Arab immigrants and Americans
The movement of people from their native nations to the United States can be referred to as American immigration. This movement results in rapid population growth and the presence of diverse cultures in this country. Throughout American history, immigration has great effects both positive and negative on its social, economic, and political activities. Following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 the Americans attitude towards the immigrants especially from Middle East was greatly changed (Jamal & Naber 48). These immigrants are faced with the challenge of integrating and adapting to the social life in America. The immigrants are discriminated depending on their race, religion, sex, and country of origin with Arab immigrants experiencing it most (Jamal & Naber 48).
The movement of Arabs to the United States started in the late 19th century and continued after the Second Word War. Those who migrated before the First World War came from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq (Orfalea 453). Their immigration was greatly influenced by the missionaries who built hospitals and schools in their countries. They left their faith and moved to America as poor and illiterate visitors who were looking for employment opportunities in the plantations. Others moved with the aim of spreading their religion all over the world. After the Second World War, Arabs moved into America with the aim of studying in well equipped and advanced universities. Some of the immigrants were educated and professionals who were searching for job opportunities. They never accepted Christianity and they have been able to retain their culture while in a foreign land. Egypt, Iran, and Palestine are nations where Arabs migrated from during the later immigration Period (Orfalea 455).
Effects of immigration
Diverse effects of immigration are felt in the United States and measures are taken to control the rate of immigration. The number of immigrants increases every year and results in increased population. The rate of population growth due to the immigrants is very high compared to the rate expected from the natives only. This has raised a lot of concern from the government. The public health sector is spending a lot of money on the immigrants. Some of the immigrants are very poor and old with their living standards below the poverty line. They cannot be able to raise the small charges required at the health centres thus depending completely on the government. Increased levels of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in America are thought to have been caused by the increased immigration over the years (Suleiman 80).
High population has lead to an increase in crime in America. Most young immigrants who are jobless are involved in burglary, theft, robbery, and murder (Suleiman 81). This has seen the government spending a lot of finance on the law enforcement agencies and foreign intelligence surveillance. Increased consumption of available environmental resources is a great threat to the United States. There will be shortage in water and energy available for supply to the inhabitants if the rate of immigration does not reduce. This will result in poor living standards as industrialization rate does not match the population growth rate.
Social facilities provided by the government are not able to accommodate the ever growing population. Hospitals and schools are important amenities and with increased immigration the government will be forced to increase them. The rate of immigration is greater than the rate at which the government is building new ones leading to congestion. The economic growth is both positively and negatively affected by immigration. Increased immigration leads to increased productivity in the country with the costs of some goods and services being lowered (Suleiman 80). Some immigrants are educated and they give more to the country than they receive. Others are international investors and this promotes the economy of the country. Poor immigrants pay little or no tax at all yet they access the government services. This causes increased dependency ration and a negative effect on the economy.
Causes of tension
Relationship between Americans and the Arabs has been influenced by social and political factors. Tension between the two groups can be traced back several years ago with the discriminatory act always targeting the Arab Americans (Jamal & Naber 50). Many Americans have always had an unfavourable attitude towards the Arab Immigrants. This attitude is because of prolonged conflicts between America and the Arab nations. Past terrorist attacks on America have also contributed to the poor relationship between these nations. Example in 1990, Arab immigrants were openly discriminated in learning institutions, businesses, and at work places (Suleiman 80).
Several attacks by terrorists have made most Americans to discriminate these immigrants even though some have lived in United States for many years. Some of the attacks include the planting of a bomb at the home of the former United States ambassador to the nation of Indonesia in January 1991.In January 1993, a bomb planted in a garage exploded damaging the World Trade Center and killing six Americans and several others were injured (Jamal & Naber 51). This bombing in New York City was organised by Arabs. In April, the same year the former United States president George Bush visited Kuwait. The citizens of Kuwait attempted to assassinate him but they did not succeed. Two months, later George Bush called for an attack on Baghdad the capital city of Iraq (Jamal & Naber 51).
