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The Arab and Muslim minority in the United States seems to be a bit neglected by scholars Even basic statistical data concerning the number of them living in America is hard to obtain If we tried to find out how many Arab-Americans live in the United States nowadays the numbers would vary from 2 to 6 millions The atmosphere of mystery and neglect has changed significantly since September 11 yet much information about this particular group is still missing and many questions remain unanswered One of the reasons that account for numerous misunderstandings concerning Arab-Americans is perhaps the fact that as Shibley Telhami puts it in his article most Arabs in America are not Muslim and most Muslims are not Arabs Americans got used to associate all the Arabs with the same religion while the situation is much more complicated Telhami writes about this misconception and explains Most Arab Americans came from Lebanon and Syria in several waves of immigration beginning at the outset of the 20th century Most Muslim Americans are African American or from South Asia Telhami observes that the Arab community is one of the most diverse ethnic communities in the United States The Arabs differ not only in their religious orientation but also in their views concerning the advantages and disadvantages of assimilation Nevertheless Telhamis view is optimistic Like other ethnic groups in America Arabs and Muslims have produced many successful Americans whose ethnic background is merely an afterthought he claims He uses the words of a Muslim woman who was interviewed a few days after the terrorist attack on September 11 to back up his opinion I am so used to thinking about myself as a New Yorker that it took me a few days to begin to see myself as a stranger might a Muslim woman an outsider Telhami argues that many Muslims assimilated well in American society they tend to think of themselves as
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