Who is an Arab? Are all Arabs Muslims? Are all Muslims Arabs? Who, then, are the Palestinians?
Who is an Arab?
An Arab is a person who speaks Arabic and claims the Arab culture. Arab is not a religion but a cultural/language group.
Are all Arabs Muslims?
No. There are Arab Christians and there were self-identified Arab Jews- those Jews who lived in Arab countries before Israel was established and whose everyday language was Arabic. A small number of Arabs in the area belong to other religious groups (such as Druze and Baha’i) but the majority are Muslims. In other parts of the world some Arabs belong to other religious groups as well.
Are all Muslims Arabs?
No, the country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia and there is a considerable Muslim population in Africa (both Arab and non-Arab)as well. The large Muslim populations in Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and India are non-Arabs. Muslim populations can also be found in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and China. In addition to the Arab Muslim population in the United States, there are many Muslims among African Americans. Islam came to the United States through African slaves.
Who, then, are the Palestinians?
The Palestinians are the people who inhabited historic Palestine- today’s Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip. Some still live in the area and others have either moved out or been made refugees. At one time there were Christian, Jewish and Muslim Palestinians but at the present those who are Jewish consider themselves Israelis.