Arab Christians

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Arab Christians
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{{short description|Arabs of the Christian faith}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{Use dmy dates|date=May 2012}}{{about|Arabs of Christian faith|Christian communities and sects (including non-Arab Christians)|Christianity in the Middle East}}

bcd|[d]}}(excluding 25,000WEB,weblink Overview of religious history of Syria,, 15 August 2016, –52,000 Maronites)Lebanon}}bc|[c]}} (excluding 1 million Maronites)Jordan}}LAST=KILDANIACCESSDATE=17 JULY 2016URL=HTTP://WWW.ABOUNA.ORG/HOLYLANDS/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%A8-%D8%AF-%D8%AD%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%83%D9%84%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A8%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%AD%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%86-368-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%81%D9%88%D8%AC%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%81%D9%8A%D9%83b|[b]}}(excluding 1,000 Maronites)Israel}}PUBLISHER=CBS.GOV.ILb|[b]}}(including 10,000 Coptic Christians and excluding 7,000 Maronites)State of Palestine}} PalestinePUBLISHER=JCPA.ORG URL=HTTP://WWW.MIDDLEEASTMONITOR.ORG.UK/DOWNLOADS/COMMENTARY_AND_ANALYSIS/THE-PLIGHT-AND-FLIGHT-OF-PALESTINIAN-CHRISTIANS.PDFPUBLISHER=MIDDLE EAST MONITORURL-STATUS=DEADARCHIVEDATE=8 JUNE 2012, 2016-03-22, Iraq}}bdate=May 2019}}Egypt}}TITLE=WHO ARE EGYPT'S CHRISTIANS? PUBLISHER=MIDDLEEAST.ABOUT.COM ACCESSDATE=2012-12-06, {{ref[a]}}(excluding 9-15 million Coptic Christians and 5,000 MaronitesHTTP://WWW.MARONITE-HERITAGE.COM/LNE.PHP?PAGE=STATISTICS>TITLE=STATISTICSACCESSDATE=24 MARCH 2015, )Turkey}}AUTHOR=BUNDESZENTRALE FüR POLITISCHE BILDUNG, 20 April 2016, Morocco}}WORK=CHRISTIANITY TODAY WORK=VICE DATE=2015-03-23, Arabic, Hebrew language>Hebrew (within Israel), French language (within Lebanon and diaspora), English language>English, Spanish language and Portuguese language>Portuguese (diaspora)Christianity:Roman Catholic Church>Roman Catholic(Eastern Catholic Churches, various rites and jurisdictions; Latin Church>Latin)Orthodox Church(Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch>Antioch, Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria>Alexandria)Protestanta}} excluding Copts[b].{{notec}} excluding Maronites[d].{{note|d}} prior to Syrian civil war}}{{Arab culture |expanded=more}}Arab Christians ( Masīḥiyyūn ʿArab) are Arabs of the Christian faith.WEB, Walid, Phares, Walid Phares,weblink Arab Christians: An Introduction, Arabic Bible Outreach Ministry, 2001, unfit,weblink" title="">weblink 5 November 2004, Many are descended from ancient Arab Christian clans that did not convert to Islam, such as the Sabaean tribes of Yemen (i.e., Ghassanids, and Banu Judham) who settled in Transjordan and Syria, as well as Arabized Christians, such as Melkites and Antiochian Greek Christians. Arab Christians, forming Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities, are estimated to be 520,000–703,000 in Syria, 221,000 in Jordan, 134,130 in Israel and around 50,000 in Palestine. There is also a sizable Arab Christian Orthodox community in Lebanon and marginal communities in Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. Emigrants from Arab Christian (including Melkite-Antiochian Greek Christians) communities make up a significant proportion of the Middle Eastern diaspora, with sizable population concentrations across the Americas, most notably in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and the US.WEB, Demographics,weblink Arab American Institute, 4 September 2016, The first Arab tribes to adopt Christianity were likely Nabataeans and Ghassanids. During the fifth and sixth centuries, the Ghassanids, who at first adopted monophysitism, formed one of the most powerful confederations allied to Christian Byzantium, being a buffer against the pagan tribes of Arabia. The last king of the Lakhmids, al-Nu'man III ibn al-Mundhir, a client of the Sasanian Empire in the late sixth century, also converted to Christianity (in this case, to the Nestorian sect).Philip K. Hitti. History of the Arabs. 6th ed.; Macmillan and St. Martin's Press, 1967, pp. 78–84 (on the Ghassanids and Lakhmids) and pp. 87–108 (on Yemen and the Hijaz). Arab Christians played important roles in al-Nahda movement in modern times, and because Arab Christians formed the educated upper class and the bourgeoisie,JOURNAL, Radai, Itamar,weblink The collapse of the Palestinian-Arab middle class in 1948: The case of Qatamon, Middle Eastern Studies, 43, 6, 2008, 961–982, 0026-3206, 10.1080/00263200701568352, 15 August 2016, they have had a significant impact in politics, business and culture of the Arab world.JOURNAL, Michael, Teague,weblink The New Christian Question, Al Jadid Magazine, 2010, 16, 62, 20 April 2016, BOOK, Pacini, Andrea, Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future,weblink 1998, Clarendon Press, 38, 55, 978-0-19-829388-0, Today Arab Christians still play important roles in the Arab world, and Christians are relatively wealthy, well educated, and politically moderate.WEB,weblink Pope to Arab Christians: Keep the Faith, The Huffington Post, 20 April 2016, 2009-06-15, Arab Christians are not the only Christian group in the Middle East, with significant non-Arab indigenous Christian communities of Assyrians, Arameans, Armenians, Chaldeans, and others. Although sometimes classified as "Arab Christians", the largest Middle Eastern Christian groups of Maronites and Copts often claim non-Arab ethnicity: a significant proportion of Maronites claim descent from the ancient Phoenicians while a significant proportion of Copts also eschew an Arab identity, preferring an Ancient Egyptian one.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2011-07-14, Coptic assembly of America - Reactions in the Egyptian Press To a Lecture Delivered by a Coptic Bishop In Hudson Institute, 20 April 2016,


