Arabs in Europe

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Arabs in Europe
العرب في اوروبا
European languages, Arabic
Predominantly Muslim
with Christian and Jewish minorities
Related ethnic groups
Arabs (Arab diaspora)

Arabs in Europe are people of Arab descent living in Europe. Several million Arabs are residents in Europe. They form part of what is sometimes called the "Arab diaspora", i.e. ethnic Arabs outside the Arab World. Most of the Arabs in Europe are from the Maghreb.


The current estimate of the Arab population in Europe is approximately 5 million, mostly concentrated in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Greece and Denmark. The majority of migrants come from Morocco (1.4 million), Algeria (1.3 million), Tunisia (950,000), Lebanon (700,000), Palestine (700,000), Syria (350,000), Iraq (250,000), Egypt (220,000), Jordan (150,000), Yemen (150,000), Libya (100,000) and Sudan (100,000).[1]

Most Arabs in Europe are followers of Islam but there is also a sizable Arab Christian community living in Europe. For example, almost half of Lebanese immigrants are Christian. Moreover, Arab Christians are more likely to seek refugee status than Arab Muslims.


Arab occupation of Europe[edit]

The southern Italian city of Lucera was briefly, during the 13th century, made into an enclave for Arabs deported after the reconquest of Sicily. After they were then expelled from the city, their mosque was converted into Lucera Cathedral.

Arabs in Europe have a history beginning with the Arab Empire, which conquered the Iberian Peninsula, including what is now Spain and Portugal, in 711 AD. Other Arabs occupied the Italian island of Sicily from 831 to 1072. Arabs were later expelled from those domains after the Reconquista and the Catholic Church's Inquisition of non-believers. There were also brief periods of independent Arab-Islamic colonization and occupation, in modern-day France, Switzerland, and Italy, using Fraxinet in the Gulf of St. Tropez as a base for raids and colonisation.[2]

Modern migration[edit]

The post-World War II migration of Arabs to Europe began as many Arabs from former French colonies like Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon and Syria migrated permanently to France. Another source of migration began with guest workers, particularly from Morocco, who arrived under the terms of a Labour Export Agreement between several European countries including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and France. Other events in the Arab world sent new immigration waives to Europe like the Palestinian exodus, the Lebanese Civil War, the first and second Iraq war, Libyan civil war and Syrian civil war. Many other Arabs emigrated to Europe because of political issues in their native countries. Arabs who studied in European universities and decided to stay are another source of migration.

After the 2011 events of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Libya, around 20,000 Tunisian and also Libyan immigrants have left their countries for France and Germany, migrating through Italy. Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel recommended suspending the Schengen Agreement and imposing border control in order to keep immigrants from migrating to their countries, but no actions have yet been taken on the issue. Currently, Italy and Greece continue to receive migration waves from Egypt and Syria since the violence in these two Arab countries escalated in 2013.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Intra-Regional Labour Mobility in the Arab World, Facts and Figures, International Organization for Migration, 2010, retrieved 2010-07-21 
  2. ^ Robert W. Lebling (September–October 2009). "The Saracens of St. Tropez". Saudi Aramco World. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Six Egyptian migrants drown on 20-metre swim from boat to Sicily beach