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Translating the Arab World: Language, religion and culture are keys to understanding diverse region, scholars say

Did You Know?

Arabs are not a race and have diverse physical attributes, including complexion and hair and eye color.

Arabs represent about five percent of the world's population.

The word Islam means "surrender (to God)."

Recommended Reading

    • "A History of the Arab Peoples" by Albert Hourani: A thorough and highly respected history of Arabs from pre-Islamic to modern times. 
    • "Guests of the Sheik" by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, professor emeritus, Center for Middle Eastern Studies: An autobiographical narrative of Fernea's two-year stay in a rural Iraqi village.
    • "The Wedding of Zein" by Tayyeb Saleh: A depiction of life in a Sudanese village.
    • "Cities of Salt" by Abderrahman Munif: Portrayal of the upheavals in societies of the Arabian peninsula as a result of the oil rush.
    • "Wild Thorns" by Sahar Khalifeh: A dramatization of life in the West Bank under occupation by Israel.
    • "Midaq Alley" by Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel Prize winner for literature, 1988: Portrait of a poor neighborhood in Cairo during World War II Egypt.
    • "Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery" by Bahaa' Taher: A novel examining Muslim-Christian relations in Upper Egypt. 

Recommended Viewing

    • "Terrorism and Kebab" (Egypt): Slapstick comedy with a message.
    • "Battle of Algiers" (Italy): Oscar-nominated film about Algerians' fight to win independence from France. Shown to U.S. military leaders planning the war against Iraq.
    • "Rana's Wedding" (Palestine): A romantic drama about a Palestinian girl who wants to marry the man of her choice.
    • "The Syrian Bride" (Israel): The story of a girl from Israeli-occupied Golan Heights who crosses the border to marry a Syrian. She will never be allowed to return home.

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  Updated 18 December 2007
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