Arab diaspora: Wikis


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Arab Diaspora
العرب المغتربين
Palestinian refugees.jpg
Palestinian refugees evacuating their villages during the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli War.
Total population
approx. 30 to 50 million[1]

Arabic, French, Spanish, English, Portuguese among others


Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Druze among others

Related ethnic groups

Lebanese diaspora  · Iraqi diaspora  · Egyptian diaspora  · Palestinian diaspora

Arab diaspora refers to Arab immigrants, and their descendants who, voluntarily or as refugees, emigrated from their native lands and now reside in non-Arab countries, primarily in Latin America, and Europe, as well as North America, parts of Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and West Africa.



Large numbers of Arabs migrated to West Africa, particularly Côte d'Ivoire (home to over 100,000 Lebanese),[2] Senegal (roughly 30,000 Lebanese),[3] Sierra Leone (roughly 10,000 Lebanese today; about 30,000 prior to the outbreak of civil war in 1991), Liberia, and Nigeria.[4] Since the end of the civil war in 2002, Lebanese traders have become re-established in Sierra Leone.

Arab traders have long operated in Southeast Asia, trading in spices, timber and textiles. But an important trading minority in the region that goes largely unrecognised comprises the local descendants of Arabs. Most of the prominent Indonesians, Malaysians, and Singaporeans of Arab descent have their origins in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, especially the coastal Hadhramaut region of Yemen and Oman. They are the Hadramis. As many as four million Indonesians are of Hadrami descent, and today there are almost 10,000 Hadramis in Singapore.[5][6]

The Americas have long been a destination for Arab migration, with Arabs arriving in some countries at least as early as the nineteenth century, but even as early as 1492 with several Moors among Christopher Columbus' crew . The largest concentration of Arabs outside the Arab World is in Brazil, which has nearly 10 million Brazilians of Arab ancestry[7]. Of these 10 million Arabs, seven million are of Lebanese ancestry[8], making Brazil's population of Lebanese greater than that of Lebanon itself. Most other Brazilians of Arab descent are mainly Syrian. There are also large Arab communities in Mexico (about 400,000 Mexicans of Lebanese descent), Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, and Venezuela.[9] Palestinians cluster in Chile and Central America, particularly El Salvador, and Honduras (between 150,000 and 200,000).[10] The 500,000 strong Palestinian community in Chile[11][12] is the fourth largest in the world after those in Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan. Arab Haitians (a large number of whom live in the capital) are more often than not, concentrated in financial areas where the majority of them establish businesses. In the United States, there are around 3.5 million people of Arab ancestry. Most Arabs of the Americas are of either Lebanese, Syrian, or Palestinian ancestry, and are mostly Christian, with sizable Muslim, and Jewish minorities.[13].

The Lebanese diaspora, while historically trade-related, has been linked more recently to the Lebanese Civil War, and the 2006 Lebanon War. In October 2006, shortly after the 2006 Second Lebanon War had concluded, the Edinburgh Middle East Report ran an article covering the brain drain from Lebanon's universities.[14] Increasing numbers of Lebanese students are travelling abroad to further their education in safer environments.

As of June 21, 2007, the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees estimated that over 2.2 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighboring countries, with up to 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month.[15][16][17] As a result of growing international pressure, on June 1, 2007 the Bush administration said it was ready to admit 7,000 Iraqi refugees who had helped the coalition since the invasion. According to Washington based Refugees International the U.S. has admitted fewer than 800 Iraqi refugees since the invasion, Sweden had accepted 18,000 and Australia had resettled almost 6,000.[18]

About 80,000 Iraqis live in Sweden, forming the country’s second largest immigrant group.[19] An estimated 1,000,000 Arabs live in the United Kingdom (250,000 Iraqis, and some 150,000 Egyptians), representing 1.7% of the country's population.

There is also a medium sized Arab community in Australia (home to roughly 400,000 Arabs, mostly Lebanese), where Arabic is the fourth most widely spoken second-language. The number of Muslim and Christian Arab Australians are roughly equal with a slight Christian majority. See Australian population: ethnic origins.[1]


There are no exact figures of how many Arabs live in the diaspora (expatriates). There are many challenges facing Arabs in the diaspora, especially in the post 9/11 world:

First: Suspicion of Arabs, and Muslims has increased dramatically. Racism towards Arabs has reached new heights.

Second: Another delicate issue for the Diaspora Arabs is the relationship with motherlands and/or fatherlands. These challenges depend on which generation of Arab immigrants we are talking about. Usually, the first generation are caught between a love for the motherland that on one hand increased by leaps and bounds following immigration and fueled mainly by nostalgia and a certain degree of “culture shock,” and resentment stemming from feeling driven out by unfavorable circumstances.

Third: After an initial period of “shock,” the first generation Arab immigrants may start the slow process of acculturation/assimilation.

Notable persons

Prominent members of the Arab diaspora include;

See also

External links




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