In November 1995, there was an attempt to bomb the Riyadh military base. A bomb was planted in the compound; several United States government employees from different nations were killed but there was no damage on the buildings (Jamal & Naber 51). In August 1998, the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were simultaneously bombed. I n both countries the embassies were extensively damaged and several citizens died. Twelve Americans died in Kenya and one was injured in Tanzania. There was great loss both in Kenya and Tanzania (Jamal & Naber 51).
The terrorists attack on September 2001 was the greatest of attacks that ever happened in America. Four American planes were hijacked and used to crush the targeted places in America. In New York, the Twin Towers, the Pentagon in Washington, and the Pennsylvania field were bombed by use of four American planes (Jamal & Naber 52). In retaliation, a war was declared on terrorism by the former president of America George Walker Bush. The Patriot Act was passed by the senate and George Bush signed it into a law (Jamal & Naber 52). The whole nation feared that there would be a second attack from the terrorists.
The Act mainly targets the Arabs who pose as a threat to America. Different investigative tools were used by the domestic law enforcement agencies and the foreign intelligence surveillance. These tools include pen registers, the trap and trace device, carnivore system, wiretapping, and secret searches (Suleiman 80). Law abiding citizens are denied the right to privacy and their civil liberty is violated in the fight against terrorism. With all the terrorist attacks and threats from the Arabs both Muslims and non-Muslims, the Americans have developed an unfavourable attitude towards the Arab immigrants.
Challenges that Arab immigrants face
Arab immigrants face several challenges especially after the attack on September 2001. They are discriminated, viewed as terrorists, stereotyped, and their religion is ignored publicly in U. S. Most Americans feel that the Islamic religion is spreading fast in their own country and around the world and there is need to stop the spread. Some Muslim women were harassed and most have abandoned their belief in fear of death. Hate crimes towards the Arabs have been on the increase since 2001(Jamal & Naber 52). The government abuses the Arabs civil rights in an attempt to fight terrorism. Most Arab immigrants are treated as suspects just because of their appearance. Racial profiling and discrimination at the place of work are the other challenges facing these immigrants.
Racial discrimination is the belief that certain desirable features are shown by ones own race while believing that, the other races have unwanted characteristics. Institutional racism is a type of racial discrimination in which big organisation like the government, learning institutions, and corporations discriminate a certain race (Suleiman 81). These organisations influence the lives of people and their discrimination is greatly felt by the victim race. After the attack on September 2001, the Arab immigrants were never viewed as loyal citizens. They were viewed as foreigners who were subversive to the American government. Example, in Chicago some protestors marched towards a mosque and surrounded it. They carried American flags a sign that they were against the disloyal foreigners (Suleiman 82). These people are always regarded as immigrants no matter how long they have lived in America.
Hate crimes have increased since 2001. The Federal Bureau of Investigation records more crime hates on Arabs than on other immigrants. Hate crime is defined as an offense committed violently or to the property a person or a group because of the race, religion, or national origin of the victim. Other factors that may motivate an offender either wholly or partly to commit a hate crime are disability or sexual orientation of the victim (Suleiman 83). Burglary, theft, murder, and assaults are some of the offenses that are compiled by the law enforcement agencies and published by the FBI. Statistics show that most offenses that are motivated by race against the Arab immigrants are higher (Suleiman 83). The anti-Arab hate crimes are at times not reported to the police officers giving inaccurate report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The civil rights of Arab immigrants are also abused following the enacting of the Patriot Act. This Act gave Attorney General the power to detain and even deport any Arab immigrant that is suspected to be a terrorist (Jamal & Naber 53). Most law abiding Arab immigrants have been detained without any evidence of their threat to the country. Rules of immigration were made stricter especially to those people coming from Arabian countries. In the fight against terrorists, the privacy right of most Arab immigrants has been violated. The domestic law enforcement agencies are allowed to secretly search the homes of Arab immigrants if they are suspected to be terrorists. These searches are done without the knowledge of the immigrant and he or she may be notified later after the search. The use of investigative tools to monitor the conversation of Arab immigrants was also legalised. Wiretapping, electronic communications access and the use of pen register deny these immigrants the right to privacy.