Classic antiquity

File:Jubail Church.jpg|thumb|Jubail Church is a 4th-century church building near Jubail, Saudi Arabia. It originally belonged to the Church of the East, an ancient Nestorian branch of Eastern ChristianityEastern ChristianityArab Christians are Indigenous peoples of Western Asia, with a presence there predating the seventh-century Early Muslim conquests in the Fertile Crescent. There were many Arab tribes which adhered to Christianity beginning with the 1st century, including the Nabateans and the Ghassanids.WEB, George, Khoury,weblink The Origins of Middle Eastern Arab Christianity,, 22 January 1997, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 February 2001, Nabateans were possibly among the first Arab tribes to arrive at the Southern Levant in the very late first millennium BC. The Nabataeans initially adopted pagan beliefs, but they became Christians by the time of the Byzantine period around the 4th century.WEB, Rimon, Ofra, The Nabateans in the Negev,weblink Hecht Museum, 7 February 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 20 November 2018, dead, dmy-all, The new Arab invaders, who soon pressed forward into their seats found the remnants of the Nabataeans transformed into peasants. Their lands were divided between the new Qahtanite Arab tribal kingdoms of the Byzantine vassals, the Ghassanids and the Himyarite Kingdom, the Kindah in North Arabia.The tribes of Tayy, Banu Abdul Qays, and Taghlib are also known to have included many Christians in the pre-Islamic period. The southern Arabian city of Najran was a center of Arabian Christianity, made famous by the persecution by one of the kings of Yemen, Dhu Nawas, who was himself an enthusiastic convert to Judaism. The leader of the Arabs of Najran during the period of persecution, al-Ḥārith, was canonized by the Catholic Church as Arethas. Some modern scholars suggest that Philip the Arab was the first Christian emperor of Rome. By the fourth century, a significant number of Christians occupied the Sinai Peninsula, Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula.The New Testament has a biblical account of Arab conversion to Christianity recorded in the book of Acts. When Saint Peter preaches to the people of Jerusalem, they ask, "And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? [. . .] both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." (Acts 2:8, 11, English Standard Version).{{Citation needed|date=July 2016}} Arab Christians are thus one of the oldest Christian communities.The first mention of Christianity in Arabia occurs in the New Testament as the Apostle Paul refers to his journey in Arabia following his conversion (Galatians 1: 15-17). Later, Eusebius discusses a bishop named Beryllus in the see of Bostra, the site of a synod c. 240 and two Councils of Arabia. Christians existed in Arab lands from at least the 3rd century onward.BOOK, Parry, Ken, David, Melling, The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, Blackwell Publishing, 1999, Malden, MA, 978-0-631-23203-2, 37, Also, there were Christian influences coming from Ethiopia in particular in pre-Islamic times, and some Hejazis, including a cousin of Muhammad's wife Khadija bint Khuwaylid, according to some sources, adopted this faith, while some Ethiopian Christians may have lived in Mecca.Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, 6th ed. (Macmillan and St. Martin's Press, 1967, pp. 78-84 (on the Ghassanids and Lakhmids) and pp. 87-108 (on Yemen and the Hijaz).

Islamic era

File:Saint Abo of Tiflis.jpg|thumb|upright|Christian martyr Saint Abo, the patron saint of leftFollowing the fall of large portions of former Byzantine and Sasanian provinces to the Arab armies, a large indigenous Christian population of varying ethnicities came under Arab Muslim dominance. Historically, a number of minority Christian sects were persecuted as heretic under Byzantine rule (such as non-Chalcedonians). As Muslim army commanders expanded their empire and attacked countries in Asia, North Africa and southern Europe, they would offer three conditions to their enemies: convert to Islam, or pay jizya (tax) every year, or face war to death. Those who refused war and refused to convert were deemed to have agreed to pay jizya., Sabet, Amr (2006), The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 24:4, Oxford; page 99–100Khadduri, Majid (2010). War and Peace in the Law of Islam, Johns Hopkins University Press; pages 162–224; {{ISBN|978-1-58477-695-6}} It is a common agreement that after the rapid expansion of Islam from the 7th century onward, many Christians chose not to convert to Islam. Many scholars and intellectuals like Edward Said believed Christians in the Arab world have made significant contributions to the Arab civilization since the 7th century AD and still do. Some of the top poets at certain times were Arab Christians, and many Arab (and non-Arab) Christians were physicians, writers, government officials, and people of literature.Under Arab Muslim rule, Christians were protected and began to enjoy more religious freedom under initial Arab Muslim occupation, than they had under Byzantine (Eastern Orthodox Christian) rule,{{Citation needed|date=July 2017}} but they were also often a target of persecution. As "People of the Book", Christians in the region were accorded certain rights under Islamic law to practice their religion (including having Christian law used for rulings, settlements or sentences in court). In contrast to Muslims, who paid the zakat tax, they paid the jizya, an obligatory tax. The jizya was not levied on slaves, women, children, monks, the old, the sick,Shahid Alam, Articulating Group Differences: A Variety of Autocentrisms, Journal of Science and Society, 2003Seed, Patricia. Ceremonies of Possession in Europe's Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640, Cambridge University Press, 27 October 1995, pp. 79-80. hermits, or the poor.Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1991). The Holy Quran. Medina: King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex. In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to Muslim state's protection from outside aggression, to be exempted from military service and the zakat.John Louis Esposito, Islam the Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 15 January 1998, p. 34.Lewis (1984), pp. 10, 20Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1991). The Holy Quran. Medina: King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex, pg. 507

Role in al-Nahda

The Renaissance of Arab culture or al-Nahda was a cultural renaissance that began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it began in the wake of the exit of Muhammad Ali of Egypt from the Levant in 1840.JOURNAL, Peter, Gran,weblink Tahtawi in Paris, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 568, January 2002, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 June 2003, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus and Aleppo were the main centers of the renaissance and this led to the establishment of schools, universities, Arab theater and printing presses. It also led to the renewal of literary, linguistic and poetic distinctiveness. The emergence of a politically active movement known as the "association" was accompanied by the birth of the idea of Arab nationalism and the demand for the reformation of the Ottoman Empire. The emergence of the idea of Arab independence and reformation led to the calling of the establishment of modern states based on the European-style. It was during this stage, that the first compound of the Arabic language was introduced along with the printing of it in Arabic letters. In music, sculpture and history and the humanities generally, as well as in economics, human rights, and a summary of the case that the cultural renaissance by the Arabs during the late Ottoman rule was a quantum leap for them to post-industrial revolution, and can not be limited to the fields of cultural renaissance of Arabs in the nineteenth century these categories only as it is extended to include the spectrum of society and the fields as a whole, and is almost universal agreement among historians on the role played by the Arab Christians in this renaissance, both in Mount Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and their role in the prosperity through participation not only from home but in the Diaspora also.BOOK, Boueiz Kanaan, Claude, Lebanon 1860-1960: A Century of Myth and Politics, la University of Michigan, 127, File:May ziade.jpg|left|thumb|upright|May ZiadehMay ZiadehBecause Arab Christians formed the educated and bourgeois classes, they have had a significant impact on politics, business and culture of the Arab World. Some of the most influential Arab nationalists were Arab Christians, and is noteworthy for example, in the press sound Anjoa founder of the «mirror the Middle» in 1879 and the Secretary of Saal founder of the Journal of Law and George Michael Knight founder of the «Egyptian newspaper» in 1888 and Alexander Shalhoub founder of the Journal of the Sultanate in 1897 and Saleem Takla and his brother Bishara Takla founding the Al-Ahram newspaper,BOOK, Merrill, A. Fisher, John Calhoun, Harold, The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers, la University of Michigan, 52, and in the jurisprudence of the Arabic language The Abraham Yazigi Yazigi and Nassif and Peter Gardener. At the same time entered into by the Archbishop of Aleppo Mlatios grace of the first printing press letters to the Arab Levant and continued in print until 1899. On the other hand, contributed to Arab Christians in fighting the policy of Turkification pursued by the Assembly of the Union and Progress and has emerged in Aleppo, in particular, Bishop Germanos Farhat and Father Boutros Tallawy, and the school was founded the Patriarchate in the prolific that came out a multitude of flags of the Arab at that point,محطات مارونية من تاريخ لبنان، مرجع سابق، ص.183{{Citation needed|date=April 2015}} Christian college as Saint Joseph University and the American University of Beirut and Al-Hikma University in Baghdad and other played leading role in the development of civilization and Arab culture.Lattouf, 2004, p. 70 In Iraq, an active father Anastas Marie Carmelite, and in the literature mentioned Gibran Khalil Gibran and Mikhail Naima, Ameen Rihani, Shafiq Maalouf and Elias Farhat. In politics, Alazuri Shokri Ghanem and Jacob Abov, Faris Nimr and Boutros-Ghali, in Lebanon and Egypt. Given this growing Christian role in politics and culture, governments began to turn contains the Ottoman ministers from the Arab Christians and all of the epic in Lebanon. In the economic sphere, a number of Christian families, including Al Sursock and all stockist and all Websters in the Levant and all Sakakini, and all-Ghali, and all fixed in Egypt,{{Citation needed|date=July 2016}} Thus, the Arab Middle East led the Muslims and Christians a cultural renaissance and national general despotism which formed Rkizath Society of Union and Progress and Policy Turkification, and established this renaissance as seen Paul Naaman "Arab Christians as one of the pillars of the region and not as a minority on the fringes.محطات مارونية من تاريخ لبنان، مرجع سابق، ص.185{{Citation needed|date=April 2015}}Many non-Arab Christians suffered a religiously-motivated Genocide at the hands of the Ottomans and their allies in the Assyrian genocide and the Great Famine of Mount Lebanon during World War I, which ran in conjunction with the Armenian Genocide and the Greek genocide.

