Author: ARAB NEWSThu, 2018-03-01 03:00ID: 1519845124567398500

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s population is more diverse than many people think.
Since the Arabian Peninsula was home to the first Arabs, it is natural that the vast majority of Saudis are Arab and belong to Arab tribes. However, many Saudi citizens are also ethnic Persians, Turks, Uzbeks and Indians.
A recent study by the Department of Genetics & Genome Biology at the University of Leicester in the UK examined the geographical and social structure in the paternal lineages of Saudi Arabia. It compared the five geographical divisions of the country and tested the DNA of 597 Saudis.
The study found that there was low diversity in the north and center, but high diversity in both east and west reflecting the proximity of the sea to the Kingdom’s Eastern and Western Regions, and consequent historical immigration.
A large proportion of Saudis of non-Arab origin are from South Asia, particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Many are descendants of wealthy merchants and Muslim scholars who stayed in Makkah and Madinah after they performed the Hajj.
For example, the family of Abdel Ghani Nour Wali, traveled to Hijaz for trade. They decided to bring their families from India and settled in Jeddah before the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was united.
Many Saudis also have Turkish ancestry from the time of the Ottoman empire. There were also immigrants from Central Asia, known to the people of the Hijaz as Bukharis, many of them arrived after the Soviet occupation of their countries. Then there are the “Jawa,” from Indonesia and elsewhere in southeast Asian. And finally Afghans, the smallest minority.
These arrivals in Saudi society have given the Western Region, Makkah and Madinah in particular, a rich and diverse culture unmatched elsewhere in Saudi. The languages, identities and cultural practices were integrated to produce a unique Hijazi culture.

Main category: Saudi Arabia

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