Monday, August 14, 2006

No Argument Here

From The Guardian:
If young British Muslims are alienated, that is sad and their anger should be addressed. But anyone whose alienation leads them to want to kill indiscriminately has crossed a line into psychopathic criminality. Policy cannot be dictated by the need to placate such people.
Read the rest. Hat tip: Protein Wisdom.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

George J. Mitchell, Arab American

George J. Mitchell, former Democratic U.S. Senator from Maine, current Chairman of the Walt Disney Corporation, and one of the principal architects of the Good Friday Belfast Peace Agreement, is half Lebanese.

More about George J. Mitchell from Wikipedia.

John H. Sununu, Arab American

John H. Sununu, former Republican Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff under George H. W. Bush, is of Lebanese and Palestinian descent.

His son, John E. Sununu, is a Republican U.S. Senator representing New Hampshire.

More about John H. and John E. from Wikipedia.

Ralph Nader, Arab American

Consumer activist and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader is of Lebanese descent.

More about Ralph Nader from Wikipedia.

He and his mother wrote a cookbook that sounds pretty good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Several questions, need answers

Like many Americans, when I found out about the deal to let UAE-based Dubai Ports World run U.S. ports, I was more than a little concerned.

And also like many Americans, I have questions about whether this company can guarantee security and whether this deal is in the best interests of the United States, and so I support efforts of Congress to obtain answers.

But when President Bush asks why it's okay for a British company (or, one would assume, a Japanese, or German, or Australian company) to run our ports, but not an Arab one, I think I'd like an answer to that one to.

And I don't think "just because they're Arab" is a very good one.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Speaking as a raghead . . .

Speaking as a raghead--or half a raghead anyway, I have to say I'm heartened by the response from across the blogosphere's political spectrum regarding Ann Coulter's remark at CPAC.

According to Ryan Sager:
Ann Coulter proposes a new "post-9/11 rule":
"Rag-head talks tough, rag-head faces consequences."
Ann Coulter would consider herself a conservative, but a wide range of conservative writers and bloggers have criticized and/or condemned this remark, among them Jonah Goldberg, Will Collier, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hackbarth, Rick Moran, James Joyner, and others. It's nice to see.

I can't say the same for some other comments I've read, though, many of them as responses to those bloggers I listed above. Many root her on. Several wrote that it's okay to use such a term, since "they" want to cut everyone's head off. Never mind that the term is a slur against an entire ethnicity (really multiple ethnicities), only a small percentage of which are interested in decapitating people.

Other commenters write that "raghead" is only intended to refer to Muslim terrorists. This is like saying that "dago" only refers to Mafia hitmen, or that when you say "nigger" you don't mean "the good ones" (I've heard that one a lot in my time, unfortunately).

In my experience, "raghead" is a general term of disparagement for Arabs, or perhaps more accurately persons of Middle Eastern descent. It's certainly not as bad as "sand nigger," which I've heard more than once too, but it's nevertheless a slur, right about at the level of "camel jockey." That's how everyone intended it who ever used it around me, anyway.

I've never been called that to my face, mind you; I'm half Arab, and look vaguely Mediterranean, and I suppose these friends and acquaintances don't even think about it half the time. Some never realize what they've said, and others have realized and apologized.

I've always tried to just forget about it. I have yet to succeed.

That's not to say I don't forgive, or that I bear those people any ill will. I still call some of them friends. And in weak moments, I've made a few stupid, disparaging generalizations myself. I seriously doubt there's anyone who hasn't. One quick glance at history will tell us that it's a tendency we've been battling forever. So an offhand slur isn't worth getting very worked up over. We are all of us sinners, or so the book says.

Ethnic slurs are bad because they foment stereotyping and prejudice against an entire group of people based purely on their DNA. From what I know, there's never been a race or ethnicity whose DNA was evil. On the other hand, there have been lots of wholly evil individuals from all races, ethnicities, religions, and walks of life, evil because of the choices they made, the actions they took; Islamist terrorists are such individuals, and they deserve to be condemned along with all other evil persons.

As I've said before, I can't speak for Muslim Arabs. I don't know any. I imagine most want peace. But there are plenty of Arabs who aren't even Muslim. In this country, close to 75% of Arabs are Christian, and many have been here for three generations or more.

I'm one of those such people: a half-Arab, non-Muslim, third-generation American. A few strands of DNA are all I have in common with Islamist terrorists. I find their actions despicable and abhorrent.

Don't lump me in with them.

Let's not sink to the level of those we're fighting against. And thanks again to everyone who isn't.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

General John Abizaid, Arab American

From Wikipedia:
John Philip Abizaid (born April 1, 1951) is a general in the United States Army and the Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), overseeing American military operations in a 25-country region, from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia, covering much of the Middle East.

Abizaid was born in the United States to a Christian Lebanese-American family, is fully fluent in Arabic, and is the most senior military officer of direct Arab descent. His nickname at West Point was “The Mad Arab.”

Shannon Elizabeth, Arab American

The highly attractive actress and model Shannon Elizabeth is part Lebanese and Syrian.

More about Shannon Elizabeth from Wikipedia. (You can search for online galleries of her yourself.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Muslim Site Apologizes for Violence

According to this Norway newspaper article, some apparently moderate Muslim groups have set up a site in which they apologize for the violence other Muslims have committed over the Danish cartoons.

