Posted by on January 21, 2010 in News Clips
On Monday December 14, 2009, Jean AbiNader, AAI board member and COO of the Moroccan Center, and Jamal Baadani, founder of the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military, presented to over 100 U.S. Army Equal Opportunity Advisors studying at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). The presentation at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. afforded a timely opportunity to explore issues unique to Arab and Muslim American soldiers in the field.
“As an AAI member, it is really important to me to continue educating people, especially those who can advocate for our community, on the contributions of Arab and Muslim Americans to this country,” said AbiNader. “We must not fade when controversies such as the Ft. Hood shooting occur. We cannot give the floor to those who do not respect our heritage and want to marginalize us.”
AbiNader gave the attendees an overview of Arab and Muslim cultures, while Baadani presented information on the Middle East, Muslim world populations, and Arab American and Muslim American cultural backgrounds and demographics. Baadani also spoke about Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. military—a history that dates back to the Revolutionary War. AbiNader and Baadani concluded the presentation with positive, effective EEO initiatives that will enable the U.S. Army to identify and address challenges before they arise.
Baadani noted the importance of reaching out in support of our community in the armed services: “As Arab and Muslim American military service-members, we have the duty and obligation to contribute to and support the United States Army and the rest of the U.S. Armed Forces. We can speak of the rich history and culture of the Arab and Muslim American community—and the service and sacrifice they have given to the U.S. Armed Force—to strengthen understanding among our soldiers in every branch, and enable all those who serve together in combat and in garrison to depend and trust one another with their lives.”
The presentation was very well received, and feedback from the program coordinators was positive. Participants left with a greater understanding of Arab and Muslim American soldiers and felt equipped to return to their commands and share their insights with their fellow soldiers.