brought economic prosperity and development, but Blog
Blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

gers have been incarcerated all around in the Middle East for their opinions and views on their regimes, the same consequence which was once given to those who publicly expressed themselves without anonymity. But the power of the internet has provided also a public shield for these bloggers since they have the ability to engage public sympathy on such a large scale.This is creating a dilemma that shakes the foundation of Arab culture, government, religious interpretation, economic prosperity, and personal integrity.

Language



Arabic language can be categorized into three categories, Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and Colloquial language. Classical Arabic, the language of Islam and of the Qur'an is solely used for religious purposes, yet it is kept alive through daily prayers and study of the Qur'an. Modern Standard Arabic, influenced by foreign languages as well as colloquial languages, is a contemporary version the classical language used by the media, and serves as a universal language for the Arab world. Each country or region in the Arab world has varying colloquial languages which are used for everyday speech, yet its presence in the media world is discouraged.

Dialects


Each country of the Arab world has its own unique dialect, or colloquial language
Colloquial language
Colloquial language, especially in philosophy of language, is natural language which, among other properties, uses colloquialisms. In the field of logical atomism, meaning is evaluated differently than with more formal propositions.-See also:...

. Although these vernaculars are the everyday spoken languages of the Arab people, they are not recognized as individual languages but rather dialects, proving communication between two different dialects impossible. Thus, vernaculars are seen as a threat to MSA and the classical language, as they differ in grammatical structure in addition to their contradictory nature towards the unifying effect MSA has on the Arab world. To protect the classical language from the vernacular, newspapers are required to have editors to review articles, ensuring a unified Arab character is established, something which can be destroyed by use of a vernacular.
Vernaculars are however present in certain forms of media including satires, dramas, music videos and other local programs. The influence of colloquial Arabic on MSA can be seen through newspaper headlines. MSA takes on the sentence structure of verb-subject-object, while colloquial language
Colloquial language
Colloquial language, especially in philosophy of language, is natural language which, among other properties, uses colloquialisms. In the field of logical atomism, meaning is evaluated differently than with more formal propositions.-See also:...

 retains the structure of subject-verb-object. The implementation of colloquial sentence structure is seen quite often in headlines, yet not in the articles themselves. Colloquial language also has a presence in soft news, including tabloids, satirical comments and cartoons. Politicians have also been known to incorporate colloquial phrases into their speeches in order to appear more appealing to the public.
Despite their daily use, Colloquial Arabic languages are seen as a force of corruption on the purity of the classical language as well as MSA.

Modern Standard Arabic


Prior to the establishment of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the Semitic language of classical Arabic was the only accepted language of the Islamic culture. Classical Arabic was used in the Qur'an and for other religious purposes, and was accessible only to religious and formally-educated men. Due to varying vernaculars amongst the different areas of the Islamic empire, there was a need for a standardization of the language. Prior to MSA, during the 19th century, the language of the media was stylized and resembled literary language of the time, proving to be ineffective in relaying information. Currently MSA is used by Arab media, including newspapers, books and some television stations, in addition to all formal writing. Although MSA is taught in schools throughout the Arab world, it is not a spoken language intended for everyday use; rendering the language as a diglossia
Diglossia
In linguistics, diglossia refers to a situation in which two dialects or languages are used by a single language community. In addition to the community's everyday or vernacular language variety , a second, highly codified variety is used in certain situations such as literature, formal...

, a linguistic term referring to a language containing two distinct versions pertaining to informal and formal occasions.

Religion


There are approximately 300 million Arabs in the world, with 290 million in the Arab world. The overwhelming majority of Arabs are Muslims. However, at least 5 percent of Arabs are non-Muslims. Since 1948, many Jewish Arabs emigrated to Israel, and many Christian and Jewish Arabs emigrated to the West. Arab Muslims constitute less than 25 percent of all Muslims in the world. In fact, nearly as many Muslims live in Indonesia (202 million), Pakistan (140 million) and Bangladesh (135 million) than in the entire world.
Today, Sunni Islam dominates in most areas, overwhelmingly so in North Africa. Shia Islam is dominant in southern Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. Christians make up 5.5% of the population of the Near East.

Differences across regions


The Arab world is typically divided into 4 separate regions including Al-Maghrib Al-Arabi
Maghrib
The Maghrib prayer , prayed just after sunset, is the fourth of five formal daily prayers performed by practicing Muslims.The formal daily prayers of Islam comprise different numbers of units, called rak'at. The Maghrib prayer has three obligatory rak'at. The first two fard rak'at are prayed...

 (consisting of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania), Al-Mashriq Al-Arabi
Mashriq
Mashriq or Mashreq is derived from the Arabic consonantal root sh-r-q relating to the east or the sunrise, and essentially means "east"...

 (consisting of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq) and the Arabian Peninsula (consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) and finally Al-Janoub Al-Arabi (consisting of Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Comoros, thought Chad and Eritrea are sometimes included.)
thought each of these regions have a distinct and unique culture, yet the difference between each others does not pass for a major cultural difference.

The Arab Culture is divided into three main parts, the Urban Culture (Al-Hadar), the Rural Culture (Al-Reef), and the Nomad Culture (Al-Badow). Typically, countries like Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Morocco are considered Rural Cultures, while Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Libya, Mauritania and Jordan are considered Badow (Bedouins), while finally the Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria are considered Urban, yet most of the Arab Major Cities are recognized with Urban Cultures, like Cairo, Rabat, Baghdad, Alexandria, Damascus, Marrakech, etc.

Dialects


One example of something that is very divisive to communication in the Arab World is the prevalence of dialects. Dialects of the Arabic language in the Middle East not only vary by region; they can even vary by country or even from city to city or village to village. In general, the dialects are more similar to other dialects in their regions than they are with dialects of people from other parts of the Arab world. The dialects not only change pronunciations but dialects can have different words or phrases for the same meaning depending on the region. For example, the phrase "how are you?" in Arabic translates to "ezayyik" in Egypt, "ishloonak" in Iraq and "keef haalak" in places like Bilad Ash-Sham and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

Topography is another aspect of life that contributes to lifestyle differences between people of these regions.

The area north of the Arabian Peninsula (Bilad Ash-Sham and Iraq) has a very vast topography but is known most famously for having the richest soil in the world especially in Iraq. This area is historically known as the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

. Because of its location between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and on the Mediterranean the farmland is very fertile and for most oh history inhabitants of this area have been known for their farming and agriculture. This has affected the lifestyle of the people in many ways. The people of Bilad Ash-Sham and Iraq have a special relationship with the land and the environment. They hold such high reverence for their land that some have said they protect their land as they protect their children. Land in the Middle East is very valuable and it is one of the most important family possessions so it is passed down from generation to generation. Farmers living in this area lead simple, relaxed lives and have great pride in their land.

North Africa’s location on the Mediterranean has allowed for trade with other Mediterranean countries. There are several port cities that connect Africa to Europe that are located in the North African region. The lives of individuals in these countries are more business oriented because of the more developed nature of these trade cities on the coast. This region is also abundant in rich farmland especially in Egypt near the Nile. The region is also known for its wealth of gold and oil and other natural resources. All of these things as well as ivory from the tusks of elephant are items that come from North Africa and are commonly traded along the Mediterranean.

The Arabian Peninsula is most well-known for its abundance of oil. This is the major connection of the Arab world to the western world. 75% of Saudi Arabia's economy is based on oil revenues. This is the main source of international trade in the Middle East. That along with the tourism to the city of Mecca for the Muslim pilgrimage has given the region the affluence to provide free health care and education for its citizens. This is the only region of the Middle East with the economic resources to provide such a service to citizens.

The Middle East is the home of the three Abrahamic religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. There are also important religions like Baha’i, Druze, Gnosticism, Yarsan, Shabak religion and Zoroastrianism that are practiced among minority populations throughout the Middle East. There are many religious centers for all of these religions in various parts of the Middle East. Though across most of the Middle East the majority of the population practices Islam in whatever form, about 10% of the population of the Middle East list their religion as Christians and an estimated 15 million Jews live in the Middle East.

Media Values


The Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 holds the same principles with their news generation as does the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, slight variations do exist between the two. Arab news values strictly revolve around political news putting the human interest stories to the side; the reverse is true for the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 news values. The other value Arab media embraces as important is their global perspective with regard to presentation and production. The global orientation of Arab media integrated with the need to educate their populations, establishes social responsibility
Social responsibility
Social responsibility is an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual or organization has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the...

 as one of the cornerstones of its media values.

Pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism




Nationalist notion of cultural and political unity among Arab countries. Its origins lie in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when increased literacy led to a cultural and literary renaissance among Arabs of the Middle East. This contributed to political agitation and led to the independence of most Arab states from the Ottoman Empire (1918) and from the European powers (by the mid-20th century).

