Ajam of Kuwait or Persians of Kuwait are Kuwaiti citizens of Iranian origin, who migrated to Kuwait over the last couple of hundred years. Historically, Persian ports provided most of Kuwait's economic needs. Marafi Behbahani was one of the first merchants to settle in Kuwait in the 18th century.
Most Shia Kuwaiti citizens are of Iranian ancestry. However, some Kuwaitis of Iranian origin are Sunni. The Kuwaitis of Iranian Balochi origin are predominantly Sunni Muslim. Balochi families first immigrated to Kuwait in the 19th century.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Predominantly Shi'a Islam|
Minority Sunni Islam
|Related ethnic groups|
|Ajam of Bahrain|
Unlike the Shi'a of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, the Kuwaiti Shi'a mostly are of Persian descent.
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.