Domari is an Indo-European language spoken by some 30,000 people in North Africa. The language is associated with Gypsies known in North Africa as Dom or Roma. Doms are an ethnic group of a traditionally itinerant people from northern India but mostly now reside in Europe.
In Libya, the Domari language is smattered with Arabic words but continues to maintain its essentially Indian grammar with its origins in Sanskrit. There is no set written form and sometimes Doms will write out Domari in Arabic. In Libya there are two sub-groups or dialects of Domari, Halebi and Nawari.
In Libya many Doms partake in the workforce as day-labourers, watchmen and fortune tellers. Some live in urban environments while others continue the traditional lifestyle of living in modest conditions, such as caravans and tents in rural areas.
Most Doms of the Middle East are Muslim but some continue to believe in Romari traditional teachings alongside their religion. These teachings include ghosts, the “third eye”, healing powers and curses.
Domari is spoken across Libya, but a large population can be found in Tripoli.