Last modified on November 1, 2023, at 05:56

Arab American

Arab-American demographics

Arab-Americans are Americans of Arab ancestry. Over 4 million Americans trace their ancestry to Arab countries, and the vast majority are citizens of the United States. Over 75% are Christians, many having escaped religious persecution in their homelands. Today, one-third of Arab-Americans live in California, New York, and Michigan. They are better-educated than the average American. The average Arab-American entrepreneur may have a higher personal and household income than a non-Arab-American counterpart in most regions of the United States.[1] The overall U.S. population grew by 13% in the 1990s, while the Arab-American increased by 38%. Whether Christian or Muslim, Arab-Americans tend to have large families.

The majority of Arab-Americans were born in the United States, with relatively few of them here illegally. The first wave of lawful immigration by Arab-Americans was from the late 1800s to 1924. A second wave occurred from the mid-1940s until 1965. The third wave of their immigration has been since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965.

A majority of Arab-Americans, around 62%, originate from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan.


Prominent Arab Americans in politics include:

  • John H. Sununu (1939- ), Governor of New Hampshire (1983-1989) and White House Chief of Staff for George H. W. Bush (1989-1991); Roman Catholic
  • John E. Sununu (1964- ), his son, Republican Congressman (1996-2002) from New Hampshire and U.S. Senator (2002-2008); Roman Catholic
  • Spencer Abraham (1952- ), Republican Senator from Michigan (1994-2000), Secretary of Energy under George W. Bush (2001-5), Eastern Orthodox
  • James Abdnor (1923- ), Republican Representative from South Dakota (1972–80) and Senator (1980–86); Syrian Orthodox

Arab-american girl.jpg


After the horrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, Arab-Americans braced for the worst, but thankfully the fears of heavy reprisals did not come as the vast majority of America realized they were not to blame. 326 incidents that were believed to be 'hate based' were recorded across the country in the first month after the attack - a large increase from the 20 or so normally expected,[2] but still relatively small in comparison to the population size. Volume dropped substantially after that so that the last 10 months of the year combined actually had far fewer incidents than the first two months after the attack.[3] The worst had passed.

As with many groups, Arab-Americans band together to make sure their concerns are heard. Organizations like the "American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee" seek to make sure American civil rights continue to be extended to people of Arab heritage[4]


It is said that American Muslim reject extremism and that this community is a valued partner in countering extremism.

American Muslims are as concerned about extremism and terrorism as other citizens. Their families and friends in "the old country" have been the primary victims of terrorist attacks. Like other Americans, Muslims were also victims; they too lost loved ones and friends in the 9/11 attacks. John L Esposito [5]

Influential Arab Americans

  • Khalil Gibran known as Gibran Khalil Gibran.
  • Ameen Rihani, author of The Book of Khalid.
  • William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, son of Lebanese parents.
  • Alec E. Gores, businessman, Forbes list of billionaires.
  • Steve Jobs, businessman, Apple.
  • Ralph Nader, presidential candidate of Lebanese parents.
  • Ray LaHood, Congressman (R-Ill.) and U.S. Secretary of Transportation (2009– ) of Lebanese and Jordanian ancestry.
  • Frank Zappa, musician.
  • Emilio Estefan, composer.
  • Paul Anka, singer, composer.
  • Donna Shalala, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (1993–2001).
  • Mostafa El-Sayed, US National Medal of Science laureate.
  • Joseph Farah, author, publisher of WorldNetDaily
  • Casey Kasem, radio personality.
  • John Zogby, pollster

Myths about Muslims in America

Although the majority of Arab-Americans are Christian and also, most Muslims aren't Arab it is important to face some myths, specially as there is a general confusion about Arabs and Muslims in America.

  • American Muslims are foreigners: Islam was in America even before there was a United States.
  • American Muslims are ethnically, culturally and politically monolithic: The American Muslim community is the most diverse Muslim community in the world.
  • American Muslims oppress women: Muslim American women are not only more educated than Muslim women in Western Europe, but are also more educated than the average American. U.S. Muslim women report incomes closer to their male counterparts than American women of any other religion.
  • American Muslims often become “homegrown” terrorists: The largest single source of initial information on planned terrorist attacks by Muslims in the United States was the Muslim American community. Many (Millions) American Muslims are peaceful and define jihad primarily as an internal struggle to improve. (Marvin Olasky).
  • American Muslims want to bring sharia law to the United States: Muslim jurists agree on the principal objectives of sharia: the protection and promotion of life, religion, intellect, property, family and dignity. None of this includes turning the United States into a caliphate.[6]

See also

External links

Islamic mosque, Dearborn, Michigan.


  1. Arab American demographics
  4. What is ADC?
  5. Muslims part of US social fabric. By John L Esposito (professor at Georgetown University.)
  6. Five myths about Muslims in America. Reisal Abdul Rauf.