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Arab Detroit 9/11

Life in the Terror Decade

Edited by Nabeel Abraham, Sally Howell, and Andrew Shryock

Publication Year: 2011

Contributors explore the trauma, unexpected political gains, and moral ambiguities faced by Arab Detroiters in post-9/11 America.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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The Terror Decade in Arab Detroit: An Introduction

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pp. 1-25

This volume is the latest in a rich tradition of scholarship on the Middle Eastern immigrant and ethnic communities of greater Detroit, a metropolitan area that is home to several of North America’s oldest and largest Lebanese, Palestinian, Yemeni, and Iraqi populations. Ten years ago, we published Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream (Abraham and Shryock 2000), a study that explored the history and cultural development of these communities, beginning in the late nineteenth century, when...


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Arab Detroit after 9/11: A Changing Demographic Portrait

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pp. 29-63

The first decade of the twenty-first century has found the city of Detroit and southeast Michigan dealing with challenges both predictable and unanticipated. In the early years of the new century, the auto industry experienced one of its periodic upswings, only to face collapse a few years later and the near- demise of two of the major companies. During the housing...


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Cracking Down on Diaspora: Arab Detroit and America’s War on Terror

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pp. 67-86

It is hard now to portray Arab Detroit outside the framework provided by the attacks of September 11, 2001. The idea, popular not so long ago, that the Arabs of metropolitan Detroit had finally entered the cultural mainstream, producing U.S. senators (Spencer Abraham) and union bosses (Steve Yokich, president of the UAW) and captains of industry (Jacques Nasser, CEO of Ford), is likely to be dismissed today as wishful thinking. Once hailed as...

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Backlash, Part 2: The Federal Law Enforcement Agenda

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pp. 87-101

Everybody saw George Bush go to the mosque in Washington, D.C., and take his shoes off and enter the prayer room, the masjid area, as a show of solidarity with the Muslims in this country, and certainly, initially, we all thought that was a really good thing for him to have done and we appreciated that and really looked to him to defend...


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Orthodox, Arab, American: The Flexibility of Christian Arabness in Detroit

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pp. 105-125

On a July weekend, the copper-domed church on Merriman Road in Livonia is filled with well-wishers as a young couple weds. Fifty yards away a thousand church members and fellow metro Detroiters eat shawarma and listen to Arabic music as part of a summer festival celebration of Orthodox Christian fellowship and Arab American...

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Fighting Our Own Battles: Iraqi Chaldeans and the War on Terror

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pp. 126-150

Chaldean immigrants to the United States began to form a visible cluster in Detroit in the 1920s (Sengstock 1982). Today, members of this Catholic Iraqi minority who settle in the United States encounter multiple options for reconfiguring, consolidating, and negotiating their ethnicity. The United States is a host country where, in most cases, they have family and kin who are already well established. As recently arrived...

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Muslims as Moving Targets: External Scrutiny and Internal Critique in Detroit’s Mosques

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pp. 151-185

On April 17, 2010, the U.S. Departments of State and Justice held a Civil Society Consultation at the Law School of Wayne State University in Detroit. Hosted by the Civil Rights Center within the law school and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC Michigan), this event was one of several hosted across the country to satisfy the terms of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. The Detroit...

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Detroit Transnational: The Interchange Experience in Lebanon and the United States

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pp. 186-209

The transnational paradigm has emerged in recent years as a way of better understanding how the links between immigrants, their descendants, and their various homelands influence incorporation into American society (Basch, Glick Schiller, and Szanton Blanc 1994; Levitt and Waters 2002; Levitt and Glick Schiller 2004). The life experiences of migrants and their descendants are shaped not only by their country...


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My Life as a Brown Person

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pp. 213-220

I grew up hearing stories about racism and attending leadership conferences where videos illustrated a world in which Arabs were constantly called terrorists or A-rabs and harassed endlessly. However, I have to say I was in disbelief. At Bloomfield Hills schools, I have never been discriminated against or personally harassed for being Arab in the post-9/11 decade. This will not be some story of persecution or tears. This will be the story of...

