Arab American Almanac, 6th Edition, Condensed Version

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ArabAmerican Almanac Sixth Edition

Joseph R. Haiek Publisher Editor-in-Chief

Almanac is an Arabic word meaning weather or state of condition Sponsored by The Arab American Historical Foundation

Published by THE NEWS CIRCLE PUBLISHING HOUSE Glendale, California, U.S.A.



Table of Contents

Arab American Historical Chronology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Who discovered America before Columbus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 The pioneers , 1850-1920 . . . . . . .20 The Titanic Arab tale, 1912 . . . . . .30 Consolidating a community’s direction, 1920-1947 . . . . . . . . . . .33


Arab Contributions to World Civilization . . . . . . . . . . . .194 Mathematics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .196 Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .198 Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .199 Philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .201


Arabic Literary Renaissance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .208 Ameen Rihani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209 Michail Naimy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .210 Gibran Kahlil Gibran . . . . . . . . . .213


Arab American Organizations . . .217 Amin Rihani Organization . . . . . .218 American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee ( ADC) . . . . . . . . . . .218 Ramallah Palestine . . . . . . . . . .220


Arab American Press . . . . . . . . .253 Historical chronology of the Arab American Press . . . . . .259



Religious Institutions . . . . . . . . .280 Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese . . Arab American Muslims . . . . . . .291 Maronite Catholic Diocese . . . . .284 Melkite Catholic Eparchy . . . . . .286 The Druze in America . . . . . . . . .241


Who’s Who among Arab Americans . . . . . . . . . . . . . .244


The Arab World . . . . . . . . . . . . . .407


U.S.A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .445


A Century of Arab American Achievements and Contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .479 Patriotism runs deep in Arab Americans . . . . . . . . . . . . .479


Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .564 Prof. Edward Said books . . . . . .584 Prof. Majid Khadduri books . . . .585


Arabic Words used in English Vocabulary . . . . . . . . 587 Arabic script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .591 Arabic Alphabet and numerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .592




The publisher dedicates the Arab American Almanac, 6th edition to the Arab American youth and presents the following message from Gibran Kahlil Gibran

“I Believe in You”

Condensed from Kahlil Gibran’s article published in the first edition of The Syrian World Magazine, New York, July 1926, addressing “Young Americans of Syrian Origin”

I believe in you, and I believe in your destiny. I believe that you are contributors to this new civilization. I believe that you have inherited from your forefathers an ancient dream, a song, a prophecy, which you can proudly lay as a gift of gratitude upon the lap of America. I believe you can say to the founders of this great nation, “Here I am, a youth, a young tree whose roots were plucked from the hills of Lebanon, yet I am deeply rooted here, and I would be fruitful.” I believe that even as your fathers come to this land to produce riches, you were born here to produce riches by intelligence, by labor. And I believe that it is in you to be good citizens. And what is it to be a good citizen? It is to acknowledge the other person’s rights before asserting your own, but always to be conscious of your own. It is to be free in thought and deed, but it is also to know that your freedom is subject to the other person’s freedom. It is to create the useful and beautiful with your own hands, and to admire what others have created in love and with faith. It is to produce wealth with labor and only by labor, and to spend less than you have produced that your children may not be dependent on the state for support when you are no more. It is to stand before the towers of New York, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco, saying in your heart, “I am the descendant of a people that builded Damascus, and Biblus, and Tyre and Sidon, and Antioch, and now I am here to build with you, and with a will.” It is to be proud of being an American, but it is also to be proud that your fathers and mothers came from a land upon which God laid his gracious hand and raised His messengers. Young Americans of Syrian origin, I believe in you. ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION



The Arab American Almanac has become an indispensable source of information about citizens of the United States who hailed from Arab lands. These immigrants varied greatly in age, background, education level, and religion. They belong to every conceivable profession, rich to poor, with little education to Ph.D. holders, and from sophisticated city dwellers to farm boys. They constitute a group of people as varied as the U.S. population itself. Because of their diversity, they have significantly contributed to the nation in every field of endeavor. If one is to generalize, these immigrants came mostly in three waves. The earliest were those who arrived in the last quarter of the 19th Century. These were mostly Lebanese and Syrian Christians; many were merchants. The second wave came in the middle of the 20th Century, mostly to escape the heavy hand of military rule in their countries of origin. The latest wave is the contemporary immigrants who escape from the crushing economic conditions to seek hope for a better future. Arabs who come to America easily dissolve in the society. They do not come here to establish a distinct block, but they much rather disperse quietly. They seem to have done that so well that their impact on the political landscape - as a block - is limited. Also, the Arab American civic groups and NGOs are too numerous and sometimes were at odds with each other. Much of that might be due to the fact that Arab immigrants may have brought perceived ancient differences with them from various lands of origin. A positive sign is the much younger age of the most recent wave of immigrants. Tribal or ancient differences between groups back home would not mean much to these young people. Therefore, they would be less burdened by them and ready to cooperate as active members of the American social fabric. Thus, if I am asked where this Almanac should venture next, I would not hesitate to say that it should have considerable coverage of “Young Arab Americans.” It should give examples of our youth and deal with their accomplishments as well as their hopes and dreams. A thoughtful reader will realize how difficult it is to put a volume like this together. It is done by seeking knowledge from disparate sources and working diligently with various groups with different objectives. This would normally require an organization of considerable size and the attendant resources. However, the volume is the work of one energetic and highly dedicated man: Joseph Haiek. Joseph Haiek has tirelessly worked for years and has done an admirable job in producing the Arab American Almanac series. He deals with the topic in its entirety, generating a crosssection whose depth and breadth scholars appreciate and envy. One of the most significant accomplishments is the attention to historical details and seeking information from reputable sources and recognized references. This sixth edition is a testimony to Joseph Haiek’s unstinting efforts, unlimited intellectual energy, and tireless perseverance. His work has brought to life a segment of American society that would otherwise remain hidden and unappreciated. It is hoped that this volume is coveted by libraries throughout America as a testimony to a group of immigrants who have greatly contributed to the fabric of this great nation.

Dr. Farouk El-Baz is the Director for Remote Sensing, Boston University, MA. Note his biography in the Who’s Who Chapter 7. ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION



Arab American Historical Chronology This chapter highlights chronologically Arab American historical events, some that made national headlines, others that gained little, if any, public attention. Small, seemingly unimportant facts and events are particles of history that, when combined, reveal the true wealth of Arab American history, and become a visible string woven within the fabric of American culture and exhibited in the annals of history. Toward that end, we encourage Arab Americans to conserve and contribute historical articles, copies of scholarly papers, photographs, and other historical data to the archives of the Arab American Historical Foundation (AAHF) for use in future publications. For details, visit: This chapter covers Arab American historical chronology through 2009. Additional important books covering Arab American history are found in the bibliography chapter 11.

