- Arabic Christians
Infobox Religious group
group = Arab Christians
8,171,352 [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/eg.html#People CIA World Factbook. Egyptian people section] ]
2,000,000 [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sy.html (CIA: World Factbook)]
1,600,000 [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html CIA - The World Factbook - Lebanon ] ]
850,000 [cite web | url = http://www.gmi.org/ow/country/iraq/owtext.html#rel | title = Republic of Iraq | publisher = Operation World ]
370,000. [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/jo.html CIA - The World Factbook - Jordan ] ]
200,000 [cite web | url = http://ceris.metropolis.net/Virtual%20Library/community/Arab1/arab1.html|title=A Profile of Arabs in Canada
date=1999 | work = Virtual Library | publisher = Toronto Centre of Excellence | author = The Canadian Arab Federation & Arab Community Centre of Toronto ]
140,000 [cite web|url=http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/AD2222ECE5AD4396CA25712500161734/$File/29330_2001.pdf | publisher = Australian Bureau of Statistics | title = 2001 Census: Ancestry - Detailed paper | format = PDF ] [cite web | url = http://www.hreoc.gov.au/racial_discrimination/isma/report/appendices.html | title = Appendices to Isma | publisher = Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's Publications Unit ]
117,000 [ [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/People/SOCIETY-%20Minority%20Communities SOCIETY: Minority Communities] , Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
langs = Arabic
The BibleThe majority of Arab Christians ( Arabic,مسيحيون عرب) live in the Southwest Asiaand North Africawhere significant religious minorities exist in a number of countries. People who speak Arabic as their first language may not necessarily identify as ethnic Arabs, but no statistics exist that show how many or which Arabic-speaking Christians that identify as ethnic Arabs, making it hard to distinguish between the two. The largest number of Arabic-speaking Christians, in real numbers, are to be found in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel(as well as the Palestinian territories) and Jordan. EmigrantArab communities throughout the Americas, especially among the Arab populations of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and the United States, are overwhelmingly Christian.
* Not all Arabic-speaking Christians in Southwest Asia and North Africa consider themselves to be
ethnicArabs. They may, however, admit the word " Arab" differently, depending on which aspect of their identity they wish to emphasize (political, linguistic, ethnic, or genealogical). Some Lebanese (mainly Maronite) are ethnic Arabs such as the Banu Al-Mashroukiclan of Kahlan; other groups emphasize Lebanon's link to the ancient Phoenicians, Arameansor Mardaites.Fact|date=October 2007 The Maltese languageis considered a descendant of Siculo-Arabic; however the population of Maltaforms an independent ethnic group, predominantly characterised by their Roman Catholicfaith.
* Some of the most influential (secular) Arab nationalists were
Levantine Greek OrthodoxChristians like Michel Aflaq, founder of the Baath Party, George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Constantin Zureiq.
Historically, a number of minority Christian sects that were persecuted as heretical under Byzantine rule (such as
Miaphysites) actually began to enjoy more religious freedom under initial Arab Muslim occupation than they had under Byzantine ( Eastern OrthodoxChristian) rule.
The first Christian ruler in history was an Syriac called
Abgar VIIIof Edessa, who converted ca. 200 AD [Shahid, Irfan (1984). Rome and The Arabs: A Prolegomenon To The Study Of Byzantium And The Arabs] . Throughout many eras of history, Arabic-speaking Christians have co-existed fairly peacefully with followers of the other religions of the Arab world (principally Islamand Judaism). Even after the rapid expansion of Islam from the 7th century AD onwards through the Islamic conquests (or Ghazwa), many Christians chose not to convert to Islam and instead maintain their pre-existing beliefs. As "People of the Book", Christians in the region are accorded certain rights by theoretical Islamic law (Shari'ah) to practice their religion free from interference or persecution; that was, however, strictly conditioned with first paying a special amount of money (tribute) obliged from non-Muslims called ' Jizyah' (pronounced Jiz-ya), in form of either cash or goods, usually a wealth of animals, in exchange for their safety and freedom of worship. The tax was not levied on slaves, women, children, monks, the old, the sick, [ Shahid Alam, Articulating Group Differences: A Variety of Autocentrisms, Journal of Science and Society, 2003 ] [Seed, Patricia. "Ceremonies of Possession in Europe's Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640", Cambridge University Press, Oct 27, 1995, pp. 79-80.] hermits, or the poor. [Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1991). The Holy Quran. Medina: King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex.]
Arabic-speaking Christians predate Arabic-speaking Muslims, as there were many Arab tribes which adhered to Christianity since the first century, including the
Nabateansand the Ghassanids(who were of Qahtaniorigin and spoke Yemeni-Arabic as well as Greek), who protected the south-eastern frontiers of the Roman and Byzantine Empires in north Arabia. The tribes of Tayy, Abd Al-Qais, and Taghlibwere also known to have included a large number of Christians prior to Islam. The southern Arabiancity of Najranwas also a center of Arabic-speaking Christianity, and were made famous by virtue of their persecution by the king of neighboring Yemen, himself an enthusiastic convert to Judaism. The leader of the Arabs of Najran during the period of persection, Al-Harith, was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as St. Aretas.
