British Arabs

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British Arabs
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Total population
110,000 (in London)
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leicester, Nottingham
Arabic (160,000 native speakers in England and Wales) · British English
Predominantly Islam (Sunni, Shia, Sufi);
minority Christianity
Related ethnic groups
'Other Ethnic Group' (UK Census), Arabs

British Arabs are Arab people living or born in the United Kingdom.


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. 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 (NABA) 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 UK Census.[1] Around 110,000 reside in London.

"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]

NABA estimates that there are around 500,000 first and second generation British Arabs. The majority originate from Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Morocco, Palestine and Lebanon. 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 Cardiff and the South Shields area near Newcastle.

The term British Arab does not cover non Arab peoples from the Near East and North Africa, such as, Persians, Turks, Berbers, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Copts, Mandeans etc.

A diverse community, British Arabs are represented in the business and media fields, among other areas. Miladi (2006)'s 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.[9]

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.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "REPORT ON THE 2011 CENSUS – MAY 2013 – Arabs and Arab League Population in the UK". National Association of British Arabs. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Population size: 7.9% from a minority ethnic group". Office for National Statistics. 2003-02-13. 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". National Association of British Arabs. 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. ^ Miladi, Noureddine (August 2006). "Satellite TV News and the Arab Diaspora in Britain: Comparing Al-Jazeera, the BBC and CNN". Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32 (6): 947–960. doi:10.1080/13691830600761552. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Tarbush, Susannah (26 April 2010). "Arab engagement in the British general and local elections". Al-Hayat. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  11. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]