Copts and Queens

Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Blog

By: Alexander MatikaSummer 2013 Intern

“You feel much more like you’re in Egypt now,” said Father Michael Sorial, a priest at St. Mary and St. Antonios Coptic Orthodox Church in Ridgewood, Queens, New York City. After the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011 and the ensuing power vacuum, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christians have been migrating to the United States in large numbers. In 2012, 2,882 Egyptians were given asylum—9.8 percent of all individuals granted asylum—up from 1,026 in 2011 and 531 in 2010, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s...

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AAI Submits Statement to House Hearing on Boston Bombing

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Blog

The Arab American Institute submitted the following statement from Executive Director Maya Berry to the first House Homeland Security Committee hearing on last month’s bombings in Boston. Immediately after the attacks, false information about the motives, origins, and perpetrators of the attacks were widely disseminated by members of the media, elected officials and members of the intelligence community to an anxious American public. Predictably, and without any knowledge of the facts, proponents of increased surveillance and ethnic and religious profiling - practices which target the Arab American and American Muslim communities - used Boston to make the...

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“How could you think it’s okay to surveil or spy on someone just because they’re Muslim?”

Posted by on May 06, 2013 in Blog

Excellent question, and we’re pleased that Mayoral candidate Jon Liu asked it at yesterday’s Mayoral Forum in New York. The event was convened by the Arab American Association of New York and the Islamic Center at New York University. All six democratic candidates (Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Erick Salgado, and Bill Thompson) participated, as did Independent Adolfo Carrion, Jr. Republican candidates were invited, but declined to take part.

Key topics at Sunday’s forum were the protection of civil liberties and the candidates’ opinions on the...

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An American Citizen is an American Citizen

Posted on April 24, 2013 in Countdown
Those are the words of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice concerning Israeli treatment of Arab American citizens who are denied entry or subjected to heightened scrutiny at Israeli borders, an issue we have written about several times and raised with US officials on countless occasions.
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NYC Grassroots Campaign Takes on Geller Ads

Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Blog

By Jennine Vari

Spring 2013 Intern

Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative gained national press coverage last October with the launch of Islamophobic subway ads in New York City and Washington, DC. The slanderous ads, which referred to Muslims as “savages” and featured pictures of the burning Twin Towers, were decried by Muslim and Arab activists and advocacy groups around the country.

One of the most recent ad campaigns in NYC to take on Geller’s hate speech is “Talk Back to Hate,” a grassroots campaign started by Akiva Freidlin. The posters placed in NYC subways...

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Protecting the Voting Rights Act

Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Blog

Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on one of the most important legislative initiatives from the Civil Rights era: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA ensures that all eligible American citizens are able to vote, unimpeded by processes or regulations— from literacy tests and English-only ballots, to moving polling places and redistricting—that could effectively disenfranchise ethnic minorities.

The VRA has been upheld a number of times over the years, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2009 and extended three times by Congress. The most recent extension, through 2031, passed in...

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ACT TODAY: Tell Your Senators the FBI Should Track Hate Crimes Against Arab Americans

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Blog

There is a problem with the way federal law enforcement tracks hate crimes aimed at the Arab American community: they don’t.  

In the past ten years, there have been more than 800 incidents involving “violence, threats, vandalism, and arson against persons perceived to be Muslim or to be of Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian origin.” Federal charges have been brought in only a handful of cases, with only 45 convictions as of March 29, 2011.

Two senators are working to change that, and they’re asking their Senate colleagues to help them. You should too.

Senators Dick Durbin...

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Zead Ramadan: Arab American Running For New York City Council

Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Blog

Zead Ramadan comes from humble origins, but now the successful Arab American community leader and café owner from Upper Manhattan is making a run for the City Council to represent the 7th district. Ramadan and other candidates are seeking to replace the term-limited Robert Jackson who has served since 2002. If he wins, Ramadan will be the first Arab American to occupy a seat on New York’s City Council, and Ramadan is proud of that possibility. Despite having to stave off the inevitable attacks on his ethnicity and faith from Islamophobic and anti-Arab fringe...

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Voter Intimidation: Be on the Lookout

Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Blog

A Texas- based group, True the Vote, plans to mobilize millions of poll watchers around the country. But some fear that its real intention is to intimidate minority voters. Their fears were confirmed last month when True the Vote’s national election coordinator told poll watchers that their aim should be to make for voters feel “like [you’re] driving and seeing the police following you.”

The organization, which has openly stated its intention to oust President Obama, has been the subject of media investigations regarding its attempts to purge voter rolls across the country....

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The Arab American Vote: 2012

Posted on October 01, 2012 in Washington Watch

Arab Americans matter. Well integrated into all spheres of American life, Arab Americans are teachers, medical professionals, auto-workers, and first responders. In communities across the country the Arab American business community is a key to local prosperity. Arab Americans are also a bridge to their countries of origin, providing critical political and business insights into developments unfolding in the MENA region. And Arab Americans have been termed "the weak link in America's civil liberty chain" - because the rights of the community are sometimes put at risk by aggressive unconstitutional law enforcement practices. 

In an election year, in several areas...

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