Modern era

Some of the most influential Arab nationalists were Arab Christians, like Syrian intellectual Constantin Zureiq. Several Arab Christians edited the leading newspapers in Mandatory Palestine including Falastin, edited by Issa El-Issa and Yousef El-Issa, and Al-Karmil, which was edited by Najib Nassar. Khalil al-Sakakini, a prominent Jerusalemite, was also an Arab Orthodox, as was George Antonius, author of The Arab Awakening.During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, a number of Arab Greek Orthodox communities were affected, including al-Bassa, Ramla, Lod, Safed, Kafr Bir'im, Iqrit, Tarbikha, Eilabun. In addition around 20,000 Christians fled Haifa, 20,000 fled West Jerusalem, 700 fled Acre and 10,000 fled Jaffa.{{citation needed|date=April 2015}} However prominent members remained such as Tawfik Toubi, Emile Touma and Emile Habibi and they went on to be leaders of the Communist party in Israel. George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was Arab Christian.The suicide bomber Jules Jammal, a Syrian military officer, who blew himself up while ramming a French ship, was also an Arab Christian.Many Palestinian Christians were also active in the formation and governing of the Palestinian National Authority since 1994.With the events of the Arab Winter, the Syrian Arab Christian community was heavily hit in line with other Christian communities of Syria, being victimized by the war and specifically targeted as a minority by the Jihadist forces. Many Christians, including Arab Christians, were displaced or fled Syria on the course of the Syrian Civil War.


West Asia


{{further information|Christianity in Iraq}}File:Badger 1852 Church in Mosul East side.jpg|thumb|Interior of a church in MosulMosulChristianity has a presence in Iraq dating to the first century, and Syriac Christianity, the Syriac language and Syriac alphabet evolved in Assyria in northern Iraq.The Arab Christian community in Iraq is relatively small, and further dwindled due to the Iraq War to just several thousand. Most Arab Christians in Iraq belong traditionally to Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches (excluding the Chaldean Christians) and are concentrated in major cities such as Baghdad, Basra and Mosul.The vast majority of the remaining 450,000 to 900,000 Christians in IraqWEB,weblink The World Factbook, 20 April 2016, are Assyrian people, who follow Syriac Christianity, most notably the Chaldean Catholic Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox Church, Assyrian Evangelical Church and Assyrian Pentecostal Church. More than two-thirds of Iraqi Christians have fled or immigrated to other countries{{which|date=September 2014}} this century.NEWS, Guide: Christians in the Middle East,weblink 16 November 2011, BBC, 11 October 2011, {{failed verification|date=September 2014}}. In the 1987 Iraq census there were 1.4 million Christians in a population of 22 million but the numbers had fallen to 800-900,000 by the outbreak of the 2003 war due to emigration (Irinnews 2006 and BBC article 2010).While there has been voluntary relocation of many Assyrian Christian families to the Assyrian homeland in northern Iraq, recent reporting indicates that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of Ba'athist Iraq in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon (2010 est.)WEB,weblink The World Factbook,, 2016-07-19, Significant persecution and displacement of Iraqi Christians in Mosul and other areas held by ISIS occurred from 2014 onwards, with Christian houses identified with the Arabic letter "N" for "Nasrani" (Christian).Euronews Ù†: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq's persecuted Christians


{{further information|Christianity in Israel}}In December 2009, 122,000 Arab Christians lived in Israel, as Arab citizens of Israel, out of a total of 151,700 Christian citizens.WEB,weblink Statistical Abstract of Israel 2010, 20 April 2016, According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, on the eve of Christmas 2013, there were approximately 161,000 Christians in Israel, about 2 percent of the general population in Israel. 80% of the Christians are of Arabic rootsWEB,weblink CBS report: Christian population in Israel growing, The Jerusalem Post, 15 August 2016, with smaller Christian communities of ethnic Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Maronites, Ukrainians and Assyrians.WEB, Adelman, Jonathan, The Christians of Israel: A Remarkable Group, The Huffington Post, 2015-08-28,weblink 2016-09-01, The majority of Arab Christians in Israel belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, with a sizable minority belonging to the Greek Catholic (Melkite) and Latin Churches. Other denominations are the Anglicans who have their cathedral church in the contested territory of East Jerusalem. Baptists in Israel are concentrated in the north of the country and have four churches in the Nazareth area, and a seminary.The Arab Christians in Israel divide in political opinions — some self-identify as Palestinian Christians, some emphasize pan-Arabism, while a small minorityWEB,weblink In Heartwarming Christmas Story, IDF Welcomes More Pro-Israel Christian Arabs, 23 December 2015, support Zionist ideas.WEB,weblink Israeli-Arab Christians take to the streets of Haifa for an unusual protest, TLV1, 21 January 2016, TLV1 Radio, 21 January 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 October 2014, WEB,weblink – Arab-Israelis protested in support of Israel and the IDF, and against killing of Christians in Syria, 21 January 2016, There is a dominant Arab Christian representation in the Arab democratic-nationalist party of Balad, which emphasizes pan-Arabism, founded by Azmi Bishara in 1995 and having representation in the Israeli parliament since 1999.Christian Arabs citizens of Israel are one of the most educated groups in Israel. Maariv has described the Christian Arabs sectors as "the most successful in education system",WEB,weblink חדשות - בארץ nrg - ...המגזר הערבי נוצרי הכי מצליח במערכת,, 2011-12-25, 2015-02-24, Statistically, Christian Arabs in Israel have the highest rates of educational attainment among all religious communities, according to a data by Israel Central Bureau of Statistics in 2010, 63% of Israeli Christian Arabs have had college or postgraduate education, the highest of any religious and ethno-religious group.WEB,weblink المسيحيون العرب يتفوقون على يهود إسرائيل في التعليم, Bokra, 28 December 2011, WEB,weblink Christians in Israel: Strong in education - Israel News, Ynetnews,, 1995-06-20, 2015-02-24, Christian Arabs also have one of the highest rates of success in the matriculation examinations per capita, (73.9%) in 2016WEB,weblink Arutz Sheva, 24 December 2017, An inside look at Israel's Christian minority, WEB,weblink Christian Arabs top country's matriculation charts, The Times of Israel, 24 December 2013, both in comparison to the Muslims and the Druze and in comparison to all students in the Jewish education system as a group, Arab Christians were also the vanguard in terms of eligibility for higher education. and they have attained a bachelor's degree and academic degree more than Jewish, Muslims and Druze per capita.The rate of students studying in the field of medicine was also higher among the Christian Arab students, compared with all the students from other sectors. despite the fact that Arab Christians only represent 2.1% of the total Israeli population,2% מהישראלים יחגגו מחר עם סנטה קלאוס in 2014 they accounted for 17.0% of the country's university students, and for 14.4% of its college students.הלמ"ס: עלייה בשיעור הערבים הנרשמים למוסדות האקדמיים{{dead link|date=September 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}In terms of their socio-economic situation, Arab Christians are more similar to the Jewish population than to the Muslim Arab population.WEB,weblink Israeli Christians Flourishing in Education but Falling in Number,, 5 September 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 7 January 2016, dead, They have the lowest incidence of poverty and the lowest percentage of unemployment which is 4.9% compared to 6.5% among Jewish men and women.WEB,weblink Christians in Israel Well-Off, Statistics Show: Christians in Israel are prosperous and well-educated - but some fear that Muslim intimidation will cause a mass escape to the West, Arutz Sheva, 5 September 2016, They have also the highest median household income among Arab citizens of Israel and second highest median household income among the Israeli ethno-religious groups.WEB,weblink פרק 4 פערים חברתיים-כלכליים בין ערבים לבין יהודים,, 2016-09-18,weblink" title="">weblink 19 October 2015, dead, Also Arab Christians have a high presentation in science and in the white collar professions.JOURNAL, David, Hanna, Are Christian Arabs the New Israeli Jews? Reflections on the Educational Level of Arab Christians in Israel, International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, 2014, 32, 175–187,weblink


