Middle Eastern Americans
Since 1970, many immigrants have arrived in the United States from countries located in the "Middle which is the geographic region from Afghani- to Libya and includes Arabia. Cyprus. and Asi- Turkey. Placing people in the "Middle Eastern"American category is somewhat like placing Wide diversities of people in the categories of Asian American or Latino/a; some U.S. residents trace their origins to countries such as Bahrain. Egypt. Iran. Iraq. Kuwait Lebanon. Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE (United Arab Emirates). and Yemen. Middle Eastern Americans speak a variety of languages and have diverse religious backgrounds: Some are Muslim, some are Coptic Christian. and others are Melkite Catho 'r Although some are from workin- ~';ss 'armlies, lebanese rvencaos, Syrian Americans, Iranian Americans, dnd Kuwaiti Americans primarily come from middle- and upper-income family backgrounds. Forexample. Iranian Americans are scientists. professionals. and entrepreneurs. In cities across the Un~ed States. Muslims have established social. economic, and ethnic enclaves. On the Internet. they have created websites that provide information about Islamic centers. schools. and listr of businesses and services available from those who adhere to Islam. one of the fastest-growing religions in this country (see Chapter 17. "Religion"). In cities such as Seattle, incorporation into the economic mainstream has been relatively easy for Palestinian imrnigrants who left their homeland in the 19805. Some have found well-paid employment with corpor=t'oes such as Microsoft because thn;, h,-ng educational ~~i1Isand talents to the information-based economy.including the ability to translate software into Arabic for Middle Eastern markets (M. Ramirez, 1999).
ln the United States. Islamic schools and centers often bring together people from a diversity of countries such asEgypt and Pakistan. Many Muslim leaders and parents focus on how to raise children to be good Muslims and good U.S. citizens, However. recent immigrants continue to be tom between establishing roots in the United States and- the continuing divisions and strife that exist in their homelands. Some Middle Eastern Americans experience prejudice and discriminationbased on their speech patterns. appearance (such as the hijabs, or "head-to-toe covering" that leaves only the face exposed. which many girls and women wear). or the assumption that "all Middle Easterners" are somehow associated with terrorism. Following the September 11,200. attacks on the United States by terrorists whose origins were traced to the Middle East, hate crimes and other forms of discrimination escalated in this country against people who were assumed to be Arabs. Arab Americans. or Muslims. With the passage of he U.S. Patriot Act-a law giving the federal government greater authority to engage in searches and surveillance with less judicial review than previously-in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. many Arab Americans have expressed concern that this law is being used to target people who appear to be of Middle Eastern origins. To counter this potential oppression and loss of rights. sOffie. Arab Americans have engaged in social activism to highlight their concerns (Feagin and Feagin, 2008).
Middle Eastern Americans and Sports Although more Islamic schools are beginning to focus on sports, particularly for teenage boys. there has been less emphasis on competitive athletics among many Middle Eastern Americans. Because of popular sporting events in their countries of origin. some Middle Eastern Americans play golf or soccer. As well. some Iranian Americans follow the soccer careers of professional players from Iran. who now play for German. Austrian. Belgian, and Greek clubs. Keeping up with global sporting events is easy with all-sports television
cable channels and websites that provide up-to-theminute Information about players and competltlons. Over time, there will probably be greater participation
by Middle Eastern Americ n males In competitions such as soccer and golf; however. girls and women in Muslim families are typically not allowed to engage
in athletic activities. Although little research has been done on this issue in the United States. one study of Islamic countries in the Middle East found that female
athletes face strong cultural opposition to their sports participation (Dupre and Gains, 1997) .