Immigration of Arab Americans The late Dr. Philip Hitti, Professor of History at Princeton University and author of many books on Arabs and the Arab American community, wrote the following article during World War II in which he briefly described the immigration of Arab Americans: Our people are among the more recent immigrants into the United States. It was not until the 1880’s that the Arabs reached America. The pioneers were Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian. Few were members of the educated class for Egypt had formed the chief center of attraction for such men. Friendless, penniless, and helpless, they landed at Kees al-Khardal (Castle Garden) in lower Manhattan, NY.

Ignorant of the language of the land and the customs of its people, and with no consuls or counselors to guide or advise them, they had to struggle hard to keep body and soul together. They were mostly men, hardly any women; young men who had heard that the streets of “Na-Yurk” (New York) overflowed with gold. They were intent on getting their share and returning to their native villages in Syria or Lebanon to build a house with a red brick roof and enjoy life forever after. Their first experience must have been very disheartening, but they proved worthy descendants of their adventurous ancestors, the Phoenicians and Arabs. As peddlers, trying to sell crosses, rosaries, and icons from the Holy Land, and later laces and notions, they wandered with their Kashshis from street to street and from town to town until they covered almost every city in the States. Snow and



rain did not stop them, nor did they lose heart. Signs at the doors reading: “No beggars, no peddlers” meant nothing to them, as they could read no English. It was these peddlers who laid the basis of our economic prosperity in this country. All honor to their memory! At the turn of the century, the Syrian peddler transformed into a small storekeeper. His store lay on the east or the lower side of the big industrial city or “across the tracks.” By this time, women from Syria had become more numerous. Humble flats and tenement houses were occupied by Syrian and Lebanese families close to the slums of New York, Boston, Chicago, and other crowded cities. “Little Syrias” arose near “Little Italys” and other foreign colonies. The Americans did not understand these newcomers any more than the newcomers understood the Americans. They called them “Turks,” “Assyrians,” and all kinds of other names. By the beginning of the First World War, a new step had been taken. The peddler had become a storekeeper, and the storekeeper had become a manufacturer of kimonos, negligees, lace, dresses, and other apparel. Importers of rugs, olives, and other Near Eastern products made their appearance. The families now included a new generation of Americanborn Syrians, and all ideas of returning to the old homeland were abandoned. The stores moved from Washington Street, in New York City, to Fifth Avenue, uptown, and the family residence moved to Brooklyn. A new era dawned upon our people, an era of comparative economic sufficiency, if not actual prosperity. Maronite, Orthodox, and Melkite churches were built; Arabic newspapers flourished; several magazines were published; clubs and societies were organized; and closer contacts were established with American cultural life. The present decade finds us on the threshold of a new era in the history of our immigration. This may be termed the era


of making a spiritual, an intellectual, a scientific, and artistic kind of contribution. Our position is now more or less secure; we are beginning to enjoy leisure; we can afford to patronize colleges, establish scholarships, and take full advantage of the opportunities – other than economic – which this country has to offer. We are now in a position to participate in the finer things in life, the more abundant life that America can provide. It is not enough to say that we have made money; we should use our money for a higher end, a nobler purpose. Here, at last, is our chance to prove to the Americans that we are not only merchants and businessmen, but heirs of an ancient culture and a venerable tradition which we would like to share with them. We want to prove that we are here not only to take but to give and that we have behind us a noble language, a rich literature, a glorious history and a store of religiousness and spirituality that can enrich the new heritage into which we have entered in our new homeland. In our veins flows the blood of people who through the ages put spiritual, moral, and intellectual values above material values. We are the heirs of a culture that was the first to teach mankind the dignity of the individual and his equality with every other individual. We represent a people who in the Middle Ages were the only bearers of the torch of enlightenment and who laid the basis of scientific lore from Spain in the West to Turkestan in the East. That we shall do our military share in the present world conflict is unquestionable. Our record in the First World War shows that, comparatively speaking, we contributed more soldiers than any other community. But with that we should not be satisfied. During the war, in the period of reconstruction that followed and forever after that, we should never lose sight of the educational and intellectual contribution we can and have made to the culture of the New World.



Court of Louis, Arab Architecture, Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Arab Contributions to World Civilization



This chapter presents a substantive overview of the entire range of Arab contributions to world civilization such as mathematics, medicine, literature, geography and other intellectual fields. In truth, there is much more that could and should be said, but perhaps the eloquence of the late renowned ArabAmerican scholar and historian, Dr. Philip Hitti, provides the best testament to Arabs of the past: “Here, at least, is our chance to prove that we are not only merchants and businessmen, but heirs of an ancient culture and a venerable tradition which we like to have others share with us. We want to prove that we are here not only to take but to give and that we have behind us a noble language, a rich literature, a glorious history and a store of religiousness and spirituality that can enrich the new heritage into which we have entered in our new homeland.” This topic is within the scope of this Arab-American Almanac, but it would require much more space than is available here. However, for the benefit of readers interested in pursuing further study of Arab culture, history and contributions, an extended bibliography chapter has been provided. This includes major websites of educational institutions and major libraries. ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION


Arab Contributions

The Beginning of the Arab Era

In the year 622 AD, a new religion appeared in Arabia, the land of religions and prophets. In the beginning the Arabs flatly rejected that religion and persecuted its founder, the Prophet Mohammed. Yet, it was not long before they comprehended the spirit of that message and enthusiastically accepted Islam. United under their caliphs and military leaders and driven by their faith, they conquered Arabia in the first 25 years and, within the first century, had carved out an empire that extended from India in the East to Spain in the West. After retiring from wars and integrating with the Byzantine and Persian civilizations, the Arabs realized that their empire would disappear without educational and scientific support. The only philosophy that met their needs was that of the Greeks, then neglected and buried largely in monasteries. The Arabs began translating these books until the days of the Caliph Al Mamoun of Baghdad (803), who was recognized for his love of education. Motivated by the need for knowledge among his subjects, and in competition with the Caliph of Spain, Abdul Rahman An Nasir, Al Mamoun established an academy of translators (Dar-El-Hikmah) headed by the Arab Christian, Hunyayn bin Ishaq al-Ibadi, to translate all Greek learnings from mathematics to medicine, philosophy to astrology. The Arab scholars not only translated but provided commentaries and added to those subjects from their own knowledge. They thus contributed to the spread of Greek civilization, yet also left their own imprint on the body of present-day knowledge of science and technology. A thousand years after the rise of Islam, European thinkers, in probing the relationship between God and man and the existence of the spirit in life and after

death, found their answers in Greek-Arab manuscripts which were available only in Arabic. Archbishop Raymond opened the first European school in the 12th century, in Toledo, Spain, for the translation of Arab manuscripts in philosophy, medicine, chemistry, history, and astrology. The majority of Western thinkers focussed on Ibn Rushd as an Aristotelian and independent thinker, while others leaned toward Al-Farabi and Ibn Sina. The teachings of Ibn Rushd became the leading philosophical doctrine of the universities of Paris, Padua, and Bologna.