{{further information|Christianity in Jordan}}File:Orthodox church in Amman1.jpg|thumb|A Greek Orthodox Church during a snow storm in Amman, leftJordan contains some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, their presence dating back to the first century AD. Today, Christians today make up about 4% of the population, down from 20% in 1930.NEWS,weblink Jordan: The safe haven for Christians fleeing ISIL, The National, 14 February 2015, Justin, Vela, 12 October 2015, This is due to high immigration rates of Muslims into Jordan, higher emigration rates of Christians to the west and higher birth rates for Muslims.NEWS, Jeffrey, Fleishman, For Christian enclave in Jordan, tribal lands are sacred,weblink Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2009, 10 May 2016, Jordanian Arab Christians number around 221,000, according to a 2014 estimate by the Orthodox Church. The study excluded minority Christian groups and the thousands of western, Iraqi and Syrian Christians residing in Jordan. Another estimare suggests the Orthodox number 125-300,000, Catholics at 114,000 and Protestants at 30,000 for a total 270-450,000. Most native Christians in Jordan identify themselves as Arab, though there are also significant Assyrian and Armenian populations in the country. There has been an influx of Christian refugees escaping Daesh, mainly from Mosul, Iraq, numbering about 7000NEWS, Muath, Freij,weblink Iraqi Christians return to school in Jordan after a year in limbo,, 12 August 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 14 August 2015, and 20,000 from Syria.weblink{{Dead link|date=August 2016}}Religious conversion of a Muslim to another religion is technically not permitted. Christian ex-Muslims are not permitted to legally convert and do not enjoy the same rights as other Christians in Jordan.{{Citation needed|date=April 2015}} However, there are cases in which a Muslim will adopt the Christian faith, secretly declaring his/her faith. In effect, they are practicing Christians, but legally Muslims; thus, the statistics of Jordanian Christians does not include Muslim converts to Christianity. A 2015 study estimates some 6500 practicing Christians from a Muslim background in Jordan.Christians in Jordan are exceptionally well integrated in the Jordanian society and enjoy a high level of freedom.JOURNAL, Miller, Duane Alexander, The Episcopal Church in Jordan: Identity, Liturgy, and Mission, Journal of Anglican Studies, 30 July 2010, 9, 2, 134–153, 10.1017/s1740355309990271, Christians are allotted nine out of a total of 130 seats in the Parliament of Jordan, and also hold important ministerial portfolios, ambassadorial appointments, and positions of high military rank. All Christian religious ceremonies are publicly celebrated in Jordan.WEB,weblink Home - Minority Rights Group,, 15 August 2016,


{{further information|Christianity in Lebanon}}Lebanon holds the largest number of Christians in the Arab world proportionally and falls just behind Egypt in absolute numbers. About 350,000 of Christians in Lebanon are Arab Christians and Melchites, while the most dominant group are Maronites with about 1 million population, whose Arab identity is somewhat disputed.BOOK, Kraidy, Marwan, Hybridity, OR the Cultural Logic of Globalization, 119, Temple University, 2005, 978-1-59213-144-0, Christians formed about 40% of Lebanese citizens after 1920.WEB, The Lebanese census of 1932 revisited. Who are the Lebanese?,weblink yes, Source: British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Nov99, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p219, 23p, 2012-09-22, The exact number of Christians in modern Lebanon is uncertain because no official census has been made in Lebanon since 1932. Lebanese Christians belong mostly to the Maronite and Greek Orthodox Churches, with sizable minorities belonging to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and Armenian Apostolic Church. The community of Armenians in Lebanon is the most politically and demographically significant in the Middle East. Lebanese Christians are the only Christians in the Middle East with a sizable political role in the country. The Lebanese constitution requires that the Lebanese president, half of the cabinet, and half of the parliament follow one of the various Lebanese Christian rites.While most Maronites claim pre-Arab origins in the region, with relation to Mardaites and perhaps even Phoenicians of the ancient times, there is no question Arabization of this population took place over centuries of Muslim rule and Arab domination in the region. The indigenous Western Aramaic language among the Maronites was abandoned as a spoken tongue by the end of the Middle Ages, making this community also to adopt elements of Arab culture from their Arab Christian and Arab Muslim neighbors. Nevertheless, many Maronites still strongly point out their unique origins, separate from Arab peoples, and predating the Arab migrations to the region. Some Maronites tend to oppose such divergence opinions, and actually see themselves as part of the Arab nation, defined by the Pan-Arab identity. There are even voices aiming to link Maronites with Arabs by bloodline. For example, according to Kamal Salibi some Maronites may have been descended from an Arabian tribe, who immigrated thousands of years ago from the southern Arabian Peninsula. Salibi maintains, "It is very possible that the Maronites, as a community of Arabian origin, were among the last Arabian Christian tribes to arrive in Syria before Islam".BOOK, Salibi, Kamal, A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered, Tauris, 1988, 89, 978-1-85043-091-9,