Pan-Arabism is a movement that calls for unification among the peoples and countries of the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 to the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

, which asserts that the Arabs constitute a single nation. The idea was at its height during the 1960s. In theory, and depending on the ruler, Pan-Arabism has tended to be sometimes near secular (in theory) and often based on socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 principles, and has strongly opposed Western political involvement in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. It also sought to empower Arab states from outside forces by forming alliances and, to a lesser extent, economic cooperation.
Origins and development

Pan-Arabism was first pressed by Sharif Hussein ibn Ali, the Sharif of Mecca
Sharif of Mecca
The Sharif of Mecca or Hejaz was the title of the former governors of Hejaz and a traditional steward of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

, who sought independence from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the establishment of a unified state of Arabia. In 1915-16, the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence
Hussein-McMahon Correspondence
The McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, or the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, was a protracted exchange of letters during World War I, between the Sharif of Mecca, Husayn bin Ali, and Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, concerning the future political status of the lands under the...

 resulted in an agreement between the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the Sharif that if the Arabs successfully revolted against the Ottomans, the United Kingdom would support claims for Arab independence. In 1916, however, the Sykes-Picot Agreement
Sykes-Picot Agreement
The Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916 was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France, with the assent of Imperial Russia, defining their respective spheres of influence and control in Western Asia after the expected downfall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I...

 between the United Kingdom and France determined that parts of the Arab Mashreq would be divided between those powers rather than forming part of an independent Arab state. {{Reference necessary|When the Ottoman Empire surrendered in 1918, the United Kingdom refused to keep to the letter of its arrangements with Hussein|date=January 2011}}, and the two nations assumed guardianship of several newly-created states, including Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. Ultimately, Hussein became king only of Hijaz (later incorporated into Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

) in the then less strategically valuable south.
Additionally, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 as reason to administer Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and the subsequent creation of the British Mandate upset the pan-Arabists' designs for a geographically contiguous pan-Arab state from the Arab Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 to the Mashreq. A more formalized pan-Arab ideology than that of Hussein was first espoused in the 1930s, notably by Syrian
Syrian people
The Syrian people are the inhabitants and citizens of Syria. Syrians are tied together by geography, linguistic heritage, religion, and similar Eastern Mediterranean ethnicities...

 thinkers such as Constantin Zureiq
Constantin Zureiq
Constantin Zureiq was a prominent and influential Syrian Arab intellectual who was one of the first to pioneer and express the importance of Arab nationalism. He stressed the urgent need to transform stagnate Arab society by means of rational thought and radical modification of the methods of...

, Zaki al-Arsuzi
Zaki al-Arsuzi
Zakī al-Arsūzī born Latakia June 1899, died Damascus July 1968) was a Syrian political activist and writer, and is widely regarded as a main inspiration for the Ba'ath Party...

 and Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq was a Syrian philosopher, who is credited with being the ideological founder of ba'athism, a hybrid of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.-Early life:...

. Aflaq and al-Arsuzi were key figures in the establishment of the Arab Ba’ath (Renaissance) Party, and the former was for long its chief ideologist, combining elements of Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 thought with a nationalism to a considerable extent reminiscent of 19th century European romantic nationalism.
It's been said that Arsuzi was fascinated with the Nazi ideology of "racial purity" and impacted Aflaq.

Abdallah of Jordan
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...

 dreamed of uniting Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Palestine, and Jordan under his leadership in what he would call Greater Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

. He proposed a plan to this effect to Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, which controlled Palestine at that time, but to no avail. The plan was not popular among the majority of Arabs and fostered distrust among the leaders of the other Middle Eastern countries against Abdallah. This distrust of Abdallah's expansionist aspirations was one of the principal reasons for the founding of the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 in 1945.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}} Once Abdallah was assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist in 1951, the vision of Greater Syria was dropped from the Jordanian agenda.

Pan-Arabism has been at times in contrast with pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism is a political movement advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic state — often a Caliphate. As a form of religious nationalism, Pan-Islamism differentiates itself from other pan-nationalistic ideologies, for example Pan-Arabism, by excluding culture and ethnicity as primary...

 as being more secular. Tariq Aziz
Tariq Aziz
Tariq Aziz and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and a close advisor of former President Saddam Hussein. Their association began in the 1950s when both were activists for the then-banned Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party...

, an Aramaic-speaking Chaldean Christian and the once deputy prime minister of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 under Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

.{{Clarify|date=July 2010}} However in exchange for his status he had to Arabize his name from Mikhail Yuhanna to the Arabic Tareq Aziz
Tareq Aziz
Tareq Aziz is a Bangladeshi cricketer.He got off to a great start in his international career taking 3/19 in his debut at his hometown Chittagong in January 2002. Unfortunately there was not much to follow this success. His three Test matches brought him just one wicket for 261 runs...

. Iraqi statesman Abd al-Rahman al-Bazzaz (1913–72) argued that Arab national Islam were in perfect harmony because Islam is the national religion of the Arabs, Al-Bazzaz maintained that the dualism (spiritual vs. temporal) of Western Christendom is unknown to true Islam. For al-Bazzaz, Arabism and Islam are inextricably intertwined because the Arabs have been the backbone of Islam. often these ideologies would work in harmony,
Pan-Arab Nationalism in the Egyptian
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 context has a strong Islamic flavor and
thus acted as a bridge to pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism is a political movement advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic state — often a Caliphate. As a form of religious nationalism, Pan-Islamism differentiates itself from other pan-nationalistic ideologies, for example Pan-Arabism, by excluding culture and ethnicity as primary...

 of the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

, thereby excluding minorities such as the Copts.

In an essay originally written in 1978 called "Pan-Arabism" (published in "From Babel to Dragomans") Bernard Lewis wrote (pp 198–201) that Pan-Arabism was conceived by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi
Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi
‘Abd al-Raḥman al-Kawākibī was a Syrian author and Pan-Islamic Arab solidarity supporter from Aleppo. He was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his time; however, his thoughts and writings continue to be relevant to the issues of Islamic identity and Pan-Arabism...

 (c.1849-1902), who wished for an Arab Caliphate to supersede that of the Turkish Ottomans. Another early ideologue of Pan-Arabism was an anti-Semitic Syrian, Negib Azoury (d. 1916), Lewis claims that Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865–1935) (considered a promoter of pan-Arabism) would be less obsessed with Arab resurgence and focused on an Islamic renaissance. All three were Syrian-born, but lived and wrote in Egypt.

Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq was a Syrian philosopher, who is credited with being the ideological founder of ba'athism, a hybrid of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.-Early life:...

 embedded Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 within Arabism, in the mind of the Christian (who reportedly later converted to Islam) Michael Aflaq, Islam and Arab nationalism were inseparable He stated in the 1940s that Arab Nationalism was vital to the survival of Islam in the region and the duty of Arab Nationalists was to defend Islam in the name of the Arab nation.
He is well noted for his fascination and inspiration for the Islamic faith when he stated his belief that Islam provides Arabs with "the most brilliant picture of their language and literature, and the grandest part of their national history."
In Ba'athism
Ba'athism
Ba'athism is an Arab nationalist ideology that promotes the development and creation of an Arab nation through the leadership of a vanguard party over a progressive revolutionary state. The ideology is officially based on the theories of Zaki al-Arsuzi , Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar...

 he and Sati al-Husri, composed a Qur'anic super narrative of Arabism, soil and Islam.
The Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

's Hasan al-Banna incorporated & associated Pan-Arabism with his radical Islamic ideology in view of Arabism’s growing appeal in Egypt at the time.

Along with Islamism
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

 Pan-Arabism who both prioritize loyalty to the Arab or Islamic community. with exclusion of others, including Christians & Jews, are seen to be greatly responsible for driving out more than 800,000 Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 from their lands and for the persecution of Iraqi Christians and contributed to driving non-Arab minorities out of Iraq for which the Christian community put blame directly on Arab nationalists, Pan-Arabists, and Radical Islamists.
Saddam Hussein's Anfal campaign caused the destruction of Many Assyrian Churches were destroyed in the North of Iraq and caused the displacement of many Christians.
An Assyrian priest interviewed by HRW/Middle East said that he had assembled a list of 250 Christians who disappeared during Anfal and its immediate aftermath. (Iraq's Crime of Genocide, 1995, Human rights watch, pp. 209)

The pan-Arab ideology has been accused of racism, inciting prejudice
Prejudice
Prejudice is making a judgment or assumption about someone or something before having enough knowledge to be able to do so with guaranteed accuracy, or "judging a book by its cover"...

 against and downplaying the role of non-Arab peoples, such as the Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

, Turks
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 (persecution, mass murder), Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 (as well as going to war against the Persians in Iran), Maronite, amongst others, (prompting such editorials like "Arabism equals racism")
An Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian writer Masri Feki wrote that it is the ideology of Pan-Arabism that prevents lasting peace in the Middle East:
{{cquote|Real lasting peace will come the day Israel's neighbors recognize that the Jewish people are on this land de jure, they are not just there de facto. Pan-Arabism is in ruins because it did not take into account the diversity of the region, the specificities of its various identities and the communitarian preoccupations of its minorities.Like pan-Arabism, pan-Islamism is an exclusivist ideology."}}
Abdul Ghafor al-Ani, who headed Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

's Ba'ath Party in southern Iraq, shouted at the trial of Chemical Ali who led the Anfal attack on the Kurds: "I welcome death if it is for Iraq, for pan-Arabism and for the Ba'ath", or "Welcome to death for the sake of Arabism and Islam" - as the death sentence was read.
The genocide in Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

: it has been linked back to Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

's Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

's meddling in the region his support for the militantly racist pan-Arab organisation in Darfur known as Tajammu al-Arabi (Arab Union), which stressed the province's solely 'Arab' nature. he began to meddle in the affairs of his African neighbors in an attempt to establish Pan-Arabist hegemony in the region. His weapons were racist and supremacist ideologies. It has been described as a deliberate genocide carried out in Darfur by the Pan-Arabist regime of Khartoum".