The Golden Age

For many centuries, the Arab World lay in the shadow of the Ottoman Empire, linguistically isolated, and a quiet backwater in international trade and politics; but it has not always been so. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1919, as a result of World War I, the picture changed once more. New and independent nation states arose, and eventually discarded the fetters of European political influence; petroleum was discovered in huge quantities, and world demand increased dramatically. Since then, unprecedented changes have taken place in the Middle East. The influx of oil money and exposure to Western intellectual traditions have stimulated a renaissance of Arab learning and development. For the second time in history, education, science, medicine, and technological improvement have become major concerns. It happened before in the wake of the Arab conquest of the ancient world. Between the seventh and eighth centuries A.D., the Arabs established political and religious dominance in the area from the Pyrenees to Central Asia. North Africa, Egypt, Persia, and the Byzantine territories were bound together in a huge empire, ruled by a single dynasty. The political dominance of the Arab



1920 - Some members of the Pen League (Al-Rabitah Al-Qalamiyyah), from left: Nasib Aridah, publisher of Al Founoun; Gibran Kahlil Gibran, author, poet, artist; Abdel Masih Haddad, publisher of Al-Sayeh; Michail Naimy, author and poet.



Arabic Literary Renaissance

The role of Gibran Kahlil Gibran and the “Pen League” in shaping modern Arabic literature


There is no doubt that the literary renaissance of the Arabic language started in the second half of the 19th century. The pioneers of this great event in the Arab world were from Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. These Arab states were enlightened and awakened before the other Arab countries because of their direct contact with the West, through missionaries, consulates, denominational foreign schools and scientific endeavors. Mohammed Ali was the first leader to send missions of intelligent students to France. This renaissance is believed to be the third one in Arab history. The first was created by the Prophet Mohammed, who enlightened and united all the Arab world. Through his revealed glorious Qur’an and its wonderfully beautiful style, he pushed

the Arabs ahead and gave them a new spirit of life from which they became a great nation and the leaders of knowledge contributing to the world civilization. The second renaissance took place in Baghdad during the reign of the two famous Caliphs, Haroon Al-Rasheed and his son, Abdullah Al-Mamoon, and in Spain where a new style of poetry, Al-Muwashahat, and architecture, were created. The third, as I mentioned above, started in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt, but the renaissance movement there was not organized and had no aim. It was a movement of individuals, such as Ahmad Faris Al-Shidyaq, Butrus AlBustany, Adib Ishaq, Najeeb Haddad, Francis Marrash, and Farah Antoun. At the head of the organized renaissance movement were Gibran Kahlil Gibran and Ameen Rihani.


Some members of Al-Rabitah Al-Qalamiyyah (Pen League), New York, from left sitting: Ameen Rihani, William Catzefia, Abdelmasih Haddad, Elias Atallah. Standing from left: Rashid Ayoub, unidentified guest, Nadrah Haddad, Nasib Aridah and Wadi Bahout.




The Pillars of Arabic Literature In the United States

After the famous writers and orators mentioned before, there appeared in the United States the most effective group in our modern history of Arabic literature. Gibran Kahlil Gibran was the founder and master of this group. On April 28, 1920, a group of literary men met in Gibran’s home and the Pen League (Al-Rabitah AlQalamiyyah) was founded. This was Gibran’s school which, by his wise leadership and guidance, created a new style of poetry and prose. The aim of this school was to modernize the Arabic language and make of it a living one like other living languages. Gibran and members of Al-Rabitah were excellent examples for all writers in the Arab world. They were against the old traditional style in poetry that rhymed prose, used antiquated words and expressions, which the majority of the people could not understand. Their

success was great, and many Arab writers followed their beautiful, clear, and effective style.

Ameen Rihani 1876-1940

Ameen Rihani was born in Freike, Mount Lebanon on November 24, 1876. In 1888, he emigrated with Naoum Rihani and his uncle, Abdoh Rihani, to the United States. He was educated in private and night schools and at the New York Law School where he studied only one year. Before studying law, he also tried to be an actor so that he might become rich in a short time. He spent three months acting and decided this was not the profession for him. Finally, it was literature that captured his heart. In 1898, he returned to Lebanon




Arab American Organizations

Arab Americans, then called Syrians, started organizing in late 1890. At first, the emphasis was on social, religious and cultural goals. However, throughout the years, organizations gained sophistication and started to specialize in major fields such as politics, science, medicine, law, the arts, music and the press. There are national, regional and local organizations, clubs and institutions in every major metropolitan area in the United States. It is worth noting that many Arab American organizations added their own website addresses. The following is only a partial profile about Arab American organizations in the U.S. that responded and updated their organization’s entry. This chapter also includes a section about major American organizations interested in supporting major issues in the Arab world affairs, including assisting Palestinian refugees. Arab American organizations not covered in this chapter, may mail fact sheets, photos and/or brochures to the editor for publication in the next edition of the Almanac and coverage in future issues of The News Circle, Arab-Affairs American magazine and the Arab American Historian newsletter. Soon, Arab American organizations will be posted on the website of The News Circle Publishing House: and the Arab American Historical Foundation:

1904 • Founding members of the Syrian-Lebanese American Association, New York. ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION

1932 • Founding banquet of the Southern Federation of the Lebanese-Syrian American Federation, Houston, Texas. AMEEN RIHANI ORGANIZATION Founded in 1997 to promote Rihani's thought, disseminate knowledge of his works, and serve as a vehicle of literary and intellectual rapprochement between East and West. One of its first undertakings was the development of an Internet home page which went on-line in 1997. The page features Rihani's life, works, museum, honors, and recognitions. The organization contributed to the International Symposium on Rihani held in Washington, D.C. in April 2002, assisted several professors and Ph.D. students worldwide in their research on Rihani, and established a yearly scholarship for freshman college students of Lebanese and other Arab descent. Ameen Rihani Organization, P. O. Box 3944, Gaithersburg, MD 20885.




AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE (ADC) - A civil rights organization dedicated to defending the rights of people of Arab descent and promoting their rich cultural heritage. ADC is the largest Arab American non-sectarian, nonpartisan grassroots organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former U.S. Senator James Abourezk and has chapters nationwide. Through its Legal Services Department, ADC offers counseling and selected impact litigation in the areas of immigration, discrimination, and defamation. As the educational branch of ADC, the ADC Research Institute (ADCRI) publishes information on issues of concern to Arab Americans which aims at ensuring an accurate, objective and fair portrayal of Arab history and culture in schools. ADCRI also administers a yearround internship program for college stu-




Arab American Press

The History of the Arabic Language Press in the U.S.A.


