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The Mhallami, or Mhalmites, ' onMouseout='HidePop("35242")' href="">Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

: Mıhellemi) are a Semitic people originating from the Assyrian/Syriac people. They originally spoke Aramaic and were Eastern Rite
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

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, but are now primarily speakers of North Mesopotamian Arabic
North Mesopotamian Arabic
North Mesopotamian Arabic is a variety of Arabic spoken north of the Hamrin Mountains in Iraq, in northwestern Iran in northern Syria, and in southeastern Turkey...

 (qiltu variant) and Sunni Muslims
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....

 of Shafi`i madh'hab.


"A small minority of the Syriacs, around 1%, has converted to Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, but remains Syriac in culture and language...The flag of the Muslim Syriac minority is a vertical tricolor of violet, yellow and green, bearing a white crescent moon and five-pointed star on the upper hoist." Sir Mark Sykes, in his book 'The Caliph’s Last Heritage', p. 578 says that 'the Mahallemi' became Muslim to be able to eat meat during a Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

en famine. He writes, 'They speak a bastard 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...

, and their women wear red clothes and do not veil. Ibrahim Pasha says they are now a mixed race of Arabs and Kurds
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

. Some families are supposed to be 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...


Mhallami of 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...

 had a population of 70,000 to 100,000 Mhallami prior to Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

. Their origin and legal status became a particular concern when they started to seek asylum in Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

an countries en masse in early 1980s.

Mhallami association

The first Mhallami cultural association of Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 was founded in February 2008 in Hapsınas (Mercimekli) village of Midyat
Midyat is an originally Assyrian/Syriac town in Mardin Province of Turkey. The ancient city is the epicenter of a centuries-old Assyrian/Syriac enclave in Southeast-Turkey, widely familiar under its Syriac name Tur Abdin. A cognate of the name Midyat is first encountered in an inscription of the...

where the people still speak fluent Syriac. The association, jointly with the Syriac Cultural Association of Midyat, had organised the first international Mhallami conference in August 2008.