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THE MIDDLE EAST HANDBOOK

 

INFORMATION ON STATES AND PEOPLE GROUPS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

 

VOLUME 3 A-Z ME PEOPLE GROUPS AND THEIR DISTRIBUTION

 

 

DAVID ZEIDAN, OM-IRC, 1995

 

 

 

 

 

ALL STATISTICS ESTIMATED 1995 VALUES (UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED).

 

* STATES NOT IN THE ME BUT WITH SIGNIFICANT ME POPULATIONS.

 

APG - ANNUAL POPULATION GROWTH RATE IN PERCENT

GDPH - GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT PER HEAD IN $

LITERACY - PERCENTAGE ADULTS OVER 15 WHO CAN READ

 

 

NOTE: All statistics are estimated 1995 values (unless otherwise stated). Main sources for statistics include:

Encyclopedia Britannica, Britannica Yearbook 1995

The Economist Publications: The World In 1996

Johnstone, P. Operation World, Carlisle: OM Publishing, 1993

New Book Of World Rankings, 1989

The Economist Book Of Vital World Statistics, London: The ÿÿÿEconomist Books, 1990

UN: Demographics Yearbook

UN: Statistical Yearbook

Philip's World Handbook, London: George Philip Ltd. 1993

Reader's Digest Atlas Of The World, London, New York: The ÿÿÿReader's Digest Asociation, 1993 Reprint

The Middle East magazine,

Robinson, F. Atlas Of The Islamic World Since 1500, Oxford: Andromeda, 1991

Third World Handbook, Oxfam?

The Times Atlas Of The World, London: Times Books, 199?

Crystal, D. The Cambridge Encyclopedia Of Language, ÿÿÿCambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987

Collins Atlas Of The World, Edinburgh: Harper Collins, 1992 ÿÿÿRevised Edition

Rogers, A. The Guiness Guide To Peoples And Cultures, 1993

Weekes, R. ed., Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, ÿÿÿWestport: Greenwood Press Publishers, 1978

 

 

 

ABAZAS - SEE CIRCASSIAN, CHERKESS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 58,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IBERO-CAUCASIAN, NORTHWESTERN GROUP (CIRCASSIAN)

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA, MAINLY KARACHAY-CHERKESSIA (40,000), GEORGIA,

TURKEY, SYRIA,JORDAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANAFI

 

 

Northwestern Caucasian group closely related to the Kabardinians, Abkhaz, Adyge and Ubykhs. All these groups are sometimes lumped together as Circassian or Cherkess.

 

 

 

 

ABKHAZ - SEE CIRCASSIAN, CHERKESS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 235,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC/ IBERO-CAUCASIAN, NORTHWEST (CIRCASSIAN)

RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION: RUSSIA 100,000 GEORGIA (ABKHAZIA) 100,000

TURKEY 35,000

SYRIA,

JORDAN

RELIGION: SUNNI MUSLIM HANAFI

LIFESTYLE

LANGUAGE ABKHAZ

 

Caucasian ethnic group and their language in the north-west Caucasus. Closely related to the Adyge, Abaz and Ubykh. Together these groups are often termed Circassian or Cherkess.

The Abkhaz became Christian in 550AD, had an independent kingdom in the 8th century, were a while under Georgian control, then came under the Ottoman empire in the 16th century, and converted to Islam. Russia annexed Abkhasia in 1864 and it became an autonomous republic in 1921. The Abkhaz constitute only 16% of the total population of Georgian Abkhazia (capital Sukhumi) which they share with Georgians (44%), Russians (16%) and Armenians (15%) (total population 600,00). Since Georgian independence, they are fighting for ethinic autonomy against the forces of the central government who unleashed a ferocious attack against Abkhazia in 1992. Their region lies between the Black Sea and the crest of the Great Caucasus Range. Most of the population is concentrated in the coastal lowland. Agriculture is the main activity. The area is also famous for its holiday resorts.

 

 

 

ADYGE - SEE CIRCASSIAN, CHERKESS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 255,000 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IBERO-CAUCASIAN, NORTHWEST (CIRCASSIAN)

RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA 125,000, TURKEY 130,000

JORDAN 40,000, SYRIA, GEORGIA

RELIGION SUNNI MUSLIM HANAFI, MUCH PRE-ISLAMIC INFLUENCE

LIFESTYLE

LANGUAGE ADYGE, IBERO-CAUCASIAN, NORTHWESTERN GROUP.

 

The Adyges are part of the Northwestern Caucasian people commonly known as Circassians. Until 1864 they lived intermixed with the other related peoples the Ubykhs and the Abkhaz-Abazas.

Following the Tsarist Russian conquest of their area in 1864 many Adyges, Kabardinians, Ubykhs, Abkhazians and Abazas (some 500,000) migrated to Middle East regions controlled by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. There they were called Cherkess. They settled in Anatolia, the Balkans and the Levant. They have generally retained their language and culture.

On the Russian side of the northwest Caucasus the Adyghe live in the Adigeya administrative region between the Kuban River and the Caucasus foothills, forming 22% of the region's population of 500,000. Maykop (150,000) is the main town and administrative centre. The region is very fertile and agriculture is the mainstay with some foodprocessing industry and some oil and gas production.

In Turkey there has been some pressure at assimilation and the use of the language was prohibited for many years. In Jordan they are concentrated in and around Amman and provide the royal guard for the Hashemite monarchy.

 

 

ADZHAR

 

TOTAL POPULATION 200,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC GEORGIAN (KARTVELI)

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION GEORGIA 100,000, TURKEY 90,000

RUSSIA

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE GEORGIAN (SOUTH CAUCASIAN, KARTVELI)

 

North Caucasian group living in an autonomous republic, Adzhariya, capital Batumi, in the southwestern corner of Georgia near the Black Sea and the Turkish border, with Batumi as capital. Adzhariya was under Ottoman rule from the 17th century and was annexed by Russia in 1878 and attached to Georgia.

The Adzhars are Georgians who were Islamicised during the Ottoman rule and have their own distinct culture. Total population of the republic is 400,000, but the Adzhars are a minority amongst the Georgians, Russians and Armenians living there. Since Georgian independence in the Adzharians have been struggling for self-rule.

 

 

 

 

AFARS (DANAKIL)

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC CUSHITIC

RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION ETHIOPIA 1.6 M, DJIBOUTI 200,000

ERITREA 300,000

RELIGION SUNNI MUSLIM

LANGUAGE AFAR, EAST-CUHITIC

LIFESTYLE NOMADIC CAMEL HERDERS 50%?

 

Cushitic speaking tribe also known as Danakil or Adal. Their homeland is in Djibouti and in South Eritrea and the desert parts of the Ethiopian provinces of Shoa, Wollo, Tigre and Harar - some of the grimmest desert in the world, including the Danakil Depression which lies some 300m below sea level and is a plain of salt pans and active volcanoes with the reputation of being the hottest place on earth.

The Afars are Sunni Muslim with underlying animist influence. Highly independent, they are known for their ferocity in warfare and are much feared by surrounding groups. They were active in the slave trade as a major slave route passed through their territory. Most are nomads herding camels, sheep, goats, and cattle. On the coast some are fishermen. Fairly self sufficient economically, they live on meat and dairy products from their herds. Some have become farmers as irrigation projects open up land for cultivation.

The Afars are divided into numerous clans (mela), and their camps (burra) are surounded by thorn fences, the rounded huts (ari) are built of palm mats. Camels are herded far away by young warriors. Afar do not migrate widely but remain close to assured water sources.

The Afar were divided into four sultanates: Tajoura and Raheito in Djibouti. Aussa and Biru in Ethiopia. Afars had always joined Muslim rulers who penetrated and devastated the Ethiopian highlands, and had a long history of hostility to the Christian Amhara. The Ethiopian King Menelik II finally subdued them in the 19th century.

In Djibouti the Afars (Who live in the northern part and constitute 39% of the population) are treated as second rate citizens by the ruling Somali Issas. Djibouti itself is coveted by both Somalia and the Ethiopia and only the French presence keeps it from becoming a battleground.

 

 

 

 

AFGHAN - SEE PUSHTUN, PUKHTUN, PATHAN

 

 

 

 

AFSHAR

 

TOTAL POPULATION 800,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 700,000, ALSO TURKEY, AFGHANISTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM, SHIA TWELVER

LANGUAGE TURKIC, SOUTHWEST-OGUZ

LIFESTYLE NOMADIC TRIBAL GROUP

 

Southwest Turkic nomadic tribe widely scattered in Iran, mainly in Azerbaijan, Khorasan and around Tehran. The Afshars supported the founders of the Safavid empire (16th century), were influential under Nadir Shah Afshar (1736-1747), and also constituted a large proportion of the Qajar dynasty army (1796-1925). Most are now sedentary, some 10% nomadic.

 

 

 

 

 

AGULS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 20,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IBERO-CAUCASIAN, NORTHEASTERN DAGESTANI

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA - DAGESTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE AGUL, CAUCASIAN NORTHEASTERN DAGESTANI

 

 

 

 

 

 

AHL-I-HAQQ SEE ALI-ILAHIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 150,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC KURDISH

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP EXTREME SHI'A SECT

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 100,000 TURKEY IRAQ

 

Also called Ali-Ilahis, the Ahl-i-Haqq are a Kurdish extreme Shi'a sect that deifies 'Ali. God manifested himself seven times, the last time in Ali. Sultan Sahak (Ishak) is their founder figure. Live mainly in western Iran in Lorestan, Azerbaijan, Kudistan, and in north Iraq. They are subdivided into many branches bearing different names and practice taqiya.

 

 

 

 

AHMADDIYA

 

TOTAL POPULATION WORLDWIDE 4 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

RELIGIOUS GROUP SUNNI MUSLIM HERETICAL SECT

DISTRIBUTION MAINLY INDIA, PAKISTAN 3M,

AFRICA, WEST

Muslim heretical sect started in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908) who proclaimed himself Mahdi. They believe Jesus revived after crucifixion and preached in India where he died. Very active missionary movement with adherents all over the Muslim world and in the West. Declared non-Muslim in Pakistan in 1971.

 

 

 

 

 

AIMAK - ALSO CHAHAR-AIMAK

 

TOTAL POPULATION 600,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC MONGOL ORIGIN, SPEAKING IRANIAN LANGUAGE - DARI DIALECT

DISTRIBUTION AFGHANISTAN 470,000 PAKISTAN 70,000 IRAN?

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANAFI

LANGUAGE IRANIAN

 

Iranian group of northwest Afghanistan, mainly Sunni Hanafi. Of Mongol stock but speaking Iranian language.

 

 

 

 

 

'ALAWIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARAB

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP EXTREME SHIA (GHULAT),

DISTRIBUTION SYRIA 1.8 M, TURKEY 600,000

LEBANON 25,000

RELIGION EXTREME SHIA, ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH THE

TWELVERS,

LANGUAGE ARABIC

LIFESTYLE

 

Extreme Shi'a (ghulat) sect of north-western Syria, also called Nusairis who deify Ali and have a Trinitarian concept of the Godhead ('Ali, Muhammad, Salman). Long persecuted by the Sunni majority, they became the dominant group in Syria (since the 1970s) under president Assad, himself an 'Alawi. This was achieved by infiltrating the armed forces and the Ba`ath party. They are divided into 4 main tribes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALEVIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 12.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC/KURDISH

RELIGIOUS GROUP EXTREME SHIA OF EASTERN ANATOLIA

DISTRIBUTION TURKEY 12.3M, IRAN TURKMENISTAN

RELIGION EXTREME SHIA OF SAFAVID SUPPORTERS IN ANATOLIA: QIZILBASH AND

BEKTASHI,

LANGUAGE TURKISH, KURDISH

 

The Alevis are the Shi'a minority of Turkey, comprising 20% of the population. Mainly of Turkmen origin, some 25% of Turkey's Kurds are also Alevis. Persecuted by the Sunni Ottomans as heretical supporters of the rival Safavid dynasty of Iran. Heartland is Central and Eastern Anatolia, though many emigrated to the large cities of Turkey and to Germany where a modern Alevi national/religious identity is being reconstructed.

 

 

 

 

 

'ALI-ILAHIS - SEE AHL-I-HAQ

 

 

 

 

AMHARA

 

TOTAL POPULATION 22 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC SEMITIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX (MONOPHYSITE)

DISTRIBUTION ETHIOPIA, DOMINANT GROUP, 21.5M;

ERITREA 60,000; WEST

RELIGION CHRISTIAN, ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX

PROTESTANT 10% ? CATHOLIC

LANGUAGE AMHARIC (SEMITIC)

Dominant people of Ethiopia speaking Amharic, the official Semitic language of Ethiopia, which developed from ancient Ge'ez. The Amhara were converted to Christianity in the 4th century under Coptic missionaries. They were the ruling class in Ethiopia and their Ethiopian Orthodox Church (monophysite, non-Chalcedonian) was the national state church. From 1260 until 1974 Ethiopia was a Kingdom ruled by Amhara dynasties.

 

 

 

 

 

'ANAZA

 

TOTAL POPULATION

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARAB BEDUIN

DISTRIBUTION SAUDI ARABIA, SYRIA, JORDAN ?

 

A strong north-Arabian Beduin tribal confederation to which the royal house of Saud also belong.

 

 

 

 

 

ARABS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 200 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC SEMITIC, LANGUAGE: ARABIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION NORTH-AFRICA 60 M, EGYPT 50 M,

SUDAN 14.5 M, ARABIAN-PENINSULA 30 M

LEVANT 17, IRAQ 14 M, IRAN 1 M

TURKEY 1 M

W.EUROPE 900,000 N.AMERICA 3.5M

S.AMERICA 1.3M BL.AFRICA 2.9M

AUSRTALASIA 300,00

RELIGION MAINLY MUSLIM SUNNI; SHIA MINORITIES (17 M); KHARIJI

(IBADI) MINORITIES (1M); CHRISTIAN MINORITIES (15-20M).

 

A Semitic people originating in the Arabian Peninsula. Converted to Islam under the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century, they then established a vast Islamic empire from the Atlantic coasts of Spain and North Africa to India and the Chinese border. They settled in many of the conquered areasÿand Arabised their populations. Today there are over 20 Arab states from the Atlantic to the Arabian Gulf.

Arabs can be divided 1. linguistically by the dialects they speak - Maghrebi, Hassaniya, Egyptian, Sudanese, Levant, Arabia, Iraq. 2. by the independent nation states they belong to. 3. By their religious groupings - Muslim: Sunni, the vast majority (80%); Shia - Twelvers, Seveners, Fivers, Extreme Shia, Druze, Alawis; Khariji (Ibadi). Christian: Copts, Maronites and various other churches.

4. Lifestyle: urban, peasants (Fellahin), nomads (Beduin)

Their language, ARABIC, is a major Semitic language, spoken by some 180 million people as their mother tongue, and by millions more as a second language. Classical Arabic is the language of the Qur'an. Arabic has many colloqial forms - Algerian, Moroccan, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Arabian, etc. Standard Modern Arabic is the language of newspapers and radio today.

 

ARABS: EGYPTIAN, SUDANESE, JORDANIANS, IRAQIS, LEBANESE, SYRIANS, SAUDIS, GULF STATES - OMAN, BAHREIN, QATAR, UAE, KUWAIT; YEMENIS, LYBIANS, TUNISIANS, ALGERIANS, MOROCCANS, MAURITANIANS, PALESTINIANS

 

 

 

 

'ARAB - Another name for Beduin.

 

 

 

 

 

ARMENIANS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 7 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC INDO-EUROPEAN,

RELIGIOUS ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC (NON-CHALCEDONIAN, MONOPHYSITE)

DISTRIBUTION ARMENIA 3.2 M 90%; GEORGIA 500,000 9%

RUSSIA 530,000 0.36%; TURKMENISTAN 30,000

AZERBAIJAN 50,000? TURKEY 60,000

IRAN 300,000 0.5% IRAQ 40,000

SYRIA 335,000 2.4% LEBANON 180,000 5%

UKRAINE 54,000 JORDAN 5,500 ISRAEL 2,000

KAZAKSTAN 19,000 UZBEKISTAN 50,000

USA 1.1 M W.EUROPE 350,000 (FRANCE 220,000)

RELIGION MAINLY ARMENIAN ORTHODOX,

ARMENIAN CATHOLIC 150,000

PROTESTANT 50,000

LANGUAGE: ARMENIAN. THRACO-PHRYGIAN BRANCH OF INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES

LIFESTYLE

 

Indo-European people of the Eastern Anatolian highlands and the Caucasus where they have lived for some three thousand years (in October 1968 Armenians celebrated the 2750 anniversary of Yerevan's founding!). Armenia was the first country to accept Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD under Gregory the Illuminator. The non-Chalcedonian Armenian Apostolic Church is the national church and has kept alive Armenian language, culture and traditions down the ages. Armenian is a special branch of the Indo-European family and its alphabet was devised in 407 by a scribe named Mesrob, ushering in a golden age of Armenian literature and theology.

