Arab American Heritage

History

During the month of April, the Arab America Foundation formally recognizes the achievements of Arab Americans through the celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM). Across the country, cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public servants, and non-profit organizations issue proclamations and engage in special events that celebrate our community’s rich heritage and numerous contributions to society.

Arab America and the Arab America Foundation launched the National Arab American Heritage Month initiative in 2017, with just a handful of states recognizing the initiative. Each year, our grass-roots network of over 250 Arab American volunteers in 26 states gathers hundreds of proclamations from their states, counties, municipalities, and local school districts. If you would like to join a state team please contact Dr. Amal David.

The President of the United States recognized the month of April as National Arab American Heritage Month with a special commemorative letter to our organization. In 2021, Congress, the U.S. Department of State, and 37 state governors issued proclamations commemorating the initiative. Additionally, the following states have passed permanent legislation designating the month of April as NAAHM: IllinoisOregonVirginia; and Indiana (Senate). Read more.

Arab American Foundation. National Arab American Heritage Month. arabamericafoundation.org/national-arab-american-heritage-month/

Heritage and Resources

Arab America Foundation
ArabAmerica.com
Arab American Institute
Arab Americans – Washington, DC
The Story of Arab Americans’ Beginning in America – And the Quest for Fair Representation
Arab American Museum
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

People

Who is considered an Arab American? 

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.

The world’s 22 Arab nations are 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.

Terminology

In the U.S., many people conflate “Arab” and “Middle Eastern,” but linguistic and geographical factors mean that these terms are not fully interchangeable, according to the Arab American National Museum (AANM). The Middle East includes non-Arabic nations such as Iran, Israel, and Turkey. Similarly, not all Arabic nations are located in what is considered the Middle East — including Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco.  

Religion

A common misconception is that all Arab Americans are Muslim. Approximately 25 percent practice Islam, and an estimated 63 to 77 percent are Christian, according to the Arab American Institute.

Language

A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that Arabic is the fastest growing language in the U.S. The number of people who speak Arabic at home increased by 29 percent between 2010 and 2014.

Population Size

There are approximately 3.7 million Arab Americans in the U.S.

Insight Into Diversity. (2021, March 16). National Arab American Heritage Month. insightintodiversity.com/national-arab-american-heritage-month/

 
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