British Arabs

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British Arabs
عرب بريطانيا
Total population
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leicester, Nottingham
Arabic (160,000 native speakers in England and Wales[citation needed]· British English
Islam (Sunni, Shia; also Sufi);
Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic, Melkite, Protestantism, Anglican, etc.)
Related ethnic groups
'Other Ethnic Group' (UK Census), Arabs

British Arabs (Arabic: عرب بريطانيا‎) are citizens or residents of the United Kingdom that are of Arab ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage or identity from Arab countries.


Unlike Black British or Asian British, the term British Arab was not one of those employed in government ethnicity categorisations used in the 2001 UK Census and for national statistics.[2] As a result, community members are believed to have been under-counted in previous population estimates according to the National Association of British Arabs (NABA). This absence of a separate "Arab" category in the UK census obliged many to select other ethnicity categories.[3] In the late 2000s, the British government announced that an "Arab" ethnicity category would be added to the 2011 UK Census for the first time.[4] The decision came at the request of the National Association of British Arabs and other Arab organizations, who lobbied for the inclusion of a separate "Arab" entry to accommodate under-reported groups from the Arab world.[5] As a result, 240,545 British Arabs were reported in the 2011 Census in England and Wales.[1] In NABA's report on the 2011 Census, it broke down answers from the Ethnic Write-In Responses that NABA classifies as Arab, namely "Arab", "African Arab", "White and Arab", "Moroccan", "North African", "Other Middle East", "Somali", "Somalilander" or "White and North African". It also notes that how many of the individual identities responded in the general "Arab" box is uncertain so there may be some overlap in the numbers; it found 366,769 Arabs in England and Wales.[1]

"British Arabs" is used as an official ethnic designation by the National Association of British Arabs.[6] It is also employed by academics,[7] and in the media.[8]

As of 2011, the National Association of British Arabs estimates that there are around 366,769 first and second generation British Arabs.[1] The largest amount originate from Somalia (99,484 or 27%), Iraq (70,426 or 19%), Egypt (28,927 or 8%), Saudi Arabia (29,076 or 8%), and Morocco (21,016 or 6%).[9] Most live in the Greater London area, and many are either businesspeople, recent immigrants or students.[3] There are also sizable and long-established Yemeni Arab communities living in both Cardiff and the South Shields area, the latter near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

A diverse community, British Arabs are represented in the business and media fields, among other areas. Miladi's 2006 survey of 146 community members during the summer of 2001 reported Al-Jazeera as being the respondents' preferred news outlet. Reasons supplied for the selection included the quality of the station's programs and transmission, its discussion of current issues in the Arab world, and the possibility of giving voice to the community's concerns and positions on various matters.[10]

Additionally, 2010 was a breakthrough year in terms of political participation. Several British Arabs ran for and/or were appointed to office as community representatives.[11][12]


According to the 2011 Census, the religious breakdown of Arabs in England and Wales can be seen in the table below.[13]

Religion Percentage of Arab population in England and Wales[13]
Star and Crescent.svg Islam 77.27%
Gold Christian Cross no Red.svg Christianity 9.54%
Om.svg Hinduism 0.46%
Star of David.svg Judaism 0.25%
Khanda.svg Sikhism 0.22%
Dharma Wheel.svg Buddhism 0.17%
Not Stated 6.54%
No religion 5.18%
Other religions 0.37%
Total 100%

Famous British Arabs

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "REPORT ON THE 2011 CENSUS – MAY 2013 – Arabs and Arab League Population in the UK". National Association of British Arabs. Archived from the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Population size: 7.9% from a minority ethnic group". Office for National Statistics. 2003-02-13. Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b Jalili, I.K. "Study for consideration of inclusion of 'Arab' as an ethnic group on ethnicity profile forms" (PDF). National Association of British Arabs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "2011 Census Questions Published". BBC News. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Arab Population in the UK - Study for consideration of inclusion of 'Arab' as an ethnic group on future census returns". 
  6. ^ "The National Association of British Arabs". The National Association of British Arabs. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  7. ^ Nagel, Caroline (2001). "Hidden minorities and the politics of 'race': The case of British Arab activists in London". Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 27 (3): 381–400. doi:10.1080/136918301200266130. 
  8. ^ Akbar, Arifa (2004-01-10). "Kilroy was here... BBC suspends daytime host". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  9. ^ "REPORT ON THE 2011 CENSUS – MAY 2013 – Arabs and Arab League Population in the UK". National Association of British Arabs. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Miladi, Noureddine (August 2006). "Satellite TV News and the Arab Diaspora in Britain: Comparing Al-Jazeera, the BBC and CNN" (PDF). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 32 (6): 947–960. doi:10.1080/13691830600761552. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Tarbush, Susannah (26 April 2010). "Arab engagement in the British general and local elections". Al-Hayat. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Tarbush, Susannah (17 June 2010). "Mixed results in the British general and local elections for candidates of Middle Eastern origin". Al-Hayat. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  13. ^ a b DC2201EW - Ethnic group and religion (Excel sheet 21Kb) ONS. 2015-09-15. Retrieved on 2016-01-14.

External links

  • National Association of British Arabs
  • Arab British Centre
  • British Arabs Resource Centre Broken link
  • Arab British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC)
  • BBC Arab London
  • Reassessing what we collect website – Arab London History of Arab London with objects and images - Broken link
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