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People of the Middle East


									People of the Middle East
• The Middle East is home to a broad
  diversity of people
• Even throughout its history it has been
  home to many peoples
• The Arabs make up the majority in several
Different ethnic people in the Middle
     East according to language
• More the half of the people are Arabs
• Speak Arabic language
• Religion they practice is Islam (90%);
  Christianity (10%)
• Trace their roots to the Arabian Peninsula but
  today live in all countries of the Middle East
• Three things that govern their attitude and
   – Belief in Islam
   – The Arabic language
   – The Arabic Culture
                  The Saudis
• Saudi Arabia is regarded with deep respect
  within the Muslim world
   – Birth place of Muhammad
   – Site of Mecca and Medina
• Creation of a man whose name the country bears
   – King Ibn Saud (1882-1953)
• Saudi royal family still rules the kingdom
• Oil was discovered in 1936 and BOOM
   – area became important to the world
              The Egyptians
• The World is fascinated with Egypt due to its
   – The mummies, pyramids, sphinxes
• In the past was considered to be an ally of the
  United States in the Middle East
• Viewed Egypt as a way to make moderate
  changes in the Middle East
• First nation to recognize and make peace with
• One of the most stable nations in the Middle East
• Not Arab – Persian
• Most are Muslim (90% are Shia, 10% Sunni)
• Language – Persian, or Farsi, an Indo-European
  language that is distantly related to English
• Location was Persia; now Iran
• Iran means “land of the Aryans”
• Persian Empire was established in 500 BC
   – One of the greatest empires of its time
• 600 AD Arabs invaded the region and established Islam
• 1979 new gov took over and set up an Islamic republic
• Took Americans hostage (50 for over a yr)
• War with Iraq in 1980
• Relationship with the United States is strained
• Descendants from the great sea traders the Phoenician
• One of the most westernized of the Middle Eastern
• Capital, Beirut, is the Paris of the Middle East
• Made up of Christian, Druze, Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims
   – Spells doom
• Its neighbors also cause problems for Lebanon
   – Syria and Israel
• Civil Wars took places between 1975-1990
• Still dominated by Syria today
• Israel still upset at Lebanon for harboring Hizballah
  militiamen in their fight against Israel
• Really hate the west
• Sometimes called the “Paymaster” to worldwide
  terrorist groups
   – Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihadist
• US believes that the Syrian government is backing
  the Sunni insurgency in Iraq
• The Assad ruling dynasty tries to rule with an iron
   – But at times its own home grown terrorist
     organization have cause problems for the
• The current government might not have a very
  tight grip on its own people
• Language – Turkish, comes from the Central Asian roots
• Religion – Islam
• Location – was Asia minor; now Turkey
• 56 million Turks
• First people to live in Asia minor = Greeks and Hittites
• Great city of Constantinople fell to Islam in 1453
   – Changed name to Istanbul
   – Greatly changed Turkey’s future
• Greatly “westernized” after WWI
• Once thought to be an ally of the United States
   – US offered Turkey $6 billion to use military bases to attach Iraq
        • Parliament said no
• Problems in Turkey today
   – Upsurge of Islamic terrorism
   – The Kurds
•   •
• Language – Armenian
• Religion – Christianity
• Location – was Turkey; now Turkey and
  former Soviet Union (Republic of Armenia)
• Were Christians living in a Muslim country,
  wanted own land
   – Massacred by Turks during WWI – about 1
                      The Iraqis
• Home of ancient Mesopotamia “the cradle of civilization”
   – Gave us agriculture and writing
• Made up of Shi’ite (60%) Sunnis (32%) and Kurds
   – Each regard itself to be a separate nation and wanting
     its own homeland
• After independence overthrew and executed the king and
  his family
• Proclaimed a republic
• Border disputes with Kuwait and Iran
• Oil made the country wealth and powerful
• Baath Party gained power in 1968
   – Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979
• Ever sense the country has been in turmoil
• Language – Kurdish
• Religion – Islam
• Location – was and is border separating Turkey, Iran,
  Iraq, Syria, and former Soviet Union
   – Call area Kurdistan
   – Do not have self rule
   – Largest ethnic group in world without a homeland
• Have been slaughtered by the Iranians, the Turks and the
• The P.K.K (Partiya Karkaren Kurdistan) are a militant
  group of Turkish Kurds fighting for a homeland
• A Kurdish saying
   – “Kurds have no friends”
• Language – Arabic
• Religion – Islam
• Location – was Palestine the areas surrounded by Egypt,
  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon
• In 1948, Palestine was formed into the Jewish state of Israel
• Many Palestinian lost their homes, farms and businesses
• Many became refugees (4.5 / 7.5 million Palestinians)
   – Some live in Israel (1 million)
   – Some live in West Bank and Gaza areas
   – Some live in surrounding countries (Jordan and Lebanon)
   – Many live in refugee camps
• Many want a fully independent Palestinian state
• Conflict between Palestinians and Israeli continues today
• Language – Hebrew and Arabic are official
• Religion – Jewish (82%) rest are Muslim and Christians
• Location – Israel
   – Israel today = 4.1 million Jews; .9 million Arabs
   – Jews have move to various parts of the world
• Abraham led his people to Canaan
• Roman Empire conquered the region called it Palestine
   – Forced Jews to move = diaspora
• Arabs conquered Palestine in the mid-1600s
• Come under control of Ottoman Empire
• End of WWI come under British control
• Movement known as Zionism began
• In 1948, Israel was created by the United Nations as a
  homeland for the Jews
Patterns of Life in the Middle East
           Old and New
              Village Life
• Most lived in small villages set up around
• Raised wheat, barley and olives along with
  fruits and vegetables
• Everyone worked in the fields
• Each village had a mosque and some stores
  to purchase items they could not make
                The Bedouins
• Desert Nomads – groups
  of people who move
  throughout the desert
  following their herds
  – Sheep, goats and camels
• Translates to “people of
  the tent”
• Bedouins are found in
  every Arab country
• Speak Arabic, but with a
  distinct dialect
         Life of the Bedouins
• Very tight knitted groups- considered
• Traditional meals- lamb, chicken, rice and
• Traditional arts- weaving
• Still use camels, but have 4x4 vehicles
• Today offer a lot of tourist opportunities
  – Hiking, biking, music, food, the entire Bedouin
  Life in Middle East- Traditional
• Jerusalem, Damascus, Mecca-
  very important cities, trade
  routes and centers of learning
• Mosques were the center of
  – Served as meeting places,
    centers of study and inns for
       Life in Middle East- Traditional