Intermittently independent or autonomous, the Armenians suffered much from persecution by various Muslim states starting with the Seljuk conquest of 1071 and many fled to safer areas. The Armenians were traditionally settled peasants in their mountain villages, but their scattering made many turn to trade and the crafts in which they excel.

With the weakening of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, Armenian nationalism revived. Secret Armenian societies were founded and the symbiosis between the ruling Ottomans and the subject Christian people deteriorated. The Turks opposed Armenian independence and initiated several waves of expulsions and massacres of Armenians, first in 1894-96 and the worst of them during WWI 1915-16. Some 1.5 million Armenians perished and many Armenian districts were laid waste and then repopulated by Turks and Kurds.

Under the Soviet Union a small Armenian Soviet Republic was founded around the capital Yerevan which flourished and became the centre of Armenian aspirations. It was declared independent in 1991 but has been embroiled in an exhausting war with neighbouring Azerbaijan over the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh which wants to be united with Armenia. As a result, some 400,000 Armenians left Azerbaijan only 50,000 remaining, mostly women married to Azeris and elderly.

 

 

 

 

ASSASSINS - SEE ISMA'ILIS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSYRIANS - SEE ALSO NESTORIAN, EAST SYRIAN, CHALDEAN

TOTAL POPULATION 650,000 IN THE ME, 2 MILLION WORLDWIDE

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ORIGINALLY EAST SYRIAC (CHRISTIAN ARAMAIC)

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP NESTORIAN 250,000

CHALDEAN UNIATE 350,000

DISTRIBUTION TOTALS FOR BOTH CHURCHES:

IRAQ 460,000, IRAN 70,000,

TURKEY 30,000, SYRIA 54,000,

LEBANON 20,000

CAUCASUS-ARMENIA 6,000 GEORGIA 6,200 RUSSIA 10,000

N.AMERICA - USA 0.5-1M? AUSTRALIA 20,000

W.EUROPE 50,000 - SWEDEN 20,000 UK 5,000

RELIGION NESTORIAN AND CHALDEAN-UNIATE. ANCIENT CHURCH OF THE EAST

SEPARATED AFTER COUNCIL OF EPHESUS 431 AD.

LANGUAGE ARABIC, SYRIAC AS LTURGICAL LANGUAGE.

 

Ancient Church of the Persian Empire, also called Nestorian or East Syrian, which at one time had millions of adherents in the Middle East and Central Asia up to the Chinese border. It separated from Eastern Orthodox Byzantine churches in 431 after council of Ephesus. Edessa (Urfa) was its first centre, when closed by imperial order in 489 it was moved to Nisibis in the Persian Empire. Syriac is its liturgical language.

The Patriarch of the East had his seat at Ctesiphon (capital of the Persian Empire) from 498 and in Baghdad from 775. Assyrians were instrumental in passing on Hellenistic, Syriac and Christian culture to the Arabs. They were great scholars, physicians, and missionaries and by the 8th century had churches in Central Asia, India, China, Tibet and Mongolia.

The Assyrians were almost totally wiped out by Tamerlane in the 14th century and they have since survived only in isolated mountain area of Eastern Anatolia and the Zagros mountains with Hakkari near Lake Van as their centre for centuries. During WWI many Assyrians were massacred by the Turks and Kurds. Many of those who fled to Iraq were massacred by the Iraqi forces in 1933. The whole nation was dispersed.

The Chaldeans are the Assyrians who accepted Roman Catholic supremacy as a Uniate church, a process started in 1551 and finalised in 1830.

 

 

 

 

AVARS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 610,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IBERO-CAUCASIAN DAGESTANI

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA - DAGESTAN 540,000 25%

AZERBAIJAN 45,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE AVARIAN, CAUCASIAN NORTHEASTERN DAGESTANI

 

North-Eastern Caucasian group comprised of 15 minor nationalities speaking Avarian languages of the Dagestani group of Ibero-Caucasian languages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AZANDES - ALSO CALLED NIAM-NIAM

 

TOTAL POPULATION AFRICA 2 M ? SUDAN 800,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NIGER-CONGO

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN 800,000 2.8% OF TOTAL POPULATION,

ZAIRE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

RELIGION ANIMISTIC, ANCESTOR CULT, WITCHCRAFT STRONG

LANGUAGE ADAMAWA-EASTERN BRANCH OF THE NIGER-CONGO FAMILY OF THE NIGER-

KORDOFANIAN FAMILY.

 

African agricultural tribal group in the extreme southwest Sudan, related to the Nuba. Origins ethnically mixed, identifiable as a people since 18th century. Their habitat is savannah in the north and rain forest in the south. Grow sorghum and millet. Live in scattered family groups separated by strips of bush. They are fine craftsmen and artists working in iron, clay and wood. Also basketmaking and netweaving. Since the 1920s they have been constantly settled and resettled by the central government. The Azande are known for their elaborate system of beliefs in witchcraft and divination.

 

 

 

AZERIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 17.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC, LANGUAGE: AZERI

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP MAINLY SHI'A MUSLIM, SOME SUNNI

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 10M 16% AZERBAIJAN 6.7M 87%

ARMENIA 50,000 GEORGIA 300,000 5%

TURKEY 550,000 0.9%

RELIGION MUSLIM SHIA TWELVER 70%, SUNNI 30%

LANGUAGE AZERI, SOUTHWESTERN OGUZ GROUP

LIFESTYLE

Turkic speaking people descended from the Oguz Turks of Central Asia who settled in northwestern Iran from the 11th century and intermingled with the older Iranian inhabitants. Their language is Azeri, part of the southwestern (Oguz, Turkmen) group of Turkic languages. They are Shi'a Muslims and have always been under Persian influence.

There were prosperous Azeri Khanates under the Arabs, they declined with the Arab collapse under the Mongols, but later revived. The Safavid dynasty of Persia (16-18th century) was originally from Azerbaijan. Russia encroached on Azeri territory starting in the 18th century following wars against the Ottomans and the Persians.

 

 

BAHAI

 

TOTAL POPULATION 6 M WORLDWIDE

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP TWELVER-SHI'A OFFSHOOT. NOW INDEPENDENT

WORLD RELIGION.

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 350,000. AFRICA N.AMERICA

S. AMERICA EUROPE

RELIGION

 

World religion founded by Baha'ullah (1817-1892) who proclaimed himself Mahdi in 1863 in Baghdad. It developed out of the Twelver Shi'a Babist movement in Persia. Today a universalistic religion with its own scripture: "Kitab Akdas". Severely persecuted by the Islamic government of Iran. International headquarters are in Haifa, Israel, where Bahaullah's tomb is found.

 

 

 

BAKHTIARIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN, LANGUAGE: LURI PERSIAN DIALECT.

RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION IRAN (WEST IRAN, ZAGROS MOUNTAINS)

RELIGION MUSLIM, SHIA - TWELVER

LIFESTYLE NOMADIC TRIBAL GROUP

 

Nomadic tribal Iranian language group. They inhabit some 65,000 square kilometres of plains and mountains in West Iran, mainly in the rugged central Zagros Mountain range. They speak a Luri dialect of Persian and are Shi'a Muslims. Most are pastoral tent dwellers dependent on their flocks od sheep and goats. They annually migrate some 230 kilometres between their lowland winter pastures (Kishlak) and their highland summer pastures (Yala).

The Bakhtiaris are divided into two main tribal groups: the Chahar Lang and the Haft Lang. Each group was controlled by a single chief family with great political power and large herds and farmlands. Sub-tribes and clans had their own leaders: Khans and Kalantars. Bakhtiari women enjoy a high degree of freedom.

Their chiefs were some of the greatest tribal leaders of Iran, playing a leading role in the deposition of Muhammad Ali Shah and the restitution of the constitution in 1909, many Bakhtiaris holding prominent public office since then. Rezah Shah and later governments in the 20th century have removed the traditional Bakhtiari Khan leaders from power and forcibly tried to sedentarise the tribes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BALKAR

 

TOTAL POPULATION 100,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA 80,000 GEORGIA 20,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANAFI

LANGUAGE TURKIC, NORTHWEST KIPCHAK

 

North Caucasian Turkic people related to the Karachays. They share an autonomous region with the Kabardinians (Circassians) in Russian Caucasia called Kabardino-Balkiriya, containing the highest peak in the Caucasus, Mount Elbruz, 16,000 ft. After 1990 it proclaimed its independence of the Russian Federation with Kabardinian and Balkar as official languages.

Christian work took off after the breakdown of the Soviet Union with books and scriptures being translated into Balkarand. Today there are approximately 20 believing Balkars in the Republic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BALUCH

 

TOTAL POPULATION 7.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NORTHWEST IRANIAN LANGUAGE: BALOCH

RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION PAKISTAN 5 M (4%), IRAN 1.5M,

AFGHANISTAN 250,000 GULF STATES &

SAUDI-ARABIA 500,000

RELIGION MUSLIM, SUNNI HANAFI

LIFESTYLE MAINLY SEMI-NOMADIC, ALSO FISHERMEN,LABOURERS.

MAIN TRIBES MARRI (250,000), MENGAL (160,000), BUGTI

 

Iranian nomadic tribal group living in Baluchistan, the desert area of eastern Iran, western Pakistan (Baluchistan state with Quetta as its capital) and southern Afghanistan. They speak Baloch, a western Iranian language closely related to Kurdish. Intermittently fighting a guerilla war for autonomy and independence they are repressed by the central governments of the area. Many Baloch find employment as unskilled labourers in the Gulf states.

The Baloch are believed to have migrated to their present abode from further West during the Seljuk invasion of Kerman in the 11th century. Most are Sunni Muslims. In Pakistan they are divided into two groups: the Sulaimani and the Makrani, separated by an area of Brahui tribes. They have always been rebellious against central rule. The feudal landowners were called Sardars.

Most are nomadic herdsmen growing sheep. Some are fishermen and others are basket weavers and dock workers.

In Iranian Baluchistan there is a socially lower "Ghulam" caste, descended from slaves.

 

 

 

 

BAQQARA

 

TOTAL POPULATION ?

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC SUDANESE ARAB

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI, MAIN MAHDIST GROUP.

LANGUAGE BAQQARAH ARABIC

LIFESTYLE CATTLE NOMADS

 

Nomadic Beduin cattle breeding tribes of southern Darfur and Kordofan States in Sudan living in a savannah belt between Lake Chad and the White Nile, (south of latitude 13 and north of 10), that supports cows but not camels. Their southern limit is the Bahr al-Arab. They are descended from Arabs who migrated from Egypt to Chad in the Middle ages and then eastwards to their present abode, mixing with negroid peoples. They migrate with their herds south to the river lands in the dry season and north to the grasslands during the rains. They also raise millet, sorghum and various other crops.

The Baqqara are excellent horsemen and fanatical fighters who formed the shock cavalry troops of the Mahdi period.

 

 

 

 

BARI

 

TOTAL POPULATION 725,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NILOTIC

OR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY

DISTRIBUTION

 

Nilotic African tribe of southern Sudan.

 

 

 

 

BASHKIRS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTIOM RUSSIA

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI?

LANGUAGE BASHKIR (NORTHWEST KIPCHAK GROUP)

LIFESTYLE

 

Turkic Muslim group related to the Tatars and living mainly in the Bashkir Autonomous Republic (Bashkiriya) in the Eastern part of European Russia with Ufa as capital. The Bashkir language is purely Turkic, but their culture is mixed. Some believe they were originally Magyar (Hungarian) tribes.

Most are collective farmers and sedentary pastoralists. Bashkir horses are famous for their endurance. Cattle, sheep and goats are also raised. Beekeeping in the mountain forests is popular. Kumyss is the national drink. Many are now engaged in oil field, refinery and petrochemical industries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BATS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 3,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NE CAUCASIAN - DAGESTANI

DISTRIBUTION EAST GEORGIA - ONE VILLAGE (ZEMO ALVANI)

 

 

 

 

BEDUIN

 

TOTAL POPULATION 20 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARAB

DISTRIBUTION SAUDI-ARABIA 4M SUDAN 5M YEMEN 1.8M

EGYPT 1.2M MAURITANIA 1M SYRIA 1M

OMAN 800,000 ALGERIA 600,000 KUWAIT 500,000

JORDAN 350,000 IRAQ 200,000 UAE 250,000

LIBYA 220,000 TURKEY 150,000 MOROCCO 100,000

ISRAEL 100,000 QATAR 50,000 TUNISIA 50,000

WB&GAZA 50,000

LANGUAGE ARABIC

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LIFESTYLE CAMEL, SHEEP AND GOAT BREEDING NOMADS.

SOME CATTLE BREEDING TRIBES, MANY NOW SEDENTERISED WAGE LABOURERS

 

The Arabic speaking tribal pastoral-nomads of the Middle East, originating in the Arabian Peninsula but now found in all Arab countries from the Atlantic to the Arabian Gulf. They number some 20 million, though only some 2 million are still nomadic. Many have migrated to towns in search of work, but still cling to their Beduin and tribal identity.

A century ago nomadic Beduin still made up some 10% of the total Arab population. Today they account for some 1% of the total. Settled, semi-settled and nomadic together still account for 10%. They live mainly in the desert and semi-desert areas which cover a large percentage of the Middle East. Socially they are organised into independent tribal groups each controlled by its Sheikh and council of lineage heads. There are two main divisions: those tribes who trace their descent back to South-Arabian stock (Qahtan, Yamanis), and those descended from North-Arabian stock (Qaysis).

Most Beduin are Camel herders, although some keep cattle (Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, Baqqarah of Sudan).

 

 

 

 

BEJA

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC CUSHITIC, LANGUAGE: TO-BEDAWIYE

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN 1.85M ERITREA 150,000

EGYPT 90,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI, STRONG SUFI INFLUENCE MAINLY MIRGHANIYA

ORDER.

LANGUAGE NORTHERN CUSHITIC BRANCH OF THE AFRO-

ASIATIC LANGUAGE GROUP.

LIFESTYLE NOMADIC, CAMEL, SHEEP AND GOAT

HERDERS.

 

A tribal pastoral-nomadic group of the Red Sea Hills in north-eastern Sudan where they have lived for some 6000 years. Their Cushitic language is called To-Bedawiye. The Beja males are easily recognised by their distinctive bushy and fuzzy hairstyle. They are traditionally camel breeding, but also herd sheep and goats. They range with their flocks in small clans over large tracts od desert between their summer and winter gazing. Recent droughts have been a catastrophe for the Beja as they lost a large percentage of their flocks and many have been forced into towns (Port Sudan, Khartoum) as labourers or into receiving welfare aid.

There are five Beja tribal groups from North to South: the 'Ababda, some of whom live across the border in Egypt, the Amarar, the Bishari, the Hadendowa and the Beni-Amer some of whom live in Eritrea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BERABER

 

TOTAL POPULATION 3.8 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER LANGUAGE: TAMAZIGHT

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION MOROCCO - 3.3M MIDDLE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

ALGERIA 500,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI MALIKI. STRONG MARABOUT (SUFI) INFLUENCE.

LIFESTYLE SEMI-NOMADIC

 

Berbers of the Middle Atlas in Morocco who speak Tamazight, and are semi-nomadic pastoral tribes who live in permanent villages for part of the year and also migrate between summer highland and winter lowland pastures. Their region is less densely populated than that of their neighbours, so they tend less to migrate to towns or abroad. They also adhere more to customary law than the southern Shluh. The Ait-Atta are a famous nomadic Beraber tribe.

 

 

 

 

 

BERBER

 

TOTAL POPULATION 20 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION MOROCCO 10.5M ALGERIA 7.3M NIGER 880,000

MALI 650,000 BURKINA-FASSO 390,000

LIBYA 265,000 TUNISIA 220,000 EGYPT 150,000

MAURITANIA 50,000 FRANCE, SPAIN,

GERMANY, HOLLAND, BELGIUM

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI STRONG SUFI BROTHERHOODS

SMALL IBADI MINORITY

LANGUAGE BERBER LANGUAGES, SUB-GROUP OF AFRO-ASIATIC FAMILY.

LIFESTYLE SEDENTARY FARMERS, URBAN, NOMADIC,

TRANSHUMANT

 

Original inhabitants of North Africa, Islamised by Arab conquests of 7th century. Still clinging to their ancient culture and languages in Atlas mountains and Sahara oases from Mauritania to Egypt. Main centres in Morocco and Algeria. Most Maghreb population is of Berber stock intermingled with Arab invaders.

