By Ray Hanania
There are more than 4.5 million Arabs in the United States, and about 7 million Muslims. The majority of Arabs are Christian, by about 65 percent and the remainder are Muslim. Of the 7 million Muslims, only about 22 percent originate from one of 22 Arab countries and the largest majority are African American Muslims.
In a population of more than 300 million Americans, that is not a lot of Arabs or Muslims. Yet, Arabs in America have a growing presence in many fields, from law and legal work like renown attorney Joumana Kayrouz in Detroit to elected officials like Palestinian American Congressman Justin Amash.
Some of the most popular Mediterranean food is distributed by an American Arab company, Ziyad Brothers Importing, based in the Chicago area. And Arab Americans hold positions in government offices, elected posts and even appear on television and work in journalism and media communications (as this author does).
Yet, who is the most recognized Arab in America?
Ironically, most Americans don’t know many American Arabs at all, even though American Arabs have been in this country since the early part of the 19th Century. They have served during World War I and World War II, during the Korean War and during the Vietnam War (as this author did). Despite their contributions to America, some Americans view them with hate and vicious racism. But the truth is the majority of Arabs in American are more patriotic than the typical non-Arab American.
So, who is the most recognized Arab in America?
I am asking you to submit your suggestions or post them below using our comment system hosted by the popular hosting site DISQUS. Tell us who you believe is the most recognized American Arab.
Here’s my suggestion: The most recognized Arab in America is journalist Hoda Kotb, who is Muslim and Egyptian American. She is the cohost of the very popular fourth hour of th eToday Show on NBC Network Television with Kathie Lee Gifford. Kotb is recognizable on this national television scale for her bright humor and great personality. She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2010 as part of The Today Show team. Kotb is also a correspondent for NBC’s Dateline NBC.
I met Kotb in the late 1990s when she was the guest speaker at an event hosted by the National American Arab Journalists Association (NAAJA), which was folded in 2013. She is funny. Her story of pursuing journalism is inspiring.
Hoda is the author of two books, “Ten Years Later” and a memoir entitled “Hoda“.
We look forward to your nominations of the most recognizable Arab in America. Email to us at:
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and President & CEO of Urban Strategies Group media relations. He is the managing editor of The Arab Daily News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)