Refers to an ethnicity or ethnic group, identifying people whose historic origins are in the Arabian peninsula, a middle eastern region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Arabs may follow any of a number of religions - Islam, Christianity, Judaism. Their primary language is Arabic. Arabs were the main community supporting the development of Islam, and their language and many of their cultural practices came to be dominant throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
In western European cultures, Arab remains a very “hot” trigger word. Europe has been in conflict with Arabia for at least 1000 years, with Europe as the invading enemy (during the Crusades), as the imperial competitor (during the long Ottoman empire during which Turkey controlled a considerable part of the Arab world), and as the source of colonising and neo-colonial power (over the past 100 years).
10 March 2002