Middle East Gypsies

"Gypsy" is the general English term used to describe this large, ethno-linguistic group; however, in their homeland (India) they were originally called Dom, meaning "man." Later, Dom developed into Rom. Today, Gypsies prefer to be identified as Romany (plural Romanies) in Europe; but in the Middle East & North Africa many still refer to themselves as Dom or Domi. Here, the term "Dom" will be used for this people group found in the Middle East and "Gypsies" will be used as a general, more recognizable designation for the larger people group.Other names that are used to designate Gypsy people in the Middle East include Barake, Nawar, Kaloro, Koli, Kurbat, Ghorbati, Jat/Zott, Çingene, Mıtrıp, Qurbert, Gevende, Abdal, Zargari and Karaçi … Originally coming from India, the Gypsies are now scattered throughout the world numbering more than forty million people. Though their stories of persecution in Europe are widely publicized, little has made its way into print regarding the lives of the two to three million Dom who live in the Middle East. Today communities of the Dom can be seen in the following Middle East countries: Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank and Turkey. Survey work is needed to determine the accuracy of reports that refer to Dom in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Unfortunately, accurate population counts are difficult to secure in all of these countries.  Dom of the Middle East