{{further information|Christianity in Palestine}}File:Mirjam von Abellin.jpg|thumb|Mariam of Bethlehem ]]Most of the Palestinian Christians identify themselves as Arab Christians culturally and linguistically, some of whom claim descent from the Christian Ghassanid Arabs and Greeks who settled in the region. Between 36,000-50,000 Christians live in the Palestinian Authority, most of whom belong to the Orthodox (Greek Orthodox and Arab Orthodox) and Catholic (including Melchite) churches. The majority of Palestinian Christians live in the Bethlehem, Ramallah and Nablus areas.NEWS, Reuters,weblink Joseph, Nasr, FACTBOX - Christians in Israel, West Bank and Gaza, 10 May 2009, Many Palestinian Arab Christians hold high-ranking positions in Palestinian society, particularly at the political and social levels. Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that Christian-Muslim relations constitute a divisive element in Palestinian society.BOOK,weblink The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, 20 April 2016, 9780521009676, Morris, Benny, Morris, Research Fellow Truman Institute Benny, Benny, Morris, 2004, Christian communities in the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip have greatly dwindled over the last two decades. The causes of the Palestinian Christian exodus are widely debated.NEWS, The Jerusalem Post,weblink Persecuted Christians?, Larry, May 7, 2009, Derfner, Reuters reports that many Palestinian Christians emigrate in pursuit of better living standards, while the BBC also blames the economic decline in the Palestinian Authority as well as pressure from the security situation upon their lifestyle.Guide: Christians in the Middle East. BBC News. 2011-10-11. The Vatican and the Catholic Church saw the Israeli occupation and the general conflict in the Holy Land as the principal reasons for the Christian exodus from the territories.WEB,weblink Israeli-Palestinian conflict blamed for Christian exodus, The Jerusalem Post, 20 April 2016, There have also been cases of persecution by radical Islamist elements, mainly in the Gaza Strip.{{Citation needed|date=July 2016}} Palestinian Christian human rights activist Hanna Siniora has attributed local harassment against Christians to "little groups" of "hoodlums" rather than to the Hamas or Fatah governments.{{Citation needed|date=April 2015}} The West Bank barrier and restrictions on Palestinian movement were cited by the former Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs' chief liaison to Christians as the primary issues facing local Christians.{{Citation needed|date=July 2016}}The decline of the Christian community in the Palestinian controlled areas follows the general trend of Christian decline in the Muslim dominated the Middle East. Some churches have attempted to ameliorate the rate of emigration of young Christians by building subsidized housing for them and expanding efforts at job training.BOOK, 10.1017/CBO9781316408643.014, Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Indigenous Palestinian Christianity in the West Bank, Christianity and Freedom, 372–396, 2016, Miller, Duane Alexander, Sumpter, Philip, 978-1-316-40864-3,

Gaza Strip

In 2007, just before the Hamas takeover of Gaza, there were 3,200 Christians living in the Gaza Strip.NEWS,weblink Palestinian Christian Activist Stabbed to Death in Gaza, Haaretz, 20 April 2016, 2007-10-07, Half the Christian community in Gaza fled to the West Bank and abroad after the Hamas take-over in 2007.NEWS, Michael, Oren, Michael Oren,weblink Israel and the plight of Mideast Christians, Wall Street Journal,


{{further information|Christianity in Syria}}File:Sednaya Mary.jpg|thumb|left|Mosaic depicting Mary holding an Arabic text, Our Lady of Saidnaya Monastery, a Greek Orthodox Church in SednayaSednayaIn Syria, according to the 1960 census which recorded just over 4.5 million inhabitants, Christians formed just under 15% of the population (or 675,000). This represents a decline from 20% in 1937 when the population was 3,350.00. The combined population of Syrian and Lebanon in 1910 was estimated at 30% in a population of 3.5 million. Since 1960 the population of Syria has increased five-fold, but the Christian population only 3.5 times. Due to political reasons, no newer census has been taken since. Most recent estimates prior to the Syrian civil war suggested that overall Christians comprised about 10% of the overall population of Syrian 23 million citizens, due to having lower birth rates and higher emigration rates than their Muslim compatriots.CIA World Factbook, People and Society: Syria Today, a sizeable share of Syrian Christians hold on to their ethnic Antiochian Greek, Assyrians (particularly in the northeast), and Armenian origins, with a major recent influx of Assyrian Iraqi Christian refugees into these communities after massacres in Turkey and Iraq during and after WWI and then post-2003. Due to the Syrian civil war, a large number of Christians fled the country to Lebanon, Jordan, and Europe, though the major share of the population still resides in Syria (some being internally displaced).File:John-of-Damascus 01.jpg|thumb|upright|John of Damascus, an Arab monk and presbyter, 7th century (Greek iconiconThe Arab Christians of Syria are Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic (Melkites) as well as some Latin Rite Roman Catholics. Non-Arab Syrian Christians include Assyrians (mainly in the northeast), Syriac-Arameans, Greeks and Armenians. The largest Christian denomination in Syria is the Greek Orthodox church, some of whom are Arab Christians, followed in second place by the Syrian Orthodox, many of whose followers espouse an Aramean or Assyrian identity. The appellation "Greek" refers to the liturgy they use, sometimes used to refer to the ancestry and ethnicity of the members, however not all members are of Greek ancestry; in fact, the Arabic word used is "Rum", which means "Byzantines", or Eastern Romans. Overall, the term is generally used to refer mostly to the Greek liturgy, and the Greek Orthodox denomination in Syria. Arabic is now its main liturgical language. Melkite Church is another major religious denomination of Arabized Christians in Syria. Melkites, the followers of the Greek Catholic Church form another major group.Though religious freedom is allowed in the Syrian Arab Republic, all citizens of Syria including Christians, are subject to the Shari'a-based personal status laws regulating child custody, inheritance, and adoption.WEB,weblink Syria, U.S. Department of State, 20 April 2016, For example, in the case of divorce, a woman loses the right to custody of her sons when they reach the age of thirteen and her daughters when they reach the age of fifteen, regardless of religion.


{{further information|Christianity in Turkey}}Antiochian Greeks who mostly live in Hatay Province, are one of the Arabic-speaking communities in Turkey, their number approximately 18,000.Christen in der islamischen Welt – Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 26/2008) They are Greek Orthodox. However, they are sometimes known as Arab Christians, primarily because of their language. Antioch (capital of Hatay Province) is also the historical capital of Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. Turkey is also home to a number of non Arab Armenians (who number around 70,000),NEWS, Armenian in Istanbul: Diaspora in Turkey welcomes the setting of relations and waits more steps from both countries, Sara, Khojoyan,weblink, 16 October 2009, 5 January 2013, Greeks (who number around 5,000 not including Antiochian Greeks) and Assyrian Christians in the southeast.

Arabian Peninsula

Kuwait's native Christian population exists, though is essentially small. There are between 259 and 400 Christian Kuwaiti citizens.WEB,weblink International Religious Freedom Report, US State Department, 1999, WEB,weblink Nationality By Religion and Nationality, Government of Kuwait, Arabic, WEB, Nihal, Sharaf,weblink 'Christians Enjoy Religious Freedom': Church-State ties excellent, Arabia Times, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 April 2015, Christian Kuwaitis can be divided into two groups. The first group includes the earliest Kuwaiti Christians, who originated from Iraq and Turkey. They have assimilated into Kuwaiti society, like their Muslim counterparts, and tend to speak Arabic with a Kuwaiti dialect; their food and culture are also predominantly Kuwaiti. They makeup roughly a quarter of Kuwait's Christian population. The rest (roughly three-quarters) of Christian Kuwaitis make up the second group. They are more recent arrivals in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly Kuwaitis of Palestinian ancestry who were forced out of Palestine after 1948. There are also smaller numbers who originally hail from Syria and Lebanon. This second group is not as assimilated as the first group, as their food, culture, and Arabic dialect still retain a Levant feel. However, they are just as patriotic as the former group, and tend to be proud of their adopted homeland, with many serving in the army, police, civil, and foreign service. Most of Kuwait's citizen Christians belong to 12 large families, with the Shammas (from Turkey) and the Shuhaibar (from Palestine) families being some of the more prominent ones.Native Christians who hold Bahraini citizenship number approximately 1,000 persons.WEB,weblink 2010 Census Results, June 15, 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 20 March 2012, dead, dmy-all, The majority of Christians are originally from Iraq, Palestine and Jordan, with a small minority having lived in Bahrain for many centuries; the majority have been living as Bahraini citizens for less than a century. There are also smaller numbers of native Christians who originally hail from Lebanon, Syria, and India.The majority of Christian Bahraini citizens tend to be Orthodox Christians, with the largest church by membership being the Greek Orthodox Church. They enjoy many equal religious and social freedom. Bahrain has Christian members in the Bahraini government.