The emergence of the Arabic-language press in America goes back to the beginning of the settlement of immigrants from Arabic-speaking lands under Ottoman rule. Thousands of immigrants established themselves in the United States as peddlers, small business owners, merchants, workers and professionals. In its heyday, from 1890s to the 1930s, the Arabic-language press not only played a major role in the lives of the Arabic-speaking community in the US, but its political, intellectual and technological influences reached the Arab world as well. Almost as soon as they set foot on the new land, Lebanese and Syrian immigrants began to publish their papers and magazines. Between 1892 and 1928, over 70 newspapers, magazines, journals and other publications were issued. In New York alone, 35 papers were published, 5 in Boston, 5 in Detroit, 3 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and 2 in Philadelphia. Some of the papers survived for only a few months, others for years, and AlHuda, before its demise in 1993, was the oldest surviving Arabic paper, after AlAhram, Egypt. The large number of papers was due to the fragmented nature of the community and to its intellectual vibrancy. The immigrants’ real numbers during this time is still unknown. Estimates vary, from about 10 to 50 thousand by the

1890s, and a little over 250 to 300 thousand by the 1920s. It was within this small community that a diverse and vibrant press which served as the incubator of a lively and far-reaching literary and artistic movement emerged. This movement rejected the traditional techniques, forms and styles of the homeland authors, and launched an unprecedented radical literary and cultural movement, which was imitated by new generations of writers and poets in al-Mahjar, the diaspora, and in the Arab world. The movement took its shape in literary societies in North and South America. Among them were the Pen League (al-Rabitah al-Qalamiyah), the Golden Circle, and the Andallusian Band (al-Usbah al-Andalusiyah) in South America. The immigrant press was the arena for the literary activities of these intellectuals. Some of the publishers of the leading papers were prominent littÊrateurs in their own right, and opened the pages of their newspapers to the intellectual products of many of the young and budding writers, historians, poets, novelists, journalists and others. The papers provided the opportunity for writers such as Amin al-Rihani, Mikhail Naimy, Abd al-Masih and Nadra Haddad, Iliya Abu Madhi, Afifah Karam, Nasib Aridha, and many others the opportunity to reach a wide audience with their messages and styles, and to test readers’ reaction to their contributions. The press came to serve as a school to educate immigrants, the majority of whom did not know English, and it provided them with knowledge about the rest of the world. They learned about their new country, its system of government, and its politics. The papers also were an important tie between the immigrants and the


Press and Media

“old country.� They were informed of its news and were often mobilized to help meet humanitarian and political crises. The press also adopted major nationalist causes and issues, and called on readers to help achieve the liberation of Syria and Lebanon, and other Arab lands, first from the Turks, and later from the French and English. Some papers also called for independence from the British, French and other colonizers after World War II. The press additionally provided an important link with other immigrant communities in Canada, South America, Australia, Egypt and Europe, as well as among immigrant communities in the United States. The freedom to publish which these immigrants experienced in the US was a great boon to them, but it sometimes only helped to accentuate the differences existing in their homeland. The early immigrants to America brought with them all of their customs, traditions, differences and sectarian identities, as well as their love for the homeland they were forced to leave. At times, this press in America entered into fierce battles and recriminations, which only served to strengthen divisions and conflict. Each sect favored certain foreign powers, consequently Al-Huda was Maronite, Lebanese and pro-French, Miraat al-Gharb Orthodox, Arabist and pro-Russian. Al-Bayan was Islamic and pro-Ottoman, and later on pan-Arab. The journalistic tradition of the intel-


lectuals and activists ran deep in their modern history. They found in the press an effective and meaningful instrument to voice their opinion, to declare their aspirations and objectives. It also provided a practical way to communicate with their compatriots in the US, other lands of settlement, and in the old country. The first paper to be published in the US was the moderate, bilingual weekly, Kawkab America, launched in 1892 by Najib and Ibrahim Arbeely, sons of Dr. Yusuf Arbeely, a Syrian physician and educator who had taught at the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. The Arbeelys are thought to be the first family to migrate together to the US, in 1878. Because of the influence of the Arbeely family, the Ottoman government allowed them to import Arabic letters to publish in the US. Al-Kawkab saw its purpose as reporting the news of the growing number of Ottomans in America. In its first issues, Kawkab America focused on defining and identifying the role of journalism and its significance. They also published Arabic-language advertising, including ads for sweets, breads, araq, and Persian tobacco. The ads were highly-literate and funny. Al-Kawkab had a modern definition of news coverage: comprehensiveness and diversity in scope and brevity in news reports, which must rely only on authoritative and credible sources. The paper




Religious Institutions

Arab American religious institutions played a pivotal role in organizing and instilling the Arabic heritage and spirit among the community in America. They were influential in educating the youth by opening special classes to teach the Arabic language and culture in addition to providing a constant networking center to help new immigrants adjust to their new life in America. Even today, many Arab American churches conduct their sermons in Arabic in addition to English, while others hold two liturgies, one in English and one in Arabic. In addition, religious institutions hold many social and cultural events that include Arabic language, music and folkloric shows. From the end of the 19th century, Arab American immigrants, came mainly from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq and were mostly Christians from many denominations. Later, Muslims from the Arab world and other non-Arabic speaking Muslim countries started arriving and establishing religious institutions across America. It is important to note that not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs. Out of over a billion Muslims worldwide, the Arabs constitute only about 25 percent of Islam. The following profiles of various Arab American, Christian, Muslim and Druze religious institutions provide a basic reference source. Readers interested in furthering their personal research and knowledge may contact directly any of the following institutions through addresses, phones, e-mails and websites provided in this chapter. Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America The Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East was founded by Saints Peter and Paul. In the fourth century the Christian population of the Eastern Province of the Roman Empire, of which Antioch was the capital, was under Antioch’s spiritual jurisdiction. Since then many of its members have emigrated to other parts of the world, thus enlarging the geographical and numerical jurisdiction of this ancient Christian See. The spiritual needs of the Antiochian Orthodox faithful in North America were first served through the Syro-Arabian

Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church, established in 1892. In 1895 a Syrian Orthodox Benevolent Society was organized by immigrants in New York. Dr. Ibrahim Arbeely was its first president. The first priest was Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny, a Syrian, who came to New York in October of 1896. Father Raphael established the first Syrian Greek Orthodox parish at 77 Washington Street in Manhattan and was appointed director of the Syro-Arabian Mission in North America. In 1902, the parish purchased a larger church building in Brooklyn, which was placed under the patronage of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. It was located at 301-303 Pacific Street. Following renovations for Orthodox worship, the church was conse-


