Racism in the Arab world

overview about racism in the Arab world

Racism in the Arab world covers an array of forms of intolerance against non-Arabs and the expat majority of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf coming from (Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) groups as well as Black and Asian groups that are Muslim; minorities such as Armenians, Africans, Latin Americans, Southeast Asians, Jews, Kurds, and Coptic[disambiguation needed] Christians, Persians and other Iranic peoples, Turks, and South Asians in Arab countries of the Middle East.


  • Moreover the sense that Arab identity resonated with Islam did not disappear. Thus the tenth-­century philosopher Abū ʾl-­Ḥasan al-­ʿĀmirī, in a work in praise of Islam, emphasized that thanks to their ethnic tie (al-­nisba al-­jinsiyya) to the Prophet even those Arabs—­the majority of them—­who had remained in their homeland at the time of the con- quests had been honored by the fact that Islam could be called “the religion of the Arabs” (dīn al-­ʿArab) and the resulting state their kingdom (mulk al-­ʿArab)... A seventeenth-­century Syrian scholar made use of such traditions and much else in a demonstration of the superiority of the Arabs over the non-­Arabs, 51 and the same ʿAbd al-­Ghanī al-­Nābulusī averred that the Arabs are the lords of the Persians and Byzantines and that it was well known that the Arabs are more excellent than others. ... Such ideas were not confined to the Arabic- speaking parts of the Islamic world. In the eighteenth century the lingering prestige of the Arabs is evident in the attitudes of the great Indian scholar Shāh Walī Allāh Dihlawī (d. 1762), who claimed descent from the second caliph. Thus, in a testament he left for his children and friends, he stated: “We are Arab people whose ancestors fell into exile in the land of Hindūstān. The Arabness of our descent and language ( ʿArabīyat- i nasab wa ʿArabīyat- i lisān) are alike sources of pride for us.” The ground he gave for this pride in Arab identity was that it rendered the family close to Muḥammad; in gratitude for this great blessing, he urged that “so far as possible we should not give up the manners and customs of the ancient Arabs ( ʿArab- i awwal) from whom the Prophet sprang, and that we should not allow among us the manners of the Persians and the customs of the Hindus.”
    • Cook, Michael - Ancient religions, modern politics _ the Islamic case in comparative perspective-Princeton University Press (2014)
  • Racism is a worldwide phenomenon. In some countries it's met with disapproval, in others with denial. The A to Z of ethnic and religious groups in the Middle East embraces Alawites, Armenians, Assyrians, Baháʼís, Berbers, Copts, Druzes, Ibadis, Ismailis, Jews, Kurds, Maronites, Sahrawis, Tuareq, Turkmens, Yazidis and Zaidis and Nubians (by no means an exhaustive list), and yet serious discussion of ethnic/religious diversity and its place in society is a long-standing taboo. If the existence of non-Arab or non-Muslim groups is acknowledged at all, it is usually only to declare how wonderfully everyone gets along.
  • We are a racist people in Egypt and we are in deep denial about it. On my Facebook page, I blamed racism for my argument and an Egyptian man wrote to deny that we are racists and used as his proof a program on Egyptian Radio featuring Sudanese songs and poetry! Our silence over racism not only destroys the warmth and hospitality we are proud of as Egyptians, it has deadly consequences.
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