North Africa

{{further|Christianity in Algeria|Christianity in Morocco|Christianity in Libya|Christianity in Tunisia}}There are tiny communities of Roman Catholics in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Morocco due to colonial rule - French rule for Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, Spanish rule for Morocco and Western Sahara, and Italian rule for Libya. Most Christians in North Africa are foreign missionaries, immigrant workers, and people of French, Spanish, and Italian colonial descent. The North African Christians of Berber or Arab descent mostly converted during the modern era or under and after French colonialism.BOOK,weblink The Encyclopedia of Christianity: J-O, 20 April 2016, 9780802824158, Fahlbusch, Erwin, Bromiley, Geoffrey William, Lochman, Jan Milic, Mbiti, John, Pelikan, Jaroslav, Vischer, Lukas, Barrett, David B., 2003, WEB,weblink Rising numbers of Christians in Islamic countries could pose threat to social order, World Review, 2013, 20 April 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 March 2016, dmy, Arguably, many more Maghrebi Christians of Arab or Berber descent live in France than in North Africa, due to the exodus of the pieds-noirs in the 1960s. Charles de Foucauld was renowned for his missions in North Africa among Muslims, including African Arabs.Today conversions to Christianity have been most common in Algeria,*{{fr icon}} Sadek Lekdja, Christianity in Kabylie, Radio France Internationale, 7 mai 2001 especially in the Kabylie, and MoroccoWEB,weblink Refworld - Morocco: General situation of Muslims who converted to Christianity, and specifically those who converted to Catholicism; their treatment by Islamists and the authorities, including state protection (2008-2011), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Refworld, 20 April 2016, and Tunisia.International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Tunisia. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. A 2015 study estimates 380,000 Muslims converted to Christianity in Algeria.JOURNAL, Miller, Duane Alexander, Johnstone, Patrick, Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, 2015, 11, 10,weblink While it's estimated that between 8,000Christian Converts in Morocco Fear Fatwa Calling for Their Execution-40,000House-Churches' and Silent Masses —The Converted Christians of Morocco Are Praying in Secret Moroccans converted to Christianity in the last decades; although some estimate the number to be as high as 150,000.Morocco: No more hiding for Christians In Tunisia, however, the number of Tunisian Christians is estimated to be around 50,000.The Office for Democracy Human Rights and Labor of the United States also noted the presence of thousands of Tunisians who converted to Christianity.NEWS,weblink Christian Persecution in Tunisia {{!, Open Doors USA|work=Open Doors USA|access-date=2017-06-30|language=en-US}}


{{further information|Christianity in Egypt}}If one excludes the Copts who adhere to an Ancient Egyptian heritage, the numbers of the Greek Orthodox Church adherents in Egypt, who are ethnically Greek and possibly Arab, is rather small - on the order of several thousand each. There are several isolated Greek Orthodox communities, largely composed of Arabs, in the Sinai Peninsula, though the rest of Egypt also has tiny numbers of other than Copts minorities.Most Egyptian Christians are Copts, who are mainly members of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Although Copts in Egypt speak Egyptian Arabic, many of them do not consider themselves to be ethnically Arabs, but rather descendants of the ancient Egyptians. The Copts constitute the largest population of Christians in the Middle East, Where they number 12,700,000. The liturgical language of the Copts, the Coptic language, is a direct descendant of the Egyptian language. Coptic remains the liturgical language of all Coptic churches.


{{further information|Christian emigration}}Hundreds of thousands of Arab Christians also live in the diaspora, outside of the Middle East. They reside in such countries as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela among them. There are also many Arab Christians in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, France (due to its historical connections with Lebanon and North Africa), and Spain (due to its historical connections with northern Morocco), and to a lesser extent in Ireland, Germany, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. Among those, across Europe and the Americas, an estimated 400,000 Arab Christians are living in the Palestinian diaspora.


Like Arab Muslims, Arab Christians refer to God as Allah, as an Arabic word for "God".BOOK,weblink Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?: understanding the differences between Christianity and Islam, Timothy George, Zondervan, 2002, 978-0-310-24748-7, BOOK,weblink The colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Illustrated, annotated, Indiana University Press, 2007, 978-0-253-21927-5, The use of the term Allah in Arab Christian churches predates Islam by several centuries. In more recent times (especially since the mid-19th century), some Arab Christians from the Levant region have been converted from these native, traditional churches to more recent Protestant ones, most notably Baptist and Methodist churches. This is mostly due to an influx of Western, predominantly American Evangelical, missionaries.

Affiliated communities

The Arab Christians largely belong to the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem or Antiochian Eastern-Orthodox and Antiochian Oriental-Orthodox Churches, though there are also adherents to other churches: Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Latin Catholic Church and Protestant Churches.


Arabized Melkite societies in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Palestine, trace their roots to Greek and Aramaic-speaking Byzantine Christians. They are also generally included under the definition of Arab Christians, although this label is not universally accepted by all.

Greek Orthodox

Greek Orthodox or Eastern Orthodox, also known as Rûm, Orthodox Christian communities, part of the Rūm Millet, which have existed in Southern Anatolia (Turkey) and Syrian region since the early years of Christianity: they are generally affiliated along geographic lines either to the Antiochian ("Northern") or Jerusalemite ("Southern") patriarchal jurisdictions.

Rum Christians

Many members of the Northern Antiochian communities still call themselves Rûm which literally means "Roman", or "Asian Greek" in Turkish, Persian and Arabic. In that particular context, the term "Rûm" is used in preference to "Yāvāni" or "Ionani" which means "European-(wikt:Greek|Greek)" or Ionian in Biblical Hebrew (borrowed from Old Persian Yavan = Greece) and Classical Arabic. Some members of the community also call themselves "Melkites", which literally means "monarchists" or "supporters of the emperor" in Semitic languages (a reference to their past allegiance to Macedonian and Roman imperial rule), but, in the modern era, the term tends to be more commonly used by followers of the Greek Catholic church.

Orthodox Church of Jerusalem

Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is an autocephalous Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity. The Arab Orthodox Society exists in Jerusalem and is one of the oldest and largest is the Arab Orthodox Benevolent Society in Beit Jala, Palestine.There have been numerous disputes between the Arab and the Greek leadership of the church in Jerusalem from the Mandate onwards. Jordan encouraged the Greeks to open the Brotherhood to Arab members of the community between 1948 and 1967 when the West Bank was under Jordanian rule.{{citation needed|date=April 2015}} Land and political disputes have also been common since 1967, with the Greek priests portrayed as collaborators with Israel. Land disputes include the sale of St. John's property in the Christian quarter on April 11, 1990, the transfer of fifty dunams near Mar Elias monastery, and the sale of two hotels and twenty-seven stores on Omar Bin Al-Khattab square near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A dispute between the Palestinian Authority and the Greek Patriarch Irenaios led to the Patriarch being pushed aside because of accusations of a real estate deal with Israel.

