Introduction to the Arab World
The Middle East is an area of international concern for several reasons: strategic location, oil resources, and the recurring political instability. It is also the birthplace of three great religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The region is composed of fifteen nations and four major languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish and Farsi. It is a region of many people with extraordinary histories and cultures. However, most of its habitants practice Islam and are Arabs. The word "Arab" is applied to Muslims, Jews and Christians who speak the Arabic language and identify themselves with the Arab way of life.
It was in the Arab world where people first developed the system of writing; scientific advances were also developed. Rich cultures like Ancient Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia began in this region. The Arab culture has had many influences but Islam has shaped the culture like no other. The message of Islam appeared for the first time in the Arabian Peninsula in the early seventh century, and soon the faith expanded across North Africa, the entire Middle East and extended to the borders of China. A new and dynamic civilization was founded. In fact, while most of Europe was in the dark ages, the Arab/Islamic civilization was at its most glorious moment, making significant contributions to science, arts and the humanities that are still very alive in the world. Today, most of the ancient cities, such as Marrakech and Baghdad with its great flavors and customs, still exist and modern cities have been developed beside them. Unfortunately, they carry with them the common problem of modernization like overpopulation and pollution.
The Arab world straddles two continents, Asia and Africa, and its long coastline gives it access to critical waterways. The region offers a variety of climatic conditions from dry to seasonal rainfalls in Morocco, Tunisia and the mountains of Lebanon. Agriculture is a very important activity in the Arab world. The most import products are wheat, dates, rice, and olive oil, which are main ingredients in the Arab cuisine. Although there are differences among the Arab people from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, Arab people enjoy a common bond of history, culture and tradition.