Arab Americans in Michigan

An interesting post by Patrick Belton on Oxblog.

Quite simply, I fell in love with Dearborn. The largest concentration of Arabs or Muslims in the United States, it’s a study in contrasts – in between miles upon miles of depopulated Detroit blocks now filled only with commercialized sex – Dearborn appears, a small thriving colony of Middle Eastern hustle, entrepreneurship, and colour. Where everything around them is bleak, they’ve created blocks upon blocks of Lebanese restaurants, social service organizations, Arabic newspapers, small businesses, the practices of Lebanese- and British-educated physicians, lawyers, and accountants. Its colour, its bustlingness, its creativity and entrepreneurship are hard to overstate.

While it’s a commonplace to describe the Arab and Muslim communities in the U.S. as monolithic, this actually couldn’t be farther from the case. Rifts are common and frequent, and continually being patched over or exploited by different would-be leaders seeking a panethnic or more particularist base. The factional difference between Sunni and Shi’a, however, is the smallest – at the Islamic Center of America, the nation’s largest mosque, a Qom-trained Shi’a cleric named Imam Sayed Qazwini leads Friday services to a congregation that’s principally Lebanese and Sunni; Shi’a cleric Imam Elahi preaaches to a congregation which is also principally Sunni, and so on. The real rifts are ethnic.

Go read the whole thing.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

5 thoughts on “Arab Americans in Michigan”

  1. Great find, Zack! I was living in east Dearborn for about two years. Patrick has a good eye. I hope he posts links to the articles he winds up writing. He forgot to mention the best part about Islam in Dearborn: Halal Chicken McNuggets!

  2. It seems to me that i’ve heard more bad things about Michigan than good. I do believe there is a wonderful islamic community, but with the many arabs it has also created many places of haraam for instance night clubs.

  3. What I am Reading

    I am busy, so no regular posts today. However, here is some stuff I am reading: A New York Times article about the Lackawanna Six, the Yemeni-Americans in Buffalo who trained at an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. An interesting…

Comments are closed.