Arabic is the official language of most of the Arab nations. These are countries mostly in Asia, Middle East, and North Africa. Of the total world population, approximately 420 million speak Arabic, and this makes it the sixth most popular language in the world. Arabic is derived from the word Arab referring to the Bedouins since Arabic originated from Arabian Peninsula, a region consisting mainly of nomadic tribes. The Arabic language evolved from Aramaic, and it is written from left to right as opposed to the standard style of writing. Countries speaking Arabic are different from one another depending on their history, dialect, culture, and sports. Some of the most popular Arabic speaking countries include Tunisia, Western Sahara, Egypt, and Syria.
Tunisia, one of the smallest countries in North Africa was once a colony of France. In 1956, she attained her independence under the leadership of President Habib Bourguiba. He was instrumental in repressing Islamic fundamentalists in the country. Currently, Tunisia is a member of the League of Arab States. A total of 98% of Tunisian population speaks Arabic with the 2% mainly emigrants and refugees from neighboring non-Arabic speaking countries. Even though Islam is predominant, the government has given its citizens the privilege of choosing for themselves a religion of their choice as long as it does not affect the public order.
Western Sahara, a territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa borders Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania. It is sparsely populated with a population of just 500,000. Islam arrived in the country in the 8th century leading to the development of Maghreb region. This development opened up for the Arabs to settle in the country. The legal status of Western Sahara is still unresolved with Morocco and Polisario Front fighting over its sovereignty. The economy of the country is based on phosphate mining and fishing which are the two primary sources of employment. Most of the ethnic groups in this country are Arabic-speaking nomads accounting for 98% with Muslim as a dominant religion.
Egypt in Africa has a rich Arabic culture and history giving it a national identity to date. Egypt, the cradle of humankind experienced earliest forms of development, especially in agriculture, religion, and urbanization. Egypt has a hot, sunny and dry climate with very high temperatures. About 93% of the Egyptian population speaks Arabic while Islam is the predominant religion. Christians frequently face opposition from the rival Islam group, and threats of persecution have been reported. Egypt relies on agriculture, tourism, natural gas, and petroleum trade for economic growth. The ancient cities and great pyramids have been a source of revenue given the millions of tourists who travel to Egypt every year.
The Syrian Arab Republic is one of the Western Asian countries with high mountains, deserts, and fertile plains. Syria has diverse religious and ethnic groups like Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Mandeans, and Assyrians among others. Syria is among the worst countries in human rights with frequent arrests and detention of activists, bloggers, and widespread disappearances. Syria has the highest number of its citizens as refugees in Europe.
Apart from Arabic being the most popular language in the Arabic countries, Islam is also the common religion. Petroleum has played a significant role in the economic growth of these nations especially those in the Middle East. However, cases of civil unrest have been reported in these countries more frequently than in non-Arab nations
Arabic Speaking Countries
|Rank||Country||Prevalence of Arabic as First Language|
|19||United Arab Emirates||40%|
|20||Palestine, West Bank, and Gaza||37%|