Orthodox Church of Alexandria

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria is an autocephalous Byzantine Rite jurisdiction of the Eastern Orthodox Church, having the African continent as its canonical territory. It is commonly called the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria to distinguish it from the Oriental Orthodox Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. Members of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate were once known as Melkites because they remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Orthodox Christian community of Egypt is thus unaffiliated with Copts and does mostly adhere to an Arab identity.

Evangelic adherents

Some Arab Christians are a more recent end result of Evangelization.

Question of identity

Arab Christians include descendants of ancient Arab tribes, who were among the first Christian converts, as well as some recent adherents of Christianity. Sometimes, however, the issue of self-identification arises regarding specific Christian communities across the Arab world.


The Assyrians, form the majority of Christians in Iraq, northeast Syria, south-east Turkey and north-west Iran. They are specifically defined as non-Arab indigenous ethnic group, including by the governments of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, and Turkey.{{citation needed|date=August 2016}} Assyrians practice their own native dialects of Syriac-Aramaic language, in addition to also sometimes speaking local Arabic, Turkish or Farsi dialects. Despite their ancient pre-Arabic roots and distinct lingo-cultural identities,WEB,weblink New book announcement: Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans Intercommunal Relations on the Periphery of the Ottoman Empire, Cambria Press, 15 August 2016, Assyrians are sometimes erroneously referred by Western sources as "Christians of the Arab World" or "Arabic Christians", creating confusion about their identity "In spite of the widespread geographical imaginations of the Middle East as an Arabic and Islamic monolith, supported by Western mass media and some Middle Eastern states high politicians, the Middle East is quite a heterogeneous region. This region comprises numerous ethnic-national, religious, linguistic or ethnoreligious groups." (PDF) Assyrians were also wrongly related as "Arab Christians" by pan-Arabist movements and Arab-Islamic regimes."Assyrians are an ethnically, linguistically and religiously distinct minority in the Middle Eastern region." (PDF)After the ascent of the nationalist Ba'ath party in Iraq in 1963 Assyrian Christians were referred to as "Arab Christians" by Arab nationalists who denied the existence of a distinct Assyrian identity, despite Assyrians speaking the pre-Arab Aramaic language and being a pre-Arab indigenous people of Ancient Mesopotamian heritage with a 5,000-year history in the region (see Assyrian continuity). In 1972 a law was passed to use Syriac language in public schools and in media, shortly afterward however Syriac was banned and Arabic was imposed on Syriac language magazines and newspapers.Indigenous People in Distress, Fred AprimBy the time of the 1977 census, Assyrians were being incorrectly referred to as either Arabs or Kurds. Assyrian Christians were forced to deny their identity as Assyrian nationalism was harshly punished. One example of this "Arabization" program was Iraqi deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, an Assyrian member of the Chaldean Catholic faith who changed his surname from Mikhael Youhana upon joining the Baath Party.JOURNAL, Lewis, J. L., Iraqi Assyrians: Barometer of Pluralism, Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2003, 49–57,weblink 16 November 2011, By the 1990s Assyrians were exempt from the Oil-for-Food program and did not receive their monthly food rations. Many Assyrians were expelled from their villages in northern Iraq, others were forced to replace their Mesopotamian or Syriac names with Arab ones.WEB, Iraq: Information on treatment of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 13 August 2011, United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, 16 November 2011, dead, They likewise pointed out that Arab nationalist groups have wrongly included Assyrian-Americans in their headcount of Arab Americans, in order to bolster their political clout in Washington. Some Arab American groups have imported this denial of Assyrian identity to the United States. In 2001, a coalition of Assyrian-Chaldean and Maronite church organizations, wrote to the Arab-American Institute, to reprimand them for claiming that Assyrians were Arabs. They asked the Arab-American Institute "to cease and desist from portraying Assyrians and Maronites of past and present as Arabs, and from speaking on behalf of Assyrians and Maronites."WEB,weblink Coalition of American Assyrians and Maronites Rebukes Arab American Institute, Assyrian International News Agency, 27 October 2001, 17 October 2016,


The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians, a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt.Christianity was the majority religion in Roman Egypt during the 4th to 6th centuries and until the Muslim conquestNEWS, Ibrahim, Youssef M., U.S. Bill Has Egypt's Copts Squirming, The New York Times, 18 April 1998,weblink 2008-10-08, and remains the faith of a significant minority population. Their Coptic language is the direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian spoken in the Roman era, but it has been near-extinct and mostly limited to liturgical use since the 18th century.Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 10% of Egyptian population.WEB, Cole, Ethan, Egypt's Christian-Muslim Gap Growing Bigger, The Christian Post, 8 July 2008,weblink 2008-10-02,weblink" title="">weblink 1 February 2011, live, Most Copts adhere to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.WEB,weblink Egypt from "U.S. Department of State/Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs", 30 September 2008, United States Department of State, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2008-08-28, Egypt from "Foreign and Commonwealth Office", 15 August 2008, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office -UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, BOOK,weblink Who are the Christians in the Middle East?, 18 June 2009, Betty Jane Bailey, 978-0-8028-1020-5, The remaining (around 800,000) are divided between the Coptic Catholic and various Coptic Protestant churches.As a religious minority, the Copts are subject to significant discrimination in modern Egypt, and the target of attacks by militant Islamic extremist groups.


{{further information|Maronites}}At the March 1936 Congress of the Coast and Four Districts, the Muslim leadership at this conference made the declaration that Lebanon was an Arab country, indistinguishable from its Arab neighbors. In the April 1936 Beirut municipal elections, Christian Maronite and Muslim Politicians were divided along Phoenician and Arab lines in concern of whether the Lebanese coast should be claimed by Syria or given to Lebanon, increasing the already mounting tensions between the two communities.BOOK,weblink Reviving Phoenicia: The Search for Identity in Lebanon, I.B.Tauris, 2004, Asher Kauffman, 2010-07-26, 9781860649820, Lebanese nationalism, which rejects Arab identity, has found strong support among some Maronites and even other Orthodox Christians. However, this form of nationalism, nicknamed Phoenicianism, never developed into an integrated ideology led by key thinkers, but there are a few who stood out more than others: Charles Corm, Michel Chiha, and Said Aql in their promotion of Phoenicians.BOOK,weblink Reviving Phoenicia: The Search for Identity in Lebanon, I.B.Tauris, 2004, Asher Kauffman, 2010-07-26, 9781860649820, In post civil-war Lebanon, since the Taif Agreement, politically Phoenicianism, as an alternate to Arabism, has been restricted to a small group.BOOK,weblink Reviving Phoenicia: The Search for Identity in Lebanon, I.B.Tauris, 2004, Asher Kauffman, 2010-07-26, 9781860649820, Phoeniciansm is deeply disputed by some scholars, who have on occasion tried to convince these claims are false and to embrace and accept the Arab identity instead.BOOK,weblink The Middle East: From Transition to Development, Brill Archive, 1985, 20 April 2016, 978-9004076945, Kemal Salibi, A House of Many Mansions. This conflict of ideas of an identity is believed to be one of the main pivotal disputes between the Muslim and Maronite Christian populations of Lebanon and what mainly divides the country from national unity.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2011-07-27, The Identity of Lebanon,, 2010-07-26, It's generalized that Muslims focus more on the Arab identity of Lebanese history and culture whereas Christians focus on the pre-arabized & non-Arab spectrum of the Lebanese identity and rather refrain from the Arab specification.WEB,weblink Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church: Easton, Pennsylvania & Kfarsghab, Lebanon,, 2012-12-06, During a final session of the Lebanese Parliament, a Marada Maronite MP states his identity as an Arab: "I, the Maronite Christian Lebanese Arab, grandson of Patriarch Estefan Doueihy, declare my pride to be a part of our people's resistance in the South. Can one renounce what guarantees his rights?"WEB,weblink The vote of confidence debate – final session, LB, Ya Libnan, 2009-12-11, 2010-07-26,