Modern Pan-Arabism is also known to have had Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and Fascist
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 roots. During the 1930s, Pan-Arabists developed proto-fascist organizations such as the "Al-Muthanna Club" and the "Al-Futuwwa movement," the pan-Arabist Futuwwa Youth was a model of the Hitler Youth, it was part of Pan-Arab radicalism which was expressed in diverse forms in 1930s Iraq, it was sponsored by the government and officially instituted in Iraqi schools, Sami Shawkat, a firm believer in pan-Arabism and totalitarianism, was an admirer of Nazi ideologies In one of his addresses, "The Profession of Death," he called on Iraqi youth to adopt the way of life of Nazi Fascists. In another speech he branded the Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 as the enemy from within, who should be treated accordingly. In another, he praised Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 for eradicating their internal enemies (the Jews). (Syrian and Palestinian teachers often supported Shawkat in his preaching). There was a wide Nazi propaganda in Pan-Arabist ideology. Beginning at 1933, Muhi al-Din Nasuli, the leader of the Islamist and Pan-Arabist group "Najjada" (Helpers) in Syria and Lebanon, promoted many of Hitler's speeches and printed excerpts from Hitler's Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

 in his group's newspaper. Hitler and Mussolini were viewed by Pan-Arabists in both Syria and Lebanon as models of strong state builders. The ambivalent relation of such Pan-Arabist concepts to ethnocentric and racial nationalism became visible in Nasuli's newspaper slogan "Arabism Above All", which featured on his newspaper's masthead, which also printed glowing accounts of German youth's support of Hitler, Key among some Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 men was Fritz Grobba
Fritz Grobba
Fritz Konrad Ferdinand Grobba is best remembered for being a German diplomat during the interwar period and World War II.-Biography:...

, often called "the German Lawrence" because he promised a Pan-Arab state stretching from Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

 to Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, Adolf Hitler's collaborator and close Arab confidant, the Islamic leader and Mufti al-Husayni
Al-Husayni
Husayni is the name of a prominent Palestinian Arab clan formerly based in Jerusalem. Several members of the clan held important political positions such as Mayor and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and founded and led many Palestinian Arab Islamist groups such as the Holy War Army, the Palestine Arab...

, was promoted as a Pan-Arabist leader by the Nazis who both found sympathy in each other's ideologies.
In June 1940 he had offered his services to the Reich government, he went to Berlin via Tehran, where he explained to the German ambassador, Ettel, his plan to bring all Arabs under the banner of Pan-Arabism over to the side of the Axis.

On March 1951, France condemned Arab depotism, A French foreign ministry spokesman declared on 14.3.1951 that exponents of Arabism were trying to impose its "totalitarianism, that "Arabism may be summed up as racism, despotism and imperialism, a policy of domination incompatible with the French character."

A writer on the Durban conference regarding racism suggests:
"Arabism is racism" would have been an interesting debating topic. The OIC countries were very clever in how they deflected the slavery issue that could so easily have been turned on them with a vengeance.

Even some Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 activists affirm that Arabism is racism, pure and simple. In the 1960s, some Muslims were "Partners in the Campaign Against Pan-Arabism and Racism"
From a Muslim scholar: 'the Ba'th party, which sowed a Pan-Arabist ideology, was responsible for the genocide of Kurdish people in Iraq as well as the genocide of Shiite Arabs in Iraq. Pan-Arabism does not recognize minorities living in the Arab world. Everybody in this "world" is an Arab.'

Although Pan-Arabism began at the time of World War I, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, the most populous and arguably most important Arabic-speaking country, was not interested in Pan-Arabism prior to the 1950s. Thus, in the 1930s and 1940s, Egyptian nationalism
Egyptian nationalism
Egyptian nationalism is an ideology that rose to prominence in Egypt before the British occupation to Egypt.- History :It is first used to refer to the native officers’ movement, led by Col. Ahmad ‘Urâbî, against Egyptian government policies that favored officers of Turkish, Circassian , or other...

 - and not Pan-Arabism - was the dominant mode of expression of Egyptian political activists:

{{cquote|What is most significant [about Egypt in this period] is the absence of an Arab component in early Egyptian nationalism. The thrust of Egyptian political, economic, and cultural development throughout the nineteenth century worked against, rather than for, an "Arab" orientation.... This situation—that of divergent political trajectories for Egyptians and Arabs—if anything increased after 1900.}}

Azoury's league rejected the incorporation of Egypt into the Arab empire because "the Egyptians do not belong to the Arab race," In 1931, following a visit to Egypt, Syrian Arab nationalist Sati' al-Husri
Sati' al-Husri
Sāti` al-Husrī was an Ottoman and Syrian writer, educationalist and an influential Arab nationalist thinker in the 20th century.-Early life:...

 remarked that "[Egyptians] did not possess an Arab nationalist sentiment; did not accept that Egypt was a part of the Arab lands, and would not acknowledge that the Egyptian people were part of the Arab nation." The later 1930s would become a formative period for Arab nationalism in Egypt, in large part due to efforts by Syrian/Palestinian/Lebanese intellectuals. Nevertheless, a year after the establishment of the League of Arab States
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 in 1945, to be headquartered in Cairo, Oxford University
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 historian H. S. Deighton was still writing:

{{cquote|The Egyptians are not Arabs, and both they and the Arabs are aware of this fact. They are Arabic-speaking, and they are Muslim —indeed religion plays a greater part in their lives than it does in those either of the Syrians or the Iraqi. But the Egyptian, during the first thirty years of the [twentieth] century, was not aware of any particular bond with the Arab East... Egypt sees in the Arab cause a worthy object of real and active sympathy and, at the same time, a great and proper opportunity for the exercise of leadership, as well as for the enjoyment of its fruits. But she is still Egyptian first and Arab only in consequence, and her main interests are still domestic.}}
Attempts at Arab union

It was not until the Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 era more than a decade later that Arab nationalism, and by extension Arab socialism
Arab socialism
Arab socialism is a political ideology based on an amalgamation of Pan-Arabism and socialism. Arab socialism is distinct from the much broader tradition of socialist thought in the Arab world, which predates Arab socialism by as much as fifty years...

, became a state policy and a means with which to define Egypt's position in the Middle East and the world, usually articulated vis-à-vis Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 in the neighboring Jewish state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

There have been several attempts to bring about a Pan-Arab state by many well known Arab leaders, all of which ultimately resulted in failure. The United Arab Republic
United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic , often abbreviated as the U.A.R., was a sovereign union between Egypt and Syria. The union began in 1958 and existed until 1961, when Syria seceded from the union. Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. The President was Gamal...

 (UAR) in 1958 was the first attempt. Formed under Nasser, it was a union between Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, although Nasser exerted so much control over the union that the UAR functioned more as a Nasserist takeover rather than a cooperation between two governments. It lasted in this form until 1961 when Syria's withdrew from the union. In April 1963, Egypt, Syria and Iraq agreed to form a new 'United Arab Republic', which was to be entirely federal in structure, leaving each member state its identity and institutions." The UAR was finally abolished in 1971 due to irreconcilable differences between Syria and Egypt.

Two later attempts were conducted by Libya's Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

; these were the Federation of Arab Republics
Federation of Arab Republics
The Federation of Arab Republics was an abortive attempt by Libya's Muammar Gaddafi to merge Libya, Egypt, and Syria, creating an United Arab state...

 and the Arab Islamic Republic
Arab Islamic Republic
The Arab Islamic Republic was a proposed unification of Tunisia and Libya in 1974, agreed upon by Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi and Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba. The proposal was never implemented.- Regional context :...

. Both failed before beginning. The unity of seven Arab emirates that form the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 stands today as the only example of successful unification between Arab neighbors. The current Syrian government is, and the former government of Iraq was, led by the Ba’ath Party, which espouses pan-Arabism.
Decline

However, Pan-Arabism was strongly hurt following the Arab defeat by Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in the Six Day War and the inability of pan-Arabist governments to generate economic growth. Nasser overplayed his hand in trying to form a pan-Arab hegemony under himself. "By the mid-1970s," according to The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East, "the idea of Arab unity became less and less apparent in Arab politics, though it remained a wishful goal among the masses."

The Egyptians' attachment to Arabism was particularly questioned after the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. Thousands of Egyptians had lost their lives and the country became disillusioned with Arab politics. Camp David Accords
Camp David Accords
The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp David. The two framework agreements were signed at the White House, and were witnessed by United States...

 between Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Israel in 1978 further fractured the Arabic-speaking countries. Nasser's successor Anwar Al Sadat, both through public policy and his peace initiative with Israel, revived an uncontested Egyptian orientation, unequivocally asserting that only Egypt and Egyptians were his responsibility. The terms "Arab", "Arabism" and "Arab unity" became conspicuously absent.

By the late 1980s, Pan-Arabism began to be eclipsed by both nationalist and Islamist ideologies. In the 1990s, many voiced their opposition to Pan-Arabism. For instance, some Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

is viewed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait
Invasion of Kuwait
The Invasion of Kuwait, also known as the Iraq-Kuwait War, was a major conflict between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait, which resulted in the seven-month long Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, which subsequently led to direct military intervention by United States-led forces in the Gulf...

 in 1990 as caused by an urge for Pan-Arabism.