Christianised during the Roman period, they converted to Islam starting with the Arab conquest of the 7th century. The Berbers reasserted their dominance under the al-Murabitun and the al-Muwahiddun dynasties that later disintegrated and came under Arab-Beduin control. The migration of the Beni-Hillal Beduin tribes into the Maghreb in the 11th century gave renewed impetus to Arabisation of the area and produced the modern picture of Arabised urban centres and Berber pockets in the mountains and oases.

Kinship ties are strong, as is loyalty to the old Berber customs, laws and tradition. Whilst freely intermingling with the majority Berber-Arabs the distinct Berber communities preserve their identity and culture seeking recognition of their languages alongside Arabic.

Their centres are in the Atlas mountains and the Saharan oases: the Kabyle, Aures, Rif, Middle and High Atlas mountains, and the Saharan oases in the Maghreb and the Sahel. They constitute 40% of Morocco's population and 25% of Algeria's and number over 20 million people today. Many Berbers emigrated to Western Europe, especially France in earch of work. The main Berber groups are:

In Morocco - Shluh, 5.3 M in the High and Anti-Atlas Mountains as well as the Sous plain. Speak Shilha.

Beraber, 3.3 M in the Middle Atlas speaking Tamazight.

Rif, 1.9 M in the north Rif Mountains speaking Tarifit.

Smaller groups in Morocco include Harratin and Tuareg.

In Algeria - Kabyle, 4.6 M speaking Kabyle (also called Tamazirt or Zwawah) living in the Kabyle Mountains.

Shawiya, 1.8 M speaking Shawiya in the Aures Mountains.

Mzab, 200,000 in the Mzab Oases of the Sahara.

Tuareg - 70,000 in the Ahaggar Mountains of the far south speaking Tamarshak.

Libya has 265,000 Berbers including Zenaga and Tuareg in Jebel Nafusah, Ghat and Ghudamis oasis and roaming the Sahara.

Tunisia has 220,000 Berbers mainly on Djerba Island and nearby mainland villages.

Egypt has 150,000 Berbers in the Siwa Oasis and nearby areas.

Mauritania has some 50,000 Tuaregs, Zenaga and others.

The Tuaregs inhabit mainly the Sahel states of Niger 880,000, Mali 650,000 and Burkina-Fasso 390,000.

 

 

 

 

 

BOHRAS - SEE ISMAILIS

 

Taybi Isma'ilis of India whose leader, the Da'i Mutlak resides in Bombay. Their original home was Yemen, where there is still a small community. Due to persecution their leader moved to India in the 16th century where they flourished

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRAHUI

 

 

Dravidian community in west Pakistan living amongst the Baluch. Number some 1 million. A few also in Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

 

CHALDEAN - SEE ASSYRIAN, NESTORIAN

 

TOTAL POPULATION ME 380,000 WORLD 500,000 - 1.7 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARABIC; LITURGICAL LANGUAGE E. SYRIAC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP UNIATE PART OF THE ANCIENT NESTORIAN CHURCH.

DISTRIBUTION IRAQ 340,000 IRAN 20,000 SYRIA 15,000

LEBANON 10,000 TURKEY 6,000

USA W. EUROPE ARMENIA

 

The Chaldeans are the part of the ancient Nestorian church (Church of the East, Assyrians) who accepted the Pope's authority finally in 1831 and became a Uniate Church.

Catholic missionaries started working amongst the Assyrians in the 13th century. The Chaldeans retain their ancient rites and Syriac liturgical language.

 

 

 

 

CHECHEN

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IBERO-CAUCASIAN, NAKHIAN

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA (CHECHEN-INGUSH AUTONOMOUS

REGION AND DAGESTAN)- 960,000

GEORGIA 40,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANAFI

LANGUAGE BRANCH OF NAKHO-DAGESTANI SUB-GROUP OF

CAUCASIAN FAMILY

 

Ibero-Caucasian group speaking a Nakhian language and calling themselves Nokhchi. The Chechens are the largest North Caucasus group, and closely related to the Ingush with whom they share the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region of Caucasian Russia. They converted to Islam between 17 and 19th centuries. Tsarist Russia overran the Caucasus in a long process lasting from the late 15th to the mid 18th centuries. The Chechens were regarded as the most fierce opponents of Russian invasion.

Chechen social structure and ethnic identity are based on family and clan honour, respect for elders, hospitality, formal and dignified relations between families and clans, courteous and formal public and private behaviour.

The Chechens and Ingush supported the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution and were rewarded with the Prigorodny region. During the Second World War they were deported to Kazakstan and Siberia in 1944 under suspicion of collaborating with the Germans. rehabilitated in 1956, they were allowed back in 1957 and the autonomous Chechen-Ingushetia region was reinstated.

Under the leadership of Dzokhar Dudayev, a former Soviet bomber commander, the Chechnaya has proclaimed its independence and seceded from Russia, though it is not recognised by any state. There has been some severe fighting between Chechen and Ingush, as well as between the Ingush and the Ossetes. Russia under President Yeltsin tried to crush the independent Chechnya by a brutal offensive in 1993/94?, razing the capital Grozni. Chechen guerrilas still control large areas of the high mountains.

 

 

 

 

CHERKESS - SEE CIRCASSIAN, ALSO KABARDINIAN, ADYGE,

ABKHAZ, ABAZA, UBYKH

 

 

 

 

 

CHUVASH

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2.0 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA, VOLGA REGION

RELIGION CHRISTIAN, ORTHODOX RUSSIAN

LIFESTYLE

 

Turkic Orthodox Christian community living along the middle course of the Volga river in Russia where they have an autonomous region of Chuvasiya, and also in various areas of western Siberia. Their language is different to all other Turkic languages and belongs to the Bulgar group of the western Turkic languages.

 

 

 

 

 

CIRCASSIAN - SEE CHERKESS: KABARDINIAN 1.2M,

ADYGE 255,000, ABKHAZ 235,000, ABAZA 58,000, UBYKH 50,000

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NORTHWEST CAUCASIAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA (KABARDINO-BALKARYA, KARACHEVO-

CHERKESS, ADYGEI) 1 M

GEORGIA (ABKHAZIA) 100,000

TURKEY 500,000 IRAQ 100,000 SYRIA 90,000

JORDAN 70,000 ISRAEL 5,000 BALKANS?

 

Circassian is the umbrella term for all Northwestern Caucaso-Iberian people, including the Kabardinians, Adyge, Abkhaz, Abaza and Ubykh. In the Ottoman Empire they were called Cherkess under which name they are still referred to in all Middle Eastern countries where they live. Formerly Christian, they converted to Islam under Ottoman rule and many (500,000?) emigrated from Caucasia to the Ottoman Empire at time of the Russian conquest of 1864. Many Cossacks and Russians moved into the Caucasus.

Most Circassians in the Caucasus live in the three Russian Republics of Adygheia, Karachay-Chrkessia, and Kabard-Balkaria.

Many Circassians outside the Caucasus no longer use Circassian as first language and are loyal citizens of their respective states, yet keeping their unique cultural markers.

 

MAIN AREAS WITH CIRCASSIANS:

KABARD - BALKARYA

TOTAL POPULATION 760,000

CAPITAL NAL'CHIK 240,000

ETHNIC KABARDIAN 48.2%; RUSSIAN 32%; BALKAR 13.4%; ALSO UKRAINIANS 13,000; GERMANS 8,600. SMALL NUMBERS OF TURKS, JEWS, ARMENIANS & GYPSIES

 

ADYGHEA

TOTAL POPULATION 425,000

CAPITAL MAYKOP 150,000

ETHNIC RUSSIAN 68%; ADYGHE 22%; UKRAINIAN 3.2%

 

KARACHAY - CHERKESSIA

TOTAL POPULATION 415,000

CAPITAL CHERKESK 110,000

ETHNIC RUSSIAN 42.5%; KARACHAY 31.2%; CHERKESS 9.6%;

ABAZA 6.5%; NOGAI 3.1%

 

 

 

 

COPTS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 11 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP COPTIC ORTHODOX NON CHALCEDONIAN MONOPHYSITE

DITRIBUTION EGYPT 10M (17%) GOVERNMENT CLAIMS ONLY 6%, LIBYA 60,000,

SOME 200,000 SCATTERED AMONG ALL ARAB COUNTRIES AMONG

EGYPTIAN MIGRANT LABOURERS

WEST 500,000?

RELIGION CHRISTIAN, MAINLY COPTIC ORTHODOX 9M

PROTESTANT 0.5M COPTIC CATHOLIC 250,000

LANGUAGE ARABIC. LITURGICAL - COPTIC

LIFESTYLE URBAN AND RURAL PEASANTS

 

The largest Christian community in the Midle East and the national Church of Egypt. The Copts claim their church was founded by St Mark and that they are descendants of the original Egyptians. Severely persecuted by the Byzantine Greek Orthodox State Church they welcomed the Muslims as liberators. Coptic, derived from ancient Egyptian, is still the liturgical language in the Church. Arabic superseded it as the spoken language in the 10-12th century. The Coptic Church is one of the non-Chalcedonian, Monophysite churches stressing the one nature of Christ. It has its own Pope (Shenouda) as head. The Copts have sporadically faced persecution from the Muslims over the centuries and today face increasing pressure from the growing fundamentalism of the Islamic majority.

 

 

 

 

 

DAGESTANIS

 

MIXED PEOPLES INHABITING THE AUTONOMOUS REGION OF DAGESTAN IN THE NORTHEASTERN CAUCASUS BELONGING TO RUSSIA.

THEY INCLUDE: NORTHEASTERN CAUCASIAN DAGESTANIS:

AVARS 610,000

LEZGINS 470,000

DARGINS 370,000

LAKS 120,000

TABASARANS 100,000

KHAIDAQ 28,000

RUTULS 21,000

TSAKHURS 20,000

AGULS 20,000

NORTHEAST CAUCASIAN NAKH: CHECHEN 1 M

INGUSH 250,000

BATS 3,000

 

TURKIC:- KUMYKS 280,000

NOGAI 70,000

RELIGION MUSLIM, MOSTLY SUNNI, SOME SHIA (LEZGIN, SOME DARGIN AND KUMYK)

SUFISM: VERY STRONG IN DAGESTAN.

 

 

 

 

 

DARGINS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 370,000

NORTH-EASTERN CAUCASIAN PEOPLE OF DAGESTAN, SUNNI, SOME SHIA.

 

 

 

 

DINKA

 

TOTAL POPULATION 3.3 M

ETHNIC-LINGUISTIC NILOTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN SOUTH, UPPER NILE - SUDD AREA

RELIGION CHRISTIAN ANIMIST

LANGUAGE EASTERN SUDANIC BRANCH CHARI-NILE SUB-FAMILY OF NILO-AHARAN

LANGUAGE FAMILY.

LIFESTYLE CATTLE BREEDING

 

Largest Nilotic cattle breeding tribes of southern Sudan. They are transhumant cattle herders occupying a vast low-lying swampy region - the Sudd. Lacking centralised political authority they comprise many sub-groups recognising only the authority of religious chiefs. With other South-Sudanese people (SPLA army) they have been fighting the Central Government forces for decades in a bid for independence or autonomy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DRUZE

 

TOTAL POPULATION 850,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP INDEPENDENT RELIGION, OFFSHOOT OF ISMA'ILISM

DISTRIBUTION SYRIA 450,000 3.5% LEBANON 250,000 7%

ISRAEL 100,000 2% WEST 50,000

LIFESTYLE MAINLY RURAL PEASANTS. SOME URBANISED

 

The Druze are a tightly knit Arabic semi-Islamic religious community of the mountains of the Levant. Founded in Cairo by Fatimid Isma'ilis who accepted the Caliph al-Hakim (d.1021 AD) as the manifestation of the unknowable one God. He disappeared but will reappear at the end of time to usher in the golden Kingdom of justice and peace.

In Syria they inhabit mainly the Jebel al-Druze region in the southwest. In Lebanon, mainly in the Shouf Mountains southeast of Beirut. In Israel, mainly in Galilee and Mt. Carmel and the Golan 100,000. The Druze have traditionally been the dominant group in the mountains of Lebanon until overtaken by the Maronites during the 19th century. The rivalry between the two communities is still strong and contributed to the Lebanese civil wars.

The Druze have been often under pressure from the Sunni rulers of the area. They are proud and fierce fighters, intensely loyal to their religious community and its leaders although downplaying their particularism in order to further their survival as a minority (taqiya). Druze society is divided into initiated Uqqal (Knowers - some 20% of the total Druze population), and the uninitiated majority Juhal (ignorant).

 

 

 

 

EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCHES - GREEK

OTHODOX, BYZANTINE ORTHODOX, RUM

 

 

 

 

 

ERITREANS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 5.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC SEMITIC TIGRINIYA & TIGRE

SPEAKERS

DISTRIBUTION ERITREA 2.7 M, (TIGRINYA 2M; TIGRE 0.65M)

ETHIOPIA 2.45M (TIGRINYA 1.95, TIGRE 0.5)

SUDAN 200,000 TIGRE

RELIGION TIGRINYA MAINLY CHRISTIAN (ETHIOPIAN - ORTHODOX)

TIGRE MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE SEMITIC: TIGRINIYA AND TIGRE

LIFESTYLE

 

Two related Semitic main population groups of Eritrea, Tigray province of Ethiopia and Southeastern Sudan. The southern Tigray speak the Semitic Tigriniya language and are related to the Amhara of Ethiopia. They are mainly farmers living in the agricultural highlands of South Eritrea and Tigray Province. Most are Christians (Ethiopian Orthodox) and some 10% are Muslim. The northern Tigre speak the Semitic Tigre language, are mainly nomads, and live in the arid lowlands of north and east Eritrea and southeast Sudan. They are practically all Muslim.

The Eritreans are descended from South Arabian tribes who crossed the Red Sea into Eritrea in 1st century BC, later intermingling with Cushitic peoples of the area. They are also related to the Beja of Sudan and the Somalis. The important Christian Empire of Aksum was based in Eritrea.

In recent years the Eritreans led the fight against the Marxist regime, Eritrea declaring its independence in 1992?

 

 

 

 

FALASHAS - SEE JEWS,

 

TOTAL POPULATION 65,000

DISTRIBUTION ISRAEL 60,000 ETHIOPIA 3,000

 

Black Ethiopian Jews who claim descent from the tribe of Dan or from Solomon's son by the Queen of Sheba. Were cut off for centuries from mainline Judaism. Most have emigrated to Israel, the last wave of some 14,000 being flown there in one day in 1991.

 

 

 

 

 

FARSEES (PERSIANS)

 

TOTAL POPULATION 31 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN LANGUAGE: FARSEE

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 28 M IRAQ 300,000 TURKEY 600,000

AFGHANISTAN 600,000 WEST 2M

Farsee speaking dominant people group of Iran, descendants of ancient Persians.

 

 

 

 

 

FUR

 

TOTAL POPULATION 600,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC FUR

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN, DARFUR PROVINCE

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE A SINGLE LANGUAGE BRANCH OF THE NILO-

SAHARAN LANGUAGE FAMILY.

 

Main African tribe of Darfur province of western Sudan (Darfur means House of Fur). Had a powerful Sultanate in the 17-18th centuries, semi-independent until 1916. Society is hierarchical and the Fur live in homesteads, a number of which constitute a village.

 

 

 

 

GAGAUZ

 

TOTAL POPULATION 200,000 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

DISTRIBUTION MOLDAVIA 180,000 RUMANIA 20,000 ?

LANGUAGE GAGAUZ, TURKIC, SOUTHWEST OGUZ

RELIGION CHRISTIAN, ORTHODOX

 

Christian Turks of Dobruja and Bessarabia. Their name is derived from the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Kayka'us who in 1249 lost his throne to his brother and fled to Byzantium. There he was gIven land in Dobruja (in present day Romania), where he settled with 30-40 Obas, small groups of closely related families of nomadic Turkmen. When Dobruja and Bessarabia fell to the Mongol Golden Horde in the late 13th century, other Turkic peoples joined them and mingled with them, becoming Muslim.

Under pressure from the Christian Bulgars some of these Turkish-Mongol settlers returned to Anatolia in the 14th century. Those who stayed behind converted to the Greek Orthodox religion and became known as Gagauz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GALLA - ALSO OROMO.

 

TOTAL POPULATION 20 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC CUSHITIC GALLA

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION ETHIOPIA 19.5 M KENYA 65,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI & CHRISTIAN

LANGUAGE GALLA - CUSHITIC, EASTERN

LIFESTYLE PASTORALISTS (CATTLE HERDERS) AND

FARMERS

 

A cluster of Cushitic speaking Muslim groups of Ethiopia and northern Kenya speaking Oromo (also called Galla). Largest minority group in Ethiopia. The northern Galla are farmers, the southern are cattle herders retaining much of their traditional organisation.

