Refers to a mixed ethnic group made up of people who speak Arabic. Many practice Islam. Arabs live primarily in North Africa. The 2 groups that make up Arabs are the Bedouins (nomads) and the settled Arabs. Bedouins are mainly Sunni Muslim.
Arab people began to spread into North Africa in the late 600s AD, when the first Muslim armies arrived in Egypt. From there, Arab armies, traders, and scholars spread across northern Africa all the way to Morocco. Wherever the Arabs went, they took Islam and the Arabic language with them. Arabic was necessary if one was to be able to read the Quran, Islam’s holy book. From North Africa, Arab traders began to lead caravans south across the Sahara Desert in the gold and salt trade. This brought Islam and Arab culture to the Sahel region and beyond. Along the east coast of Africa, Arab traders traveled by land and by sea down to present day Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. They married local women and the process of blending cultures and religions began there as well. The Arabic language, the religion of Islam, and many other aspects of Muslim culture became part of Africa. Today Muslims are found throughout Africa. They make up a majority of the people living along the Mediterranean coast and in some countries along the Indian Ocean in the east.