Today, Pan-Arabism is viewed by many as an outdated and failed ideology. This view emanates from the many disasters brought upon the Middle East by the ideology of Pan-Arabism. For instance, the Ba'th party, which sowed a Pan-Arabist ideology, was responsible for the genocide of Kurdish people and Shiites in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. Pan-Arabism does not give equal rights to minorities living in the Arab world, since it only calls for the unification of Arabs as opposed to non-Arabs in Arab land. The radical pan-Arabist ideology is also known to have shown deep hostility to Black people
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

, Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

, Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and other ethnic and religious minorities that opposed Arabization.
A Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

n human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 activist M. Bechri has described it as the following:
{{cquote|The true nature of the twin fascism of Islamism and Pan-Arabism ... this particular case seems to be Pan-Arabism}}

Some Egyptians continue to believe that Egypt and Egyptians are simply not Arab, emphasizing indigenous Egyptian heritage, culture and independent polity, while pointing to the failures of pan-Arab nationalist policies, and publicly voicing objection to the present official name of the country as Arab Republic of Egypt and reject forced 'Arabization', yet the majority of the public label themselves as Arab.

Some contemporary prominent Egyptians who oppose Arab nationalism or the idea that Egyptians are Arabs include Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities
Supreme Council of Antiquities
The Supreme Council of Antiquities is the branch of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture responsible for the conservation, protection and regulation of all antiquities and archaeological excavations in Egypt...

 Zahi Hawass
Zahi Hawass
Zahi Hawass is an Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist, and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs. He has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley....

, popular writer Osama Anwar Okasha
Osama Anwar Okasha
Osama Anwar Okasha was an Egyptian screenwriter and journalist, who wrote weekly for El-Ahram newspaper. He is famous for writing some of the most popular series on Egyptian television, such as Layali el Helmeyya and El Shahd wel Demou, which are popular in Egypt and all across the Middle East.His...

, Egyptian-born Harvard University Professor Leila Ahmed
Leila Ahmed
Leila Ahmed is an Egyptian American writer on Islam and Islamic feminism as well as being the first women's studies professor at Harvard Divinity School.- Background :...

, Member of Parliament Suzie Greiss, in addition to different local groups and intellectuals. This understanding is also expressed in other contexts, such as Neil DeRosa's novel Joseph's Seed in his depiction of an Egyptian character "who declares that Egyptians are not Arabs and never will be."

Egyptian critics of Arab nationalism contend that it has worked to erode and/or relegate native Egyptian identity by superimposing only one aspect of Egypt's culture. These views and sources for collective identification in the Egyptian state are captured in the words of a linguistic anthropologist who conducted fieldwork in Cairo:

{{cquote|Historically, Egyptians have considered themselves as distinct from 'Arabs' and even at present rarely do they make that identification in casual contexts; il-'arab [the Arabs] as used by Egyptians refers mainly to the inhabitants of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf ... Egypt has been both a leader of pan-Arabism and a site of intense resentment towards that ideology. Egyptians had to be made, often forcefully, into "Arabs" [during the Nasser era] because they did not historically identify themselves as such. Egypt was self-consciously a nation not only before pan-Arabism but also before becoming a colony of the British Empire. Its territorial continuity since ancient times, its unique history as exemplified in its pharaonic past and later on its Coptic language and culture, had already made Egypt into a nation for centuries. Egyptians saw themselves, their history, culture and language as specifically Egyptian and not "Arab."}}

Minorities in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 are particularly sensitive to and dismissive of Pan-Arabism. Thus, for instance, the prominent Libyan Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 community leader Belkacem Lounes stated in April 2007:
{{cquote|'"There is no worse colonialism than that of the Pan-Arabist clan that wants to dominate our people.}}

The Copts, indigenous Egyptians and the Middle East's largest religious minority, due to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

's adherence to the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 with its racist Pan-Arab policy. Being neither Moslems nor Arabs, the Copts felt themselves reduced to a position
of an isolated minority group which is increasingly discriminated against. The Copts are considered foreigners in their own country by the government which fired them from every public civil office and forbade their return.

therefore, they're equally hostile to Pan-Arabism. For instance, Bishop Thomas, the Coptic bishop of Cusae
Cusae
Cusae or Kusai is the Greek name of a city in Upper Egypt, known to the Egyptians as Qis or Kis. Today, the city is known as el-Qusiya and is located on the west bank of the Nile, in the Asyut Governorate....

 and Meir
Meir, Egypt
Meir is a village in Upper Egypt. It is located on the west bank of the Nile, in the Asyut Governorate, some 7 kilometers west of el-Qusiya. The modern village is situated at coordinates , while the necropolis is located at .-Overview:...

 gave the following speech at the Hudson Institute
Hudson Institute
The Hudson Institute is an American think tank founded in 1961, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, by futurist, military strategist, and systems theorist Herman Kahn and his colleagues at the RAND Corporation...

 in 2008:

{{cquote|If you come to a Coptic person and tell him that he’s an Arab, that’s offensive. We are not Arabs, we are Egyptians. I am very happy to be an Egyptian and I would not accept being "Arab" because ethnically I am not.}}

Similar comments were made by many prominent Coptic figures, such as Bishop Picenti of Helwan and Massarah
Massarah
-Overview:With a population of about 30,000 inhabitants, Massarah is the biggest city in Helwan. The town lies on the bank of the Nile river, and is a southern suburb of Cairo....

, as well as the prominent Coptic writer Magdy Khalil (see Coptic identity
Coptic identity
Copts have a long history as a minority among Egypt's Muslim majority. While an integral part of Egyptian society, Copts remained culturally and religiously distinct from their surrounding....

).

Furthermore, Pan-Arabism is considered today to be the source and origin of political totalitarianism in the Middle East, suppressing democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 movements and development of open free thinking. For instance, in the Lebanese newspaper 'The Daily Star, (March 23, 2005):
"Over the past 50 years, authoritarian leaders in the region have banded together in support for each other almost blindly, despite all evidence of despotism, totalitarianism and heavy handed oppression. Although the ideal of pan-Arab unity was never realized, it seems that what has been achieved is a union of corrupt regimes. Grossly misusing the language of Arab unity, they casually dismissed the mass murders that occurred under Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

's rule, as well as genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 in Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Syrian oppression of Lebanon, and countless other tragedies."

Social Responsibility


Historically news in the Arab World was used to inform and guide political practitioners with their performance rather than being just a consumer product. The power of news as political tool was discovered in the early 19th century, with the purchase of shares from Le Temps a French newspaper by Ismail the grandson of Mohamed Ali. Doing so allowed Ismail to publicize his policies. Arab Media coming to modernity flourished and with it its responsibilities to the political figures that have governed its role.


Media researchers stress that the moral and social responsibility of newspeople dictates that they should not agitate public opinion, but rather should keep the status quo. It is also important to preserve national unity by not stirring up ethnic or religious conflict.


Saudi journalists stress the importance of enhancing Islam through the media. The developmental role was acknowledged by an overwhelming majority of Saudi journalists, while giving the readers what they want was not regarded as a priority. This view is further endorsed in Kirat’s survey where 65 percent of Algerian journalists agreed that the task for the press is to “help achieve the goals and objectives of development plans.”

Investigative journalism is frowned upon in the Arab World. Family reputation and personal reputation is a fundamental principle in Arab civilization; exposes of corruption and examples of weak moral fiber in governors and policy makers holds massive consequences especially in the presence of a limited freedom of speech. From a historical perspective, news in the Arab world was not a mass product; rather, its main aim was to provide instruction to the officials and governors, guiding them to improve their performance. However, by the middle of the nineteenth century, rulers seem to spot the powerful role of media.
In most Arab countries, newspapers cannot be published without a government-issued license. Most Arab countries also have press laws, which impose boundaries on what can and cannot be said in print. “There is an old Arab saying, ‘Truth should be known, but not declared.’ Today, cover-ups remain a fact of life in the Middle East... the media continue to serve as ‘tools’ of political structures in which ‘control is the name of the game’.” Censorship plays a significant role in journalism in the Arab World. Censorship comes in a variety of forms: Self-censorship
Self-censorship
Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own work , out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities of others, without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority...

, Government Censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 (governments struggle to control through technological advances in ex. the internet), Ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

/Religious Censorship, and Tribal/Family/Alliances Censorship.
Generally, Arab governments seek to conceal political discourse and activity. In addition to censorship, a number of administrative and legal devices are put it place to restrict freedom of expression in journalism. Newspapers in the Arab World can be divided into three categories: government owned, partisan
Partisan (military)
A partisan is a member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation by some kind of insurgent activity...

 owned, and independently owned. “Now, newspaper ownership has been consolidated in the hands of powerful chains and groups. Yet, profit
Profit (economics)
In economics, the term profit has two related but distinct meanings. Normal profit represents the total opportunity costs of a venture to an entrepreneur or investor, whilst economic profit In economics, the term profit has two related but distinct meanings. Normal profit represents the total...

 is not the driving force behind the launching of newspapers; publishers may establish a newspaper to ensure a platform for their political opinions, although it is claimed that this doesn’t necessarily influence the news content”. In the Arab world, as far as content is concerned, news is politics. Arab states are intimately involved in the economic well-being of many Arab news organizations so they apply pressure in several ways, most notably through ownership or advertising.