Very good to see.

(via Vodkapundit.)

Doug Flutie, Arab American

Doug Flutie, Heisman Trophy winner and longtime CFL and NFL quarterback, perhaps best known for his Hail Mary Pass against Miami Hurricanes in 1984, is of Lebanese descent.

More about Doug Flutie from Wikipedia.

Other famous Arab-American pro football players include Jeff George, Bill George, and Abe Gibran. Some folks on the Internet have claimed that John Elway is Arab American, but I haven't been able to confirm this.

Steve Jobs, Arab American

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, chairman and CEO of Pixar, and soon to be the largest individual shareholder of the Walt Disney Company, is of Syrian descent.

More about Jobs from Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Arab- and Muslim-American Population: a Venn Diagram

Okay, I'm actually devoting some time to this blog again. To begin with, I constructed the following Venn diagram, based on my posts about the Arab-American population and the Muslim-American population:

The diagram is only meant to be approximate; totally accurate statistics are very hard to come by, as the sources I've linked to indicate. Still, I think it might be helpful to see an illustration of how Muslims are in fact a minority of the Arab-American population, and that Arabs are actually a minority of the Muslim-American population.

What's the point? I've got three:

1. Did you know any this before reading this blog? My guess is you didn't. And the purpose of this blog is to inform.

2. The profiling of Arab-Americans seems to be a rather inefficient expenditure of resources, since about three out of four of the persons profiled are Christian, and thus highly unlikely to be involved in Islamist terrorism. What's more, you'd only be targeting about one in four of the American Muslim population. And that's all before you even address the question of whether the people you're after are only a tiny minority of the Muslim population anyway.

3. The American Muslim organizations who may like to think they speak for all Arab Americans clearly don't--and they very likely don't even speak for the majority of American Muslims. But you'd have to search far and wide in the media to find this out.

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Article About Arab-American Christians

Turned up this interesting article at Christianity Today.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Terror

Word this morning there have been more incidents in England.

I can't fathom the desire and willingness to attack innocent people, whether by suicide bombings or not. There is no justification--NO JUSTIFICATION--for such atrocities.

As I said in an earlier post, I've never known any Muslims. I imagine that most of them are good people, and, like me, are horrified by what they're seeing.

That said, they are going to have to face facts: while other religions and peoples have committed terrorist attacks, right now it is members of Islam who are committing the vast majority of such attacks across the world. Muslims everywhere--and everyone everywhere--who oppose such horror must take a stand.

The willful killing of innocent people is a despicable, depraved crime, and everyone who believes that must do what they can to prevent more killing.

No religion, no injustice, no misdeed by another person or country or faith, no amount of desperation for whatever reason can ever justify terrorist attacks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ethnic Origins of American Muslims

Here's another surprise. According to the U.S. State Department, only 25% of American Muslims are Arab. Here's the complete breakdown:
South Asian (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Afghani) = 33 percent
African-America = 30 percent
Arab = 25 percent
Sub-Saharan African = 3.4 percent
European (Bosnian, Tartar, Kosovar, etc.) = 2.1 percent
White American = 1.6 percent
Southeast Asian ( Malaysian, Indonesian, Filipino) = 1.3 percent
Caribbean = 1.2 percent
Turkish = 1.1 percent
Iranian = 0.7 percent
Hispanic/Latino = 0.6 percent
Total population numbers are disputed by some. The same government page lists the number of American Muslims "associated with a mosque" at 2 million, though other groups say the number is much higher. Here's a range of articles:

Muslims in America: Profile (allied-media.com)
Number of Muslims in the United States (adherents.com)
Daniel Pipes: How Many U.S. Muslims?
Muslim Population in the United States (University of Georgia)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Most Arab Americans are Christian

In my first post I mentioned that the majority of Arab Americans are Christian.

In fact, it might be more accurate to say that the vast majority of Arab Americans are Christian, because according to several sources, 75% of Arab Americans are Christian. Some say the percentage is a bit lower, but no one argues that Christians are not the majority religious group.

Question: Are you surprised to learn that the majority of Arab Americans are Christian (or did you already know)? Why do you think so may people don't know this? I'm really interested in your thoughts.

Sources/Additional Reading:
Wikipedia: Arab American
Arab American Institute
Detroit Free Press: 100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans: A Journalist's Guide
Christianity Today: Lost in America
Christianity Today: Are Most Arab Americans Christian?
Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (Real Audio)

Why this blog?

There's a lot of misconceptions about Arab Americans floating around the blogosphere, the main one being that the terms "Arab" and "Muslim" are virtual synonyms, and it just isn't so. In fact, the majority of Arab Americans in this country are Christian.

I'm part Arab American, from a Christian family who's Arab American members have been in this country for 100 years. I got tired of reading all of the misconceptions about Arab Americans. Often I'd e-mail a writer but receive no response. So I decided to start this blog.

If I can enlighten just a handful of people, this effort will be worth it. My intention is just to provide information and background--some information from other sources, like statistics, and some from my own perspective. I'll try to answer questions as best as I can, so long as they aren't too personal (for now, I'm going to remain anonymous).

Let me make clear, though, that I don't speak for anyone but myself. I couldn't begin to speak for Muslim Americans, because I've never known any. Not proud of that fact, but it's so. But I can't speak for Arab American Christians either, because their views are as diverse as the rest of the people in this country. I only speak for myself.