'Ajam of Kuwait

Ajam of Kuwait or Persians of Kuwait[1][2] are Kuwaiti citizens of Iranian origin, who migrated to Kuwait over the last couple of hundred years.[3][4] Historically, Persian ports provided most of Kuwait's economic needs.[5] Marafi Behbahani was one of the first merchants to settle in Kuwait in the 18th century.[6]

Most Shia Kuwaiti citizens are of Iranian ancestry.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] However, some Kuwaitis of Iranian origin are Sunni. The Kuwaitis of Iranian Balochi origin are predominantly Sunni Muslim.[14] Balochi families first immigrated to Kuwait in the 19th century.[15]

The Persian sub-dialects of Larestani, Khonji, Bastaki and Gerashi have influenced the vocabulary of Kuwaiti Arabic.[16] There are also Ayam of Sayyid origin.[17]

Regions with significant populations
Predominantly Shi'a Islam
Minority Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Ajam of Bahrain

Notable people

Further reading


  1. ^ Article in AL-AAN online newspaper Archived 15 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine (in Arabic) November 2010
  2. ^ Article by Waleed aj-Jasim in Al-Watan daily newspaper Archived 15 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine (in Arabic). 25 May 2013
  3. ^ "Policing Iranian Sanctions: Trade, Identity, and Smuggling Networks in the Arabian Gulf" (PDF). pp. 25–27. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 December 2016.
  4. ^ Taqi, Hanan (2010). Two ethnicities, three generations: Phonological variation and change in Kuwait (PDF) (PhD). Newcastle University. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 October 2013.
  5. ^ "The Emergence of the Gulf States: Studies in Modern History". J. E. Peterson. 2016. p. 107. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014.
  6. ^ "The Shia Migration from Southwestern Iran to Kuwait: Push-Pull Factors during the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries". Georgia State University. 2014. Archived from the original on 27 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Citizenship and the State in the Middle East: Approaches and Applications". Nils August Butenschøn, Uri Davis, Manuel Sarkis Hassassian. 2000. p. 190.
  8. ^ Binder, Leonard (1999). Ethnic Conflict and International Politics in the Middle East. p. 164. ISBN 9780813016870. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Unlike the Shi'a of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, the Kuwaiti Shi'a mostly are of Persian descent.
  9. ^ "Business Politics in the Middle East". Rivka Azoulay. 2013. p. 71. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Islam in the World Today: A Handbook of Politics, Religion, Culture, and Society". Werner Ende, Udo Steinbach. 2002. p. 533. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Sectarian Politics in the Persian Gulf". Lawrence G. Potter. p. 135.
  12. ^ "Transnational Shia Politics: Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf". Laurence Louër. p. 47.
  13. ^ Dénes Gazsi. "The Persian Dialects of the Ajam in Kuwait" (PDF). The University of Iowa.
  14. ^ "The Baluch Presence in the Persian Gulf" (PDF). 2013. pp. 742–743. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 April 2014.
  15. ^ "The Shia Migration from Southwestern Iran to Kuwait: Push-Pull Factors during the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries". Georgia State University. 2012. pp. 71–72. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Lang & Linguistic in Bahrain Mon". Al-Tajir. 2013. p. 11. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014.
  17. ^ Murtadha Mutahhari, Majmu'at al-Athaar, Part 18. Qum, Tehran. p. 124

Ajam (عجم) is an Arabic word that refers to someone whose mother tongue is not Arabic. During the Arab conquest of Persia, the term became a racial pejorative. Colloquially, it now refers to non-Arabs in general.

Ajam of Bahrain

The Ajam of Bahrain or Persian Bahrainis or Iranian Bahrainis (Persian: ایرانیان بحرین‎, Arabic: عجم البحرین‎) are an ethnic group in Bahrain composed of Shia Bahraini citizens of non-Arab Iranian national background.The Ajam are mostly bilingual in Persian and Arabic.

Ajam of Iraq

Ajam of Iraq or Persians of Iraq are Iraqi citizens of Iranian national background or descent. Iranians have had a long presence in Iraq, dating back to antiquity.

Saddam Hussein deported most Iraqi Ajams in the 1970s and 1980s.

Expatriates in Kuwait

There are a large number of expatriates in Kuwait, with most residing in Kuwait City. Expatriates are primarily attracted by the employment opportunities in Kuwait. Expatriates account for 70% of Kuwait's total population.

Iranian diaspora

Iranians abroad or Iranian diaspora are Iranian people living outside Iran and their children born abroad.According to various sources, in 2010, there were an estimated four to five million Iranians living abroad, mostly in North America, Europe, Persian Gulf States, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Australia and the broader Middle East. Others estimate a lower number, of around two millions or less. For the most part, they emigrated after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Islam in Kuwait

Islam is the main religion of the citizens of Kuwait and the majority of Kuwaiti citizens are Muslim; it is estimated that 60-70% are Sunni and 30-40% are Shias. The majority of Shia Kuwaitis are of Iranian ancestry.Some other minor Muslim sects do exist in Kuwait's society, but in very small or rare numbers. There are no estimates of the number of non-citizen Muslims.

Kuwaiti Persian

Kuwaiti Persian, known in Kuwait as ʿīmi and spelled Eimi in some works is a dying (endangered) combination of different varieties of the Persian language and Achomi language that has been spoken in Kuwait for more than two centuries. Persian was spoken since the foundation of Kuwait, especially in the Sharg district of the historical Kuwait City, where families that emigrated from Persia had settled.Kuwaitis of Iranian ancestry are called Ayam (ʕɐjɐm). After conducting research about the usage of Persian language in Kuwait in 2004, Abdulmuhsen Dashti, a professor at Kuwait University, projects that the Persian language will disappear in Ayam families within two generations.

Shia Islam in Kuwait

Shia Islam in Kuwait constitutes 30%-40% of Kuwait's Muslim population. Most Shia Kuwaitis are of Persian ancestry.In 2001, the US Department of State reported that there were 300,000 Shia Kuwaiti citizens and 820,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total thus Shias formed 36.5% of the Kuwaiti citizen population. In 2002, the US Department of State reported that Shia Kuwaitis formed 30-40% of Kuwait's citizen population, noting there were 525,000 Sunni citizens and 855,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total (61% Sunnis, 39% Shias). In 2004, there were 300,000-350,000 Shia Kuwaiti citizens and 913,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total. In 2008, the Strategic Studies Institute reported that 40% of Kuwaitis were Shias. Shiites are usually under-represented in the National Assembly parliaments.Contrary to the expectations of the Iraqi government, Shia Kuwaitis founded the local armed resistance movement during the occupation of Kuwait in the Gulf War. Most Kuwaitis arrested, tortured and executed during the occupation bore Shia names. The Kuwaiti resistance's casualty rate far exceeded that of the coalition military forces and Western hostages. The resistance predominantly consisted of ordinary citizens who lacked any form of training and supervision.Shia citizens as a group are well integrated into the Kuwaiti state. Kuwaiti government policy, on paper and in practice, does not discriminate citizens on a sectarian basis. This leaves the Shia relatively well-treated with no scale sectarian campaign on the part of the government. Kuwaiti Shia citizens are considered the most integrated Shia group in the Gulf region.The Shia Kuwaiti community has produced a number of well-known individuals, notable in many fields, especially business and commerce, thus contributing significantly to the general economic development of the country. Kuwait's first female minister Massouma al-Mubarak is a Shia. One of the first women elected in the parliament, Rola Dashti, is a Kuwaiti Shia of Iranian origin.

Iran Iranian citizens abroad and their descendants
Middle East
See also
Foreign nationals

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