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Arabic, Modern South Arabian,[10][11] varieties of Arabic

Predominantly Islam; largest minority: Christianity; other religions

Arab people (Arabic: عربي‎, ʿarabi) or Arabs (العرب al-ʿarab) are a panethnicity of peoples of various ancestral origins, religious backgrounds and historic identities, whose members, on an individual basis, identify as such on one or more of linguistic, cultural, political, or genealogical grounds.[12] Those self-identifying as Arab, however, rarely do so on their own. Most hold multiple identities, with a more localized prioritized ethnic identity — such as Egyptian, Lebanese, or Yemeni — in addition to further tribal, village and clan identities.

Arabic, the main unifying feature among Arabs, is a Semitic language originating in Arabia. From there it spread to a variety of distinct peoples across most of West Asia and North Africa,[13] resulting in their acculturation and eventual denomination as Arabs. Arabization, a culturo-linguistic shift, was often, though not always, in conjunction with Islamization, a religious shift.

With the rise of Islam in the 7th century, and as the language of the Qur'an, Arabic became the lingua franca of the wider Mediterranean region. It was in this period that Arabic language and culture was widely disseminated with the early Islamic expansion, both through conquest and cultural contact.[14]

Arabic culture and language, however, began a more limited diffusion before the Islamic age, first spreading in West Asia beginning in the 2nd century, as Arab Christians such as the Ghassanids, Lakhmids and Banu Judham began migrating north from Arabia into the Syrian Desert and the Levant.[15][16] Currently, as many as 7.1% up to 10% of Arabic language speakers are Arab Christians. [17]

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