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Doms



Doms of Jerusalem, Israel

Doms living in Jerusalem, Israel.

Doms by country
Egypt
1,100,000 1.6%
Iran
1,400,000 2.1%
Iraq
50,000 0.2%
Israel
2,000 <0.1%
Jordan
25,000 0.5%
Lebanon
12,000 0.3%
Libya
33,000 0.6%
Palestine
5,000 <0.1%
Sudan
35,000 0.1%
Syria
250,000 1.3%
Turkey
400,000 0.5%
TOTAL *)
3,300,000 0.7%

*) Calculated for the total population of North Africa and the Middle East, approx. 460,000,000.

There are Dom groups, but very small, in other countries too: Saudi Arabia and Oman.


Indo-Aryan people living across several Middle Eastern countries, with an estimated 3.3 million members. They are often referred to as the Gypsies of the Middle East.
The exact numbers may differ significantly from this, in a few country cases it may be lower than the figures given here, in other cases much higher. In the case of Iran, estimates vary extremely, from 80,000 (a figure given by themselves) to 1.4 million (a figure of Ethnologue).
Their ethnic backgrounds are traced back to India, maybe to the Domba people, maybe to the Romani people, or they share a background similar to, or close to the Romani.
Dom culture resembles that of the Romani, being traders and entertainers. They are Muslims, but little research has been done into determining their actual faith and cults. Considering how many non-Muslims in this part of the world are classified Muslims by Western writers (see Taqiyya religions), it is quite possible that Doms, which are among the least researched peoples here, may belong to other faiths.
The Doms are generally a marginalized community in these countries. In the preparation of Contents it has not been found any information to whether Dom culture resembles what distinguishes Romani in many European countries: lazyness and hostility towards, and exploitation of, host countries. As Doms inhabit poorer countries with stronger cultural pride than what is common in Europe, it appears unlikely that Doms are in a position to exploit their host societies.
The Doms have their own language, Domari, which is still spoken by more than half of them. It is however losing ground to the main languages of the host societies, and seem to be close to extinction in a few national cases.
Doms of Egypt are known as Ghagar and live mainly in the region of Mansura (Dakhaliya governorate) in the Nile Delta.
Doms of Iraq are called Zott.
In Iran and Afghanistan they are called Gurbati or Kouli, "foreigners".




By Tore Kjeilen