Religious Institutions

crated by Russian Bishop Tikhon, recently canonized by the Church. Saint Nicholas, now located at 355 State Street, is the “mother parish” of the Archdiocese and the Metropolitan’s first cathedral. At the request of Russian Bishop Tikhon, Hawaweeny was elected to be the first Syrian Greek Orthodox hierarch in the New World. His consecration took place at St. Nicholas Cathedral on March 12, 1904, and he was given the title of “Bishop of Brooklyn.” Bishop Raphael established new parishes for his scattered flock. He also founded Alkalimat (The Word magazine) in 1905. After a shortlived but very fruitful ministry, Bishop Raphael passed away on February 27, 1915, at the age of 54. He would later be canonized a saint, in May 2000, thus becoming the first Arab American saint of any denomination or church. Sixty years later, on June 24, 1975, Metropolitan Philip Saliba of the Archdiocese of New York, and Archbishop Michael Shaheen of the Archdiocese of Toledo, met and signed the historic Articles of Unification, which restored unity among Antiochian Orthodox faithful in the United States and Canada. This document was presented to the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate, which ratified the contents and recognized Metropolitan Philip as Primate, and Archbishop Michael as Auxiliary of the one Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Diocesan Bishops serving the Archdiocese are: Bishop Antoun Khouri, Bishop Joseph AlZehlaoui, Bishop Basil Essey, Bishop Thomas Joseph, Bishop Mark Maymon, and Bishop Alexander Mufarrij. The Archdiocese has over 400 clergymen and 238 churches to serve the needs of its over 320,000 communicants. Departments and commissions include: Missionary activities and parish development, press and media relations, continuing pastoral education, spiritual vocations and theological education, clergy insur-


ance and retirement, inter-Orthodox and inter-faith relations, sacred music, The Word magazine, Christian education, finance, credentials and convention planning, Near East and refugee affairs, and charities. Four service organizations exist on local, regional and archdiocesan levels: Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Teen SOYO (Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations), AOCWNA (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America), and the Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. In 1978, the Archdiocese acquired the Antiochian Village, a 280-acre camp and conference center located near Ligonier in the Laurel Mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition to the camp conference facilities, there are plans for the development of a retirement village and monastery on the site. The Archdiocesan Board of Trustees (consisting of nearly 50 appointed and elected representatives) and the Metropolitan’s Advisory Council (consisting of clergy and lay representatives from each parish and mission) meet regularly to assist the Primate in the administration of the Archdiocese. Each summer, seven Regional Parish Life Conferences are convened, which attract thousands of people of all ages. The largest legislative body of the Archdiocese, the General Assembly, meets in convention biennially.

• H.E. Metropolitan Philip Saliba Born June 10, 1932, at Abou-Mizan, AlMatn, Lebanon, the fourth of five children of the late Elias Saliba and Saleema Saliba. His Eminence, at the age of 14, enrolled in the patriarchal Theology Seminary at Balamand, near Tripoli, Lebanon. Subsequently he attended the Orthodox secondary school in Homs, Syria, and received the Baccalaureate from Assiyi Orthodox College in




Who's Who Among Arab Americans

The following biographical entries represent only a fraction of Arab American leaders and professionals who achieved success and contributed to the American way of life. There are thousands of successful leaders in medicine, engineering, law, science, business, military, education, media, literature, government, entertainment, music, art, and sports, among other topics. In this Almanac sixth edition, we are adding biographies of young Arab American professionals who have demonstrated advanced education and performance in many fields. ABDU, Rashid, M.D. Surgeon, physician. Serves through Medical Work in New Orleans, Mexico, and Yemen. His autobiography, Journey of a Yemeni Boy, chronicles his life from poor village boy to successful U.S. surgeon. He was invited to perform and teach surgery at Ohio’s St. Elizabeth Health Center, where he is emeritus director of surgical education, and donated operating tables, lights, and an anesthesia machine. He has made six trips back to Yemen, often working with local medical personnel to improve facilities and techniques. His visit in 1971 was particularly meaningful. After surgeons in Aden refused to operate on his mother because they feared she was too sick to survive surgery, he performed the operation himself, and his mother lived 28 more years. In subsequent visits, he helped improve medical education at the University of Science and Technology in Sana’a, Yemen. He gave the school’s first joint lecture to male and female students, and suggested that stu-

dents anonymously evaluate faculty. He also was a consultant for the location, design, and construction of a 250-bed teaching hospital. He said:“Lafayette prepared me to think as a human being first, and as a scientist second, it provided me with broad and comprehensive education, which gave me better insight into what is important. It instilled in me a sense of idealism. Besides having healthy, wonderful, and loving children, grandchildren, and good friends, helping people is the greatest joy in life.” ABBOUD, A. Robert President, A Robert Abboud and Company. Graduated with degrees from Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Business School. Former Chairman of First Chicago Corp., The First National Bank of Chicago, First City Bancorporation of Texas, and ACB


Who’s Who

International, Ltd. Former president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum. Board member of AAR Corporation and Alberto-Culver Company. Former board member of several corporations. Coauthored Money in the Bank: How Safe Is It? and an article entitled “Advancing Peace in the Middle East.” Has served as: chairman of the World Trade Policy Committee of Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry; president of the Japan America Society; director of the International Monetary Market. Co-chairman of Chicago Bi-Centennial Committee. Served in Korea with the U.S. Marine Corps, awarded Bronze Star, Purple Heart. Baker Scholar. Member of Illinois, Massachusetts, and Federal Bar, and American Bar Association. Born in 1929. A Robert Abboud and Company, Fox River Grove, Illinois.

ABDALLAH, Gene South Dakota State Senator (R), District 10, Counties: Lincoln, Minnehaha, Sioux Falls, who is leading effort to change the South Dakota State Constitution. Committees: Commerce, Judiciary, State Affairs. Occupation: retired law enforcement. Was appointed United States Marshal for the District of South Dakota in 1982 and again in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, and in 1990, by President George H. W. Bush. He held this position for 12 years, becoming one of the longest serving United States Marshals in South Dakota history. His parents originally were from Syria who came to America around 1894. Capitol address:Iron Horse Inn, Pierre, SD 57501

ABERCIA, Ralph Attorney, investor and real estate developer since 1951. Born in Houston, TX in 1923. BBA from the University of Houston in 1949. LLB from South Texas


College of Law in 1951. Memberships: Houston Chamber of Commerce, Houston Bar Association, Houston Trial Lawyers, Texas Trial Lawyers, Houston Real Estate and the National Association of Realtors; board member of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; on the National Board of Trustees of the Antiochian North American Archdiocese; Southern Federation of Syrian Lebanese American Club; American Task Force for Lebanon; national chairman of the Order of St. Ignatius. Married with four children. They reside in Houston, TX. AL-ABDULLA, Hamid M., M.D. Private practice in cardiology and internal medicine since 1973. Born in Diwaniya, Iraq, 1935. M.D. from University of Baghdad, College of Medicine, 1958. From 1973, physician at Richmond Memorial Hospital; Retreat Hospital for the Sick; St. Mary’s Hospital; and Henrico Doctor’s Hospital. Assistant cardiologist at Highland View Hospital, Cleveland, OH, 1968-70. Director of Cardiovascular Lab at Veterans Administration Hospital, Des Moines, IA, 1970-73. Published articles for medical journals. President of the Iraqi Graduates Association, 1980. Member of the American Heart Association. Married, with two children. 3604 Monument Ave., Richmond, VA 23230.