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Subject to Change

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pp. 221-238

That day remains a crystal clear memory in my mind, as it does for most Americans. A sophomore in high school at the time, I knew it was a big deal because normal television ceased for two or three days. That had never happened before. At the time, I did not get it, and I did not feel the grief that other Americans felt. I am not...

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Going Places

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pp. 239-253

On the morning of September 11, 2001, from the shoreline of the Jersey City neighborhood I lived in, I watched the World Trade Center buildings collapse, engulfing the streets below with billowing clouds of debris. I was scheduled to teach my first class that day as a full-time faculty member at a college in Queens. I’d been living in New York City for seven years, and I had visited the World Trade Center only once, and...

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And Then You Add the Arab Thing

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pp. 254-266

On Wednesday, October 1, 2008, at 12:28 p.m., an e-mail with the subject “An Ozymandias Moment” popped up in my Inbox. It read: “I was driving down John R this morning as the wrecking ball was being taken to your dad’s old building. It’s gone now.” It was sent by a friend in Detroit, a law professor at Wayne State University Law School, who is originally from New York City. He moved to Detroit to teach at Wayne in 2003...


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Domestic Foreign Policy: Arab Detroit as a Special Place in the War on Terror

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pp. 269-286

In post-9/11 America, Arab Detroit emerged as a special place, a location deemed of particular political and cultural significance in relation to the Bush administration’s War on Terror. National and international media, federal government agencies, civil liberties advocates, and terrorism “experts” discovered the Arab Americans of Detroit, or at least came to see them in a new, exaggerated light. Nationally, Arab Americans were no longer “invisible” (Jamal and Naber 2008), but their sudden visibility...

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The Arab American National Museum: Sanctioning Arabness for a Post- 9/11 America

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pp. 287-314

Plans for erecting the Arab American National Museum (AANM) were well under way before September 11, 2001. The AANM, a department of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Ser vices (ACCESS), was formerly the Cultural Arts Program operating out of ACCESS’s main administration building. Established in 1987, the program grew...

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Toward Electability: Public Office and the Arab Vote

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pp. 315-346

Both Arab and Muslim Americans have a visible social presence in Michigan and the greater Detroit area, but they are considerably underrepresented at all levels of elected office, including in electoral districts where they are concentrated. In this chapter, we quantify and attempt to explain patterns of political representation in elected office among Arabs and Muslims of the greater Detroit area. To do so, we evaluate the...

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Arabs Behaving Badly: The Limits of Containment in a Post- 9/11 World

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pp. 347-377

On the morning of September 13, 2001, a community college professor entered his classroom, where he noticed a crude drawing on the blackboard that he took as an offensive reference to the terrorist attacks two days earlier. He turned to the students in the classroom and demanded to know what was implied by the drawing and who drew it. When no one responded, the professor singled...


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The New Order and Its Forgotten Histories

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pp. 381-393

The determined reader who arrives at this chapter after a close study of the first sixteen will have learned a great deal from the recurrent themes and arguments of this book. Readers who took shortcuts along the way will have missed crucial bits of instruction, but this is perhaps appropriate. After sampling these essays and examining our...


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pp. 395-397


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pp. 399-413

E-ISBN-13: 9780814336823
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814335000

Page Count: 424
Illustrations: 20
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a

OCLC Number: 777565753
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Arab Detroit 9/11

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Muslims -- Michigan -- Detroit -- Social conditions -- 21st century.
  • Community life -- Michigan -- Detroit -- History -- 21st century.
  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Ethnic relations -- History -- 21st century.
  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Economic conditions -- 21st century.
  • Arab Americans -- Michigan -- Detroit -- Social conditions -- 21st century.
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001 -- Influence.
  • National characteristics, American -- Case studies.
  • Citizenship -- United States -- Case studies.
  • Arab Americans -- Michigan -- Detroit -- Economic conditions -- 21st century.
  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Social conditions -- 21st century.
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