Here we break down the various terms to help you distinguish between these three categories. Who is an Arab? Arab is an ethno-linguistic category, identifying people who speak the Arabic language as their mother tongue or, in the case of immigrants, for example, whose parents or grandparents spoke Arabic as their native language.
Although Arab Americans share broadly similar histories of immigration and reception in the USA, their origins, faiths, languages and cultures are diverse. In the US Census 1. It is widely believed, however, that the actual number is closer to 3.
Forty-six per cent of American Arabs were native US citizens, and 54 per cent were foreign born. They resided across the country, but one-third lived in California mainly in the Los Angeles areaMichigan mainly the Detroit area and New York.
Inabout 42 per cent of employed Arab Americans aged 16 and older worked in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 34 per cent of their counterparts in the total population. Arab Americans were less likely than the total population to work in construction, extraction and maintenance 5.
Historical context Immigrants from the Arabic-speaking countries arrived in the USA in three distinct waves. The first, between andbrought overpeople from what was then Greater Syria and other regions, mostly Christian peasants seeking economic opportunity.
Afterwhen prejudicial immigration laws were reformed, there was a third wave of Arab immigrants, numbering aboutMany recent immigrants are alienated by prevailing attitudes and have limited contact with longer-established, more assimilated Arab American communities.
Linguistic barriers have also blocked their social and economic advancement. On average, however, Arab Americans in the twenty-first century are better educated, more prosperous and more politically active than the average American.
In the s, Iran became one of the top ten source countries for US immigration, although by the early s it had become more difficult for Iranians to obtain visas.
Many came as students in the s and s, but most arrived after the Iranian Revolution. A large number are Muslims and supporters of the former Shah, but many left because they were members of leftist opposition movements, non-Islamic faiths or oppressed ethnic groups.
The total number of Iranian Americans is unclear: The state of Texas also has a large Iranian community. Many of the immigrants were members of the upper classes in Iran, and on average they are extremely well educated. Half the US Iranian population is self-employed.
However, many were never wealthy and the process of moving to the USA has caused considerable financial hardship and personal pain. Open hostility between the US and Iranian governments has also raised problems for the Iranian American community. The hostage crisis at the US embassy in Iran, in particular, led to widespread harassment, violence and discrimination.
The community has been experiencing a similar backlash following the 11 September attacks, including, according to the National Iranian-American Council NIACimproper workplace background checks, interrogations and surveillances, deportation proceedings and inappropriate recruitment of informants within the community.
Armenians fled in significant numbers to the USA in reaction to the genocide ofand immigrants from Armenia and its diaspora continue to arrive. The Census countedArmenian Americans, but it is estimated that there are up to 1.
Turkey was also a significant source of immigrants in the early twentieth century, and several thousand people came to the USA from Turkey each year aftermany of them Kurdish.
The Census counted somepeople of Turkish origin. Other migrants during the s and s, often seeking US refugee status, have included Afghans, Azerbaijanis and Bosnians, of whom only a small portion have been admitted.
Persians and even non-Middle East groups like South Indians and Pakistanis have shared the brunt of widespread anti-Arab and anti-Iranian prejudice. Arab Americans and other Middle Eastern people have been the targets of repeated Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI investigation and random violence since the early s, and each US confrontation with a Middle Eastern country is followed by an outbreak of hatred.
During the Gulf War, hundreds of anti-Arab actions, including arson, bombings, assault and attempted murder, took place across the country. InAlex Odeh, a regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee ADC was killed by a bomb trip-wired to his office door, to little government or media reaction.
Inwhen a federal building in Oklahoma was bombed, government officials and media blamed the event on Arabs or Muslims for days, causing a rash of violence, until the FBI charged members of a white anti-government militia.
Few attackers have ever been prosecuted for anti-Arab acts. Negative stereotypes of Middle Eastern characters and of Islam are common in US film and television, and in radio and newspaper commentaries. Civil rights groups have drawn attention to these representations, with some success, but the stereotypes persist in popular US culture.
The ADC and several other Arab groups have been highly visible as critics of bias in US foreign and domestic policy, as well as in public life. Non-Arab groups have organized more around internal professional, academic and religious ties. Middle Eastern women are politically and professionally engaged, but in some groups, particularly Muslim ones, their workforce participation is limited by cultural tradition.
Muslim women have been harassed for wearing traditional dress, and in some schools and other institutions it is prohibited. Middle Eastern American women have complained of marginalization in such debates, particularly in feminist forums, but have gained visibility, for example at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development and at the Beijing World Conference on Women.Muslims in the United States have increasingly made their own culture; there are various Muslim comedy groups, rap groups, Scout troops and magazines, and Muslims have been vocal in other forms of media as well.
Within the Muslim community in the United States there exist a number of different traditions. The Arab nationalism that grew in the new nation-states, along with the belief in the supremacy of Islam, bedeviled relations between the minorities and the Sunni majority and spawned conflicts that continue into the present.
There are also minority Muslim communities in countries across the world, from China to Western Europe to Canada and the United States. Think about the cultural diversity of these Muslims all over the world, from Indonesia to Senegal, from Boston to Bangladesh, from Syria to Germany.
Pew Research Center estimates that there were about million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in This means that Muslims made up about 1% of the total U.S.
population (about million people in ), and we estimate that that share will double by They’re more likely to feel the United States is fighting a war against Islam, to believe Americans are intolerant of Islam and Muslims, and to have experienced discrimination in the past year (whether racial, religious, or both is unclear).
Pew Research Center estimates that there were about million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in This means that Muslims made up about 1% of the total U.S. population (about million people in ), and we estimate that that share will double by