ABIZAID, General John Four star general assumed duties as the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff on 16 October 2001. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 1973. Former commander of the U.S. Forces in Iraq. He is fluent in Arabic and is the most current senior military officer of direct Arab descent. He started his career with the 504th Parachute Infantry




The Arab World Definition of Arab By PROF. PHILIP HITTI

From his book “The Arabs”

“Arabs in modern usage, is a term applied to the Arabic-speaking people who at present occupy the area extending from Iraq to Morocco. The term, therefore, is a linguistic rather than an ethnic one. In North Africa, the basic element of the population is Hamitic (Berber), and in the Fertile Crescent, is Semitic (Aramaean). The different dialects used in the different countries reflect the language spoken by the older population. It was the Muslims’ irruption from the peninsula in the 7th century A.D. that resulted in the spread of Islam, and with it, Arabic. In North Africa, the basic element in the population is Hamitic (Berber), and in the Fertile Crescent, it is Semitic (Aramaean). The different dialects used in the different countries reflect the languages spoken by the older population. There was a time when the bulk of the population from central Asia to Morocco and including a large part of the Iberian Peninsula were Arabic speaking, at least Arabic writing; but as the Arab Empire shrank and successor nationalistic states arose, old native tongues reasserted themselves. In central Asia, eastern Turkish now prevails; in Iran, Persian; and in the Iberian Peninsula, Spanish and Portugese. Before the rise of Islam and the establishment of the caliphate, the term “Arabs” was applicable only to the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula. It was the Muslim eruption from the peninsula in the 7th century A.D. that resulted in the spread of Islam, and with it, Arabic, throughout that vast territorial area. Arab people are mostly Muslims, but there are Christians in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and other countries. Arab Muslims in the area are not of the same denomination. The majority are Sunnites, but there are Shi’ites, who, in Iraq constitute a slight majority, and Druzes, Nusayris, and other minorities -- all of whom, howev-

er, are linked by the bonds of common language and tradition and by a varying degree of awareness of Arab nationhood.”

* * * * * The following chapter is a glance at the Arab world countries in addition to the League of Arab States. More detailed information about each Arab country, may be obtained from the addresses and websites listed for each country. The statistics quoted in this chapter are the most recent available at the time of publication. Note the Arab world flags on the back cover. ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION

The Arab World

* * * * *


(People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria) Population: 34,574,000 (2008 est.) : Ethnic groups: Algerian Arab; Berber; Bedouin Arab; other. Major Cities: Algiers (capital); Oran; Constantine; Annaba; Batna.

Government: Republic, with two legislative bodies (Council of the Nation, National People’s Assembly). The assembly is made up of 389 members. The National Liberation Front is the only legal party. Administrative divisions: 48 provinces. Head of state: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika Monetary Unit: Dinar.

National Holiday: Nov. 1, anniversary of the 1954 revolution.

Religion: Sunni Muslim (state religion); Christian and others.

Geography: Total land area: 918,500 sq. miles. Located on Africa’s north coast, Algeria is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the north, Tunisia and Libya on the east, Mali and Niger on the south, and Morocco, the Western Sahara, and Mauritania in the west. Low plains cover small areas near the Mediterranean coast, with 68% of the country a plateau between 2,625 feet and 5,250 feet above sea level. Mount Tahat in the Sahara, 9,850 feet, is the highest point. Land use: 3% arable, 13% meadows and pastures, 2% forest and woodlands; few permanent crops and little irrigation. History: Earliest known inhabitants were ancestors of the Berbers. They were fol-


lowed by the Phoenicians, Romans, Germanic Vandal tribes and Arabs. Invasion by France in 1830 ended rule of the Turkish Ottoman Empire which dated back to around 1500. In 1954, the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) began guerrilla war against French rule. Independence was proclaimed on July 3, 1962 and Ahmed Ben Bella became the country’s first premier. The first free multiparty elections were held June 12, 1990. The Islamic Salvation Front, which advocates turning Algeria into an Islamic republic, won overwhelming control in provincial and local assemblies.

Economy: Gross national income US$122 billion (US$3,620 per capita). Principal products: wheat, barley oats, wine, citrus fruits, olives, livestock. Labor force in industry: 40%. Major products: petroleum, gas, petrochemicals, fertilizers, iron and steel, textiles, transport equipment. Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, lead, zinc, mercury, uranium. Exports: petroleum, gas, iron, wine, phosphates. Imports: food, capital and consumer goods. Major trading partners: U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada. For further information: Embassy of the Democratic & Popular Republic of Algeria 2118 Kalorama Rd. NW Washington, D.C. 20008 (202) 265-2800, Fax: (202) 667-2174

Algerian Mission to the U.N. 326 E.48th St., New York, NY 10017 (212) 750-1960, Fax: (212) 759-9538

United States Embassy in Algeria 4 Chemin Cheich Bachir Brahimi, Algiers 16030, Algeria 0770-08-2000, Fax: 021 60-7335.




A Reference Guide To Federal and State Governments ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION



United States of America

United States of America


This chapter provides a reference guide about federal and state governments of the United States of America. It includes information about states government profiles, statistics and websites. General Data: Population: 304,100,000 (2008). Area:3,535,000 sq. miles; Capital: Washington, D.C.; Climate: Mostly temperate, but varies from tropical (Hawaii) to Arctic (Alaska); arid to semiarid in west. Declared independence from Great Britain July 4, 1776. Constitution: Sept. 17, 1787, effective June 4, 1789.

History: Although colonization of the United States began in 1607 at Jamestown, Va., the American Southwest, particularly Arizona, was explored as early as the mid16th century by Spanish Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries. About 100 pilgrims from England, bound for Virginia aboard the Mayflower, anchored on Nov. 21, 1620, at Provincetown, Mass. Conflict between the colonies and Britain arose because of a royal edict limiting western expansion and regulation of colonial trade, and increased taxation led to the Boston Massacre (1770) and the Boston Tea Party (1773). The Revolutionary War was fought from 1776 to Oct. 19, 1781, when Gen. Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. Britain recognized U.S. independence with the Peace Treaty of Paris (1783). Gen. George Washington, the first president, served two terms, 1789-1796. In 1803, the U.S. negotiated the Louisiana Purchase from France. The U.S. declared war with Britain in 1812 over freedom of the seas. Abraham Lincoln was elected to his first term in 1860. A year later the American Civil War began. Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, Va., April 9, 1865. The Spanish American War was fought 1898-1899 over Cuba’s independence. U.S. entered World War I as the first troops

arrived in France in April, 1917. The Great Depression began in 1929 with the collapse of the U.S. stock market. U.S. entered World War II with the Japanese attack, Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The first meeting of the U.N. General Assembly was held in London in 1946. President Harry Truman dispatched troops to Korea during the Korean War, 19501953. Lt. Col. John Glenn, Jr., USMC, became the first American to orbit the Earth. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963. Persian Gulf War (Aug. 2, 1990-April 6,1991), included one of the most devastating air assault by U.S. and allied air forces against military and civilian targets in Iraq and Kuwait. In 2003 the U.S.occupied Iraq and later Afghanistan.

Economy: The U.S. has the most powerful, diverse and technologically advanced world economy, GDP (1999 est.) $9 trillion, per capita GDP $33,900. Highly diversified; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, fishing, lumber, mining. Agriculture: livestock, world’s secondlargest producer and number-one exporter of grain, surplus food, fish catch of 5.0 million metric tons. National Attractions: Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, Independence Hall, Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Mount Rushmore, Andersonville, Grand Canyon, Mammoth Cave, Washington, D.C.