 

 

 

 

GEORGIANS - ALSO KARTVELI

 

TOTAL POPULATION 4.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IBERO-CAUCASIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION GEORGIA 3.9M, TURKEY 90,000 RUSSIA 90,000

AZERBAIJAN 200,000

RELIGION GEORGIAN GREEK ORTHODOX

LANGUAGE GEORGIAN, SOUTHERN CAUCASIAN

(KARTVELIAN, IBERIAN)

 

People group of the south Caucasus speaking Georgian, a language of the Kartvellian (south Caucasian) group. Georgia accepted Greek Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. It was intermittently independent or autonomous over the centuries. Annexed by Russia in 1801 it became a socialist soviet republic but proclaimed its independence in 1990. Since then shaken by civil wars against the separatist Abkhazians.

There are four Georgian peoples speaking Kartvelian languages: Georgians, Mingrelians & Laz (370,000), and Svans (35,000), usually all referred to as Georgians or Kartveli.

 

 

 

 

GREEK CATHOLIC - MELKITES

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.2 WORLDWIDE 600,000 IN THE ME

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARABIC, LITURGICAL LANGUAGE GREEK

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP EAST ORTHODOX GROUP THAT ACCEPTED PAPAL AUTHORITY

DISTRIBUTION LEBANON 250,000 SYRIA 250,000

ISRAEL 50,000 WEST BANK 15,000

JORDAN 30,000 GEORGIA 150,000

BRAZIL 360,000 USA 80,000

AUSTRALIA 40,000 W.EUROPE

LANGUAGE ARABIC, GREEK AND ARABIC FOR LITURGY

 

Part of the Greek Orthodox Church that accepted papal authority in the 16th and 17th centuries. The definite split with Constantinople came in 1724. The term Melkite (king's men) was originally given to all Orthodox Christians of the Byzantine Empire who accepted Chalcedon and thus supported the Emperor's stand. Today it designates only the Greek Catholics.

 

 

 

GREEK ORTHODOX - RUM, EASTERN ORTHODOX, BYZANTINE

 

TOTAL POPULATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST 1.5 M, GEORGIA 4.2 M, WORLDWIDE 200 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP SUCCESSOR TO BYZANTINE STATE CHURCH

DISTRIBUTION LEBANON 250,000 SYRIA 250,000

ISRAEL 50,000 JORDAN 55,000

EGYPT 30,000 TURKEY 5,000

IRAN 1,000 IRAQ 1,000

WB&GAZA 15,000 CYPRUS 800,000

LANGUAGE ARABIC IN ME GREEK AND ARABIC IN LITURGY; IN CYPRUS AND

TURKEY GREEK SPEAKING

 

The Eastern Orthodox Churches constitute the second largest Church in the Christian world following the Roman Catholics.

They are a family of 15 self-governing autonomous sister churches, successors of the Byzantine orthodox state church, all acknowledging the supremacy of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul). The great schism of 1054 marked the split with the Western Churches. Largest churches today are in the Slavic countries of Eastern Europe and in Greece.

As the State Church of the great Byzantine Empire it had a major role in defining Orthodoxy through the various early Ecumenical councils. It also pushed for uniformity of doctrine by persecuting the separated churches of the East.

The Turkish conquest of Anatolia culminating in the conquest of Constantinople in 1451 marked its decline in the Middle East as many converted to Islam over the centuries. The last 1.5 million Greeks of Asia Minor were finally exchanged with Muslim Turks from Greece and settled in Greece following WWI. In many areas of Turkey popular folk Islam retains Greek Orthodox vestiges in honouring Christian shrines and Saints.

The Greek Orthodox Church is called Rum in the Middle East because the Byzantine Empire represented the real Roman Empire for this area. It is still the state church in Greece and Cyprus. Its greatest missionary achievement was the conversion of the Russians and other Slavs between the 8th and the 10th centuries.

The four ancient patriarchates are: Constantinople with 3 million members mainly in Crete, the USA and Western Europe, Alexandria 350,000 embracing all of Africa, Antioch 600,000 mainly in Syria and Lebanon, Jerusalem 80,000 in the Levant (includes the Sinai monastery).

The Uniate group that broke away to accept Papal authority in the century is the Greek Catholic Church also known as the Melkite Church.

 

 

GYPSIES - SEE ROMANY

 

TOTAL POPULATION 9 M WORLDWIDE.

EUROPE MAINLY CHRISTIAN 6M (MUSLIM IN BALKANS & RUSSIA)

MIDDLE EAST 3M MUSLIM

DISTRIBUTION

EUROPE

WEST & CENTRAL: HUNGARY 800,000 CHECHOSLOVAKIA 410,000

SPAIN 750,000 FRANCE 260,000

PORTUGAL 105,000 UK 90,000 POLAND 80,000

ITALY 120,000 SWITZERLAND 35,000

GERMANY 100,000 FINLAND 10,000 IRELAND1 8,000

AUSTRIA 9,000 HOLLAND 40,000 LATVIA 7,000

DENMARK 5,000 SWEDEN 15,000

BELGIUM 20,000 NORWAY 5,000

 

BALKANS: ROMANIA 2M FORMER YUGOSLAVIA 850,000

BULGARIA 500,000 5% ALBANIA 80,000 2.5%

GREECE 140,000

EAST: RUSSIA 210,000 UKRAINE 48,000

MOLD0VA 12,000 BYELARUS 11,000

MIDDLE EAST 3M

EGYPT 1.1M 2% (HALABI 865,000 GHAGAR 216,00)

IRAN 1.2 M - NAWAR & GHORBATI(KOWLI)

TURKEY 550,000 - CINGANE, DOMARI, ARJILA

IRAQ 50,000 - ZOTT SYRIA 28,000 - DOMARI

ALGERIA 2,500 - XORAXAI

LIBYA? TUNISIA? MOROCCO?

AFGHANISTAN 100,000?(JAT, GUJARI)?

ISRAEL? LEBANON? JORDAN? ARABIA?

KAZAKSTAN 200,000?(ROMANI SINTE, KOWLI)

TURKMENISTAN 400,000? (LULI/LURI)

INDIA 350,000? (GUJARI) PAKISTAN? (AHARGARI, GORBAT?)

 

S.AMERICA

COLOMBIA 39,000 MEXICO 53,000

 

A nomadic and tribal people originating in northern India that migrated in waves to Western Europe via the Middle East. In the 11th century they were in Persia, in the Balkans by the early 14th and in western Europe by the 15th. They left small communities behind in most countries they passed through. There are Gypsy communities in every nation of Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and North Africa. In Muslim regions they nominally converted to Islam, in Christian areas to Christianity.

Gypsies refer to themselves as Rom (a word meaning "man" or "husband") and their language as Romany - it is related to the north Indo-Aryan language group including Sanskrit. They are usually bi- or tri-lingual.

Traditional Gypsy occupations are peddling, live-stock trading, tinkers, blacksmiths and metalworking in general, fortune telling, entertainers - musicians, dancers, animal trainers and performing dervishes, and beggars. Nomadic gypsies migrate seasonally along patterned routes that ignore national boundaries. They usually move from town to town pursuing their traditional trades. In some areas Gypsy clans are clients of local noble tribes and serve them as tinkers, blacksmiths and entertainers. In all countries they are at the lowest end of the social strata. They have often been scapegoats and suffered persecution. The Nazis exterminated some 400,000 Gypsies in Europe during WWII. Most governments still treat them with suspicion, discriminate against them and try to force them to sedentarise. It is very difficult to obtain statistics and information on Gypsies in most countries.

In Muslim lands they are often accused of being only superficially Muslim as they fuse Islam with elements of their own traditional Gypsy beliefs and folklore. In Muslim countries they are known by various names: Cingene in Turkey, Nawar in Arabic, Qorbati or Kowli in Persian, also Ghorbati, Halabi, Ghajar, Haramieh.

Gypsies in Europe are now demanding recognition as national minorities.

 

 

 

 

HARRATIN

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.5M?

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER

DISTRIBUTION MAURITANIA MOROCCO ALGERIA

 

Berber group also called "Black Berbers", descended from black African slaves and converts to Islam attached to Berber tribes. Found mainly in Morocco, Mauritania and the Sahara Oases, they are farmers who were seen as vassals by nomadic Berber "white " tribes, supplying them with farm produce. They have adopted Berber language and customs and used to pay tribute to the nomads for armed protection. They are still a modest people content with their subordinate role in society.

 

 

 

 

 

HAZARA

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.9 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION AFGHANISTAN 1.6M IRAN 280,000

PAKISTAN 70,000

LANGUAGE HAZARAGI, IRANIAN LANGAUGE FAMILY

RELIGION MUSLIM SHIA TWELVER

SOME ISMAILI 50,000

SOME SUNNI

 

People group of Afghanistan of mixed Mongol-Iranian descent speaking an Iranian language Hazaragi (some claim it is a Dari dialect) with many Mongol words, and living mainly in the central area of Afghanistan called the Hazarajat. There are small pockets of Hazara who fled during the Hazara-Pushtun war in the 19th century living in other parts. Originally nomads, the Hazara moved to mixed farming to eke out a living from their diminishing territory.

Socially they were a tribal people led by powerful khans also called mirs. The tribal system has been weakened by the wars and the imposition of centralised control. Like Mongols, the Hazara use different terms to distinguish between older and younger siblings. Most Hazara are Shia Twelvers, but some 50,000 on the eastern side of the Hazarajat are Ismaili and others are Sunni. Highly respected families descended from the prophet Muhammad are known as Sayyids.

The Hazara tribes were gradually pushed into the mountainous area they now inhabit starting in the 15th century by the Pushtun tribes from the south and west and by the Uzbeks from the north. The Hazara rebelled against the Pushtun dominated Afghani state in 1891. After two years of fighting they were crushed and many fled to the regions of Mashad and Quetta. As a consequence the Hazarajat was opened up to Pushtun nomads who grazed their flocks there in the summer. After the war impoverished Hazara started to migrate to the cities to work as hired labourers in the winter, returning to work their village farms in the summer. The Hazara continue to be Afghanistan's most impoverished ethnic group.

 

 

 

 

HUI - CHINESE MUSLIMS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 9 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC HAN CHINESE

DISTRIBUTION CHINA, HAVE OWN AUTONOMOUS REGION CALLED NINGXIA IN NORTHWEST

WHERE 17% OF HUI LIVE

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI SUFISM POPULAR

 

In the wider term all Muslim ethnic groups living on Chinese territory (some 20 million). In the narrow term one of the Chinese Muslim groups, descended from Arab-Persian traders who intermarried with Han Chinese, speak Chinese dialects, and differ markedly from the other nine Muslim groups in China who are Turkic and Iranian. The Hui are spread thinly throughout China in small isolated communities. Suffered much under Cultural Revolution in the 1960s/70s. Latterly there has been a return to Islamic lifestyle and a resurgence of religio/ethnic identity. Jahriya and Khufriya Sufi orders are adhered to by many.

 

 

 

 

'IBADIS - SEE KHARIJIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.7 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARAB BERBER

RELIGIOUS GROUP IBADI - KHARIJI, ANCIENT MUSLIM SECT

DISTRIBUTION OMAN 1.4M 75% ALGERIA 200,000

LYBIA 70,000 TUNISIA 44,000 0.5%

YEMEN 20-50,000? SAUDI-ARABIA 20-50,000?

SOMALIA ? ZANZIBAR

 

Only surviving conservative sect of early Kharijis, an extreme puritannical group who assassinated 'Ali and regarded Sunni Caliphs as apostates. Claimed that any suitable Muslim could be elected as the Imam (Caliph) regardless of his origin. This was opposed by both Sunni and Shi'a doctrines of Caliphate (or Imamate). Kharijis believed it their duty to rebel against all illegitimate rule. Organised numerous rebellions against Ummayads and Abassids and were mostly wiped out during first two hundred years of Islam. The moderate Ibadi Khariji sect survives today mainly in Oman and the Maghreb. In Oman they are the dominant group.

 

 

 

 

 

INGUSH

 

TOTAL POPULATION 250,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IBERO-CAUCASIAN, NAKHIAN

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA (CHECHEN-INGUSH AUTONOMOUS REGION)

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE NAKH BRANCH OF NAKHO-DAGESTANI SUBGROUP

OF CAUCASIAN FAMILY

 

North Caucasian people related to the Chechen with whom they share the Chechen-Ingush aoutonomous region in the Russian Caucasus. They sided with the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution, but were deported in 1944 during WWII for collaboration with the Germans. Their region was reinstated in 1957. Since then they have had a dispute with the Chechens over territory, which since 1992 has spilled into some bitter fighting. They also have an old dispute with the neighbouring Ossetes.

 

 

 

 

IRANIANS - LANGUAGE GROUP

 

TOTAL POPULATION 110 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN - INDO-IRANIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

PEOPLE GROUPS IRANIS 31M PUKHTUN 26M KURDS 25M

TAJIKS 10M BALOCH 7.5M HAZARA 1.7M

GILAKI 3M LURI 2.7M MAZANDARANI 2.1M

BAKHTIARI 1M OSSETIAN 600,000

AIMAK 500,000 TALYSH 25,000

NURISTANI 150,000 TAT 30,000

DISTRIBUTION IRAN AFGHANISTAN PAKISTAN TAJIKISTAN KIRGIZSTAN

KAZAKSTAN UZBEKISTAN TURKMENISTAN IRAQ TURKEY

CAUCASUS GULF STATES PAKISTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM

LANGUAGES FARSI PASHTO DARI KURDISH BALOCH

TAJIK HAZARATI LURI BAKHTIARI

MAZANDARANI OSSETE AIMAK ETC.

 

 

 

 

IRANIS - SEE PERSIANS, FARSEES

 

 

 

 

 

ISMA'ILIS - SEE ASSASSINS, NIZARIS, KHOJAS, BOHRAS, TAYBIS.

 

TOTAL POPULATION 6-20 M WORLWIDE

DISTRIBUTION SAUDI-ARABIA 150,000 SYRIA 225,000

IRAN 50,000 YEMEN 135,0000

INDIA 3M? PAKISTAN 1-2M?

AFGHANISTAN 500,000? TAJIKISTAN 500,000?

Small groups also in East-Africa, Lebanon, Iraq and in the West.

The Isma`ilis are a Shi'a sect, also known as Seveners, who split off the main Shi'a (Twelver) group over the succession to the sixth Imam. Ismailism flourished in the 9th-11th centuries when they almost gained control of the Muslim world. They established the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt which lasted for 250 years. Qarmatians were a socialist-anarchist branch of Isma'ilism. Assassins established themselves in Syrian and Caspian Sea mountains until overrun by Mongols. Ismailis survive today scattered from Syria to India to Central Asia. One group, the Khojas, accepts the Aga-Khan as Imam. Another, the Bohras are centred on Yemen.

 

 

 

 

ISSAS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 170,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC SOMALI, CUSHITIC

DISTRIBUTION DJIBOUTI

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE SOMALI

 

Main Somali tribes of Djibouti. The other Somali groups in Djibouti are the Gadaboursis 70,000 and Issaq 60,000

 

 

 

 

JA'ALI

 

Arabic tribes of the northern Nile Valley of Sudan between Dongola and Khartoum. There has been some intermixture with the neighbouring Nubians to the North. Most are settled villagers along the Nile valley though many have migrated to the cities in search of work. The two main groups are the Danaqla and the Ja'aliyin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JACOBITES - SEE SYRIAN ORTHODOX, WEST SYRIANS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JEWS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 17 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC JEWISH

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP JEWISH

DISTRIBUTION

N. AMERICA

USA 6.5 M CANADA 747,000 MEXICO 57,000

EUROPE

RUSSIA 550,000 BYELARUS 112,000 MOLDOVA 66,000

UKRAINE 1M FRANCE 800,000 UK 400,000 GERMANY 40,000

BULGARIA 3,200 ESTONIA 4,600 HUNGARY 80,000

LATVIA 23,000 LITHUANIA 12,000 POLAND 9,000

ROMANIA 21,500 SWEDEN 16,000 SWITZERLAND 20,000

C.ASIA & CAUCASUS

GEORGIA 25,000 KIRGIZSTAN 6,000 TAJIKISTAN 15,000

TURKMENISTAN 2,500 KAZAKSTAN 17,000 UZBEKISTAN 94,000

S.AMERICA

ARGENTINA 500,000 BRAZIL 40,000 URUGUAY 50,000

VENEZUELA 20,000 CHILE 30,000

MIDDLE EAST

ISRAEL 4.5 M MOROCCO 12,000 IRAN 30,000

TURKEY 20,000 SYRIA 4,000 YEMEN 3,000

IRAQ 2,000 TUNISIA 2,000 LEBANON 500

EGYPT 500 ETHIOPIA 4,000

AUSTRALASIA

AUSTRALIA 40,000 NEW ZEALAND 3,000

AFRICA

S.AFRICA 85,000

 

The nation and the religious community descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Dispersed after the Romans destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD they suffered much persecution from Christians culminating in the Nazi holocaust in Europe during the Second World War. Their two main centres today are the USA and Israel. There are significant communities in the former USSR, South America, France and the UK.

