5 Arabic Words in the News
An article in this morning’s newspaper contained the following Arabic words:
“He was identified as a member of the country’s large stateless population known as bidoon.”
The word does not appear in either the OED or M-W. I found this definition in an article at PBS:
Bidoon refers to a diverse group of people [in Kuwait] who at the time of independence were not given Kuwaiti nationality.
The term comes from the Arabic phrase bidoon jinsiya, “without nationality.” A Wikipedia article spells the word Bedoon and defines it as “an ethnic group in Gulf Arab states and Iraq.”
“[He] was wearing jeans, a knee-length djellabah robe [sic] and a loose towel over his head…”
I didn’t find this word in either the OED or M-W, but I did find it at Dictionary.com:
djellabah: a loose hooded cloak, typically woolen, of a kind traditionally worn by men in North Africa.
“French authorities say Salhi had links to radical Salafists—who preach an ultraconservative form of Islam…”
A Salafist is an adherent of Salafism. I found this definition of Salafism in an article at PBS:
Salafism is an ideology that posits that Islam has strayed from its origins. The word salaf is Arabic for “ancient one” and refers to the companions of the Prophet Mohammed. Arguing that the faith has become decadent over the centuries, Salafists call for the restoration of authentic Islam as expressed by an adherence to its original teachings and texts.
“The Sunni extremists of Islamic State consider Shiites to be heretics…”
The OED defines Sunni this way:
The orthodox Muslims who accept the Sunna as of equal authority with the Qur’an, considered collectively.
Note: The OED defines Sunna as “the body of traditional sayings and customs attributed to Muhammad and supplementing the Qur’an.”
“Authorities said he flew into Kuwait’s international airport at dawn on the day of the noontime attack at one of the emirate’s oldest Shiite mosques.”
In this sentence, Shiite is the adjective form of Shia, a Muslim sect whose name derives from Shiat Ali, “the party of Ali.” When Muhammad died in 632 CE without naming a political successor, some of his followers thought his son-in-law Ali should be their leader; others declared for his father-in-law, Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr served as the first caliph (632-634); Ali served as the fourth caliph (656—661). Today, the majority of Muslims are Sunnis—somewhere between 85% and 90%. Shiites represent only about 10% of Muslims, but in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan, they are in the majority.
Note: Caliph is from an Arabic word meaning successor. After the death of Muhammad, it became the title given in Muslim countries to the chief civil and religious ruler. The last caliph in Istanbul was killed by Mongol conquerors in 1258. The Ottoman caliphate was abolished by Kemal Ataturk in 1924.
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