The Sri Lankan Moors (commonly referred to as Muslims) are the third largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka comprising 10% of the country's total population (approx. 2 million people in 2005). They are predominantly followers of Islam. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab traders (Moors) who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the 8th and 15th centuries. The Arabic language brought by the early merchants is no longer spoken, though many Arabic words and phrases are still commonly used. Until the recent past, the Moors employed Arwi as their native language, though this is also extinct as a spoken language. Moors today use Tamil as their primary language with influence from Arabic. Those from central and southern Sri Lanka also widely use Sinhala, an Indo-European language spoken by the ethnic Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka. There are many Muslim schools in Southern, Central and Western Sri Lanka that offer education in Sinhala mediumalong with Tamil medium.
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