In the Middle East Jews (Oriental Jews) have been living for most of recorded history. They were present in most countries of the region long before the founding of Islam. Persecuted by the Byzantine Christians, they welcomed the arrival of the Arabs, who on the whole tolerated them as "people of the Book" according them protected dhimmi status in return for payment of the poll tax and acceptance of Muslim dominance. There were periodic persecutions, but nothing like those experienced by Jews in Christian Europe. Jews rose to high office in the service of various Muslim dynasties. Their main centre for centuries was in Babylon (modern Iraq) and they experienced a cultural Golden Age in Muslim Spain.

As a result of the establishment of the State of Israel relations between Arabs and Jews have deteriorated. Most Jews in Arabic lands immigrated to Israel. The few left behind face discrimination and constant surveillance by the security forces. (Morocco being a notable exception).

 

JUDAISM is the monotheistic religion of the Hebrews revealed in the Bible and developed out of it. It is based on the Mosaic Law and its interpretation by the Jewish sages over the centuries. It was codified in the Mishnah, Talmud and their commentaries. Main branches today are Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUHAYNA

 

Arab Beduin tribal group of Sudan. live on both sides of the Nile south of the Ja'ali.

 

 

 

 

KABABISH

Arab Beduin tribe of Sudan. They live on the western side of the Nile and roam with their camels and sheep into Kordofan and Darfur provinces. They wander to the south in the dry season and back north in the rainy season.

 

 

 

 

KABARDINIANS - SEE CIRCASSIANS, CHERKESS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.2 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NORTHWEST CAUCASIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA 400,000 TURKEY 50,000 GEORGIA

SYRIA , JORDAN , ISRAEL

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANAFI

LANGUAGE BRANCH OF NORTHWEST (CIRCASSIAN, ABKHAZO

-ADYGIAN) SUBGROUP OF CAUCASIAN FAMILY.

 

The largest of the five Northwestern Caucasian people (Kabardinian, Adyge, Abkhaz, Abaza, Ubykh)ÿcommonly known under the umbrella designation of Circassians. Until 1864 they lived intermixed with the other related peoples the Adyges, Ubykhs, Abkhaz, and Abazas.

Following the Tsarist Russian conquest of their area in 1864 many Kabardinians, Adyges, Ubykhs, Abkhazians and Abazas migrated to Middle East regions controlled by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. There they were all called Cherkess. They settled in Anatolia, the Balkans and the Levant. They have generally retained their language and culture. ÿÿÿ

In Turkey there has been some pressure at assimilation and the use of the language was prohibited for many years. In Jordan they are concentrated in and around Amman and provide the royal guard for the Hashemite monarchy.

In Russia most Kabardinians live in the autonomous Kabardinya-Balkariya and Karachevo-Cherkess regions in the north-central Caucasus.

 

 

 

 

KABYLE

 

TOTAL POPULATION 5.1 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION ALGERIA 4.6M FRANCE 500,000 W. EUROPE

LANGUAGE KABYLE, BERBER BRANCH OF AFRO-ASIATIC

LANGUAGES

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI MALIKI

CHRISTIAN 20-30,000

 

Main Berber tribes of Algeria, living in the Kabyle Mountains. In Kabylia the Berbers and their culture have survived relatively unscathed as they fiercely resisted all foreign invaders. In Kabylia they are mainly farmers growing figs and olives and herding goats, living in stone houses with red roofs, divided into clans. Many fought in the independence struggle against France and achieved high rank in army and government. Due to overpopulation and poverty many Kabyle migrated to the cities and to France.

Recently there has been much government investment in their area.

 

 

 

 

 

KARACHAY - ALSO KNOWN AS ALANS.

 

TOTAL POPULATION 150,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA 150,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE BELONGS TO NORTHWEST KIPCHAK TURKIC LANGUAGE GROUP

 

North-Caucasian Muslim group related to the Balkar. They share an autonomous area - the Karachai-Cherkessia - with the Circassians. Their origins are obscure, but it is thought that they are related to Huns, Bulgars, Khazars and Kipchaks. Their language is a branch of the Turkic northwest Kipchak group. Over the centuries they also intermingled with the Ossetes. During WWII they were deported to Central Asia but were later allowed to return to the Caucasus.

Society is tribal, patriarchal and exogamous. Traditionally they were transhumants, possessing permanent cabins (koshi) in their highland summer pastures. In winter the livestock are taken to lowland shelters and the herdsman return to their permanent abodes. Most Karachay are still employed in agriculture. Livestock include beef cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry. Ayran, a drink made of fermented milk is very popular.

The Karachay were converted to Islam by the Kabardinians in the eighteenth century, but many Shamanist practices and beliefs remain.

 

 

 

 

KARAIM

 

TOTAL POPULATION A FEW THOUSAND?

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION LITHUANIA, UKRAINE

RELIGION

LANGUAGE KARAIM, TURKIC NORTHWEST KIPCHAK

LIFESTYLE

 

Turkic Jews of the Baltic states. Their language, Karaim, is still spoken around Vilnius and Panevezys in Lithuania, in the southern Ukraine near Lutsk and Galich and in the Crimea around Eupatoria.

 

 

 

 

 

KARA'ITES - SEE JEWS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 10,-20,000

RELIGION JUDAISM, KARA'ITE

 

Jewish sect that accepted only the Old Testament, mainly the Pentateuch, as its source of authority and rejected later Rabbinic interpretations such as the Talmud. They accepted only a literal interpretation of the Torah. Flourished for a while in Iraq in between 8th - 10th centuries, then dwindled. Some 10,000 now live in Israel.

 

 

 

 

KARAKALPAK - (Black Hat)

 

TOTAL POPULATION 550,000

DISTRIBUTION UZBEKISTAN 440,000 2%

TURKEY 50,000 TURKMENISTAN 5,000

IRAN 30,000 KAZAKSTAN

LANGUAGE BELONGS TO NORTHWEST KIPCHAK TURKIC

LANGUAGE GROUP

RELIGION SUNNI MUSLIM

LIFESTYLE SEDENTARY

 

Turkic group living mainly in Uzbekistan along the lower reaches of the Amu-Darya floodplain in the Karakalpak Autonomous region and the adjacent Kizil-Kum desert. Their language is closely related to Kazak. Their origin is complex, related to the ancient Sacs, Oguz, Pechenegs, Kipchaks and Turcisized Mongols. They are first mentioned as a distinct tribe in the 16th century.

They are mainly sedentarised, 30% are urban dwellers engaged in light industry. They are fine craftsmen. The farmers grow mainly cotton in irrigated fields. Livestock rearing and fishing are also practiced. Like other Turkic groups, they like to have their Yurts beside their permanent dwellings.

Society is tribal and patriarchal. Shamanistic rituals are still popular.

 

 

 

 

KAWAHLA

 

Arab Beduin tribal group of Sudan, living in an area stretching from northwest of Khartoum south to Kusti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KAZAKS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 10 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC (NORTHWEST KIPCHAK)

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION KAZAKSTAN 6.9 M XINGIANG 1.2 M

MONGOLIA 130,000 UZBEKISTAN 900,000 4%

TURKMENISTAN 115,000 KIRGIZSTAN 40,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI, SHAMANIST INFLUENCE

SUFISM ACTIVE

LANGUAGE KAZAK - NORTHWEST KIPCHAK GROUP OF TURKIC LANGUAGES

LIFESTYLE

 

Turkic speaking people of Central Asia most of whom live in the large Republic of Kazakstan - from the Caspian Sea in the West to Lake Balkhash in the east. The Kazak language belongs to the northwestern (Kipchak) group of Turkic languages. The Kazaks are descended from the Kipchak tribes that comprised part of the Mongol Golden Horde. The Kazak Empire was founded in the 15th century and stretched across the entire steppe region north of the Aral Sea and east of the Caspian Sea. It disintegrated into three "hordes" each ruled by an independent Khan. In the 17th century it was weakened by raids from the Oryat (Mongol) tribes of the east. From the 18th century onward the Kazak areas were gradually absorbed into the Russian Empire. Under the Communists the nomads were settled. Three quarters of the farmland is still used for pasture. Russian and Ukrainian settlement has diluted the specific ethnic characteristic of the area, but the Kazak retain a strong national identity. Mining and industry have been introduced by the Soviets especially since WWII when many industries were moved there from the western front.

The Kazaks traditionally were nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists but are now mainly farmers and urban dwellers.

Rural Kazaks still prefer to live in the traditional Yurts especially as a summer dwelling. The nomadic past is still evident in the Kazak love of horses, yurts, mutton and Kumyss, fermented mare's milk.

 

 

 

 

KHARIJIS - SEE IBADIS.

 

 

 

 

 

KHOJAS

 

Isma'ili group in India. Accept the Agha-Khan as their spiritual leader (Imam). Successors to the Nizari Isma'ilis and Assassins. Following pwrsecution in Persia the Isma'ili Nizari leaders moved to India were their following today numbers several millions.

 

 

 

 

KIRGIZ

 

TOTAL POPULATION 3 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC (NORTHWESTERN KIPCHAK)

OR RELIGIOUS

DISTRIBUTION KIRGIZSTAN 2.36M 40%

UZBEKISTAN 160,000 TURKMENISTAN 110,000

XINGIANG 200,000 AFGHANISTAN 70,000

KAZAKSTAN TAJIKISTAN 64,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI, SHAMANISTIC INFLUENCE

LANGUAGE KIRGIZ (NORTHWEST KIPCHAK LANGUAGE), SIMILAR TO KAZAK

 

Turkic speaking Muslim people of Central Asia most living in independent Kirgizia. Settled in the region they now inhabit in the 12th century. The Kirgiz language belongs to the Northwestern (Kipchak) group of Turkic languages. The Kirgiz were nomads right up to modern times. In the 18th -19th century they were under the Khanate of Kokand. During the second half of the 19th century Kirgizya was colonised by the Russians who supressed the independent Khanates of the area. After the Bolshevik takeover, there was increased settlement by Russians and Ukrainians and the proportion of Kirgiz falling to 40% of the population. The Soviets moved the nomads into agricultural settlements. 70% are still employed in agriculture, mainly livestock rearing. Some are still transhumant nomads.

 

 

 

 

KUMYKS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 285,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA CAUCASUS - DAGESTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI; SHIA MINORITY

LANGUAGE KUMYK, TURKIC NORTHWEST KIPCHAK

 

Turkic group living mainly in the Dagestan Autonomous Republic in the Russian Caucasus. Their language belongs to the Kipchak group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KURDS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 25 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION TURKEY 12.9M 21% IRAN 6M 10%

IRAQ 4.4M 22% SYRIA 1.1M 8%

WEST 600,000

KUWAIT 160,000 10% ARMENIA 70,000 2%

LEBANON 70,000 2.2% JORDAN 10,000

AZERBAIJAN 150,000 GEORGIA 30,000

GULF STATES 20,000 TURKMENISTAN 52,000

AFGHANISTAN 20,000

RELIGION MAINLY SUNNI WITH STRONG SUFI PRESENCE.

LARGE MINORITY SHIA: ALEVI, YEZIDI,

AHL-I-HAQ, SHABAK, ETC.

LANGUAGE KURDISH, WEST IRANIAN LANGUAGE RELATED TO FARSI AND PASHTO; DIALECTS: KURMANJI, SORANI (KURDI), KERMANSHAHI AND ZAZA (DIMLI)

INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGE FAMILY

LIFESTYLE TRADITIONALLY TRANSHUMANT NOMADS, NOW MAINLY SEDENTERISED

AND URBANISED.

 

Kurdish speaking Indo-Iranian group who have inhabited the same area - the mountains of the Eastern Taurus and the Zagros - for thousands of years speaking various dialects of the Kurdish language, but have never had their own independent state. Kurds were traditionally nomadic tribes, used as mercenaries by various Islamic Empires. Saladdin was the most famous Kurd. Today divided mainly between Turkey, Iran and Iraq where their national movement is suppressed. Significant groups also in Syria, Caucasian states and western Europe.

 

 

 

 

LAKS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 120,000

PEOPLE GROUP OF DAGESTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE LAK, NORTHWEST CAUCASIAN DAGESTANI

 

 

 

 

LATINS - ALSO ROMAN-CATHOLIC

 

TOTAL POPULATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST 2.1 M

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN 1.7 M ALGERIA 100,000 MOROCCO 150,000

ISRAEL 30,000 EGYPT 30,000 JORDAN 20,000

LEBANON 20,000 SYRIA 15,000 WB&GAZA 15,000

IRAQ 10,000 IRAQ 10,000 TUNISIA 10,000

Name given to mainline Roman Catholics in Middle East to distinguish them from the Greek Catholics who are called Melkites, the Greek Orthhodox called Rum, and other Uniate churches in communion with Rome. The Catholics in Sudan are mainly among the southern African tribes. The Catholics of the Maghreb are mainly French and other expatriates. There are also Catholics in Central Asia - among the German, Russian, Ukrainian, etc. populations. Only those of the Levant and Egypt are known as Latins.

 

 

LAZ

 

TOTAL POPULATION 120,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC GEORGIAN

RELIGIOUS GROUP SUNNI HANAFI

DISTRIBUTION NORTHEAST TURKEY

LANGUAGE LAZ, BELONGS TO ZAN (COLCHIAN) BRANCH OF KARTVELIAN

(SOUTH CAUCASIAN) LANGUAGES, RELATED TO GEORGIAN AND SVAN

 

Formerly Christian Georgian group living in Northeastern Anatolia along Black Sea Pontic Coast and nearby mountain valleys, converted to Islam about 1580. Their language is classed with Mingrelian in the Zan (Colchian) branch of the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages, and is related to Georgian and Svan. It is not widely written, although an alpjabet has been recently introduced. Most Laz are bilingual, speaking Turkish as a second language. Laz contains many Turkish loan words. Their ethnic self identity depends on their language, their origin in a remote locality, and is reinforced by occupation. Patrilineal descent groups are an aspect of their social structure.

Traditionally the lazwere transhumant nomads, taking their animals up to very high yaylas in spring. They have also been long connected to seafaring along the coast, although relatively few are actually sailors or fishermen. They are very devout Muslims and produce many Imams and muftis. They are fairly well integrated in Turkish society, though they form the butt of jokes as somewhat comic and inept with a strange pronunciation.

 

 

LURS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2.7 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION IRAN - CENTRAL ZAGROS

RELIGION MUSLIM SHI'A, SMALL MINORITY ARE AHL-I HAQQ

LIFESTYLE SETTLED & NOMADIC

LANGUAGE LURI: SOUTHWEST GROUP OF IRANIAN LANGUAGES

 

Originally tribal nomadic group of the central Zagros Mountain regions, migrating between their winter dwellings (zemgas) and their summer pastures. Most now sedentarised

 

 

 

 

LOTUKO

 

TOTAL POPULATION 430,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC EASTERN-NILOTIC SUB-GROUP OF EASTERN

SUDANIC SUB-BRANCH OF CHARI-NILE

BRANCH OF NILO-SAHARAN LANGUAGE FAMILY

 

African Nilotic tribe of Sudan.

 

 

AHRAS

MAHRAS

 

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ANCIENT SOUTH ARABIAN SEMITIC

DISTRIBUTION

DISTRIBUTION S.ARABIA 14,000 OMAN 105,000 (7.6%)

YEMEN 31,000 GULF STATES?

ABORIGINAL TRIBES OF SOUTH ARABIAN PENINSULA. SEMITIC LANGUAGE SIMILAR TO AMHARIC?

 

 

 

 

MANDAEANS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 15,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARAB - SYRIAC

RELIGIOUS GROUP MANDAEAN, ANCIENT GNOSTIC SECT

DISTRIBUTION IRAQ IRAN?

Ancient Gnostic sect of which some 15,000 still survive in southern Iraq (Shatt al-Arab). Mandaeans are urbanised, mostly craftsmen, especially silversmiths. Believe in a divine Saviour who lived on earth and defeated the powers of darkness. Baptism is an important rite.