Journalism
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 in the Arab world comes with a range of dangers. Journalists throughout the Arab world can be imprisoned, tortured, and even killed in their line of work. Thus, self-censorship is extremely important for many Arab journalists.International Journalism Codes

Magazines


In most Arab countries, magazines cannot be published without a government-issued license. Magazines in the Arab World, like many of the magazines in the Western world, are geared towards women. However, the number of magazines in the Arab World is significantly smaller than that of the Western world. The Arab World is not as advertisement driven the way the western world is. Advertisers fuel the funding for most Western magazines to exist. Thus, a lesser emphasis on advertisement in the Arab World plays into the low number of magazines.

Radio


There are 90 private radio stations throughout the Middle East and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. (list of private radio stations in the Arab World)

Arab radio broadcasting began in the 1920s, but only a few Arab countries had their own broadcasting stations before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. After 1945, most Arab states began to create their own radio broadcasting systems, although it was not until 1970, when Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 opened its radio transmissions, that every one of them had its own radio station.

Among Arab countries, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 has been a leader in radio broadcasting from the beginning. Broadcasting began in Egypt in the 1920s with private commercial radio. In 1947, however, the Egyptian government declared radio a government monopoly and began investing in its expansion.

By the 1970s, Egyptian radio had fourteen different broadcast services with a total air time of 1,200 hours per week. Egypt is ranked third in the world among radio broadcasters. The programs were all government controlled, and much of the motivation for the government's investment in radio was due to the aspirations of President Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 to be the recognized leader of the Arab world.

Egypt's "Voice of the Arabs" station, which targeted other Arab countries with a constant stream of news and political features and commentaries, became the most widely heard station in the region. Only after the June 1967 war, when it was revealed that this station had misinformed the public about what was happening, did it lose some credibility; nevertheless it retained a large listenership.

On the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, radio was slower to develop. In Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, radio broadcasts started in the Jidda-Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 area in 1948, but they did not start in the central or eastern provinces until the 1960s. Neighboring Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 had radio by 1955, but Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

, and Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 did not start indigenous radio broadcasting until nearly a quarter century later.

US Influence


When the United State took control of Baghdad in 2003 they establish a new home for Iraqi radio programming: an American C-130 aircraft known as Commando Solo, the source of five hours of daily television programming and American radio broadcasts transmitted across the country on five different frequencies.

They also established Radio Sawa
Radio Sawa
Radio Sawa is a 24-hour 7-day-a-week Arabic language radio station broadcasting in the Arab world. The station is a service of theMiddle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. and is publicly funded by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the U.S. Congress...

 in 2002, a 24-hour, seven day a week Arabic-language radio station that seeks to counter-balance the local radio in many Arab countries that is considered by the U.S. government as not suitable for American interests. Creators of the network the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, a government funded international broadcasting agency that consists of a bi-partisan board of directors nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 also serves on the BBG.

The station states that it is "dedicated to broadcasting accurate, timely and relevant news about the Middle East, the world and the United States" and is "committed to the highest standards of journalism, free marketplace of ideas, respect for the intelligence and culture of its audience, and a style that is upbeat, modern and forward-looking." However, questions of journalistic independence from the United States is a large issue with Radio Sawa and other American controlled radio networks. Radio Sawa blends news with music and other lighter programming in order to attract a younger audience.

TV


Almost all television channels in the Arab world were government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 owned and strictly controlled prior to the 1990s. In the 1990s the spread of satellite television began changing television in Arab countries. Often noted as a pioneer, al-Jazeera represents a shift towards a more professional approach to news and current affairs. Financed by the Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 government and established in 1996, al-Jazeera was the first Arabic channel to deliver extensive live news coverage, going so far as to send reporters to “unthinkable” places like Israel. Breaking the mold in more ways than one, al-Jazeera’s discussion programs raised subjects that had long been prohibited. However, in 2008, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 called for a meeting to approve a charter to regulate satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

 broadcasting
Broadcasting
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

. The Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 Satellite Broadcasting Charter (2008) lays out principles for regulating satellite broadcasting in the Arab world.


PDF of The Arab Satellite Broadcasting Charter in English


PDF of The Arab Satellite Broadcasting Charter in Arabic

Other Satellite Channels:


Al-Arabiya: established in 2003; based in Dubai; offshoot of MBC


Al-Hurra (“The Free One”): established in 2004 by the United States; counter perceives “biases” in Arab news media


Al-Manar: Owned by Hizbullah; Lebanese-based; highly controversial

“Across the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, new television stations, radio stations and websites are sprouting like incongruous electronic mushrooms in what was once a media desert. Meanwhile newspapers are aggressively probing the red lines that have long contained them”. Technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 is playing a significant role in the changing Arab media. Pintak furthers, “Now, there are 263 free-to-air (FTA) satellite television stations in the region, according to Arab Advisors Group. That’s double the figure as of just two years ago”. Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

 and money have little to do with why satellite television
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

 is sprouting up everywhere. Instead, “A desire for political influence is probably the biggest factor driving channel growth. But ego is a close second”. The influence of the West is very apparent in Arab Media especially in television. Arab soap operas and the emerging popularity of reality TV are evidence of this notion.


“In the wake of controversy triggered by Super Star and Star Academy, some observers have hailed reality television as a harbinger of democracy in the Arab world.” Star Academy
Star Academy
Star Academy is a highly successful television show format based on the Spanish format "Operación Triunfo" produced by Endemol, that has been broadcast in over 50 countries...

 in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 is strikingly similar to American Idol
American Idol
American Idol, titled American Idol: The Search for a Superstar for the first season, is a reality television singing competition created by Simon Fuller and produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment...

 mixed with the Real World
The Real World
The Real World is a reality television program on MTV originally produced by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray. First broadcast in 1992, the show, which was inspired by the 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family, is the longest-running program in MTV history and one of the...

. Star Academy began in 2003 in the Arab world. “Reality television entered Arab public discourse in the last five years at a time of significant turmoil in the region: escalating violence in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, contested elections in Egypt, the struggle for women’s political rights in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, political assassinations in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, and the protracted Arab-Israeli Conflict. This geo-political crisis environment that currently frames Arab politics and Arab-Western relations is the backdrop to the controversy surrounding the social and political impact of Arab reality television, which assumes religious, cultural or moral manifestations.”

Film


“Most Arab countries did not produce films before nation independence. In Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

, production is even now confined to short films or television. Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 witnessed the production of its first and only full-length feature film in 1989... In Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 national production has barely exceeded half a dozen feature films. Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 have produced approximately 100 films each, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 around seventy, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 around 1130, and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 some 150. Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, owing to an increased production during the 1950s and 1960s, has made some 180 feature films. Only Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 has far exceeded these countries, with a production of more than 2,500 feature films (all meant for cinema, not television). " As with most aspects of Arab Media, censorship plays a large art of creating and distributing films. “In most Arab countries, film projects must first pass a state committee, which grants or denies permission to shoot. Once this permission is obtained, another official license, a so-called visa, is necessary in order to exploit the film commercially. This is normally approved by a committee of the Ministry of Information or a special censorship authority”. The most significant taboo topics under state supervision are consistent with those of other forms of media: religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, sex
Sex
In biology, sex is a process of combining and mixing genetic traits, often resulting in the specialization of organisms into a male or female variety . Sexual reproduction involves combining specialized cells to form offspring that inherit traits from both parents...

, and politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

.

Internet


The Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 in the Arab world is powerful source of expression and information as it is in other places in the world. While some believe that it is the harbinger of freedom in media to the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, others think that it is a new medium for censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

. Both are true. The Internet has created a new arena for discussion and the dissemination of information for the Arab world just as it has in the rest of the world. The youth in particular are accessing and utilizing the tools. People are encouraged and enabled to join in political discussion and critique in a manner that was not previously possible. Those same people are also discouraged and blocked from those debates as the differing regimes try to restrict access based on religious and state objections to certain material.

This was posted on a website operated by the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

.

The internet in the Arab world has a snowball effect; now that the snowball is rolling, it can no longer be stopped. Getting bigger and stronger, it is bound to crush down all obstacles. In addition, to the stress caused by the Arab bloggers, a new forum was opened for Arab activists; Facebook. Arab activists have been using Facebook in the utmost creative way to support the democracy movement in the region, a region that has one of the highest rates of repression in the world. Unlike other regions where oppressive countries (like China, Iran and Burma) represent the exception, oppression can be found everywhere in the Arab world. The number of Arab internet users interested in political affairs does not exceed a few thousands, mainly represented by internet activists and bloggers, out of 58 million internet users in the Arab world. As few as they are, they have succeeded in shedding some light on the corruption and repression of the Arab governments and dictatorships.


The Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 is newer in the Arab world than it is in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 or Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, but it is spreading quickly as it becomes more accessible to growing numbers of the population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

. The public Internet use began in the US in the 1980s. Internet access began in the early 1990s in the Arab world with Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 being first in 1991 according to Dr. Deborah L. Wheeler. The years of the introduction of the Internet the various Arab countries are reported differently. Wheeler reports that Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 joined in 1992 and in 1993 Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and the UAE came online. In 1994 Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 joined the Internet and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 followed in the late 1990s. In reality the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 is not so far behind the rest of the globe with the introduction of the Internet. The US White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 did not have www.whitehouse.gov until 1993. Financial considerations and the lack of widespread availability of services are factors in the slower growth in the Arab world, but taking into consideration the popularity of internet cafe
Internet cafe
An Internet café or cybercafé is a place which provides internet access to the public, usually for a fee. These businesses usually provide snacks and drinks, hence the café in the name...

s, the numbers online
ONLINE
ONLINE is a magazine for information systems first published in 1977. The publisher Online, Inc. was founded the year before. In May 2002, Information Today, Inc. acquired the assets of Online Inc....

 are much larger than the subscription numbers would reveal.

