Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Informed Comment

Informed Comment

Also captured, with his fate as yet unknown, is Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, a Lebanese-American Marine, His case underlines the service given to the United States by Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. In the wake of September 11, it is especially important that the US public constantly be reminded that Arab Americans are not aliens but a longstanding and essential thread in the great American tapestry. Lebanese began coming to the US in some numbers in the 1880s. That wave of immigration, which was greatly reduced from 1924, also brought the Italians and Eastern European Jews to this country. Although most Lebanese immigrants were Christian, it is estimated that about 10% were Muslim.

Many Arabs took up the peddling trade in the Midwest, trekking long hours to farm houses to supply basic supplies at a time before the Model T and the Sears and Roebuck catalogue made it easy to get them. When the automobile helped kill the peddling business, many Arab Americans flocked to Dearborn to work for Ford, so that ironically the very industry that ended their previous jobs provided them new ones. The "Syrians" were a key element all along in the Detroit automobile industry, and southeast Michigan came to have the largest concentration of Arabs outside the Arab world itself


Thank you, Prof Cole.