 

 

 

 

MARONITES

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.5 M -2.2 M WORLDWIDE

MIDDLE EAST 0.7 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARABIC, LITURGY IN SYRIAC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP MARONITE CATHOLIC CHURCH

DISTRIBUTION LEBANON 650,000 SYRIA 35,000

ISRAEL 7,000 EGYPT 5,000

CYPRUS WEST 800,000

RELIGION UNIATE CHURCH AFFILIATED TO ROME

LANGUAGE ARABIC, SYRIAC FOR LITURGY

 

Oldest Uniate Church centred in Lebanon where the Maronites are the main Christian Church and community. Founded in 6th century, it is an Eastern rite church with Syriac as liturgical language which later during and after the Crusades affiliated itself to the Roman Catholic Church. It is the largest Uniate church, and the second largest Christian community in the ME after the Copts of Egypt.

The Maronites have been the dominant community in Lebanon since the middle of the last century, but have now been weakened by the Lebanese civil war which has tuerned Lebanon into a Syrian protectorate. Large scale emigration to the West has weakened their numerical position in Lebanon relative to the Islamic communities. They control an autonomous region in the mountains of Lebanon north of Beirut till Tripoli, their traditional heartland.

United by a strong sense of religious and national identity, the Maronites will continue to play a decisive role in Lebanese affairs though it is difficult to foresee what the changing balance of power might bring.

 

 

 

 

MELKITES - SEE GREEK-CATHOLIC

 

Another name for the Greek-Catholic (uniate) churches of the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

METWALIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1 M

DISTRIBUTION LEBANON, SOUTH AND BEK'A VALLEY

RELIGIOUS GROUP MUSLIM SHIA TWELVER

LANGUAGE ARABIC

 

Another name for the Twelver Shi'as of southern Lebanon and the Beka'a valley who are the largest community in Lebanon and maintain strong links to Iran.

 

 

 

 

MONGOLS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 3 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC MONGOLIAN BRANCH OF ALTAIC LANGUAGE

FAMILY

DISTRIBUTION MONGOLIA CHINA (INNNER MONGOLIA)

RUSSIA KAZAKSTAN

RELIGION BUDHIST TIBETAN

 

Originally horse nomads they were united by Genghiz Khan in the 13th century and together with allied peoples quickly conquered a vast Empire from China in the East to Central Europe in the West. Known for their cruelty in war. In conquered Muslim lands they later converted to Islam and belonged to the ruling class of many Muslim lands, especially the Moghul Empire in India but also in Iran and Afghanistan. In Mongolia they accepted Tibetan Buddhism. Today they number some 3 million people in Mongolia and adjacent parts of China and Russia.

 

 

 

 

MOORS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 4.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC HASSANIYA SPEAKING ARAB/BERBER

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION MAURITANIA 1.9M MOROCCO 2.5M

SAHEL STATES 200,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE HASSANIYA ARABIC

 

Main population group in Mauritania (where they are divided into White Moors and Black Moors) and also some 10% of Morocco's population. Originally a mixture of Berber and Beduin Arabs who today speak Hassaniya Arabic.

 

 

 

 

M'ZABIS - SEE ALSO IBADIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 200,000

ETHNIC LINGUISTIC BERBER

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP IBADIS OF ALGERIA

DISTRIBUTION ALGERIA 200,000

FRANCE ?

RELIGION IBADI FORM OF KHARIJISM

LANGUAGE BERBER: MZABI

 

Berber community of Algerian oasis of M'zab in the Sahara. Belong to the ancient strict Ibadi sect of the Kharijis who had a strong kingdom in the Maghreb during the 10th century but were eventually driven into the desert by the Fatimids. Live mainly in a seven town league around the oasis of the Wadi M'zab some 560 KM south of Algiers. Ghardaia is their administrative capital and Beni-Isjan their holy town. They grow extended palm groves in th oasis and vegetables too. Many are shopkeepers and merchants who travel all over Algeria, the women however staying behind in the oasis.

 

 

 

 

 

NESTORIANS - SEE ASSYRIAN, CHALDEANS, CHURCH OF

THE EAST

 

TOTAL POPULATION WORLD ? MIDDLE EAST 230,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP ANCIENT CHURCH OF PERSIA & EAST

DISTRIBUTION IRAQ 120,000 IRAN 50,000

TURKEY 25,000 SYRIA 15,000

LEBANON 10,000 WEST

 

Ancient Church of the Persian Empire that separated from the Byzantine Orthodox State Church following the CoUncil of Ephesus in 431 in which Nestorious, Patriarch of Constantinople, and his teachings were condemned. He would not accept the title "Theotokos" -God Bearer, for Mary, and he held to two separate natures in the one Christ.

The first Nestorian centre was in Edessa (Urfa). Expelled from the Byzantine Empire they moved to Nisibis in the Perian Empire. Tthe Patriarch later resided at Ctesiphon, capital of the Persian Empire, and at Baghdad during the Abassid Empire.

Though never achieving the status of a majority and dominant state church, it is estimated that at one time a quarter of the Persian population was Nestorian. The Nestorian Church was an active missionary church that reached into Arabia, Central Asia, India, Tibet and China. Millions of Nestorians were found in that huge area and it was only the massacres of Timur in the 14th century that decimated it in vast areas of Asia. Nestorians survived in small pockets mainly in Turkey, Iran and Iraq, often persecuted by their Muslim neighbours. The Chaldaeans are the part of the Nestorian Church that became a Uniate Church affiliated to Rome.

 

 

 

 

NOGAY

 

TOTAL POPULATION 80,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC NORTHWEST KIPCHAK

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA CAUCASUS - DAGESTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

 

Turkic group living in Dagestan

 

 

 

 

 

NUBA - ANAQ

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2.4 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC CONGO-KORDOFANIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION KORDOFAN STATE OF SUDAN

RELIGION MUSLIM 50% CHRISTIAN 50% ANIMIST

LANGUAGE NUBA LANGUAGES (5 FAMILIES) OF THE

KORDOFANIAN BRANCH OF THE NIGER

-KORDOFANIAN LANGUAGE FAMILY

LIFESTYLE HILL FARMING VILLAGERS, CROPS AND LIVESTOCK

 

A cluster of tribes - more than 50 different ethnic groups and languages - in central-western Sudan, centred on the Nuba mountains of Kordofan state. Despite their diversity they have an identifiable Nuba culture. Their land is well watered, forested and fertile. Most are farmers living off their smallholdings. Livestock is the main economic asset. The Ottoro is the largest tribe occupying eight hills in the eastern Nuba country. Social organisation is segmentary, and the Nuba villages are on the hilltops, the plains having been seized by Arabs.

Nuba are well known for their music, body-art and wrestling. About half are Muslim. Most others are Christian with some animist groups. Nubans identify themselves politically and racially with Sudan's black African south, and have borne the brunt of central governments efforts at ethnic cleansing during the early nineties. The Sudanese army has carried out massacres, selective killing of Nuba leaders and the educated elite, relocating Nubans from their villages to refugee camps in Northern Kordofan, forcing many to work as forced labourers for Arabic families. Their confiscated land is being developed for mechanised farming by Arabs. The plan appears to be to transform the Nuba people from an independent, self sufficient group into a dependent population of farm labourers bereft of leadership.

 

 

NUBIANS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 800,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NUBIAN (EASTERN NILOTIC)

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN (NORTHERN NILE VALLEY & KHARTOUM)

520,000

EGYPT 1.75M

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI SUFI MIRGHANIYA

LANGUAGE EASTERN-NILOTIC BRANCH OF CHARI-NILE

SUBGROUP OF NILO-SAHARAN FAMILY.

LIFESTYLE PART URBAN, PART RURAL.

 

People of the Egyptian-Sudanese border area living between Aswan in Egypt and Dongola in Sudan. They founded a powerful Empire (Biblical Cush) in ancient times. Later there were three Christian Nubian kingdoms (Nobatia, Maqurra and 'Alwah) that held out for 600 years until finally destroyed by Muslims in the 15th century. The Nubians were converted to Islam during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They still preserve some Christian customs and cultural practices.

Many Nubians live scattered in the large towns of Egypt. Their main centre was swamped by the waters of lake Nasser with the building of the Aswan High Dam. Some 100,000 Nubians were then resettled, mostly to New Nubia in the Kom-Omo basin 20 miles north of Aswan.

In Sudan they are mainly agriculturists along the Nile valley, deeply attached to their land. They have a marked interest in education. Many have moved into Khartoum and other large towns in search of work, ranging from domestic service to education and government jobs.

Some Nubian tribal groups: Kunuzi, Fiaddika, Dongola, Mahass, Nobii, Kenuz.

 

 

NURISTANIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 170,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION AFGHANISTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE IRANIAN LANGUAGE GROUP

 

Population group of Afghanistan which was pagan but forced to convert to Islam in the 19th century (they were previously called Kaffiris, meaning pagans). The Nuristanis live in some high mountain valleys in the eastern Hindu-Kush mountain range. The area is forested and the Nuristanis make extensive use of wood and its products in their lifestyle. Nuristani villages are divided into clans, each with its own headman (malik). They keep goats and some cattle and sheep. In the summer the flocks are moved to the high mountain pastures. They also grow cereals and vegetables in the terraced mountainsides. There are two castes: the noble Nuristanis and the common Bari who are former slaves and craftsmen. Each village has some Bari craftsmen living in it.

The Nuristanis were forcibly converted to Islam in 1895- 1896 by the Pushtun Amir Abdur Rahman who renamed their land Nuristan (land of light) because the light of Islam had been shed upon it. Some 10,000 Kafirs still practice their old religion in the Chitral valley of Pakistan. Kafir religion involved the worship of a supreme being and many gods and goddesses. They also believed in spirits inhabiting trees, rivers and mountains, and shamans would contact the spirit world to answer pressing problems. Warfare and feuding were common, the Kafirs raiding Muslims to capture slaves and prove their bravery by the number of the enemy slain.

 

 

 

 

NUER

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NILOTIC

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN SOUTH

RELIGION CHRISTIAN, ANIMIST

LANGUAGE WESTERN-NILOTIC (EASTERN-SUDANIC

SUB-GROUP OF CHARI-NILE BRANCH OF

NILO-SAHARAN LANGUAGE FAMILY)

LIFESTYLE

 

Nilotic tribe of southern Sudan.

 

 

 

 

ORIENTAL JEWS

 

Jews who have always lived in the Middle East as distinguished from European Jews (Ashkenazi) and Spanish Jews (Sephardic). All Arabic countries and Iran had Jews living in them since Biblical days. Their main centre was Babylon during the Parthian and Sassanid Empires and the Umayad and Abbassid Muslim Empires until the 10th century. Significant centres were also in Egypt and North-Africa. After the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 many Sephardic Jews moved to North Africa and Turkey.

Most Oriental Jews have emigrated to Israel.

 

 

 

ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES

NON-CHALCEDONIAN, MONOPHYSITE

SEE: COPTIC ORTHODOX, SYRIAN ORTHODOX, ARMENIAN ORTHODOX, ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX.

 

The non-Chalcedonian monophysite orthodox churches of the Middle East which constitute a communion of sister churches with a wide variety of liturgy and worship. They rejected the ecumenical council of Chalcedon, reecognising only three ecumenical councils: Nicaea I (325), Constantinople I (381) and Ephesus (431).

They are called Monohysite (Greek mono-one, phusis nature) because they ascribe one divine nature to Christ, asserting "one nature out of two natures". They set up their own patriarch of Antioch as opposed to the Chalcedonian patriarchs whom they called "Melkites" - King's men. Their theology was influenced mainly by Cyril of Alexandria (375-444). Monophysism was adopted by the Jacobite (west Syrian), Coptic, Armenian and Ethiopian Churches. Beyond the theological disputes it also served to assert their local national and linguistic character (Semitic, Egyptian, etc,) as against the Hellenistic character of the Byzantine Church.

 

 

 

 

OROMO - SEE GALLA.

 

 

 

 

OSSETIANS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 600,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA 400,000 GEORGIA 200,000

RELIGION CHRISTIAN ORTHODOX MUSLIM SUNNI

Many Georgian Ossetians are refugees in Russian North Ossetia at this time.

Ossetians live in two autonomous regions: North Ossetia in Russia and South Ossetia in Georgia. They are the most pro-Russian of the Caucasian people. Since Georgia gained independence there has been an ongoing civil war as the South Ossetians declared their autonomy in 1990 and foght for union with North Ossetia and secession from Georgia. They also support the Abkhaz in their fight for independence from Georgia. A Russian-Georgian agreement in June 1992 brought cessation of violence and the deployment of a peace keeping force. Separatism however will always remain an issue, and many South Ossetians are still refugees in North-Ossetia.

In North Ossetia there are tensions between Ossetians and Ingush, between whom there were violent clashes in October 1992 over control of the Prigorodny district and parts of Vladikavkaz.

The Ossetians entered North Ossetia in the 6th century AD, Georgia in the 13th century. The Ossetian capital is Tskhinvali. With the Russian conquest of the region in the 19th century, the Ossetians largely converted to Christianity. During WWII Stalin deported the Ingush and Chechens to Central Asia for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. After the return of the Ingush (1957) they found Ossetians occupying part of their former territory and this was the basis of the conflict between the two neighbouring groups, in which the Ossetians had the upper hand.

 

 

 

 

 

PALESTINIANS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 6 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARAB

DISTRIBUTION WEST-BANK 1.25M GAZA 750,000

ISRAEL 1M JORDAN 1.6 M

SYRIA 350,000 LEBANON 350,000

GULF STATES 200,000 LYBIA 25,000

S.ARABIA 250,000 EGYPT 50,000

IRAQ 25,000

WEST 400,000

RELIGION MAINLY MUSLIM SUNNI; CHRISTIANS 5-10%

DERUZE 100,000

Arab population of former Palestine. some 3 millions in the whole of former Palestine: Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Many living as refugees in other Arab lands since the creation of Israel in 1948. Others in North and South America and Europe.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is slowly giving the West Bank - Gaza Palestinians more autonomy and proto-state structures.

 

 

 

PATHANS - SEE PUKHTUNS, PUSHTUNS, AFGHANS.

 

 

 

 

PARSEES

 

TOTAL POPULATION 200,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

RELIGIOUS GROUP ZOROASTRIAN

DISTRIBUTION INDIA (BOMBAY) 125,000

IRAN 40,000

 

Small surviving Zoroastrian community living mainly in India near Bombay. Fleeing Muslim persecution in Iran they emigrated to India in 16th century. Zoroastrianism had been the state religion of the Persian Empire before the Muslim conquest.

 

 

 

 

 

PERSIANS - SEE FARSEES, IRANIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 31 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 27 M TURKEY 600,000

IRAQ 300,000 GULF 400,000

AFGHANISTAN 600,000 WEST 2-3M

RELIGION MUSLIM SHIA TWELVER

EXTREME SHIA SUNNI

LANGUAGE FARSI

 

Dominant group of Iran since Cyrus the Great. Today number some 31 million speaking Farsee, the official language of Iran. Bearers of the Aechmenid, Parthian, and Sassanian Empires when they were mainly Zoroastrians. Converted to Islam after Arab conquest of 680AD. Under various Turkic and Mongol rulers until Safavid Empire founded 1501 when all Iranians forcibly converted to Twelver Shi`sm as state religion. Strong Sufi influence apparent in poetry. Rich culture.

 

 

 

 

PUKHTUN SEE PUSHTUN, PATHAN, AFGHAN

 

 

 

 

PUSHTUN - ALSO PUKHTUN, AFGHAN, PATHAN

 

TOTAL POPULATION 26 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

DISTRIBUTION PAKISTAN 17M AFGHANISTAN 8.7M

IRAN 110,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE PASHTO, NORTHEAST IRANIAN BRANCH OF

INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGE FAMILY

LIFESTYLE MAINLY NOMADIC, ALSO SETTLED FARMERS AND

TRADERS.

 

Iranian tribal group of Afghanistan and Northwest Pakistan. In Afghanistan they are the largest and dominant population group with Pashto the official language.

They claim to be descended from a grandson of King Saul of Israel. Divided into some 60 tribes, they have a warlike tradition. Large numbers serve in the armed forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, the largest Mujahedin group of Jamiat Islami led by Gulbedin Hikmatyar is Pushtun based.

The Pushtun are traditionally farmers, herders and warriors. Many are now settled farmers but there are still sizable nomadic groups. They live by a code of conduct and honour known as Pushtunwali which stresses hospitality and generousity, honour and revenge, bravery and perseverance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QASHQAI

 

TOTAL POPULATION 850,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION IRAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SHIA TWELVER

LIFESTYLE TRIBAL NOMADIC TRANSHUMANT

LANGUAGE QASHQAI, A SOUTHWEST TURKIC LANGUAGE

 

The Qashqai are a pastoral-nomadic Turkic tribal group (five sub-tribes) of southwestern Iran living in a desert area near Shiraz. They migrate between lowland winter pastures and highland summer ones. They started migrating into Iran from central Asia in the eleventh century. The central government has tried to forcibly integrate the Qashqai into mainstream Iranian life and sedentarise them, but they are still an independent and proud group. After the Islamic revolution many returned to a nomadic lifestyle.

