Total population
2.2 million (estimated)
Regions with significant populations
Middle East, North Africa
Domari, Arabic (also various dialects), Kurdish, Turkish, Albanian, Hebrew
Islam, Christianity, Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Romani people, Lom people, Domba, Balkan Egyptians, other Indo-Aryans

The Dom (also called Domi; Arabic: دومي / ALA-LC: Dūmī, دومري / Dūmrī, Ḍom / ضوم or دوم, or sometimes also called Doms) are descendants of the Dom with origins in the Indian subcontinent which through ancient migrations are found scattered across Middle East, North Africa, the Eastern Anatolia Region, and parts of the Balkans and Hungary. The traditional language of the Dom is Domari, an endangered Indo-Aryan language, thereby making the Dom an Indo-Aryan ethnic group.[1]

They used to be grouped with other traditionally itinerant ethnic groups originating from India: the Rom and Lom people. However, they left India at different times and using different routes.[2] The Domari language has a separate origin in India from Romani and Doms are not closer to the Romani people than other Indians such as Gujaratis.[3] Dom people do not identify themselves as Romanis.[4]


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[5] at different times and using different routes.[2]

The word Dom are used to describe peoples from Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Anatolia Region/Turkey.[6]

In Morocco, Sidi Mimoun and Ben Souda groups are among the most known Moroccan Dom groups, they are known with their singing and music.[7]

Among the various Domari subgroups, they were initial part of Ghawazi whom were known for their dancing and music business. The Ghawazi dancers as have been associated with the development of their own dancing reputation under the rule of Muhammad Ali Pasha. Some Muslim Roma must have Dom ancestry too, because in Evliya Çelebi's Seyahatname of 1668, he explained that the Gypsy's from Komotini (Gümülcine) swear by their heads, their ancestors came from Egypt.[8] Also the sedentary Gypsys groups from Serres region in Greece, believe their ancestors were once taken from Egypt Eyalet by the Ottomans after 1517 to Rumelia, to work on the tobacco plantations of Turkish feudals there.[9] Muslim Roma settled in Baranya and the City Pécs at the Ottoman Hungary. After the Siege of Pécs when Habsburg take it back, Muslim Roma and some other Muslims convert to the Catholic faith in the years 1686 -1713.[10] Interestingly, the Ghagar a subgroup of the Doms in Egypt, tell that some of them went to Hungary.[11]


The majority of the estimated population of 2.2 million live in Iran, Eastern Anatolia Region in Turkey, and with significant numbers in Syria and Iraq. Smaller populations are found in Afghanistan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Sudan, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and other countries of the Middle East and North Africa.[12]

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 language, their national language, continues to be spoken by more insular communities. Iranians called them gurbati or kouli, the former meaning "poor" and the latter meaning "foreigners".[13]

There is a large concentration of Dom in Jordan. Researchers have written 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.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Türki̇ye'de Rom, Dom Ve Lom Gruplarinin Görünümü
  2. ^ a b Hubschmannova, Milena; Kalinin, Valdemar; Kenrick, Donald (2000). Bakker, Peter; Kichukov, Khristo (eds.). What is the Romani language?. Centre de recherches tsiganes. p. 18. ISBN 1-902806-06-9. OCLC 45827711.
  3. ^ Hancock, Ian F. (2002). We are the Romani People. Centre de recherches tsiganes. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-902806-19-8. OCLC 52312737.
  4. ^ Özateşler, Gül (1 December 2013). "The "Ethnic Identification" Of Dom People In Diyarbakir". Journal of Modern Turkish History Studies. 13 (27): 279. ISSN 1300-0756.
  5. ^ Matras, Yaron (December 2012). "Domari". [romani] project. School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures The University of Manchester. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Groupe Sidi Mimoun et Groupe Ben Souda, retrieved 25 September 2021
  8. ^[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ Zachos, Dimitrios (2011). "Sedentary Roma (Gypsies): The case of Serres (Greece)". Romani Studies. 21: 23–56. doi:10.3828/rs.2011.2. S2CID 144321480 – via ResearchGate.
  10. ^ Die Baranya in den Jahren 1686 bis 1713: Kontinuität und Wandel in einem ...
  11. ^ Newbold, Capt (1856). "The Gypsies of Egypt". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 16: 285–312. JSTOR 25228684.
  12. ^ Scull, J. C. (17 June 2020). "The History of the Gypsies". Medium.
  13. ^ "PanArmenian.Net - Mobile".
  14. ^ 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