Cultural Issues in the Defense of Non-U.S. Citizens

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Understanding Arab Americans IMMIGRATION SEMINAR
Cultural Issues in the Defense of Non-U.S. Citizens
September 2003

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Cultural Issues in the Defense of Non-U.S. Citizens

  1. 1. Understanding Arab Americans IMMIGRATION SEMINAR Cultural Issues in the Defense of Non-U.S. Citizens September 2003 The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) Educational Outreach Initiative
  2. 2. The Arab World • The Arab world refers to the 22 Arab countries expanding from the African shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the Arab/Persian Gulf in Asia
  3. 3. The Arab World versus the Middle East •The Middle East is a geopolitical term created by the British Empire •Includes some Arab countries and non-Arab countries Iran, Turkey and Israel •Differences in language and culture
  4. 4. Who are the Arab Americans? • Arab Americans are descendents from any of the 22 Arab countries • Ethnicity: – Based on a shared language of Arabic – Shared culture and traditions – Not related to religion • Constitute an ethnicity made up of several waves of immigrants
  5. 5. Arab Immigrants Admitted to U.S. (1987-2002) 40,000 35,000 Egypt 30,000 Iraq 25,000 Jordan 20,000 Lebanon 15,000 Morocco Sudan 10,000 Syria 5,000 Yemen 0 Other 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 © 2003 Arab American Institute Foundation www.aaiusa.org
  6. 6. Arab Americans Demographic Information
  7. 7. Ancestry of Arab Americans by Primary Identification Based on U.S. Census 2000 data Lebanese Iraqi* 39% M oroccan 3% 3% Palest inian 6% Ot her A rab** A rab/ A rabic 7% 18% Egypt ian Syrian 12% 12% * Excludes persons who identify as Chaldeans, Assyrians or other Christian minorities from Iraq. **Includes those from Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Does not include persons from Sudan, Somalia, or Mauritania © 2003 Arab American Institute Foundation www.aaiusa.org
  8. 8. Arab American Demographics: Iraqi Americans in US 5 Counties in US with Largest Iraqi Population •Oakland, MI: 24,743 •Cook, IL: 15,681 •Macomb, MI: 11,829 •San Diego, CA : 9,080 • Wayne, MI: 5,930 Arab American Institute, based on Census 2000
  9. 9. Religious Affiliations of Arab Americans Based on Zogby International Survey (2002) Roman / Eastern Catholic* 35% Muslim** 24% Eastern *Eastern Catholic includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox*** Maronite, and Melkite (Greek Catholic) rites. 18% **Muslim includes Sunni, Shi’a, and Druze. Other ***Eastern Orthodox includes Antiochian, Protestant Religion / Syrian, Greek and Coptic rites. 10% No Affiliation 13% © 2003 Arab American Institute Foundation www.aaiusa.org
  10. 10. Geographic Dispersion of Arab Americans in the US Based on Zogby International Research © 2003 Arab American Institute Foundation www.aaiusa.org
  11. 11. Largest Arab American Populations by Metropolitan Area Based on Zogby International Estimates (1995) 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0 J C * o s N it D le rk g ro ca n ge Yo n, et er hi to D An st ew C ng ea s N hi Lo th as or W N * Does not include Long Island or Yonkers © 2003 Arab American Institute Foundation www.aaiusa.org
  12. 12. Where Arab Americans Experience Discrimination Source: AAIF Commissioned Survey (May 2002) 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% ol ork nc es th e r sur e ho In the past Sc W ai n ta O No t qu Ac Since Sept. 11 © 2003 Arab American Institute Foundation www.aaiusa.org
  13. 13. Changes in Habits Since Sept. 11 Based on AAIF Commissioned Survey Do less Do the same Do more 35% 10% 43% 42% 6% 47% Do not speak Arabic 47% 14% Feel comfortable Engage in speaking Arabic discussions about around non-Arabs events in the Middle East © 2003 Arab American Institute Foundation www.aaiusa.org
  14. 14. Working with Arab Americans Cultural Characteristics
  15. 15. Perceptions of Law Enforcement • Influenced by the role and reputation of law enforcement in the Arab World – Mukhabarat – Different sectors of law enforcement officials • Responsibilities • Hierarchy • Perceptions: No difference btw divisions • Different methods • Traffic stops
  16. 16. Communicating with Arab Americans • Language – May pose a barrier – Children may act as intermediaries • Communication is generally indirect – Versus direct form used by Americans • Way message is conveyed is important – Tone of voice – Level of politeness • Non-verbal cues are often used
  17. 17. Arab American Cultural Characteristics • Collectivism – Family – Close-knit communities – One is a reflection of their family • Reputation – Experienced collectively – Dignity and Honor important and protected – Shame • Name Recognition – Abu/Um – Family name
  18. 18. Arab American Culture: Conflict Resolution & Repercussions • Traditional methods of conflict resolution – Between families – Distrust of law enforcement • Differences in regards to punishment between parts of the Arab world and the US – Can lead to paranoia/anxiety – Distrust
  19. 19. Cultural and Religious Practices: Interactions • Avoiding eye contact – Some Muslims do not make eye contact with someone of the opposite sex – Act of modesty and respect for members of opposite sex – Should not be misconstrued as being dishonest, guilty or “shady”
  20. 20. Cultural and Religious Practices: Interactions • Handshaking – Response Varies – Some Arab American Muslim men and women may not shake hands for religious reasons – Best Practice: See if they extend their hand first • Dietary Restrictions for Muslim Americans – Concept of Halal – No pork products – No Alcohol
  21. 21. Arab Americans Gender-based interactions • Men – May react emotionally – Honor/Shame/Pride rank very high – Often authority figure • Women – Be modest in interactions – Discussing sensitive topics • Children – Intermediaries – Fear
  22. 22. Religious Practices: Interactions • Hijab – Worn in front of all men except blood relatives – If asked to be removed in front of non-related males, maybe be apprehensive and reluctant
  23. 23. Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) Deana Rabiah Education Outreach Coordinator 2601 Saulino Court Dearborn, MI 48104 (313)843.2844 drabiah@accesscommunity.org www.accesscommunity.org

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