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Total population
Regions with significant populations
   Turkey 60,000
   Lebanon 50,000
   Europe 25,000
   Germany 15,000[1]
North Mesopotamian Arabic
Syriac, Kurdish & Turkish
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
other Semitic peoples

The Mhallami, or Mhalmites, (Arabic: محلّمى‎, Mḥallamī; Syriac: ܡܚܠܡܝ̈ܐ, Mḥallmāye/Mḥallmoye; Turkish: Mıhellemi) are a Semitic people originating from the Assyrian/Syriac people. They originally spoke Aramaic and were Eastern Rite Christians, but are now primarily speakers of North Mesopotamian Arabic (qiltu variant) and Sunni Muslims of Shafi`i madh'hab.


"A small minority of the Syriacs, around 1%, has converted to Islam, but remain Syriac in culture and language... The flag of the Muslim Syriac minority is a vertical tricolor of violet, yellow and green, bearing a white crescent moon and five-pointed star on the upper hoist."[2] Sir Mark Sykes, in his book 'The Caliph’s Last Heritage', p. 578 says that 'the Mahallemi' became Muslim to be able to eat meat during a Lenten famine. He writes, 'They speak a bastard Arabic, and their women wear red clothes and do not veil.

Mhallami of Lebanon[edit]

Lebanon had a population of 70,000 to 100,000 Mhallami prior to Lebanese Civil War.[3] Their origin and legal status became a particular concern when they started to seek asylum in Western European countries en masse in early 1980s.[4]

Mhallami association[edit]

The first Mhallami cultural association of Turkey was founded in February 2008 in Hapsınas (Mercimekli) village of Midyat[5] where the people still speak fluent Syriac.[6] The association, jointly with the Syriac Cultural Association of Midyat, had organised the first international Mhallami conference in August 2008.[7] Most of Mhallamis in Turkey live in Mardin and their famous place is Yerköy. It is a village that well known by the other name is Binardke. There are also 25 villages like that in the region.


  1. ^ Organisierte Kriminalität: Schrecklich nette Familien; Spiegel Online (German)
  2. ^ Nations Without States: A Historical Dictionary of Contemporary National Movements. by James Minahan (1996, Greenwood Press) p. 247f.
  3. ^ Die Libanon-Flüchtlinge in Berlin Ralph Ghadban (German)
  4. ^ Heinrich Freckmann, Jürgen Kalmbach: Staatenlose Kurden aus dem Libanon oder türkische Staatsangehörige? (Ergebnis einer Untersuchung vom 08.–18. März 2001 in Beirut, Mardin und Ankara), Hannover, Hildesheim, 2001; S. 3–4 (German)
  5. ^ Mıhellemi Kültürü Üzerine Dernek Midyat'ta Kuruldu Bianet (Turkish)
  6. ^ Mıhellemiler Hakkında (Turkish)
  7. ^ 1. Uluslar Arası Mıhellemi Konferansı Midyatsesi (Turkish)