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Arab people facts for kids

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Total population
approx. 450 million
Regions with significant populations
 Pan-Arab States 430,754,575
 Brazil 12,000,000
 France 6,000,000
 Argentina 3,500,000
 United States 3,500,000
 Iran 700,000 - 2,000,000
 Israel 1,500,000
 Mexico 1,100,000
Arabic, Modern South Arabian
Predominantly Islam; largest minority: Christianity; other religions

The Arabs (Arabic: العرب ʻarab) are an ethnic widespread in the Middle East and North Africa. Arabic is one of the Semitic languages, which is also the name of the ethnic family which they belong to.

Who is an Arab

There are three points which decide whether someone is considered Arab or not:

There are many people who can be called Arabs by these points, but who do not think of themselves as Arab. Examples include the original Egyptians (Coptics) and the Syriacs (Aramaics/Assyrians). Although they live in countries like Syria or Egypt which is part of the Arab League and speak the official language-Arabic, they are different cultural groups. They have their own languages, culture, identity and churches, such as the Coptic Church and the Syriac Catholic and Orthodox churches. Even though many have assimilated to Arab society, they have their own heritage that spans 3,000 years.

Traditional genealogy

In Islamic and Jewish tradition, Arabs are a Semitic people who trace their ancestry from Ishmael, a son of the ancient patriarch Abraham and Hagar. Medieval Arab genealogists separate the Arabs into two groups: the "original Arabs" of South Arabia, descending from Qahtan (identified with the biblical Joktan) and the "Arabized Arabs" (musta`ribah) of North Arabia, descending from Adnan who is descended from Ishmael.


Most Arabs today follow the religion of Islam, whose greatest prophet is Muhammad. Christianity makes up the largest religious minority - most of the Christians that do consider themselves Arabs belong to the Greek Orthodox Church with smaller numbers of Roman Catholics.

While Coptic and Maronite Catholic Christians are native Arabic-speakers, many reject the Arab pan-ethnicity, but are still considered Arab by outsider sources.

There are some small communities practicing Judaism and polytheism (the worship of many gods). Yazidis are sometimes counted as Arabs.

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