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National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) celebrates the history, contributions, and culture of the diverse population of Arab Americans.
Arab Americans have ancestry in one of the world’s 22 Arab nations, which are located from northern Africa through western Asia. The people of these nations are ethnically, politically, and religiously diverse but share a common cultural and linguistic heritage.
These countries of origin also include nations outside of the Middle East: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Yemen.
There are approximately 3.7 million Arab Americans in the U.S. About 25% practice Islam, and an estimated 63-77% are Christian, according to the Arab American Institute.
Muslims were part of the Americas from the beginning, including areas that would become the United States. They came to the New World as enslaved Africans with the Spanish conquistadors.
A large number of Arabs migrated to the U.S. from 1880-1924, coming from what is present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. After World War II, there was a second wave of immigration which was more diverse. The majority of Arab Americans are of Lebanese descent.
Sources: the INSIGHT Into Diversity, Aeon, and Arab America websites.
Celebrate Arab American Heritage Month with these great titles!
Beyond memory: an anthology of contemporary Arab American creative nonfiction by Pauline Kalda & Khaled Mattawa
History of Arab Americans: exploring diverse roots by Aminah Al-Deen
Kahlil Gibran's little book of love by Kahlil Gibran
Life without a recipe: a memoir by Diana Abu-Jaber
This Muslim American life: dispatches from the War on Terror by Moustafa Bayoumi
The girl who fell to Earth: a memoir by Sophia Al-Maria
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
Classic vegetarian cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum
Arabic complete course: the basics [audiobook]