Contributor Perspectives

Finding the Arab World

Anisa Mehdi
Board of Contributors
May 3, 2017 | 08:54 GMT
Finding the Arab World
At a time when many of us seek to find more in common than that which divides us, the terms "Arab" and "Arab World" may be neither helpful nor accurate.

The New Jersey-based Palestinian American Community Center has announced the first educational initiative of its kind: The Homeland Project. Subsidized participants will explore and experience the Palestinian territories -- a bit like Taglit or "Birthright Israel," an organization that aims to give every Jewish young adult around the world an opportunity to visit Israel. The primary qualification for applicants is to be "an American citizen of Arab descent." Not American citizens of Palestinian descent. The program welcomes people with heritage from 22 different nations including Algeria, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. People of "the Arab World." Having grown up Arab-American with Iraqi heritage, I've long wondered about the term "Arab World." I understood my American identity, but what distinguished Iraq from the broad term "Arab"? Which superseded the other and why, I wondered. Now I bring this question to you: What is the...

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