Syrian Culture

Naming

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  • Most people use Arabic naming conventions in Syria. This formatted as: [personal name] [father’s personal name] [grandfather’s personal name]. For example, Youssef Khalil Hamed (male), Fadwa Khalil Hamed (female). It is important to understand that this naming convention does not involve the use of a surname. 
  • Sometimes people may use their family’s name instead of their grandfather’s personal name: [personal name] [father’s personal name] [FAMILY NAME]. For example, Youssef Khalil AL-NOURY.
  • One’s family name is often linked to a person’s heritage and may indicate their region of origin or ethnicity. However, some are chosen for their meaning. For example, the President’s family changed their name to “Al-Assad” which means “the Lion”. Family names frequently begin with ‘Al-‘ or ‘El-’.
  • Traditionally, Arab Muslim women do not alter their name upon marriage, although some women may adopt their husband’s family name.
  • The English spelling of Arabic names can vary depending on whether one uses contractions. For example, Saladdin could also be spelt Sal-ad-Din or Sal-Addin. 
  • Many Syrian Muslims use names derived from Islam (e.g. Muhammad). Syrian Christians may use biblical names, such as Mariam (Mary) or Ittack (Isaac).
  • Some Syrian’s personal names are compounded words. It is common for a name to begin with ‘Abd’, ‘Abd al’ or ‘Abdul’ (meaning ‘servant of’) followed by one of the names of God. For example, ‘Abdul-Aziz’.
  • Parents are commonly referred to as the “mother” (Umma) or “father” (Abu) of their child by their community. For example, President Hafez al-Assad was sometimes referred to as “Abu Bassel”, after his son Bassel al-Assad died.
Syrian Arab Republic
  • Population
    17,185,170
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Arabic (official)
    Kurdish
    Armenian
    Aramaic
    Circassian
    French
    English
  • Religions
    Sunni Islam (74%)
    Shi'a Islam (13%)
    Christianity (10%)
    Druze (3%)
    Judaism (>1%)
  • Ethnicities
    Arab (90.3%)
    Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian and other (9.7%)
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 80
    Individualism 35
    Masculinity 52
    Uncertainty Avoidance 60
    Long Term Orientation 30
    Indulgence N.A.
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  • Australians with Syrian Ancestry
    19,963 [2016 census]
Syrians in Australia
  • Population
    15,321
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Syria.
  • Average Age
    45
  • Gender
    Male (48.2%)
    Female (51.8%)
  • Religion
    Islam (35.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (18.3%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (13.9%)
    Oriental Orthodox Christianity (10.5)
    No Religion (3.1%)
    Other (22.2%)
  • Ancestry
    Syrian (48.2%)
    Armenian (9.8%)
    Assyrian (9.8%)
    Arab (9.7%)
    Other (22.5%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Arabic (71%)
    Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (10.7%)
    Armenian (8.5%)
    English (5.5%)
    Other (4.3%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 72.9% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (61.4%)
    Victoria (27%)
    Queensland (3.8%)
    Western Australia (3.4%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (70.1%)
    2001-2006 (13%)
    2007-2011 (12.2%)
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