 

 

 

RIF

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.9 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER

DISTRIBUTION MOROCCO

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LANGUAGE TARIFIT OR RIF

 

Berber tribes of the Rif mountains in northeastern Morocco. The Rif work in farming, growing figs and olives, in herding and in sardine fishing. They fought fiercely against the Spanish and French occupation in the 1920s, led by the famous Abd al-Krim who established a short lived independent Rif Republic. Many Rif served in the colonial armies where they were valued for their fighting qualities, and many today serve in the Moroccan armed forces.

 

 

 

 

ROMANY - SEE GYPSY

 

 

 

 

RUMELI TURKS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 6.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC,

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION: TURKEY 5.2M UKRAINE (BESSARABIA) 100,000

RUMANIA (DOBRUJA) 100,000 BULGARIA 600,000

GREECE (THRACE) 140,000 BOSNIA 50,000

MACEDONIA 100,000

LANGUAGE: RUMELI TURKISH

 

Rumeli Turks are Turkish speaking Muslim descendants of Turkic peoples (Ottomans, Turkmen, Tatars, etc) who settled in Eastern Europe, mainly the Balkans during Ottoman days. The term does not usually refer to Slavic converts to Islam.

During Ottoman times the Rumeli were the ruling class in the area, though always a minority (except in Thrace). With independence and following WWI & WWII many migrated to Anatolia where they were given land and established their own villages, integrating into modern Turkish society and leaving some 1 million in European states.

 

 

 

 

RUTULS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 30,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC NORTHEAST CAUCASIAN DAGESTANI

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA DAGESTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

 

 

 

 

RWALA

 

TOTAL POPULATION 700,000?

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC ARAB BEDUIN

DISTRIBUTION S.ARABIA, SYRIA, JORDAN

 

Large Beduin tribe of the Syrian desert, migrates between northern Saudi Arabia and southern Syria. Main Sheikh lives in Damascus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAMARITANS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 600

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

RELIGIOUS GROUP SEMI-JEWISH

DISTRIBUTION ISRAEL WB&GAZA

LANGUAGE ARABIC HEBREW

 

Semi-Jewish community descended from the various people the Assyrians settled in the north of Israel after the exile of the ten tribes. Accept only the Pentateuch as their religious Scriptures. Once fairly powerful, their centre was the temple on Mount Gerizim. Today only some 600 survive in Israel and the West Bank. Their main celebration is the Passover on Mt Gerizim near Nablus were sheep are sacrificed.

 

 

 

 

SEPHARDIC JEWS

 

Jews descended from the Jewish community in Spain (and Portugal) which flourished under the Muslim rule experiencing a golden age of culture and religious studies, and which was expelled after the Christian Reconquest in 1492. Their Ladino language is still being used today. Most settled in North Africa, Turkey and other Muslim lands as well as in Italy and the Balkans. Sephardi traditions and prayer rites differ to some extent from that of the Ashkenazi Jews.

 

 

 

 

 

SHAHSEVAN

 

TOTAL POPULATION 360,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION IRAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SHI'A TWELVER

LIFESTYLE NOMADIC AND SETTLED

LANGUAGE SOUTHWEST TURKIC SIMILAR TO AZERI

 

Turkmen Shi'a group in Iran, descendants of the supporters of the Turkmen Safavid Sufi order known as Kizilbash that eventually came to rule the Persian Safavid Empire. Shah Abbas recruited the simple tribesmen loyal (Shahsevan means Shah lovers) to him into a new military tribe in order to tame their rebelious chiefs.

Most Shahsevan are now settled in villages or towns. Some in Azerbaijan are still nomadic, migrating between their winter pastures in the Moghan Steppe and their summer pastures in the Savalan Mountains. Shahsevan tents resemble the Yurts of the Central Asian nomads rather than the Beduin tents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHAWIYA

 

TOTAL POPULATION 1.8 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION ALGERIA - AURES MOUNTAINS

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI MALIKI

LANGUAGE SHAWIYA

LIFESTYLE

 

Berber community of the Aures mountains of northeastern Algeria. Their villages are built of stone in terraces on the steep hillsides. They live in summer in their highland villages and in winter migrate with their flocks to lowland camps.

 

 

 

 

SHI`A

NOT A PEOPLE GROUP

 

TOTAL POPULATION 136 M

RELIGIOUS GROUP MUSLIM SHI'A

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 59 M PAKISTAN 25M TURKEY 13M

IRAQ 11.2M AZERBAIJAN 6.8M YEMEN 6.5M

AFGHANISTAN 4.25M TURKMENISTAN 2.8M

SYRIA 2.5M SAUDI-ARABIA 1.6M

LEBANON 1M UZBEKISTAN 1M

TAJIKISTAN 1M SOMALIA ?

UAE 500,000 KAZAKSTAN 20,000

BAHREIN 360,000 KUWAIT 480,000

ARMENIA 100,000 JORDAN 100,000

OMAN 75,000 KIRGIZSTAN 50,000

QATAR 60,000 RUSSIA 0.1M INDIA? CHINA?

 

The smaller of the two major Muslim groups in the world, accounting for some 14% of all Muslims. Shi'as believe 'Ali (Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law) to have been Muhammad's first true successor (Caliph, Imam) as ruler of all Muslims and reject the first three Sunni Caliphs. They believe that final authority resides in the Imams of 'Alis house who are the infallible representatives of God in every age. Shi'a are a majority in Iran and Iraq and form significant minorities in Yemen, Lebanon, Pakistan, Central Asia, and elsewhere. The main group are the Twelvers who recognise twelve Imams, the last of whom went into hiding. Other smaller groups are the Seveners (Isma'ilis), Fivers (Zaydis) and extreme Shi'a (Ghulat) sects. The Egyptian Fatimid and the Persian Safavid dynasties were Shi'a.

 

 

 

 

 

SHILLUK

TOTAL POPULATION 500,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC EASTERN-SUDANIC NILOTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SUDAN, SOUTH

RELIGION CHRISTIAN ANIMIST

LANGUAGE EASTERN-SUDANIC BRANCH OF CHARI-NILE

SUBGROUP OF NILO-SAHARAN FAMILY

LIFESTYLE CATTLE FARMERS

 

Eastern-Sudanic (Nilotic) tribe of south Sudan Living on the west bank of the Nile. Settled farmers who breed mainly cattle, but also sheep and goats. They form a kingdom headed by a king (reth) considered divine.

 

 

 

 

SHLUH

 

TOTAL POPULATION 5.3 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER LANGUAGE SHILHA

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION MOROCCO- HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI MALIKI

LIFESTYLE SEMI - SETTLED PASTORALISTS

 

Berber Shilha speaking community of the High Atlas, Anti-Atlas and Sous plain of Morocco. Their villages lie in the high altitude river valleys above 2000 m, the houses built in steep terraces dominated by the Kasbah, the fortified communal granary. They pasture their herds on the higher ground and irrigate the lower land for cereals and vegetables. The shepherds migrate seasonally with their sheep between winter lowland and summer highland pastures.

The Sous plain was a famous centre of Berber culture. Many Shluh live in the large cities, especially Casablanca where they are active in trade.

 

 

 

 

 

SHUKRIYYA

 

Arab Beduin tribes of Sudan, living east of the Nile between Atbara and the Blue Nile (the Butana). Camel owning nomads.

 

 

 

 

SOMALIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 11.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC SOMALI

OR RELIGIOUS GROUOP

DISTRIBUTION SOMALIA 7.5 M ETHIOPIA 3.2 M

DJIBOUTI 330,000 KENYA YEMEN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI SUFISM STRONG

LANGUAGE EASTERN-CUSHITIC

LIFESTYLE TRANSHUMANT HERDERS

 

Cushitic speaking people of Somalia. Mainly transhumant herders divided into many autonomous and warlike groups with a powerful sense of cultural unity based on Islam and the written Somali language. Two main subdivisions: the Somaali and the Sab. The Sab form a wedge of cultivators between the rivers of Somalia and separate the nomads of the north from those of the south. The Somaali despise the Sab and their sedentary way of life. Main tribal divisions are: Somaali: Ishaak, Darood, Hawiye, Dir. Sab: Rahanwain, Digil.

 

 

 

 

SUFIS

NOT A PEOPLE GROUP

 

TOTAL ADHERENTS 500 M ?

NUMBER OF ORDERS OVER 200 (TARIQAS)

Mystical movement of Islam which originated in the 8th century searching for a direct experience of God and union

with him. Sufi orders are widespread all over the Muslim world, involving both Sunnis and Shi'a. Helped preserve and revive Islam during and after the Mongol catastrophe. Had great influence on Islamic thinking and culture, especially poetry, and helped spread Islam to new areas.

 

 

 

 

 

SYRIAN ORTHODOX - JACOBITE, WEST SYRIAN,

SYRIAN CHURCH OF ANTIOCH, SYRIANI.

TOTAL POPULATION 3-4 M WORLDWIDE ME 300,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP ANCIENT SYRIAC CHURCH OF ANTIOCH

DISTRIBUTION SYRIA 100,000 IRAN 160,000 IRAQ 50,000

TURKEY 30,000 LEBANON 20,000

ISRAEL 2,000

WEST 200,000 INDIA 2-3 M

RELIGION CHRISTIAN ORIENTAL ORTHODOX

LANGUAGE ARABIC, SYRIAC FOR LITURGY

 

Historically important, ancient non-Chalcedonian, Oriental

monophysite church that uses Syriac as its liturgical language. Its first centre was Antioch and its liturgy, the Antiochene, is the basis of most of the liturgies in Oriental churches. Following the council of Chalcedon in 451 it was severely persecuted by the Byzantine Greek Orthodox Church. Named Jacobite after a Bishop of Edessa, Jacob Baradeus (d. 578) who assured their survival in the face of extermination by ordaining sufficient new clergy. Later they saw the Muslim Arabs as liberators from continuous Byzantine State persecution. Once powerful and widespread from the Levant to India, it reached its zenith in the 12th century when it had 20 Metropolitan Sees, 103 Bishops and millions of adherents in Syria, Mesopotamia and further east. It was decimated by Timurlane's massacres in the 14th century and today has some 300,000 adherents in the Middle East, mainly in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon. Many Syrians were also masssacred by Turks and Kurds during WWI when many fled to Syria and Lebanon for safety.

Their ancient centre is at Deir al-Za'faran near Mardin in Turkey. Head of the Church is the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch who resided for centuries at Deir al-Za'faran but now resides in Damascus.

Theologically they affirm the perfect humanity and perfect deity of Christ, inseperably and unconfusedly united, but refuse to speak of two natures as having separate existence in the one person.

The Syrian Catholic Church is an offshoot that accepted Papal authority in the 18th century as a Uniate church.

In India the Syrian Orthodox Church is called the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church with 1 million adherents. There is also a breakaway group called the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church numbering 1.6 million adherents which does not accept the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch. Other Indian offshoots are the Mar Thoma Syrian Church with 700,00 and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church with 300,000 members.

 

 

 

 

SYRIAN CATHOLIC

 

TOTAL POPULATION WORLWIDE 135,000 ME 110,000

DISTRIBUTION IRAQ 50,000 SYRIA 30,000 LEBANON 23,000

TURKEY 3,000 EGYPT 2,000 JORDAN 500

WEST 25,000 INDIA 280,000

RELIGION UNIATE SYRIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

LANGUAGE ARABIC, LITURGY SYRIAC

 

A Uniate church that split off the Syrian Orthodox church in the 16th century to ally itself with the Roman Catholic Church. Its Patriarch is based in Beirut. In India the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church counts 280,000 members.

 

 

 

 

TAJIKS - (ALSO CALLED "SARTS")

 

TOTAL POPULATION 10.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC IRANIAN

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION AFGHANISTAN 3.7M 20% TAJIKISTAN 3.6M 62%

PAKISTAN 1M 1% UZBEKISTAN 1M 5%

KIRGISTAN 460,000 TURKMENISTAN 320,000

KAZAKSTAN 250,000 CHINA (XINGIANG) 30,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANNAFI 60%

SHIA TWELVER 25%

ISMAILI 500,000

LANGUAGE TAJIK, BELONGING TO WEST IRANIAN LANGUAGE GROUP, SIMILAR TO FARSI AND DARI.

MAIN HISTORICAL CENTRES: SAMARKAND, BUKHARA, BALKH, MERV, HERAT.

LIFESTYLE

 

Iranian Muslim People of Central Asia who live mainly in Tajikistan where they form about half of the population, and in Afghanistan. Tajik is an Iranian language, the Central Asian variant of Persian, closely related to modern Persian (called Dari or Farsi in Afghanistan), and which includes many archaisms in phonology. The Tajiks were the original Iranian population of Afghanistan and Turkistan (Khwarezm, Sogdiana) who later intermingled with Turkic and Mongolian conquerors - they are the oldest surviving people group in Central Asia. They transmitted the ancient Iranian sedentary culture to the nomadic conquerors.

In the 7th-8th centuries they were conquered by the Arabs and Islamicised. Later the Turkic tribes and the Mongols invaded their region. They were ruled by the Uzbek Khanate of Bukhara during the 15th-18th centuries. In the 18th century the Pushtun tribes of Afghanistan conquered the Tajiks south of the Amu Darya River. The Russians conquered much of Tajikistan in the late 19th century.

The Tajik live in a ruggedly mountainous region at the intersection of the Hindu Kush, Pamir and Tien Shan mountains. Many are farmers and herders, cultivating irrigated terraced fields on the steep mountain sides, others are urbanised craftsmen and traders. Carpet weaving is also an important economic branch. Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan have Tajik majorities. Their region is remote and economically depressed - Tajikistan was the poorest Soviet Republic and Afghanistan is ravaged by years of brutal civil war. Tajik came to mean the settled population of the area as contrasted to the Turkic nomads. Most are Hannafi Sunnis, but there are significant Shi'a minorities, including Isma'ili. Most Tajiks live in villages called Qishlaks.

The most disciplined Afghan Mujahideen force under Shah Massoud is Tajik based. In Tajikistan there is an ongoing power struggle between the neo-Communist forces and fundamentalist movements which cover deeper historical clan rivalries.

The Tajiks are proud to be descendants of the ancient Persians who have survived the many foreign invasions (Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Russians), still holding on to their culture and language. They have deeply influenced the Turkic and Mongol tribes who conquered them, imparting to them something of the ancient sedentary culture of the Sogdians and Khwarezmians.

Tajiks in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan feel they are discriminated against by the dominant Pukhtun and Uzbek groups.

Christianity was brought to the Tajiks by the Nestorians starting in the 3rd century. All over the Persian Sassanid Empire, Nestorian Christians accounted for some 25% of the population and spread their faith further east. In 1365 the Mongol ruler Timur Lang cruelly eradicated Christianity in all areas he conquered. Some 12 million Christians were massacred, and Nestorians and Syrian Orthodox survived in small pockets only in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. In Central Asia, including Tajik areas, they disappeared.

 

 

 

 

 

TATARS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 7.8 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC, LANGUAGE : TATAR

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP MUSLIM

LANGUAGE TATAR (NORTHWEST KIPCHAK LANGUAGE GROUP)

CRIMEAN TATAR SOUTHWESTERN OGUZ GROUP

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA 6M UZBEKISTAN 900,000

KAZAKSTAN 345,000 UKRAINE (CRIMEA) 250,000

TAJIKISTAN 115,000 KIRGIZSTAN 92,000

CHINA (XINGIANG)15,000 ROMANIA 25,000

TURKEY 35,000 BULGARIA 10,0000

AZERBAIJAN 28,000 TURKMENISTAN 40,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANAFI

 

Turkic group descended mainly from the Turkic Kipchak tribes of the Mongol Golden Horde (which established itself along the Volga in the 13th century, replacing and absorbing the native Bulgars) with its centre at Kazan, living mostly in areas of the former Soviet Union. They were converted to Islam in the 14th century. "Tatar" means archer. There are two main groups: the Kazan (Volga) Tatars (6 m) who live mainly along the central course of the Volga River (2.5 million of them in the Tatar Autonomous Republic), and the Crimean Tatars (1 m) who were deported from the Crimea mainly to Uzbekistan during WWII and are now trying to return. Smaller groups are the Siberian, Byelorusian, and Lithuanian Tatars whose history is quite separate from that of the main Volga group. The Tatar language belongs to the northwest (Kipchak) group of Turkic languages. Crimean Tatar is part of the southwestern (Oguz) group.

As the Golden Horde declined in the 15th century it split into separate groups of which the Kazan Khanate was the most northerly. It was long involved in a power struggle with Muscovy until in 1552 Ivan the Terrible captured Kazan. Russian colonisation followed. The Tatar nobility married into the Russian nobility in the 16th century by direct agreement, and preserved its leadership role.