A Century of Arab American Achievements & Contributions

Throughout the last 130 years, history has revealed a magnitude of Arab American achievements and contributions to America, while seriously recognizing their commitments, rights and obligations. This chapter sheds light on Arab Americans who excelled in many areas. It is our hope that the following anecdotes will encourage and convince many authors to publish books on each topic in this chapter, to disseminate literature about Arab Americans who have demonstrated their devotion as Americans who are justly proud of their Arabic heritage. In a commentary reflecting the Arab American position following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on America, Joanne McKenna, of Cleveland, Ohio, the past president of the Greater Cleveland Association of Arab Americans and the National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA), Ohio, wrote:

Patriotism Runs Deep in Arab Americans. We are Americans, and We Are Here to Stay

“My grandparents came to this country and settled in Cleveland nearly one hundred years ago. My parents were born here. I was born here. Like all Americans, I sat in stunned disbelief in front of the T.V. as the horror of September 11th unfolded. Like all Americans, I mourn the loss of my people – my American countrymen – in a brutal, evil, and inexcusable incineration. Some Americans have turned their anger and frustration against Arab Americans and Muslims. “Muslims and Christians have been targeted for beatings, insults, harassment, ethnic and religious slurs, intimidation and murder. “Christian or Muslim, we Arab Americans believe in the principles and ideals upon which our country was founded. We salute only one flag – the flag of the United States of America. We worship only one God – the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Creator of all mankind Who raised His prophets and messengers in the lands of our ancestors. “The day we or our forebears took the oath of citizenship was the proudest day of our lives, for that was the day we became a part of the American people. As citizens of this land, we believe in the United States with a conviction and faith almost equal to our faith in the God of our ancestors. “Our sons and daughters served in the American military, and many died to preserve the American dream. We distinguished ourselves in business, education, law, medicine, letters, arts, sciences, politics, sports, and all other areas of endeavor. The third, fourth, and fifth generations have been born in America. “‘American’ is what we are. We are Americans and are proud to be Americans. We have given and will continue to give our lives, our resources, our energies and our talents to preserve democracy, secure the American dream, and defend the U.S. Constitution at home and abroad. “Arab Americans – Christians and Muslims alike – are an integral part of the American people. We are Americans, and we are here to stay.” ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION

Arab American Contributions and Achievements

Medicine / Health


Promise Kept

In the late 1930s, a struggling young Lebanese American entertainer prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, asking him to “show me my way in life” and promising to build a shrine in his honor. Danny Thomas went on to become one of the most successful

and beloved entertainers in America. And he did not forget his promise. In 1962, Danny Thomas opened the doors to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. More than just a treatment facility, St. Jude would be a research center devoted to finding cures for catastrophic childhood diseases. The hospital in Memphis, Tenn., would become a beacon of hope to families around the world. “A dream is one thing. A realization is something entirely separate,” said Thomas at the dedication of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “I publicly thank you, wherever you may be, for the support of this dream. It took a rabble-rousing, hooknosed comedian to get your attention, but it took your hearts, loving minds and generous souls to make it come true. If I were

President Gerald Ford with Danny Thomas among St. Jude’s children.

Keeping their father’s promise, from left, Terre, Tony and Marlo.

Mr. and Mrs. Danny Thomas

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: A Promise Kept





A Selection of Books By and About Arab Americans

To catalogue all books written by and about Arab Americans would take an entire book. This is due to Arab Americans expanding into the writing and publishing world, providing a constant flow of books on a variety of topics including history, culture, politics, philosophy, religion, education, medicine, science and many other subjects. The following bibliographical selection, with brief annotations, is only a small portion of books published by and about Arab Americans. We urge our readers to bring to our attention any additional books (be they in Arabic or English, old or current) to be included in our next edition of the Arab American Almanac or to be reviewed by The News Circle/Arab American Affairs magazine. Note: For Arab American press and media, turn to chapter five. The following bibliography lists books alphabetically by title

Abu Jmeel’s Daughter and Other Stories, Jamal Sleem Nuweihed, Arab folk tales from Palestine and Lebanon. Interlink Books, 2002. Brooklyn, NY.

After the Palestine-Israel War Limits to U.S. & Israeli Policy, Dr. Khalil Nakhleh and Clifford A.Wright, Institute of Arab Studies, Belmont, MA.

1981 • At the American Booksellers Association Fair held in Atlanta, Georgia, The News Circle Publishing House participated by renting a booth exhibiting its books and Arab American publications together with books from and about the Arab world. Among the participants were from left: Abdel Aziz H.Al Jabr, a book distributor from Saudi Arabia; and Alex Odeh, ADC West Coast regional director. ARAB AMERICAN ALMANAC, 6TH EDITION


Alice’s Kitchen: My Grandmother Dalal and Mother Alice’s Traditional Lebanese Cooking by Lisa Dalal Sawaya, 248 pp, Lisa Sawaya Design, 2005.

Altered States: A Reader in the New World Order, edited by P. Bennis and M. Moushabeck; 538pp, dist. by Interlink Publishing.

America and Terror in Iraq, Yousef Daoud, 256 pp, in Arabic, Medius Corp. Publishers, 2006. Los Angeles, CA. America in an Arab Mirror: Images of America in Arabic Travel Literature, an anthology, 1895-1995, translated and edited by Kamal Abdel-Malek, 2000. America in the Eyes of an Easterner, or Eight Years in the United States, Prof. Philip K. Hitti, Cairo, Isdarat al-Hilal 1924.

An Ancient Heritage, the Arab American Minority, Brent Ashabrammer and Paul Conklin, photos and a penetrating look at the issues affecting ArabAmericans throughout the U.S.; 148pp, Harper Collings Publishers,1991. New York, NY. An-Nofous al-Muta’allima (Suffering Souls), Morshed Abdo, a collection of Arabic articles; 108pp in Arabic, Al Sabah Press, 1927. Detroit, MI.

Ashaar al-Hikma al-Arabiya (Arab Poetry and Wise-Prose), Salah Kanakri; 72pp in Arabic, Artimax,1995. Glendale, CA

A Bird’s Eye View to the 2001-2003 Events, by Jamil Effarah, Ph. D. The contents focus on a fair peace in the Middle East, calling upon the American conscience, the collapse of the Clinton’s Peacemaking Plan, the Middle East and


the Smart Policy of the U.S. Administration. “Peacemaking”, catalysmic results face Bush’s deceitful start off, Israel-Palestinian negotiations. 443 pp, Author Gouse publishers, 2005.

A Country Called Amreeka, Arab roots, American stories, by Alia Malek, civil rights lawyer. It brings to captivating life and history of a wide segments of Arab Americans, 306 pages. Published by Simon & Schuster, 2009. New York, NY. Arab American Almanac, a comprehensive reference book series on Arab Americans in the U.S.The first edition was published in 1974. so far, six editions have been published. Joseph R. Haiek, Publisher-Editor; The News Circle Publishing House: P.O. Box 3684 Glendale, CA 91221, Arab America Today: A Demographic Profile of Arab-Americans, John Zogby, The Arab-American Institute, Washing-ton, D.C.