• Suq- marketplace
  – Located in the center of the city
  – Each trade had it’s own section ( clothes, shoes,
 Life in Middle East- Traditional
• Marriages- traditionally arranged
  – Same social classes
  – Men could have more than one wife if each is
    treated equally
• Divorce was allowed
  – Easier for a man
  – Both could re-marry
      Women in the Middle East
• Prior to Islam women were slightly less valuable than
• Islam improved the lives of women greatly
   – Outlawed infanticide
   – Education of girls a duty
   – Woman had the right to own and inherit property
   – But they are not equal
       • Lives are governed by the Shari’a
• No single picture of women living under Islamic law
• Veil tradition/required by law in many Arab countries
   – Represents freedom for many and pride in Islam
  Life in the Middle East Today
• Variety of Governments in the Middle East
  – democracy, theocracy, federation, republic
• Rapidly growing population- ( will double in
  the next 20 years)
  – Cities are overcrowded
  – Problems adjusting to life in the city, getting jobs
    and providing for families
  – Mosques and coffee houses are popular places to
  – Young vs. Old
     • music, clothes, way of life
Life in the Middle East Today…
• OIL- some countries very wealthy due to oil
  – Unevenly distributed
  – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Iran, Iraq, UAE,
• Food Supplies are still a problem-
  – Government trying to cultivate land and provide
  – Desalination- converting sea water into fresh water
    for drinking and irrigation
        – Very expensive process!!!

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