Most Arab immigrants feel that their right to privacy is infringed as the Act gave the law enforcement agencies permission to spy on any suspect. The Arab immigrants are secretly spied and their privacy right violated. Example, the financial privacy of immigrants is interfered with as the government try to put to an end the smuggling of fake money into the country (Jamal & Naber 53). They are also suspected of fraud and theft hence careful surveillance on their financial status. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been spying on their online activities, example in 2006 FBI tracked the online conversation of eight Arabs and they discovered that they were planning to bomb the train tunnels in New York City (Jamal & Naber 53). This shows that the FBI has access to all internet activities of the Arab immigrants. This denies innocent Arab immigrants freedom and internet privacy.
These Arab immigrants have been victims of racial profiling. They are always suspected to be terrorists because of their physical appearance, attire, religion, and place of origin (Jamal & Naber 54). This false belief denies them equal treatment with other immigrants by the law of United States. The interrogation and detention of Arabs at the airports stigmatises them. Arab motorists are thoroughly checked by the traffic police, an act of racial profiling. In the judiciary, when an Arab immigrant is arrested the court does not give him a bail but when it is given, the judge quotes a high figure that the suspect cannot be able to raise.
Discrimination at the work place is also another challenge that the Arab immigrants face in America. Most co-workers make comments that are intimidating and threatening to the Arabs. The comments mostly refer to the Arab immigrants as terrorists and bombers. After the 2001 attack most Arab immigrants lost their jobs just because of their race and place of origin. Most employers refused to employ these immigrants regardless of their qualifications. Those who were not sacked from their work places were denied promotions even if they qualified to be promoted and their wages increased.
This unfair treatment on Arab immigrants by the American citizens and the government has caused tension between them. The Americans feel that the Arab immigrants are a threat and they fear being attacked again. Citizens regard these immigrants as disloyal and they dislike them. Innocent immigrants feel that their rights are violated and there is nothing they can do about it. Action should be taken to eliminate racism and hostility between Americans and Arabs. It is the responsibility of both Americans and Arabs to work towards achieving peace and love in order to be able to cope with each other.
The government should always remind the citizens that Arab Americans have the right to equal protection and treatment like any other American citizen. Policies should be formulated to heighten attention towards the fight against anti-Arab hate crimes. The culprits should be highly charged or imprisoned to stop the offence. This will prevent future acts of hate crime by sending a signal to the people that such a crime will be severely punished. Hate crime law should be used in fight against this crime. Every unlawful act should be reported to the police to help in investigations and provide an accurate report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This will help the government to fight this crime effectively.
Actions against discrimination
Racial discrimination should be punished. Assaults like, terrorist, suicide bomber, and camel users should be severely punished (Scott 166). The victim should report the offence to the law enforcement agencies. The police should be vigorous in arresting those who discriminate the Arab immigrants. The Arabs should be regarded as part of the diverse community in America and should be welcomed. They should not be excluded but given a right to access universities, job markets, and other public facilities like other immigrants from different origins (Scott 166). This way there will no tension between them.
The Patriot Act should be amended and better investigative methods be used. The use of Internet Service Providers to collect and hand over all the electronic information should be stopped. This method violates the rights of both the Arabs and Americans. The use of roving wiretaps should be controlled to avoid abuse of the power given by the Patriot Act. The courts should be given power to ensure that these rights are not abused. A suspected Arab immigrant should be notified before a search is done this way his or her right is not violated. Tension will be greatly reduced by amending the Act.
Stigmatization of Arab immigrants through racial profiling should be eliminated. At the airport and other border points, immigrants should be treated equally regardless of their country of origin. The immigration rules should not be made strict and restrictive to people from the Arabian countries only. The judges should not be biased when the suspect is an Arab. They should not deny the arrested person a bail especially if the Arab has lived in United States for several years. The Arabs should be treated like any other ethnic group that deserves normal courtesy.