The people most commonly utilizing the Internet in the Arab world are the youth. The café
Café
A café , also spelled cafe, in most countries refers to an establishment which focuses on serving coffee, like an American coffeehouse. In the United States, it may refer to an informal restaurant, offering a range of hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches...

 users in particular tend to be under 30, single and have a variety of levels of education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and language proficiency. Despite reports that use of the internet was curtailed by lack of English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 skills, Dr. Wheeler found that people were able to search with Arabic. Searching for jobs, the unemployed frequently fill cafes in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

. They are men and women equally. Most of them chat and they have email. In a survey conducted by Dr. Deborah Wheeler, she found them to almost all to have been taught to use the Internet by a friend or family member. They all felt their lives to have been significantly changed by the use of the Internet. The use of the Internet in the Arab world is very political in the nature of the posts and of the sites read and visited. The Internet has brought a medium to Arabs that allows for a freedom
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

 of expression not allowed or accepted before. For those who can get online, there are blogs to read and write and access to worldwide outlets of information once unobtainable. With this access, regimes have attempted to curtail what people are able to read, but the Internet is a medium not as easily manipulated as telling a newspaper
Newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

 what it can or cannot publish. The Internet can be reached via proxy server
Proxy server
In computer networks, a proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers. A client connects to the proxy server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource available from a different server...

, mirror, and other means. Those who are thwarted with one method will find 12 more methods around the blocked site. As journalists suffer and are imprisoned in traditional media, the Internet is no different with bloggers regularly being imprisoned for expressing their views for the world to read. The difference is that there is a worldwide audience witnessing this crackdown and watching as laws are created and recreated to attempt to control the vastness of the Internet.

Jihadists are using the Internet to reach a greater audience. Just as a simple citizen can now have a worldwide voice, so can a movement. Regardless of your view of any movement, they are using the Internet to speak and be heard. Groups are using the Internet to share video, photos, programs and any kind of information imaginable. Standard media may not report what the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

 would say on their site. However, for the interested, the Internet is a tool that is utilized with great skill by those who wish to be heard. A file uploaded to 100 sites and placed in multiple forums will reach millions instantly. Information on the Internet can be thwarted, slowed, even redirected, but it cannot be stopped if someone wants it out there on the Internet.

The efforts by the various regimes to control the information are all falling apart gradually. The methods utilized are those same methods that protect American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 children in schools. Like previously stated the methods are easily manipulated such that access to what is blocked can be seen. Those fighting crime online have devised methods of tracking and catching criminals. Unfortunately those same tools are being used to arrest bloggers and those who would just wish to be heard. The Internet is a vast and seemingly endless source of information. Arabs are using it more than perhaps the world is aware and it is changing the media.

Media And Terrorism


A video claiming to be from the Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 taking responsibility for the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253
Northwest Airlines Flight 253
Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was an international passenger flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands, to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan, United States...

 on Christmas Day was aired by Al Jazeera on Sunday, January 24, 2010. The voice reported to be Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 states: "The message delivered to you through the plane of the heroic warrior Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab , popularly referred to as the "Underwear Bomber", is a suspected terrorist who attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on December 25,...

 was a proof of the preceding messages sent by the heroes of September 11," he said. Through Al-Jazeera, terrorists like Osama bin Laden gain legitimacy to speak on a public platform, heard all around the Al Jazeera Network which spans globally, linking to other networks that stream these videos, even on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

. Stereotypes that Osama bin Laden portrays in his videos makes an emphasis on the stereotypes that have been generalized in the Western public.

“The establishment of stereotypes encourages people to react and behave in a manner that is both judgmental and biased. Despite the fact that these individuals [Arabs and Mulsims] are from different countries, with diverse cultures, beliefs and a variety of religions, they are characterized by one term, "Arabs." The Western media has often projected individuals of Arab descent in a negative manner. Currently, Arabs are seen as terrorists and murderers due to how the media presents them. Newspapers use key words such as extremists, terrorists and fanatics to describe Arabs [or Muslims]...”

In The Clash of Civilizations, Huntington explains that the greatest threats of terrorist violence are emerging from cultures in which dogmatic religious ideas are held strongly and pervasively throughout the members of the culture. Although much of popular media focuses on Islamist violence, Huntington contends that terrorism is just as likely to be spawned in a variety of other societies where emotional religiosity and beliefs rooted in literal interpretations of scriptural texts are prevalent characteristics. Although Huntington argues that “global politics is both multipolar and multicivilizational”, he notes that Western countries, especially the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, have traditionally insisted on casting any political foes, whether perceived or actual, into a binary
Binary opposition
In critical theory, a binary opposition is a pair of related terms or concepts that are opposite in meaning. Binary opposition is the system by which, in language and thought, two theoretical opposites are strictly defined and set off against one another. It is the contrast between two mutually...

 and oppositional relationship that negates the complexities of both countries and their constituent cultures.

Despite the mountain of evidence suggesting that polarized relationships are almost always ineffective, creating greater animosity and violent fervor than existed before, it is clear that the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 continues to deny the kind of argument Huntington has laid out in The Clash of Civilizations. In fact, after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has only increased and intensified its efforts to cast societies perceived to be threatening into the role of antagonist. It is far more efficient, and effective within the popular imagination, to avoid a nuanced consideration of multiple cultures in conflict for numerous and complex reasons. Instead, the United States turns every concern into a polarized, oppositional paradigm; the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 just happens to be the latest in a long, historical string of the “Other” cast as antagonist
Antagonist
An antagonist is a character, group of characters, or institution, that represents the opposition against which the protagonist must contend...

. Huntington views this defensive posture as a dangerous policy and practice. He suggests that the “universalist pretensions” of the United States do indeed seem to be provoking the rest of the world’s disdain and, increasingly, its wrath, particularly in fundamentalist communities, which are “obsessed with the inferiority of their power” and are seeking recognition and retribution through terrorist activity. Because they lack legitimate agency, authority, and credibility, these groups often demonstrate their power through violent attacks.

Esposito adds depth to Huntington’s argument by specifically examining how the West in general, and the United States in particular, misunderstands Muslims, a group often characterized as religiously dogmatic. Esposito challenges the popularly held perception that Muslims are one-dimensional, noting that there is as much diversity within Muslim communities as there is between them. In fact, Esposito argues, much as Huntington does, that our reductive and overly facile characterizations of other cultures prevents us from truly understanding them, only increasing their marginalization, frustration, and propensity to act out and display aggression against the West. One concrete example Esposito offers is the way in which the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has come to define jihad, which actually means “struggle.” Jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 has been defined by the West as a holy war, and has overtones of hostile, anti-Western aggression. While jihad has, in fact, been appropriated in this manner by a certain segment of Islamist fundamentalists—and a segment that is not negligible in size—the simplistic approach to understanding other cultures only fosters their desire to gain power and assert their identity in the world.

Islamist terrorism is a revolutionary force that has changed world politics
World Politics
World Politics is an academic journal founded in 1948. It publishes articles from all subdisciplines of political science. Material might be historical in nature, current affairs, journalistic, or policy-oriented. It includes research on all topics of import in the field of international affairs...

 dramatically. Cognizant that the West will never invest them with legitimacy, Islamist terrorists have taken matters into their own hands and have determined to assert their power. Huntington and Esposito argue that this outcome should not be surprising. While terrorists must take responsibility for their own acts, Western countries must recognize how they foster the marginalization that prompts terrorism.

Edward Said, meanwhile, posits a more abstract social explanation, contending that “the difficulty of perception” has both complicated an easy understanding of the motivations for terrorism as well as served to instigate more frequent and more intense terrorist acts. Said exposes the irrationality of the three assumptions, noting that the East “has always been endowed with greater size and with a greater [if unrealized] potential for power”, that Islam is hardly a late-coming religious phenomenon, and that the East will insist upon its right to participate in world affairs, if not through legitimate means, then through the instruments of violence and terrorism. S.O.

Family Loyalty


Social loyalty is of great importance in Arab culture. Family is one of the most important aspects of the Arab society. While self reliance, individuality, and responsibility are taught by American parents to their children, family loyalty is the greatest lesson taught in Arab families. “Unlike the extreme individualism we see in North America (every person for him or herself, individual rights, families living on their own away from relatives, and so on), Arab society emphasizes the importance of the group. Arab culture teaches that the needs of the group are more important than the needs of one person.” In the Bedouin tribes of Saudi Arabia, “intense feelings of loyalty and dependence are fostered and preserved” by the family. Margaret Nydell, in her book Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Modern Times, writes “family loyalty and obligations take precedence over loyalty to friends or demands of a job.” She goes on to state that “members of a family are expected to support each other in disputes with outsiders. Regardless of personal antipathy among relatives, they must defend each other’s honor, counter criticism, and display group cohesion...” Of all members of the family, however, the most revered member is the mother.