Arabic-speaking Christians have made significant contributions to Arab civilization and still do. Some of Arab literature's finest poets were Arabic-speaking Christians, and some Arabic-speaking Christians were physicians, writers, government officials, men of letters, and held equally important cultural and scientific roles as their Muslim counterparts.
Arabic-speaking Christians today
Lebanon was initially created by
Francefor the Christiansof the region, which were the dominant religion thought to be around 80% of the total population, thus making Lebanonthe only Arabnation to be dominated by Christiansand not Muslims. Lebanon contains the largest number of Christians in proportion to its total population. It is known that they made up around 55% of Lebanon's population before the Lebanese Civil War, but their percentage may be as low as 40% now (2,200,000). They belong largely to the Maronite Church, with a sizable minority belonging to the Greek Orthodox, Melkite Greek Catholic, among others. There is, however, uncertainty about the exact numbers because an official census has not been taken in Lebanon since 1932. Lebanon's president must always be a Maronite Catholic Christian.
In Syria, Christians formed just under 15% of the population (about 1.2 million people) under the 1960 census, but no newer census has been taken. Current estimates put them at about 10% of the population (2,100,000), due to lower rates of birth and higher rates of emigration than their Muslim compatriots.
In Eritrea, Christians make up about 50% (about 2 million people). Eritrean Christians are about 95% Orthodox Christians or practice the Orthodox Christianity religion.
In Jordan, Christians constitute about 7% of the population (about 400,000 people), though the percentage dropped sharply from 18% in the early beginning of the twentieth century. This drop is largely due to influx of Muslim Arabs from Hijaz after the First World War, the low birth rates in comparison with Muslims and the large numbers of Palestians (85-90% Muslim)who fled to Jordan after 1948. Nearly 70 - 75% of Jordanian Christians belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, while the rest adhere to Catholicism with a small minority adhering to Protestantism. Christians are well integrated in the Jordanian society and have a high level of freedom. Nearly all Christians belong to the middle or upper classes. Moreover, Christians enjoy more economic and social opportunity in the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordanthan elsewhere in Southwest Asia. Although they constitute less then ten per cent of the total population, they have disproportionately large representation in the Jordanian parliament (10% of the Parliament) and hold important government portfolios, ambassadorial appointments abroad, and positions of high military rank.
Jordanian Christians are allowed by the public and private sectors to leave their work to attend Divine Liturgy or Mass on Sundays. All Christian religious ceremonies are publicly celebrated in Jordan. Christians have established good relations with the royal family and the various Jordanian government officials and they have their own ecclesiastic courts for matters of personal status.
Palestinian Christians live in the Palestinian territories of the West Bankand Gaza Strip, [cite web | url = http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/pubs/20020312ib.html | title = Palestinian Christians: An Historic Community at Risk? | author = Don Wagner | publisher = Palestine Center ] with about 190,000 Arab Christiansliving in Israeland an estimated 400,000 Palestinian Christians living in the Palestinian diaspora. Both the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, George Habash, and the founder if its offshoot, the DFLP, Nayif Hawatmeh, were Christians, as is prominent Palestinian activist and former Palestinian Authorityminister Hanan Ashrawi.in Chile350000
There are tiny communities of
Roman Catholicsin Tunisia, Algeriaand Morocco. Most of the members in North Africa, however, are foreign missionaries or immigrant workers, while only a minority among them are converted Arabs (or their descendants) or descendants of converted Berbers, often brought to Christian (Catholic) belief during the modern era or under French colonialism. Charles de Foucauldwas renowned for his missions in North Africa among Muslims, including African Arabs.
Many millions of Arabic-speaking Christians also live in a
diasporaelsewhere in the world. These include such countries as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Dominican Republicand the United States. The majorityof self-identifying Arab Americans are Eastern Rite Catholicor Orthodox, according to the Arab American Institute. On the other hand, most American Muslims are black or of South Asian ( Indian or Pakistani) origin. There are also many Arabic-speaking Christians in Europe, especially in the United Kingdomand France(due to its historical connections with Lebanon).
Like Arab Muslims and Arab Jews, Arabic-speaking Christians refer to God as
Allah, since this is the word in Arabic for "God". The use of the term Allah in Arabic-speaking Christian churches predates Islamby several centuries. In more recent times (especially since the mid 1800s), some Arabs from the Levant region have been converted from these native, traditional churches to more recent Protestantones, most notably Baptistand Methodistchurches. This is mostly due to an influx of Western, predominantly American Evangelical, missionaries.
Christianity in the Middle East
List of Christian terms in Arabic
John of Damascus
* [http://www.arabchurch.com Arabic Christians Community]
* [http://www.wusul.com Gathering Middle East Christians]
* [http://www.al-bushra.org/arbhrtg/0arbhrtg.htm Arab-Christian Heritage]
* [http://www.mepc.org/public_asp/workshops/firstchris.asp Arab World Studies Notebook]
* [http://arabworld.nitle.org/texts.php?module_id=6&reading_id=58 The Arabic-speaking Christians: From the Eastern Question to the Recent Political Situation of the Minorities] (article)
* [http://arabworld.nitle.org/texts.php?module_id=6&reading_id=63 The Arabic-speaking Christians of the Middle East: A Demographic Perspective] (article)
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