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Difference Between Kurds and Arabs

Kurds vs Arabs

Many ethnic groups live in Asia, particularly in the Middle East. Two of these ethnic groups are the Arabs and the Kurds. These two ethnic groups are mainly found in southwestern Asia.

The terms “Arab” and “Kurd” can be used as nouns and adjectives. As adjectives, they pertain to the certain characteristics or affiliations of that particular ethnic group. A person can be said to be an Arab or a Kurd by looking at the genealogy, linguistic or cultural affinity of the person.

Taken literally, an Arab means “a native, inhabitant, or descendant from Arabia.” The same is used for a Kurd – someone that lives or hails from Kurdistan.

Kurds and Arabs are not affiliated with any religion but the majority are Muslims. Arab and Kurds can also be members of other religions including Christianity, Judaism or other minor sects.

Muslim Kurds are usually members of the Sunni faction while Arab Muslims are part of the Shia faction.

Originally, Kurds and Arabs were nomad people but found settlements over time. The Arabs are concentrated on the Arabian Peninsula but are also scattered all over the world. Kurds, on the other hand, have a settlement called Kurdistan but is not an official territory. The settlement includes portions of Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq and other close countries.

Both ethnic groups have their own distinct languages. Arabs have the Arabic language, together with a numerical system. Kurds, meanwhile, speak Kurdish.
Kurds are often the minority ethnic group in any country they find settlement (aside from Kurdistan) while Arabs tend to be the major ethnic group in the same area. This results in clashes between the two ethnic groups in those areas.
Since Kurds are often the minority, they often ask for autonomy from the Arab majority. However, some Arabs think that Kurds and other minorities should assimilate or ascribe to the dominant ethnic group.
Kurds have a long history of repression in their settlements in Iran, Iraq and many countries. This repression caused the Kurds to find a Kurdish settlement. This was later known as Kurdistan, which literally means “land of the Kurds.” There is still no Kurdish national state.
Arabs originated from the Semitic people while the Kurds are a heterogeneous mix of Median, Semitic, Turkic and Armenian profiles.
Summary:

  1. Arabs and Kurds are two ethic groups that originated in Southwestern Asia, particularly in the Middle East. Both ethnic groups are predominately Muslim but also have followers in other religions and sects like Christianity, Judaism and many others.
  2. An Arab is a person who is genetically, culturally and linguistically affiliated with the Arabic traditions, tribes, or lineage and language. The same treatment is given to Kurds – a Kurd is a person who has Kurdish blood, practices Kurdish traditions and speaks the Kurdish language.
  3. Arabs and Kurds are not religiously affiliated with one religion. However, most Arabs and Kurds are practitioners of the Islamic faith. The difference between Muslim Arabs and Kurds is that Muslim Arabs are Shia Muslims while Muslim Kurds are belong to the Sunni faction.
  4. Kurds do not have a state nation but a settlement called Kurdistan, a region comprised of portions of countries like Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq and other countries.
  5. Kurds are often the minority ethnic groups in their places of settlement. Meanwhile, most of these areas have an Arab majority. This results in clashes between two ethic groups. Some Kurds opt for autonomy in these regions.
  6. Arabs are Semitic people. In contrast, the ancestry of Kurds is a mix of many people including the Medes, Semites, Turks, and Armenian.


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3 Comments

  1. Hi Celine,
    I am just a nobody, but I think one of your statements on your ‘difference between Kurds and Arabs’ may not be true, in regards to ‘Muslim Arabs’. For what I know, majority of Muslim Arabs ( at least those from Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Egypt etc) are Sunni Muslims. Shia Muslims are predominant in Iran (Persian, not strictly Arabic), Iraq (Arabs or Persians? ), Yemen (Arabs, presumably). However, the actual % of Sunni Arabs vs Shia Arabs worldwide needs to be researched.

    I think it is safer not to use Sunni/Shia on the difference between Kurds/Arabs, unless with data.

    Just stumbled on differencebetween.net today and I think it is a brilliant effort to clarify subtle stuffs, but more care needs to be exercised since some topics happen to be more sensitive than others and some readers may take things here on face value and fail their exam, hehe…

    Have a nice day…

  2. Hi,

    I am Arab, Iraqi.
    99% of arabs are sunni muslems. 95% of kurds are muslem sunni.

    The main difference between Arabs, persian and turkish as one group and kurds as other group THAT the first part were empires with long history and great influence and culture. Kurdish did not have any of these. Kurdish were the mixture of soldiers in the armies. kurdish are more to be a united culture of the hindu-persian speaking ethnics those served as woriers in the three mentioned empires.

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