Tatars were farmers, herders and merchants, with a rich tradition of craftsmanship. In the Soviet Union they were urbanised and industrialised, many moving into high level jobs and political positions. They emphasize education and are prominent also in academic institutions. Many still work in agriculture in the Volga region. Social structure is still strongly patriarchal, marriages mainly exogamous.

The Tatar ASSR on the Middle Volga includes only a minority of all Tatars (2M?) but serves as the centre of their culture and communal identity.

 

 

 

 

 

TATS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 30,000

RELIGION CHRISTIAN ORTHODOX, JEWISH, MUSLIM SHIA

 

Transaucasian group speaking an Iranian language, divided into three separate religious communities: Jewish Tats or "Mountain Jews" (Dagh Chufut) living mainly in south Dagestan; Christian Tats (Armeno-Gregorgian) in villages of Shemakha and Divichi districts; and Muslim Shia Tats living mainly in Baku.

 

 

 

 

TIGRE - SEE ERITREANS

 

 

 

 

TIGRINYA - SEE ERITREANS

 

 

 

 

TSAKHURS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 20,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

NORTHEASTERN CAUCASIAN DAGESTANI PEOPLE GROUP

 

 

 

 

TUAREGS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 2.1 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC BERBER LANGUAGE: TAMASHEK

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION SAHARA AND SAHEL: NIGER 880,000

MALI 650,000 BURKINA-FASSO 390,000

ALGERIA 70,000, MAURITANIA 50,000

LIBYA 100,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI

LIFESTYLE NOMADIC CAMEL, SHEEP AND GOAT PASTORALISTS.

 

Berber tribes of the Sahara and the Sahel, mainly nomadic. The northern tribes are centred on the Ahaggar and Air mountains, the southern in the savannahs north of the Niger River. The men wear veils over their faces which it is a shame to remove. They have a caste system comprising nobles, commoners and slaves. The Tuareg have always been feared as raiders. Heavily hit by droughts, Tuaregs have intermittently fought the Mali and Niger? central governments for a better deal and autonomy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TURKIC PEOPLES

 

TOTAL POPULATION 127 MILLION

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION TURKEY 44.5M UZBEKISTAN 18.7M

KAZAKSTAN 7.7M AZERBAIJAN 6.75M

IRAN 13.5M RUSSIA 12.5M CHINA 9.3M

TURKMENISTAN 3.2M KIRGIZSTAN 3.1M

AFGHANISTAN 2.1M W.EUROPE 2M TAJIKISTAN 1.4M

BALKANS 800,000 IRAQ 400,000 UKRAINE 300,000

GEORGIA 300,000 CYPRUS 185,000

SYRIA 110,000 ARMENIA 50,000

RELIGION MAINLY MUSLIM SUNNI, SOME 30 MILLION SHIA

 

A family of peoples historically connected to the 6th century nomad T'uchueh who originated in the area now occupied by Mongolia and who established an empire that stretched from Mongolia to the Black Sea. In addition to a common language group and historical links the Turkic peoples are all Muslim by religion (with the exception of the Yakut of Eastern Siberia and the Chuvash of the Volga region). Four major waves of migration carried Turkic peoples from the borders of China into Central Asia, The Middle East and Europe: they were the migrations of the Huns, Oguz Turks, Kipchak Turks, and Mongols.

Between the 13th and 16th century the Turkic expansion reached its zenith. Initiated by the Mongol and allied Turkic invasions under Genghis Khan and his successors, continued by the conquests of Timurlane (which later gave rise to the Moghul Empire in India), and the Ottoman Empire, Turkics dominated an area from China through Central Asia and India westwards to the Russian steppes, the Middle East, North Africa and into Europe up to the gates of Vienna.

Turkic peoples are divided into two main groups: The Eastern which includes the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, Xingiang and Russia, and the Western group which comprises the Turkics of Europe (the Balkans and Eastern Europe) and Western Asia (Turkey and Northwestern Iran).

Turkic peoples inhabit an almost continuos band of land from the Balkans in the west to northeastern Siberia in the east.

Turkic languages: A subfamily of the Altaic language family with remarkable uniformity and similarities in their structures (Only Yakut and Chuvash are markedly different).

1. Southeastern Chagatai or Uigur group: UZBEK, UIGUR, SALAR.

2. Southwestern Oguz or Turkmen group: OTTOMAN & MODERN TURKISH, GAGAUZ, AZERI AND DIALECTS OF TURKIC TRIBES IN IRAN (AFSHAR, QASHQAI, ETC.).

3. Northwestern Kipchak group: KIRGIZ, KAZAK, KARA-KALPAK, NOGAY, KUMYK, BASHKIR, TATAR, KARAIM, KARACHAY, BALKAR.

4. Northeastern Altai group: TUVINIAN, KHAKASS, OIROT.

In addition we have Yakut which is akin to the northeastern group, Chuvash which is so different that it is sometimes considered a separate subgroup on its own, and Khalaj, a markedly different Turkic language spoken in Iran.

States with dominant Turkic populations are Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan.

Pan-Turkism still has an impact on the aspirations of the Turkic peoples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TURKMEN

 

TOTAL POPULATION 5.3 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC, OGUZ LANGUAGE GROUP

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION TURKMENISTAN 2.8M IRAN 1.2M

AFGHANISTAN 425,000 IRAQ 400,000

TURKEY 300,000 SYRIA 110,000

UZBEKISTAN 100,000 TAJIKISTAN 20,000

RELIGION MUSLIM, MAINLY SHIA TWELVER (AND ALEVI)

STRONG SUFI INFLUENCE

LANGUAGE TURKMEN, PART OF SOUTHWESTERN OGUZ GROUP

LIFESTYLE TRADITIONALLY NOMADIC AND MERCENARY. NOW

MAINLY SETTLED FARMING AND URBAN.

SUFISM VERY STRONG, MOST TURKMEN BELONG TO A TARIQA. THE NAQSHBANDIS ARE

ESPECIALLY PREVALENT.

 

Turkic tribes originally nomadic, descended from the powerful Oguz Turkic tribal union, who converted to Islam and settled in Central Asia near the Aral Sea, northern Iran and Anatolia toward the end of the 10th century. Most Turkmen live around the Kara Kum (Black Sand) Desert, a low altitude desert east of the Caspian Sea, between the Amu-Darya River and the northern edge of the Iranian plateau. Until the 20th century they were nomadic and mercenary tribes, famous for their fierce fighting qualities, living in tent villages and raising sheep, goats, horses, and camels.

Turkmen tribes were the spearpoint of Turkic attacks on the Byzantine Empire, gradually invading and settling the Anatolian plateau. Turkmen played an important role in the political formation of the Central Islamic lands from the 11th to the 16th centuries. They settled much of Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia (the Karakuyunlu and Akkuyunlu principalities), and were crucial to the establishment of the Safavid dynasty in Persia. Subjugated by Ottomans and Safavids they then rapidly declined in importance.

The Russians gradually penetrated Turkmen areas starting in the 18th century. Under the Soviets they were settled in agriculture, especially the growth of cotton. Carpet weaving (Bukhara rugs) is also an important economic activity.

In Turkey much of the population is of distant Turkmen origin, but was assimilated into the urban and settled culture fostered by the Ottomans.

A century ago all Central Asian Turkmen were still nomads living in felt tents of the Yurt type. Nomadism gave them a military advantage over their sedentary neighbours whom they often raided, quickly retreating into the Karakum Desert for safety. Pastoral semi-nomadism used to be the key factor in defining survivimg Turkmen communities. With changes due to sedenterisation we must redefine them as those who assert their Turkmen origins and culture.

Some Turkmen are Sunni Muslims (like the Turkish majority), but most are Shia: Twelver and Alevi. Alevis are still regarded with distaste by Sunnis as deviants from orthodoxy and because their forefathers supported the Shi'a Safavids against the Sunni Ottomans in the bitter struggle for eastern Anatolia. Turkmen are discriminated against in both Iraq and Iran.

The favourite sport is buzkashi, a form of Polo played on horseback. Horses are especially bred for the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TURKS, OTTOMAN (ANATOLIAN)

 

TOTAL POPULATION 43 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION TURKEY 40.6.6M WESTERN EUROPE 2 M

IRAN 250,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI SHIA ALEVI

LANGUAGE TURKISH, MODERN

LIFESTYLE

 

Largest group of Turkic speaking people, now settled mainly in Turkey. Originating in Central Asia they started migrating to the Byzantine Empire in the 8th century, originally as slaves and mercenaries. Converted to Islam, first the Seljuk Turks set up an Empire, later the Ottomans who conquered Constantinople and large areas of the Balkans, their Empire also included North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, Iraq and parts of the Caucasus. Modern Turkish is the official language of Turkey.

 

 

 

 

 

TUVIN

 

TOTAL POPULATION 210,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA

 

 

 

 

TWELVERS - See SHI'A.

 

TOTAL POPULATION 102 M

RELIGIOUS GROUP MUSLIM SHIA TWELVER

DISTRIBUTION IRAN 52.2M PAKISTAN 20M IRAQ 11.2M

AZERBAIJAN 6.8M AFGHANISTAN 4M

TURKMENISTAN 2M S.ARABIA 1.6M

LEBANON 1M UZBEKISTAN 1M

TURKEY 550,000 TAJIKISTAN 580,000

UAE 500,000 KUWAIT 480,000

BAHREIN 360,000 RUSSIA 300,000

GEORGIA 300,000 KAZAKSTAN 200,000

ARMENIA 100,000 JORDAN 100,000

OMAN 75,000 QATAR 55,000 SYRIA 28,000

KIRGIZSTAN 50,000

Main Shi'a group, also called Imamis. State religion of Iran. Accept Twelve Imams begining with 'Ali. The twelfth, Muhammad al-Mahdi, disappeared in 880 AD and is believed to have gone into hiding (occultation). He will appear as the Mahdi at the end of time to usher in the golden age of peace and justice. His representatives on earth are the Ayatollas. The Imams are seen as sinless and infallible, the final authority in religion. Belief in the Imam is a central item of the Shi'a faith. The tombs of the dead Imams are centres of pilgrimages in Iraq and Iran (Karbala, Kadimain, Qum, Mashad).

 

 

 

 

UBYKHS - SEE CIRCASSIAN, CHERKESS,

 

TOTAL POPULATION 50,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC CAUCASIAN NORTHWEST (CIRCASIAN)

DISTRIBUTION TURKEY, SYRIA, JORDAN, ISRAEL,

 

Northwest Caucasian group closely related to the Adyge and Abkhaz-Abaz people. In 1864 all the Ubykhs migrated from their Cucasian homeland together with most Adyge and Abkhaz to escape Christian-Russian domination. They settled in various areas of the Ottoman Empire and are now assimilated into these larger groups all of them together often termed Circassian or Cherkess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UIGURS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 9 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION CHINA (XINGIANG PROVINCE) 8M

KIRGIZSTAN 200,000

UZBEKISTAN 150,000 KAZAKSTAN 300,000

KIRGIZSTAN 200,000 TAJIKISTAN

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI, STRONG SUFI INFLUENCE

LANGUAGE UIGUR, SOUTHEASTERN CHAGATAI TURKIC ÿÿÿÿ LANGUAGE GROUP

LIFESTYLE

 

Among the oldest Turkic speaking peoples. Live mainly in the western part of Xingiang province of China (the Uigur Autonomous Region, which includes the Tarim, Turfan, Kashgar and Taran areas). The Uigur language is a member of the Southeastern (Chagatai) group of Turkic languages. Their first kingdom was along the Orhan river and in 840 AD was overrun by the Kirgiz. Their second kingdom in the Turfan basin had strong Buddhist and Manichean leanings. It was overthrown by the Mongols in the 13th century, the Uigurs contributing their cultural and administrative skills to the Mongol Empire.

They are mainly a sedentary people, farming the desert oases along the old "Silk Road" where they grow melons, cotton, maize, peaches, plums and wheat. Urban Uigurs are traders and shopkeepers. They are also found in the T'ien Shan mountain range. Their main cities are Urumchi and Kashgar.

 

 

 

 

UNIATE CHURCHES - SEE MARONITE, MELKITE,

CHALDEAN, SYRIAN CATHOLIC, ARMENIAN CATHOLIC, ETHIOPIAN CATHOLIC, COPTIC CATHOLIC, ETC.

 

Churches in the Middle East, originally part of various Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, who later transferred their allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church, accepting the supremacy of the Pope, whilst keeping their own distinctives in ritual, liturgy and practices. The main ones are the Maronites, Syrian Catholic, Chaldean, Greek Catholic, Coptic Catholic and Armenian Catholic.

The Maronites of Lebanon were the first to accept Roman supremacy during the Crusades - 12th century. During the Counter-Reformation Rome established colleges for training priests of Eastern churches and sent missionaries amongst them. Due to their growing weakness in face of Muslim persecution, groups from all these churches broke away between 16th - 18th centuries and formed separate Uniate churches in communion with Rome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UZBEKS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 20 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC, SOUTHEASTERN CHAGATAI

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP

DISTRIBUTION UZBEKISTAN 16M 71% AFGHANISTAN 1.5M 9%

TAJIKISTAN 1.2 M 22% KIRGIZSTAN 450,000 10%

TURKMENISTAN 350,000 KAZAKSTAN 330,000

CHINA (XINGIANG) 30,000 RUSSIA 100,000

RELIGION MUSLIM SUNNI HANAFI, SHAMANIST INFLUENCE

LANGUAGE UZBEK, SOUTHEASTERN CHAGATAI TURKIC

LIFESTYLE

 

Turkic people descended from the Sunni Muslim part of the Golden Horde who settled between the lower Volga river and the Aral Sea between the 13-15th century, and constituted the ruling class of this region. Uzbek was the name of a Khan of the Golden Horde 1313-1340. The Uzbek language has two dialects: the Iranianised southern and the northern dialect. With the breakup of the Horde the nomadic Uzbek in the 16th century moved south and invaded and settled in and around Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent (Transoxiania), setting up the three khanates of Kokand, Bukhara and Khiva and intermingling with the older Iranian population. Over the centuries since they became increasingly sedenterised.

The Russians conquered the area by the late 19th century.

Uzbeks are still mainly rural - 60% live in villages. Cotton is grown on a large scale. Many are now urban and well educated. Women are relatively free. The Duppi, a dark coloured skull cap is well liked.

 

 

 

WAHABIS -

 

Members of a puritan Islamic renewal movement established by Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahab (d.1792) in Nejd in Arabia. He aimed at a restoration of pure Islam free from later innovations such as Sufism and Shi'ism. The Wahabis accept only the authority of the Qur'an and the Sunna. It eventually became the official creed of the house of Saud and under its banner ibn-Saud conquered most of the Arabian Peninsula and established the Saudi Arabian Kingdom. It is still the official creed of Saudi Arabia and has a strong influence on Muslim fundamentalist movements around the world.

 

 

 

 

YAKUTS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 360,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC TURKIC

DISTRIBUTION RUSSIA SIBERIA

 

Shamanistic Turkic tribe breeding reindeer along the upper reaches of the Aldan River in eastern Siberia. They migrated northwards from the area around Lake Baikal to their present habitat in Siberia in the 12th century. Yakuts are the majority in the Yakut Autonomous Republic in Russia. Isolated from the mainstream Turkic populations, their culture has become similar to that of nearby Siberian people.

 

 

 

 

 

YAZIDIS

 

TOTAL POPULATION 300,000

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC KURDISH

OR RELIGIOUS GROUP EXTREME SHIA (GHULAT)

DISTRIBUTION IRAQ 150,000, ARMENIA 50,000

W.EUROPE 50,000, IRAN 50,000

TURKEY 5,000 SYRIA 5,000

Syncretistic religious community, mainly Kurdish speaking, linked to extreme Shi'a teaching and centred on the Sinjar mountains of north-west Iraq, but also found in nearby areas of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Armenia. Severely persecuted by the Sunnis in Turkey and Iraq who called them "devil worshippers". Yazidis call themselves Dawasi. Their religion is a combination of extreme Shi'a, Sufi, Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Christian and Jewish elements.

 

 

 

 

 

ZAYDIS

 

 

TOTAL POPULATION 7.5 M

ETHNIC/LINGUISTIC

RELIGIOUS GROUP MUSLIM SHIA FIVER (ZAYDI)

DISTRIBUTION YEMEN 6.35M SOMALIA 700,000?

S. ARABIA 0.5M MIGRANT WORKERS

LANGUAGE ARABIC

LIFESTYLE

 

Fiver Shi'a group who split from the main Shi'a branch over the election of the fifth Imam. They are the dominant group in northern Yemen, where their Imams have ruled for almost a thousand years.