Faruk Abu-Chacra (University of Helsinki, Finland) “Does the Term ‘Arab’ or ‘The Arab Nations’ Refer to any Particular Racial Type?”


Determining the concept of who is an Arab and understanding the concept of ‘Arab Nations’ is confusing not only for the ‘Non-Arab’ nations but also for those citizens who vaguely fall under this umbrella term. My contribution to this question is to attempt to define and analyse the issues mentioned below:

1) An introduction to the ancient history of the Arabs as related to that of other Semitic peoples.

2) Does the term ‘Arab’ refer to any particular race and how to define the criteria for being an Arab?

3) How strong is the impact of Islam on the ideology of Arabism?

4) Defining the tribes and structures of the ‘Arab Nations’.

5) What is the meaning of the term ‘Pan-Arabism’? Is it based on Nationalism or is it just an ideology?

6) What is the basis for Arab Nationalism in the ethnic, linguistic, political, cultural, religious history of the people of Arab nations and countries?

7) If the major language of a country is Arabic, does this mean that its speakers are Arabs?

8) Can a Jew or an Assyrian who speaks Arabic as a mother tongue is considered an Arab? What about an Arab in Israel who speaks Hebrew as a mother tongue? What is he? What about English, or even French, etc.?

9) “When is an Arab not an Arab?” Or “when is an Arab an Arab?”

10) A few examples: Are the citizens of the following countries Arabs? Levantine countries: Lebanon (the country of Phoenicians), Syria (the country of The Arameans and Assyria), Iraq (the country of Mesopotamia: Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires), Egypt (The country of Pharaohs and Copts) etc.