Ethnic Groups of the Middle East. Ethnicity vs. Religious Group. What is the difference between an ethnic group and a religious group?
Ethnicity vs. Religious Group • What is the difference between an ethnic group and a religious group? • An ethnic group (or ethnicity) is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, consisting of a common language, a common culture and a tradition of common ancestry (what you are born into).
Religious Group • Shares a belief system in a god or gods, with a specific set of rituals and literature (you have a choice)
Arabs • Largest ethnic group in Southwest Asia • Most Arabs practice Islam • Speak Arabic • Have a long history and rich traditions
Jewish • Anyone born to a Jewish mother or gone through the formal conversion process • Practice some form of Judaism • National language is Hebrew • Israel is home for most of the Jewish population in the Middle East.
Berber • Minority group living mostly in North Africa • First group to settle that region • Have their own languages. • Berbers that do not farm are nomadic. • Majority are Muslim.
Bedouin • Speak Arabic • Most now live in cities in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. • Ruled by tribal leaders called sheikhs • Most practice Islam. • Well known for their dress & music
Kurds • Live in mountainous areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran • Most Kurds are Muslims. • Speak Kurdish language, a branch of the Iranian language • Kurdish women enjoy greater freedoms; they do not cover their faces and they do not wear the full-cover garments
Persians • Ethnic group that lived in Iran before arrival of Islam; today make up about half of Iran’s population • Speak Persian or Farsi • Most practice Shi’i Islam • Persian women have faced many challenges as a result of strict religious practices. • Persian rugs are among the finest in the world.
Turks • Live in Turkey • Practice some form of Islam; rarely strict about some Islamic practices • An ethnic group based on language, Turkish • Well known for their architecture • Ancestors were part of the Ottoman Empire
Literacy & Development • Education is free in many countries in the Middle East. • Students required to attend school through high school. • Literacy rates are 77% in Syria; 79% in Israel; and 79% in Saudi Arabia • More men tend to be able to read & write • Women’s education not valued as much as men’s • Literacy rates indicate a country’s development • Increase in literacy rate leads to a better economy