New online national directory of Arab Americans
The Arab Daily News online news network is launching a new and free National Arab American Directory that provides information on Arab American news media, Arab American organizations, Arab American religious institutions (Mosques and Arab Churches), and Arab American restaurants.
The project is the brainchild of Arab American writer and author Ray Hanania, an award winning former journalist who covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 for the Daily Southtown and later the Chicago Sun-Times.
Hanania previously published a booklet directory listing the organizations from 1992 until 2005 that was updated annually. He said the mains focus was Arab American media and Arab American organizations, but that religious groups and restaurants are an impost aspect of American Arab life.
“The Arab American Media Guide was a very popular and successful resource not just for Arabs in America but also for mainstream Americans who wanted to outreach to the Arab community,” Hanania explained.
“It did very well. But in today’s transformation to the digital world, it’s clear that the former directory needed to be revived in an online resource format.”
Hanania said the directory is being rebuilt. At one time, there were more than 112 Arab American and Arab Muslim newspapers and magazines, but that number declined significantly in the wake of the anti-Arab bigotry following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks.
“It was amazing to me that foreign terrorists who hate America attacked the United States but that Americans expanded their rage to target Arabs in America, the very resource they needed to explore in order to understand the true foreign terrorist threat from the Middle East,” Hanania said.
“In their rage and anger, many American attacked and bullied publishers of American Arab newspapers, magazines and even the few cable TV and radio stations, threatening advertisers. Instead of turning to the Arab American media as a resource to better understand and confront the terrorism threat, they bullied the Arab American media into a defensive silence.”
Hanania said that today, there are only about 75 Arab American and Arab Muslim newspapers and magazines that publish on a regular basis. And, he said, there are only about eight Arab radio talk shows and only a few Arab Cable TV programs.
“The turnover has been enormous. The Arab American media has always faced two major challenges. The first is the growing animosity from Americans against Arabs and Arab Muslims. The fact that the majority of Arabs in America are Christian has always escaped the haters in this country and Arab Christians are often vilified as being “Muslims” by the haters,” Hanania said.
“But the second factor is really the most disheartening and most significant. The Arab American and Arab Muslim community in this country simply doesn’t support its ethnic news media. I have always believed that the health of any ethnic community is reflected in the health of its ethnic news media. Looking at our Arab ethnic news media, it is clear that the Arab American community is ailing.”
The directory is available from the main menu at the top of the Arab Daily News website at www.TheArabDailyNews.com.
Hanania said that he is building the directory, noting that newspapers and media come and go frequently in the Arab American community.
“There are some cornerstones in our community that will be here no matter what the challenges. Programs hosted by Barbara Nimri Aziz, Laila alHusinni and Yousif Marei are among the radio programs that struggle through challenges and obstacles to produce some great English and Arab language programing,” Hanania said.
Hanania said that he invites Arab media publishers to submit and update their information to keep the directory up-to-date.