Arab American Biography, two volumes, Loretta Hall and Bridget K. Hall, profiles of 75 noteworthy Arab Americans, UXL,1999. Detroit, MI.

Arab American Encyclopedia, by Dr. Anan Ameri and Dawn Ramey, editors, sponsored by the Arab Community Center for Economic Social Services a reference book exploring the history and culture of the diverse groups of Arab Americans, 320 pages, published by UXL/ the Gale Group, 2000. Detroit, MI.




Arabic Words in English Vocabulary

“Anyone who speaks English speaks Arabic,” says Jim Peters, an ArabCanadian and retired linguistics instructor. True enough, though, to both the English speaker and whoever hears him, the Arabic may be distorted in meaning, corrupted in pronunciation, and barely recognizable, but the Arabic is present in the English language. Peters and an associate, Habeeb Salloum, have catalogued at least 2,400 English words and place names derived from Arabic, and are steadily compiling more words and place names that will increase the total above 3,000. If one quizzed scholars about the Arabs’ major contributions to western civilization, most would point to mathematics, chemistry, or astronomy. Few are aware of the commonalities that exist between the English and Arabic languages which are seemingly so geographically remote and culturally disparate. Nor are the supposedly authoritative English dictionaries of much help. Some of them, in fact, compound the abuse and neglect by misunderstanding, misattributing, or failing to pursue word origin beyond a European language which may have acquired it from Arabic. Down through the centuries, it is safe to say, western scholars have shown scant interest in mining this mother lode. But in 1973, Peters and Salloum set out to remedy the errors and fill the void. After years of research they published a soft-cover volume entitled Arabic Contributions to the English Vocabulary. That first effort, admittedly a ground breaker, corrected earlier translations and resolved many conflicts among a host of

English dictionaries. It also suggested scores of new words and place names not previously credited to Arabic. The authors, who are friends and neighbors living in a Toronto suburb, began their investigation by compiling fragmentary lists of words and, when additional sources developed, expanded the scope of their work. Now they say they have scarcely begun to unearth the wealth of etymological connections that bind these two great languages. Arranged alphabetically, Arabic Contributions lists words which have been prominent from the ancient to the modern eras in key areas such as mathematics, trade, administration, agriculture, navigation, and science. For each entry, English and Arabic definitions are given in both languages; plus, in many cases, derivative words and phrases are listed along with the dictionary sources when available. No fewer than 74 English dictionaries, plus numerous general works about the Arabs were consulted by the amateur lexicographers in compiling their dictionary. The authors (a more appropriate term than ‘editors’ because of the pair’s pungent commentaries) concluded that some of the most prestigious dictionaries, including the multi-volume Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, misunderstood, misattributed, or otherwise failed to credit Arabic sources. Notably, there is no comment on the political implications of such errors and oversights. But in other areas of their dictionary, Peters and Salloum are less reticent. They not only provide valuable new information, but render judgments that are free of stuffiness and academism.


The Arabic Language

In discussing the etymology of the English word adobe, a clay brick, the authors come right to the point: First they cite an attribution in National Geographic magazine and add, “The Arabic word altoob is still in use (to mean ‘clay’) in Syria and Lebanon.” And yet, only two English dictionaries firmly credit this. Two other familiar words with clear Arabic roots have been overlooked heretofore by most English lexicographers. Both the meaning and sound of the Arabic maskhara (laughing stock, buffoonery) are the English source of ‘mask’ and ‘masque,’ as well as ‘mascara.’ Confidence is expressed also in the Arabic origin and meaning of the words ‘Fedayee’ and ‘troubador.’ Disputing the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, a generally well-informed source, the authors hold that the former springs from the Arabic root fedaa’ee (to free, ransom or redeem); hence ‘Fedayee’ means freedom fighter. As for ‘troubador,’ the verdict is that it derives from the Spanish Arabic atraba (to entertain, play music) to which the Latin ending -dor (agent, doer) was attached. Rejecting the traditional credit to Latin, the authors point out that the concept of courtly love was acquired from Moorish (Arab) Spain by the strolling minstrels of Provence in France. Although the word divan is generally ascribed to Arabic, its curious transmutation has been somewhat obscure. Peters and Salloum accept the challenge of tracing its convoluted path: “Our suggestion is that gatherings of poetry lovers listening to collections of poetry, called in the singular deewan, and the rooms and furnishings associated with this activity, acquired the name of the poetry collection.” A similar mutation of the Arabic has occurred to the word mufti, which signifies an expert in Islamic law. Its transference into English as a word meaning civilian clothes, is derived from the custom of British officials in India, who, when off duty, wore fabrics similar to those worn


by Islamic theologians. Concerning words of less than impeccable documentation, the authors play an even-handed yet valuable role. They cite the evidence or source, sometimes expressing an opinion, sometimes not. Less-Than-Certain etymologies are attached to such English words as bismuth, cork, average, frieze, ramble, and musk. For ‘ramble,’ Arabic roots are rationalized through Islam as Spanish and Swahili, while for ‘musk,’ the word was transmitted through Sanskrit and Persian, they assert. In the Less-Than-Certain category are words suggested in A History of ArabicGothic Culture by the late Professor Wiener of Harvard. Among the words Wiener traced to Arabic were ‘black,’ derived from the Arabic ablaaq (black and white); ‘earth’ from the Arabic ardh (earth) and ‘harpoon’ from the Arabic harba (javelin). Unimpressed by this apparently homonymal evidence, Arabic Contributions lists these and eight other English words as of questionable origin. If it surprises some that Arabic and English have so many words and place names in common, they should be aware that Arabic was for centuries the world’s lingua franca, while English is “the most hospitable language in the world,” Peters points out. “English has borrowed from all languages without restraint, and is still doing so.” One of the world’s oldest and most durable of tongues, Arabic itself has soaked up many words from other ancient tongues and in turn has contributed to the cultures with which it came into contact. Persian, Turkish, Urdu and Swahili, to cite a few, were enriched by as many words from Arabic as English was from Latin and Greek. Moreover, as the language of the Qur’an, Arabic has had a special religious status, and has supplied the vocabulary of its theology to hundreds of millions of its adherents. Rigorous documentation from any



Arab American Contributions and Achievements

Arab American Faces and Activities


Arab American Contributions and Achievements


1992 • The Chahayed family- Loutfi and Afife Chahayed celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a dinner party planned by their children at St. Anne Melkite Church Hall in N. Hollywood, CA. Their children, from left: Ghassan, Hikmat, Marwan, Anwar, Samir, Joseph, Hayat, Mona and Issam. (Ma Shaa Allah!)

Bob Andrews Fares Haddad

The Naders, Los Angeles


Joseph John Haiek in 1996 (grandson of Joseph R. Haiek)

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