Aramean identity

A number of Syrian Christians, mainly adherents of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church in Syria adhere to an Aramean identity harking back to ancient Aramea which encompassed most of what is today modern Syria. They are now almost exclusively Arabic speaking, though small numbers still retain their native Western Aramaic tongue. Many use the term Syriac-Aramean to describe themselves, and have their own Aramean flag and migrant communities from Syria (particularly in Scandinavia have their own football and sports teams.In contrast to most Arab Christians in Israel, a handful of Arabic-speaking Christian Israelis do not consider themselves Arab, noting their non-Arab, Aramean ancestry as a source. This is especially evident in the Maronite-dominated city of Jish in Galilee, where Aramean nationalists have been trying to resurrect Aramaic as a spoken language. In September 2014, Israel recognized the "Aramean" ethnic identity, in which Arabic-speaking Christians of Israel, with Aramean affinity, can now register as "Aramean" rather than Arab. This recognition comes after about seven years of activity by the Aramean Christian Foundation in Israel, led by IDF Major Shadi Khalloul Risho and the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, headed by Father Gabriel Naddaf of the Greek-Orthodox Church and Major Ihab Shlayan.WEB,weblink Israeli Christians Officially Recognized as Arameans, Not Arabs, 20 April 2016, The Aramean ethnic identity can be given to Aramaic-speaking adherents of five Christian Eastern Syriac churches in Israel, including the Maronite Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Greek Catholic Church, Syriac Catholic Church and Syrian Orthodox.NEWS, The Times of Israel, The Interior Ministry contended that in order to be recognized as Aramean, one should be conversant in the Aramaic language, and come from the Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Syriac Catholic or Orthodox Aramaic factions, the i24 news outlet reported.,weblink Israeli Christians may define themselves as Aramean, Lazar, Berman, 18 September 2014, The re-registration of Arameans began in October 2014, and first will be applied to 200 Maronite families of Jish,NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2014-09-17, Israel Recognizes Aramean Minority in Israel as Separate Nationality, Haaretz, 20 April 2016, 2014-09-17, who had already requested such recognition; in further future it is expected to apply to up to 10,000 Israeli citizens, formerly registered as Arab Christians. According to Shadi Khalloul, one of the initiators of the move, "All Christians from the 133,000 Christians who live in Israel and belong to one of the Eastern churches can now be listed as a Aramean...".WEB, Yori, Yalon,weblink 'Aramean' officially recognized as nationality in Israel, Israel Hayom, 17 September 2014, 15 August 2016, The move was met also with opposition by large parts of the Arab Christian society and was denounced by the Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarchate,WEB,weblink Israeli Greek Orthodox Church denounces Aramaic Christian nationality, The Jerusalem Post, 20 April 2016,

Pan-Syrian identity

Although the majority of the followers of Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches in the Levant adhere to Arab nationalism, some politicians reject Arabism, such as the secular Greek Orthodox Antun Saadeh, founder of the SSNP, who was executed for advocating the abolition of the Lebanese state by the Kataeb led government in the 1940s. Saadeh rejected Arab Nationalism (the idea that the speakers of the Arabic language form a single, unified nation), and argued instead for the creation of the state of United Syrian Nation or Natural Syria encompassing the Fertile Crescent. Saadeh rejected both language and religion as defining characteristics of a nation and instead argued that nations develop through the common development of a people inhabiting a specific geographical region. He was thus a strong opponent of both Arab nationalism and Pan-Islamism. He argued that Syria was historically, culturally, and geographically distinct from the rest of the Arab world, which he divided into four parts. He traced Syrian history as a distinct entity back to the Phoenicians, Canaanites, Amorites, Arameans, Assyrians and Babylonians etc.WEB,weblink المكتبة السورية القومية الاجتماعية, Ssnp.Com, 2010-07-26,weblink" title="">weblink 16 July 2011, dead, dmy-all,

Genetic studies

Relation of Levantine populations to Phoenicians

A study in the genetic marker of the Phoenicians led by Pierre Zalloua, showed that the Phoenician genetic marker was found in 1 out of 17 males in the region surrounding the Mediterranean and Phoenician trading centers such as the Levant, Tunisia, Morocco, Cyprus, and Malta. The study focused on the male Y-chromosome of a sample of 1,330 males from the Mediterranean. Colin Groves, biological anthropologist of the Australian National University in Canberra says that the study does not suggest that the Phoenicians were restricted to a certain place, but that their DNA still lingers 3,000 years later.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2011-06-04, Photo: Phoenician Blood Endures 3,000 Years, DNA Study Shows, National Geographic, 2010-07-26, NEWS,weblink BBC News, DNA legacy of ancient seafarers, 31 October 2008, 25 April 2010, Paul, Rincon, In Lebanon, almost one-third of the population carry the Phoenician gene in their DNA. This Phoenician signature is distributed equally among different groups (both Christians and Muslims) in Lebanon and that the overall genetic makeup of the Lebanese was found to be similar across various backgrounds.NEWS,weblink BBC News, Divided Lebanon's common genes, 20 December 2008, 25 April 2010, Natalia, Antelava, The Phoenician gene in this study refers to haplogroup J2 plus the haplotypes PCS1+ to PCS6+, however the study also states that the Phoenicians also had other haplogroups.JOURNAL, Zalloua, Pierre A., Platt, Daniel E., El Sibai, Mirvat, Khalife, Jade, Makhoul, Nadine, Haber, Marc, Xue, Yali, Izaabel, Hassan, Bosch, Elena, Adams, Susan M., Arroyo, Eduardo, López-Parra, Ana María, Aler, Mercedes, Picornell, Antònia, Ramon, Misericordia, Jobling, Mark A., Comas, David, Bertranpetit, Jaume, Wells, R. Spencer, Tyler-Smith, Chris, Genographic, Consortium., Identifying Genetic Traces of Historical Expansions: Phoenician Footprints in the Mediterranean, The American Journal of Human Genetics, November 2008, 83, 5, 633–42, 10.1016/j.ajhg.2008.10.012, 18976729, 2668035, In addition, the study found that the J2 was found in an "unusually high proportion" (about 20-30%) among Levantine people such as the Syrians, Lebanese and the Palestinians. The ancestor haplogroup J is common to about 50% of the Arabic-speaking people of the Southwest Asian portion of the Middle East.NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2012-10-18, In Lebanon DNA may yet heal rifts, Reuters, 10 September 2007, 2010-07-26,

See also




  • Sir Ronald Storrs, The Memoirs of Sir Ronald Storrs. Putnam, New York, 1937.
  • Itamar Katz and Ruth Kark, 'The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and its congregation: dissent over real estate' in The International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 37, 2005.
  • Orthodox Shun Patriarch Irineos
  • Seth J. Frantzman, The Strength and the Weakness: The Arab Christians in Mandatory Palestine and the 1948 War, unpublished M.A thesis at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

External links

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