Iran is in the Middle East and it is a Muslim country so Iranians are Arabs, right? Wrong and once again wrong.
Iran has never been an Arabic country and until recent change in the name, it was known as Persia for thousands of years. It is a very ethnically diverse country that also includes Arab minority in the Southern Iran.
Iranian people have very strong ties to their history, culture, and language. The dominant culture there is Persian and Farsi is their official language. Most Iranians consider themselves to be Persian and do not speak or even want to speak Arabic. This doesn’t mean that Iranians hate Arabs. Rather on the contrary they very much enjoy Arabic music, food, and culture; but they resist the domination of it over their own culture and national identity.
Most Iranians are very proud of their rich heritage, strongly admire their former kings especially Cyrus the Great called in Farsi “ shahenshah” which means King of Kings and his legacy of introducing human rights in a political setting of the longest existing empire in world’s history. Under his reign people who worked in royal building projects were paid their wages, Cyrus The Great did not believe in slave labour. Women were active in all areas of social and even political life and enjoyed relative equality;something not seen until modern age.
Persia was a power house of academic knowledge in ancient times. They were leaders in astronomy, medicine, mathematics,and philosophy until conquering Islamic Army destroyed much of their achievements. Despite of this, Persian culture flourished. And even during Middle Ages Persia produced the best scholars in the world. One of them was Avicenna known also under Arabic name of Ibn Sina. His “Canon of Medicine” was the leading textbook in medical science in the world and is very much respected even until modern times.
This is the reason for which Iranians dislike being mistakenly identified as Arabs, because Arab Islamic army conquered them in a very brutal way, making them second class citizens in their own country and thus forced them over time to change their religion, and tried to destroy their culture.
It never fully succeeded and I believe that in near future we will see Iranians reject Islam as being “Arab invention” and return to their former multicultural values. In a way it is already happening. Most Iranians adhere much more to their Persian culture than to Islamic way of life that often clashes with it. They love their poetry, dance,and music which they cultivate in the privacy of their homes. Iranians long to have political freedom and leaders who will seek the very good of the country instead of their own interests only, as we can clearly observe Islamic regime in Iran does today.
So , please be more sensitive and don’t assume that they are Arabs just because they are from or living in the Middle East. I hope this article will inspire you to get to know Persian culture more and find out how much it has to offer to the world.
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