Dom people

The Dom (also called Domi; Arabic: دومي‎ / ALA-LC: Dūmī, دومري / Dūmrī, Ḍom / ضوم or دوم, or sometimes also called Doms) are a people with origins in the Indian subcontinent which through ancient migrations are found scattered across the Western Asia, North Africa, Caucasus, Central Asia and still parts of the Indian subcontinent. The traditional language of the Dom is Domari, an endangered Indo-Aryan language, thereby making the Dom an Indo-Aryan ethnic group. They have been associated with another traditionally itinerant ethnic group of Indo-Aryans variously called the Rom/Roma/Romani people: the two groups have been said to have separated from each other or, at least, to share a similar history. Specifically, the ancestors of both the Dom and the Rom/Roma/Romani left the Northern Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 11th century.

Flag of the Romani people.svg
Domari / Romani flag
Total population
2.2 million (estimated)
Regions with significant populations
Middle East, North Africa
Domari, Persian, Arabic (also various dialects), Azeri, Kurdish, Turkish, Pushtu, Syriac, Hebrew,
Romani religion, Islam, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Romani people, Lom people, Domba, other Indo-Aryans


The Dom have an oral tradition and express their culture and history through music, poetry and dance. Initially, it was believed that they were a branch of the Romani people, but recent studies of the Domari language suggest that they departed from the Indian subcontinent[1] earlier than the Romani, probably around the 6th century.[2][failed verification]

The name used worldwide by this demographic to identify themselves is the term "Rrom" (or "Rom"),[3] which in the Romani language means a man. The words Rom, Dom and Lom are used to describe Romani peoples who diverged in the 6th century. Several tribes moved as far as Western Europe and are called Rom, while the ones who remained in Persia and Turkey are called Dom.[4]

Among the various Domari subgroups, the Ghawazi are the most famous for their dancing and music. The Ghawazi dancers have been associated with the development of the Egyptian raqs sharqi style.


The majority of the estimated population of 2.2 million live in Iran, Turkey and Egypt with significant numbers in Iraq. Smaller populations are found in Afghanistan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Jordan, Syria and other countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

The actual population is unknown as some Dom are excluded from national censuses and others label themselves in national terms rather than as Dom. Nowadays, they speak the dominant languages of their larger societies, but Domari, their national language, continues to be spoken by more insular communities. Iranians called them gurbati or kouli, both meaning "foreigners".

There is a large concentration of Dom in Jordan. Researchers claim that "they accommodate Arab racism by hiding their ethnic identity," since they would not be accepted into Arabian society once their true identity is revealed. In Jordan, they call themselves Bani Murra. [5] There is also a similar small community with some colonial Romanichal ancestors in Malta. That community is called the Maltese Romanichal.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Professor Yaron Matras (December 2012). "Domari". [romani] project. School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures The University of Manchester. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  2. ^ Ian Hancock (2007–2008). "ON ROMANI ORIGINS AND IDENTITY". RADOC. RADOC The Romani Archives and Documentation Center The University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  3. ^ Roma people in Croatia.
  4. ^ Donald Kenrick (2004). Gypsies: From the Ganges to the Thames. Univ of Hertfordshire Press. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-1-902806-23-5. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  5. ^ Marsh, Adrian & Strand, Elin (red.) (2006). Gypsies and the problem of identities: contextual, constructed and contested. Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (Svenska forskningsinstitutet i Istanbul), p. 207

Tarlan, K. V (2018). Encouraging Integration and Social Cohesion of Syrian Dom Immigrants Proposal for a Regional Social Inclusion Strategy Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Gaziantep: Kırkayak Kültür [1]

Tarlan, K. V., Faggo, H (2018). The "Other" Asylum Seekers from Syria: Discrimination, Isolation, and Social Exclusion Syrian Dom Asylum Seekers in the Crossfire. Gaziantep: Kırkayak Kültür - Kemal Vural Tarlan, Hacer Foggo The Dom The Other Asylum Seekers from Syria Report.pdf

External linksEdit