Music



Arabic music is the music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 of Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

-speaking people or countries, especially those centered around the Arabian Peninsula. The world of Arab music has long been dominated by Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, a cultural center, though musical innovation and regional styles abound from Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 has, in recent years, also become a major center of Arabic music. Classical Arab music is extremely popular across the population, especially a small number of superstars known throughout the Arab world. Regional styles of popular music
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 include Iraqian el Maqaam, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

n raï
Raï
Raï is a form of folk music that originated in Oran, Algeria from Bedouin shepherds, mixed with Spanish, French, African and Arabic musical forms, which dates back to the 1930s....

, Moroccan
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 gnawa
Gnawa
The Gnawa people originated from North and West Africa; to be precise the ancient Ghanaian Empire of Ouagadougou .This name Gnawa is taken from one of the indigenous languages of the Sahara Desert called Tamazight...

, Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

i sawt, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian el gil and Turkish
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 Arabesk music.

"The common style that developed is usually called 'Islamic' or 'Arab', though in fact it transcends religious, ethnic, geographical, and linguistic boundaries" and it is suggested that it be called the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 (from Morocco to India) style (van der Merwe 1989, p. 9).

Habib Hassan Touma (1996, p.xix-xx) lists "five components" which "characterize the music of the Arabs:
  1. The Arab tone system
    Arab tone system
    The modern Arab tone system, or system of musical tuning, is based upon the theoretical division of the octave into twenty-four equal divisions or 24-tone equal temperament , the distance between each successive note being a quarter tone . Each tone has its own name not repeated in different...

     (a musical tuning
    Musical tuning
    In music, there are two common meanings for tuning:* Tuning practice, the act of tuning an instrument or voice.* Tuning systems, the various systems of pitches used to tune an instrument, and their theoretical bases.-Tuning practice:...

     system) with specific interval structures, invented by al-Farabi
    Al-Farabi
    ' known in the West as Alpharabius , was a scientist and philosopher of the Islamic world...

     in the 10th century (p. 170).
  2. Rhythmic-temporal structures that produce a rich variety of rhythm
    Rhythm
    Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

    ic patterns, awzan
    Wazn
    Rhythm in Arabian music is analysed by means of rhythmic units called awzan and iqa'at.-Wazn and Iqa':A rhythmic pattern or cycle in Arabian music is called a "wazn" , literally a "measure", also called darb, mizan, and usul as is in Ottoman classical music)...

    , used to accompany the metered vocal and instrumental genres and give them form.
  3. Musical instrument
    Musical instrument
    A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

    s that are found throughout the Arabian world and that represent a standardized tone system, are played with standardized performance techniques, and exhibit similar details in construction and design.
  4. Specific social contexts for the making of music, whereby musical genres
    Music genre
    A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

     can be classified as urban (music of the city inhabitants), rural (music of the country inhabitants), or Bedouin
    Bedouin
    The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

     (music of the desert inhabitants)....
  5. A musical mentality that is responsible for the aesthetic homogeneity of the tonal-spatial and rhythmic-temporal structures in Arabian music, whether composed
    Musical composition
    Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

     or improvised, instrumental
    Instrumental
    An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics or singing, although it might include some non-articulate vocal input; the music is primarily or exclusively produced by musical instruments....

     or vocal, secular or sacred
    Sacred
    Holiness, or sanctity, is in general the state of being holy or sacred...

    . The Arab's musical mentality is defined by:
    1. The maqām phenomenon....
    2. The predominance of vocal music...
    3. The predilection for small instrumental ensembles...
    4. The mosaiclike stringing together of musical form elements, that is, the arrangement in a sequence of small and smallest melodic elements, and their repetition, combination, and permutation within the framework of the tonal-spatial model.
    5. The absence of polyphony, polyrhythm, and motivic development. Arabian music is, however, very familiar with the ostinato, as well as with a more instinctive heterophonic way of making music.
    6. The alternation between a free rhythmic-temporal and fixed tonal-spatial organization on the one hand and a fixed rhythmic-temporal and free tonal-spatial structure on the other. This alternation...results in exciting contrasts."


Much Arab music is characterized by an emphasis on melody
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

 and rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

 rather than harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

. Thus much Arabic music is homophonic
Homophony
In music, homophony is a texture in which two or more parts move together in harmony, the relationship between them creating chords. This is distinct from polyphony, in which parts move with rhythmic independence, and monophony, in which all parts move in parallel rhythm and pitch. A homophonic...

 in nature. Some genres of Arab music are polyphonic—as the instrument Kanoun
Kanun (Instrument)
The Qanun is a string instrument found in the 10th century in Farab in Turkestan...

 is based upon the idea of playing two-note chords
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

—but quintessentially, Arabic music is melodic.

It would be incorrect though to call it modal
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

, for the Arabic system is more complex than that of the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 modes. The basis of the Arabic music is the maqam
Arabic maqam
Arabic maqām is the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music, which is mainly melodic. The word maqam in Arabic means place, location or rank. The Arabic maqam is a melody type...

 (pl. maqamat), which looks like the mode, but is not quite the same. The maqam has a "tonal
Tonality
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

" note on which the piece must end (unless modulation occurs).

The maqam consists of at least two jins, or scale segments. "Jins" in Arabic comes from the ancient Greek word "genus," meaning type. In practice, a jins (pl. ajnas) is either a trichord
Trichord
In music theory, a trichord is a group of three different pitch classes found within a larger group . For example a continguous three note set from a musical scale or twelve-tone row. The term is derived by analogy from the 20th-century use of the word "tetrachord"...

, a tetrachord
Tetrachord
Traditionally, a tetrachord is a series of three intervals filling in the interval of a perfect fourth, a 4:3 frequency proportion. In modern usage a tetrachord is any four-note segment of a scale or tone row. The term tetrachord derives from ancient Greek music theory...

, or a pentachord
Pentachord
A pentachord in music theory may be either of two things. In pitch-class set theory, a pentachord is defined as any five pitch classes, regarded as an unordered collection . In other contexts, a pentachord may be any consecutive five-note section of a diatonic scale...

. The trichord is three notes, the tetrachord four, and the pentachord five. The maqam usually covers only one octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

 (two jins), but sometimes it covers more than one octave. Like the melodic minor
Minor scale
A minor scale in Western music theory includes any scale that contains, in its tonic triad, at least three essential scale degrees: 1) the tonic , 2) a minor-third, or an interval of a minor third above the tonic, and 3) a perfect-fifth, or an interval of a perfect fifth above the tonic, altogether...

 scale and Indian ragas, some maqamat have different ajnas, and thus notes, while descending or ascending. Because of the continuous innovation of jins and because most music scholars don't agree on the existing number anyway, it's hard to give an accurate number of the jins. Nonetheless, in practice most musicians would agree on the 8 most frequently used ajnas: Rast, Bayat, Sikah, Hijaz, Saba, Kurd, Nahawand, and Ajam—and a few of the most commonly used variants of those: Nakriz, Athar Kurd, Sikah Beladi, Saba Zamzama. Mukhalif is a rare jins used exclusively in Iraq, and it does not occur in combination with other ajnas.

The main difference between the western chromatic scale
Chromatic scale
The chromatic scale is a musical scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone apart. On a modern piano or other equal-tempered instrument, all the half steps are the same size...

 and the Arabic scales is the existence of many in-between notes, which are sometimes referred to as quarter tone
Quarter tone
A quarter tone , is a pitch halfway between the usual notes of a chromatic scale, an interval about half as wide as a semitone, which is half a whole tone....

s for the sake of practicality. However, while in some treatments of theory the quarter tone scale or all twenty four tones should exist, according to Yūsuf Shawqī (1969) in practice there are many fewer tones (Touma 1996, p. 170).

In fact, the situation is much more complicated than that. In 1932, at International Convention on Arabic music held in Cairo, Egypt (attended by such Western luminaries as Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

 and Henry George Farmer
Henry George Farmer
Henry George Farmer was a British musicologist specializing in Arabic music...

), experiments were done which determined conclusively that the notes in actual use differ substantially from an even-tempered 24-tone scale, and furthermore that the intonation of many of those notes differ slightly from region to region (Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq). The commission's recommendation is as follows: "The tempered scale and the natural scale should be rejected. In Egypt, the Egyptian scale is to be kept with the values, which were measured with all possible precision. The Turkish, Syrian, and Iraqi scales should remain what they are..." (translated in Maalouf 2002, p. 220). Both in modern practice, and based on the evidence from recorded music over the course of the last century, there are several differently-tuned "E"s in between the E-flat and E-natural of the Western Chromatic scale, depending on the maqam or jins in use, and depending on the region.

Musicians and teachers refer to these in-between notes as "quarter-tones" ("half-flat" or "half-sharp") for ease of nomenclature, put perform and teach the exact values of intonation in each jins or maqam by ear. It should also be added, in reference to Touma's comment above, that these "quarter-tones" are not used everywhere in the maqamat: in practice, Arabic music does not modulate to 12 different tonic areas like the Well-Tempered Klavier, and so the most commonly used "quarter tones" are on E (between E-flat and E-natural), A, B, D, F (between F-natural and F-sharp) and C.

The prototypical Arab ensemble in Egypt and Syria is known as the takht
Takht (music)
For uses of Takht in contexts other than music, see Takht.Takht is the representative musical ensemble, the orchestra, of Middle Eastern music...

, which includes, (or included at different time periods) instruments such as the 'oud, qanún
Qanun
Qanun refers to laws promulgated by Muslim sovereigns, in particular the Ottoman Sultans, in contrast to shari'a, the body of law elaborated by Muslim jurists. It comes from the Greek word kanon...

