Answer True or False
Are the Majority of Muslims in the World Arab?
No. After 9/11, dark-eyed and dark-haired people are probably associated with Islamists and terrorists. However, it is a misconception about the Muslim world to believe that all Muslims are Arab. Muslims are people who confess Islam, and a person of any nationality can become one of them. There are countries where the majority of the population confess Islam. The Organization of Islamic Countries has fifty-five member states (ADC). In other countries, Muslims constitute religious minorities and often live in Muslim communities.
Arabs are not a nationality or race. It is an indication of a specific cultural heritage and a connection to the Arab language group. Usually, Arabs have their roots in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and Syria, but also they can have ancestors in any of the Arab countries. Arabs can have any skin color, fair hair, and blue eyes. In order to be considered an Arab (at least for a census), people should indicate Arab among their first two ancestries (El-Badry). Arabs either speak one of the languages of the Arabic group or have close ancestors who spoke it, as it is in the case of Arab Americans, for example. Arabs are not predominantly Muslim; they can also be Christians and Jewish, or even do not belong to any of religions.
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In fact, only 15% of Muslims are Arabs (Huda). Islam is spread all over the world, and 25% of the worlds population is Muslim. However, the majority of Muslims are actually Asians, because more than 60% of Muslims live in Southeast Asia. Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population; there are 203 million of them. Next come Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh with 174, 161, and 145 million of Muslims correspondingly (Huda). However, Iran, where there are 74 million of the Muslim population, is not considered Arab, because they speak Farsi as a primary language (Huda).
An interesting fact is that most Muslims are not Arab, but most Arabs are Muslim because Muslims are the one-fourth of the worlds population (it is near 1.3 billion) whereas there are only 300 million Arabs in the world (ADC). The Middle East, together with Africa, constitute only one-fourth of all Muslims (Huda).
Muslims are divided into Shiite and Sunni. The Sunni refuse to accept unique theological doctrines and other trappings of a distinct sect that the Shiites developed (Nabeel). The Shiites usually come from Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. Those Arabs who live in the U.S. are mostly Sunni (Nabeel).
Are the Majority of Arab Americans Christian?
Yes, according to the statistics, the majority of Arab Americans are Christians (Nabeel). The Muslims are the second largest group of Arabs in the U.S. Arabs began immigrating to the U. S. since the late nineteenth century. Then, the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965 accelerated the process and a staggering figure of 75 percent of foreign-born Arab-Americans immigrated by 1990 (El-Badry).
Although now mostly Muslim Arabs immigrate to the U.S., Christian Arabs used to come to live in America before 1960. In predominantly Muslim countries, Christians may have suffered from persecution. That is how Iraqs Chaldeans, Egypts Coptic Christians, and Lebanons Maronites came to the U.S. (El-Badry). The unrest in the Middle East coincided with the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965 that annulled racial quotes for entering the U.S. However, even though Christian Arabs used to be the largest segment of immigrating Arabs, now Muslim Arabs is the fastest growing segment.
Arab Christians are rarely Catholic or Protestant. Usually, they are followers of either the Orthodox Church or one of the directions of the Uniate Churches such as Maronites, Melkite, and Chaldean (Nabeel).
However, Muslims who live in the U. S. need to adjust their religious routines to American reality. Thus, Arab American Muslims had to move the communal prayer from Friday to Sunday. Even though an employer or an educational institution can provide Muslims with premises and allocate special time for prayer, obviously, it is rarely done (Nabeel).
Are the Majority of Arab Americans Currently Living in the U. S. American Citizens?
Yes. Contrary to the stereotypes, 82% of Arab Americans who currently reside in the U.S. are citizens, and 63% of them were born in the U.S. (El-Badry). Given the social concerns, which sometimes developing into an irrational fear of Muslims and Arabs, it is a good idea to hold cultural and anthropological studies of Arab ethnicity to dispel ordinary peoples anxiety and show that these citizens are not different from other Americans. People are afraid of what they are not very familiar with. Therefore, this ethnic group should be thoroughly studied.
However, Arab Americans are the least-studied ethnic group in the United States (El-Badry). While the examination, it is discovered that Arab Americans are better educated than the average American (El-Badry). They are engaged in business, so they are prosperous and independent. Therefore, in times of struggling economics, they rely more on themselves and their businesses rather than on the state and state programs for employment. Arab Americans are interested in the flourishing America that will help them be successful as well.
The arriving Arab immigrants try to stay close to the existing Arab communities. Naturally, they are attracted to large cities such as New York and Los Angeles. One of the cities that mostly populated with Arab Americans is Dearborn, Detroit. In terms of states, Over two-thirds live in ten states; one-third in California, New York, and Michigan (El-Badry).
The immigrants open deli shops. Thus, Detroit witnessed 278 shops run by the immigrated Arabs. If not shops, they can be engaged into the auto industry (El-Badry). Overall, Arab Americans are largely involved in sales and retail trade. One-third of all Arab Americans work in sales and the same number in retail trade; it is twice as much as other ethnicities. Usually, Arab Americans choose among executive or administrative jobs, professional occupations, sales, and repair.
Arab Americans are believed to be a misunderstood group (El-Badry). Contrary to the negative image formed by mass media and common stereotypes, Arab Americans contribute to the prosperity of the U. S. and expect cooperation and mutual benefits rather than hampering their entrepreneur work.
Arab Americans are not such a numerous group as people might think. According to a preliminary estimate, their number is up to three million. However, the 1990 census revealed the figure of 870,000 persons. The reason for such a large difference is that people from the Middle East are usually suspicious about revealing any personal information, and they simply withheld the information about their nationality and background. Therefore, the corrected estimate should be around one or two million (Nabeel).