Monday, February 20, 2006

THE POST 9/11 CLASSROOM...continued...



Where do I start? The first thing I need to do is read more about the Arab people. Who are the Arabs? According to the online encyclopedia, Columbia, Arab is the “name originally applied to the Semitic peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. It now refers to those persons whose primary language is Arabic. They constitute most of the population of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank, and Yemen; Arab communities are also found elsewhere in the world. The term does not usually include Arabic-speaking Jews, but it does include Arabic-speaking Christians.”

Detroit has one of the largest populations of Arab-Americans in the nation. Because of this, immediately after the World Trade Center bombings, the Detroit Free Press (2001) published an article that tried to educate and dispel the many disparaging myths regarding Arab-Americans. Some assume that Arabs are bound by their religious beliefs but Arabs are a people that are united by the Arabic language. Within that common language, they belong to many religions, including Christianity and Judaism. The article stated: “Common misconceptions are to think that Arab traditions are Islamic, or that Islam unifies all Arabs. Most Arab Americans are Catholic or Orthodox Christians.”

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