, rabab, nay, violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

 (which was introduced in the 1840s or 50s), riq
Riq
The riq is a type of tambourine used as a traditional instrument in Arabic music. It is an important instrument in both folk and classical music throughout the Arabic-speaking world...

 and dumbek
Goblet drum
The goblet drum is a hand drum with a goblet shape used mostly in the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe....

. In Iraq, the traditional ensemble, known as the chalghi, includes only two melodic instruments—the jowza (similar to the rabab but with four strings) and santur
Santur
The santur is a Persian hammered dulcimerIt is a trapezoid-shaped box often made of walnut or different exotic woods. The Persian classical santur has 72 strings. The name santur was first referenced in ancient Persian poetry...

--with riq
Riq
The riq is a type of tambourine used as a traditional instrument in Arabic music. It is an important instrument in both folk and classical music throughout the Arabic-speaking world...

 and dumbek.

Pan Arab Games


(Main Article)
Pan Arab Games
The Arab Games are a regional multi-sport event held between nations from the Arab World. They are organized by the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees. The first Games took place in 1953 in Alexandria, Egypt. Intended to be held every four years since, political turmoil as well as financial...



The Pan Arab Games are a regional multi-sport event held between nations from the Arab World. The first Games were held in 1953 in Alexandria, Egypt. Intended to be held every four years since, political turmoil as well as financial difficulties has made the event an unstable one. Women were first allowed to compete in 1985. By the 11th Pan Arab games
2007 Pan Arab Games
The 11th Pan Arab Games took place in Cairo, Egypt from 11 – 26 November 2007. A total of 22 countries participated in 32 events. These games were the largest in the games' history; seven new events were introduced and 2000 more athletes participated than in previous years, making them 8000 Arab...

, the number of countries participating reached all 22 members of the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, with roughly over 8,000 Arab athletes participating, it was considered the largest in the Games History, with the Doha
2011 Pan Arab Games
The 12th Arab Games December 9-23, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. It is the first time the quadrennial multi-sport event being held in a Arab state.-Host awarding:Qatar was awarded rights to organise the games beating Lebanon in the bidding process...

 Games in 2011 expected to exceed that number.

Arab Women in Sports


Women around the world have struggled in the professional world of sports since it has been something that has been dominated by men. When looking at the Arab world currently there is an emergence of Arab women playing sports, something that for the most part is not much discussed but is of great importance. Muslim Arab women are taking part in playing on futsal, football (soccer), softball, basketball, and various other teams. Some women are participating in boxing, archery, running, swimming, tennis and other individual sports. More Muslim women are playing sports that sportswear is being developed in order for a woman to still be able to participate in sports like swimming without limiting their participation in what they can be a part of due to the way they choose to dress.
Although women have received great support from family members in playing sports, there is still much criticism towards female athletes in the Arab world. Many conservative men have criticized that sports and women do not go together and that a woman would not be able to wear her headscarf or wear shorts while playing sports. Some people do not see Islam and women playing sports as being compatible. Fortunately despite the various criticisms Arab women around the Arab world face, it has not stopped the popularity of women’s participation in sports. Football is one of the sports that has exploded in popularity with women in the Arab world. With the coming of the Women’s World Cup in 2011, there is a Women’s Football Cup Arabia occurring in Bahrain which is bringing together women’s teams from all over the Arab world to play in competition. There are teams in Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Jordan and events like this show that, as said by Dr. Sahar al Hawary who is a member of FIFA’s Women’s Committee from Egypt, “women's football can be promoted at the highest level and watched in the Arab world...women's football can be promoted at the highest level and watched in the Arab world”.
Arab women are also challenging and becoming a part of sports that even outside of the Arab world are considered not for women. There are Arab women who are participating in boxing, even reaching international competition levels. Arab women are not limiting themselves and although they receive criticism from some of society, their families and communities have been very supportive while still considering themselves conservative and faithful to Islam. These women and their families are challenging the very narrow view that society at times has of the capabilities of women and have inspired women all around the Arab world to not limit themselves. Despite this occurring in the Arab world, what these Arab female athletes are doing is an inspiration to women all over the globe.

Cuisine


{{Main|Arab cuisine}}
Originally, the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula relied heavily on a diet of dates, wheat, barley, rice and meat, with little variety, with a heavy emphasis on yoghurt products, such as leben (لبن) (yoghurt without butterfat). Arabian cuisine today is the result of a combination of richly diverse cuisines, spanning the Arab world from Iraq to Morocco and incorporating Lebanese, Egyptian and others. It has also been influenced to a degree by the cuisines of India, Turkey, Berber and others. In an average Arab household in the Persian Gulf area, a visitor might expect a dinner consisting of a very large platter, shared commonly, with a vast mountain of rice, incorporating lamb or chicken, or both, as separate dishes, with various stewed vegetables, heavily spiced, sometimes with a tomato sauce. Most likely, there would be several other items on the side, less hearty. Tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 would certainly accompany the meal, as it is almost constantly consumed. Coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 would be included as well.

Men


Arab dress for men ranges from the traditional flowing robes to blue jeans, T-shirts and western business suits. The robes allow for maximum circulation of air around the body to help keep it cool, and the head dress provides protection from the sun. At times, Arabs mix the traditional garb with Western clothes.

Headdress
The male headdress is also known as Keffiyeh
Keffiyeh
The keffiyeh/kufiya , also known as a ghutrah , ' , mashadah , shemagh or in Persian chafiye , Kurdish cemedanî and Turkish puşi, is a traditional Arab headdress fashioned from a square, usually cotton, scarf. It is typically worn by Arab men, as well as some Kurds...

. Headdress pattern might be an indicator of which tribe, clan, or family the wearer comes from. However, this is not always the case. While in one village, a tribe or clan might have a unique headdress, in the next town over an unrelated tribe or clan might wear the same headdress.
  • Checkered headdresses relate to type and government and participation in the Hajj
    Hajj
    The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

    , or a pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • Red and white checkered headdress – Generally of Jordanian origin. Wearer has made Hajj and comes from a country with a Monarch.
  • Black and white checkered headdress – The pattern is historically of Palestinian origin.
  • Black and grey represent Presidential rule and completion of the Hajj.
  • Shi’a- black turbans associated with Shi’a clergy who are somehow connected to the Prophet Muhammed or Ali Ibn Abi Talib the cousin of the Prophet who was the 4th Khalif of Islam and leader of the Shi’a sect.
  • Those who wear white turbans are associated with the lower echelons of the Shi’a hierarchy.

Women


Adherence to traditional dress varies across Arab societies. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 is more traditional, while Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 is less so. Traditional Arab dress features the full length body cover (abaya
Abaya
The abaya "cloak" , sometimes also called an aba, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world including in Turkey, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula....

, jilbāb
Jilbab
The term jilbāb or jilbaab is the plural of the word jilaabah which refers to any long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women. They believe that this definition of jilbab fulfills the Quranic demand for a Hijab...

, or chador
Chador
A chādor or chādar is an outer garment or open cloak worn by many Iranian women and female teenagers in public spaces. Wearing this garment is one possible way in which a Muslim woman can follow the Islamic dress code known as ḥijāb. A chador is a full-body-length semicircle of fabric that is...

) and veil (hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

). Women are required to wear abaya
Abaya
The abaya "cloak" , sometimes also called an aba, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world including in Turkey, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula....

s
in only Saudi Arabia. In most countries, like Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, the veil is not mandatory. It is clear that religiously speaking the mention of the bur'qa doesn't exist for Muslims women and today represents more a politic position than a religious interpretation... About the veil, nowadays, some religious think that hijab is not obligatory while others think that it is.

See also

  • Culture of the Arab States of Persian Gulf
    Culture of the Arab States of Persian Gulf
    There are many aspects of culture in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. While being Arab at its core, it has been influenced by the cultures of India, Persia, and East Africa, because of extensive trade links.-Music and dance:* Ardha* Sawt * Fijiri...

  • Palestinian culture
  • Culture of Syria
  • Culture of Iraq
    Culture of Iraq
    Iraq has one of the world's oldest cultural histories. Iraq is where the Ancient Mesopotamian civilizations were, whose legacy went on to influence and shape the civilizations of the Old World. Culturally, Iraq has a very rich heritage. The country is known for its poets and its painters and...

  • Culture of Morocco
    Culture of Morocco
    Morocco is a country of multi-ethnic groups with a rich culture, civilization, and etiquette. Through Moroccan history, Morocco hosted many people in addition to the indigenous Berbers, coming from both East , South and North . All of which have had an impact on the social structure of Morocco...

  • Culture of Egypt
    Culture of Egypt
    The culture of Egypt has thousands of years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations. For millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself...

  • Culture of Lebanon
    Culture of Lebanon
    The Culture of Lebanon is the product of various civilizations and cultures that have passed through the country over thousands of years. Starting with the first inhabitants of Lebanon, the Phoenicians, the country was then subsequently conquered and occupied by the Assyrians, the Persians, the...

  • Arabian mythology
    Arabian mythology
    Arabian mythology comprises the ancient, pre-Islamic beliefs of the Arabs. Prior to Islam the Kaaba of Mecca was covered in symbols representing the myriad demons, djinn, demigods, or simply tribal gods and other assorted deities which represented the polytheistic culture of pre-Islamic Arabia...