The Americans need to realise that even their rights are at risk if the government continue spying on the lives of immigrants. This awareness will lead to the pushing for change of law concerning the rights by Americans. The checks and balances that were eliminated could be returned giving the judiciary power to protect the rights of the citizens (Scott 167). When the Americans fight against the abuse of their rights, even the abuse of Arab immigrants’ liberties will reduce hence a decrease in the tension between the government and these immigrants.
At schools the teachers should try to correct the bad impression that is created by the media about the Arabs. Educators should provide room for students to explore the different cultures and understand their contributions to the human life. This will help the students develop positive attitude towards the Arabs. To create an atmosphere of acceptance the schools should formulate strong policies against discrimination and harassment of Arab students (Jamal & Naber 54). Informing the community about the acceptance of immigrants is important. It could be used as a tool to fight the hostility and racial discrimination that the Arabs face in America
Hostility between America and Middle East countries
The hostility between the Americans and Arab immigrants is because of the Afghanistan bombing by the United States. The important place that America bombed was the airports that it had built earlier. The United States have given Israel financial support and supply of powerful weapons to help them fight the Arabs. In 2001, the American government promised to reward Israel for destroying the Arabian country (Golan 57). This caused increased hostility towards the American government. The fight between Arabs and Israel started about 81 years ago. This was as a result of land grabbing by Israel in 1967(Golan 57). Since then the war has gone on and there is need for peace talks to end it. Hostility is also caused by the continued development of nuclear weapons by the Arabian countries. America feel threatened with the continued Uranium programme but Iran claims that the developments have good purpose. To cope with each other, this hostility must be put to an end. Officials from both sides have held peace talks with little success. Unity and peace will only be achieved if both sides declare an end to bombing, neutral stand of America concerning Palestine’s fight against Israel, and halting the nuclear weapons development by the Arabs. Both countries depend on each other, with America benefiting from the ready market of their goods in the Gulf nations. The Arabian countries also benefit from America by the ready market of oil, gas, and petrochemicals (Golan 58).
Most Arab immigrants have lived in United States for a long time and should not be referred to as foreigners. They have acquired citizenship and should be treated as true American citizens. The immigration of people into the country has both positive and negative effects, but the government should control the immigration because overpopulation will cause a great challenge to the government. The hatred between Arabs and Americans should be solved. It is the responsibility of America to remain neutral in the fight between Palestine and Israel. This way it will create a negotiation setting and end the hostility. They should implement a strategy that that will serve the United States and in no way serving the Israelites. This way the feeling of hostility towards America will be reduced, and the diplomatic ties between United States and Middle East countries will be re-established after 30 years of total hatred (Golan 58). Nuclear weapons are a threat not only to the American government but the whole world. A nuclear bomb is claimed to cause extensive damage and this puts every person at risk. This causes tension between Americans and Arabs. U. S feels that in case of disagreement between them, Iran will bomb them causing more destruction and deaths than in 2001.
Diplomatic talks are the optional solution to hostility. This will help to resolve their social and political differences. The American government should not use counterterrorism as a way of fighting terrorism. The religion of every person should be respected. Whether Christianity or Islamic none should be viewed as superior than the other. This will help to end the discrimination that is based on religion. The violation of Arabs right to privacy in America should be stopped. When the law enforcement agencies want to collect some information they should do it directly and inform the person why the information is needed. Only relevant information should be collected and used for the intended purpose. If this is done, these immigrants will not feel offended and they shall be able to cope with the Americans.
Golan Galia. Israel and Palestine: Peace Plans and Proposals from Oslo to Disengagement. Ney York: Markus Wiener publishers, 2008. 56- 61.
Jamal Amaney, A. &Naber Nadine, C. Race and Arab Americans before and after 9/11: from invisible citizens to visible subjects. New York: Syracuse press, 2008. 46- 56.
Orfalea Gregory. The Arab Americans: a history. New York: CRC press, 2006. 453- 463.
Scott Peter, D. Drugs, oil, and war: the United States in Afghanistan, Columbia, &Indonesia. California: Sage publishers, 2003. 165- 178.
Suleiman Michael, W. Arabs in America: building a new future. New York: Temple press, 1999. 80- 85.