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Cultural Characteristics of the Middle East. Background  Arab peoples make up almost the entire populations of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and other.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural Characteristics of the Middle East. Background  Arab peoples make up almost the entire populations of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and other."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural Characteristics of the Middle East

2 Background  Arab peoples make up almost the entire populations of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and other states of Southwest Asia.  Arab culture has a long history and rich traditions.  Many other cultures also live in the region.

3 Background  Christianity and Judaism are major religions practiced in Southwest Asia.  Most people there are Muslims.  This means that they practice the religion of Islam.  Ninety percent of people in the region are Muslims.

4 Arab  Arabs comprise most of the population of Southwest Asia.  However, many Arabs also live in Northern Africa, Canada, Europe, and the United States.  Most Arabs practice Islam and speak Arabic.  Small numbers of Arabs practice other religions.

5 Arab  Islam consists mostly of two different groups.  The majority of Muslims practice Sunni Islam.  Most others practice Shi’a Islam.  Sunnis and Shi’a disagree about who is in charge of the Muslim world.

6 Jewish  Israel is home for much of the Jewish population in the Southwest Asia.  Many of the people who live in Israel today were born there.  However, the ancestors of these people moved to Israel from many other countries, often from other Southwest Asian countries.  Much of this migration happened during the 20th century, after the formation of Israel in the late 1940s.

7 Jewish  Jewish people differ in their religious beliefs, though most practice some form of Judaism.  For example, some Jews believe that Jewish people who convert to another religion should not be considered Jewish any more.  The Law of Return in Israel says that a Jew from any other country can automatically have citizenship in Israel.  Sometimes Jews who no longer practice Judaism have been denied the Law of Return.

8 Berber  Another minority group in the region are the Berbers.  Most Berbers live in North Africa and were the first group to settle that region.  They still live a traditional way of life today.  Berbers have their own languages.

9 Berber  Many Berber tribes live in the mountains and deserts.  Most Berbers living in mountainous areas are farmers.  Berbers who live in the desert tend to live near an oasis.  Berbers that do not farm are nomadic.

10 Berber  The majority of Berber tribes are Muslim.  Some Berbers practice other religions, too.  Traditional Berber cuisine has stayed the same for hundreds of years.

11 Bedouin  The Bedouin are another ethnic group.  They speak Arabic.  Many Bedouin used to be nomadic.  Their most important animal is the camel.  Now, the Bedouin live mostly in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq.

12 Bedouin  Most Bedouin now live in cities and are not nomadic.  Bedouin tribes are ruled by tribal leaders called sheikhs. Most Bedouins practice Islam.  The Bedouin are well known for their dress and music, which is mostly sung.  Music is used to perform traditional Bedouin ceremonies.

13 Kurdish  Southwest Asia is also home to the Kurdish people.  The Kurds live in several countries throughout the region.  These include Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Almost one-fifth of the population of Turkey is Kurdish.  Kurdish religion used to be made up of a mixture of several different religions.

14 Kurdish  Most Kurds today are Muslims.  Kurdish Muslims are usually less strict about certain Islamic practices.  There are fewer laws for how Kurdish women should dress than there are for Iranian and Arab women.  Kurds share many aspects of their culture with Iranians.

15 Turkish  The Turks are an ethnic group based on language—Turkish.  They live mostly in Turkey and Iran.  Most of the people who live in Turkey are of Turkish descent.  Most Turks practice some form of Islam.  Like Kurds, Turkish people are rarely strict about some Islamic practices.

16 Turkish  However, Kurds and Turks in Turkey often fight over issues not related to religion.  For example, education is a controversial issue between these two groups.  The Turkish people are well known for their architecture.  Mosques in Turkey are a good example of Turkish architecture.

17 Persian  The Persians are an ethnic group that lived in Iran before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century.  Persians make up about half of Iran’s current population.  They have their own language called Persian or Farsi.  Most Persians in Iran today practice Shi’a Islam, but some are Sunni and other religions.

18 Persian  Persian women have faced many challenges as a result of strict cultural and religious practices.  Through struggle, Persian women have increased their personal freedoms over the past forty years.  Persian art and architecture is also well known.  Many people consider Persian rugs to be among the finest in the world.

19 Literacy and Development  Education is free in many countries in the Southwest Asia.  Many students are required to attend school through high school.  Fighting often keeps students from showing up at school.  Many students also live so far from the schools that getting to school is difficult.  The literacy rates for people over fifteen years of age are: 77% in Syria; 79% in Iran; 95% in Israel; and 79% in Saudi Arabia.

20 Literacy and Development  The literacy rates in Israel are higher than in other Southwest Asian countries.  In all of these countries, more men tend to be able to read and write than women.  This is especially true in Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.  Overall in some countries women’s education is not valued as much as men’s education.

21 Literacy and Development  Women receive a different education than men in some areas.  Literacy has a large impact on a country’s development.  For example, an increase in the literacy rate often leads to an increase in individual rights.  Literacy rates also have an impact on a country’s economy.

22 Summary  Describe the different ethnic groups that make up the Middle East.  How does literacy and education affect the Middle East?

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