Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the three major monotheistic religions, all originated in what is known today as the Arab World.

Monotheism literally means "the belief in only one God". The central values of family, charity, and respect for others are shared by these three religions. Throughout history, these religions have spread from their birthplace, crossing the boundaries of race and ethnicity, with followers in nearly every country in the world.

Judaism, the oldest of the monotheistic religions, is 3500 years old. Jews believe that God made a promise (called the first covenant) to Abraham that he would be the father of a great people if he followed God’s instructions. Jews believe that God renewed the covenant (the second covenant) with Moses, who led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. God also revealed the Ten Commandments to the Jews as a set of rules to follow.

Islam is almost 1,300 years old and recognizes Moses, Jesus, and many others as prophets. The Prophet Muhammad (570-632 CE) was born in Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia, and is considered the last of the prophets. Muslims believe that Islam began in 610 CE when Muhammad started receiving revelations from God, or Allah in Arabic. These revelations are recorded in the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.

Christianity is nearly 2,000 years old, beginning around 30 CE with the death of Jesus Christ. There is a strong Christian tradition in many parts of the Arab World. Some Arab Christians are the descendants of the very first Christians, and the world’s oldest churches are found in the Arab World. Some church services in the Arab World are still delivered in Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ.