Some are, most aren't. The area around the Persian Gulf is one of several
oil-producing areas in the world, but not all Arab countries produce oil,
and very few Arabs are rich from oil.
Arabs mostly a nomadic people?
No. Most live in urban areas, but portrayals of Arabs as desert dwellers
have distorted the picture. Bedouins, nomadic people depicted in movies,
make up only about 2 percent of Arab people. One of the largest Arab cities
is Cairo, with a population of more than 6 million.
Arabs come from the desert?
Most do not. To begin with, most Arabs live in cities. Secondly, Arab
countries have a range of climates. Many have coastal areas and some have
mountainous areas that get snow. Arab people come from a variety of
latitudes that extend from as far south as just below the equator to as far
north as approximately Lexington, Ky.
Arabs frequently involved in terrorism?
No more so than other groups of people. Many types of people have committed
acts of terror. However, news accounts seem to more often stress Arab
connections than they do for terrorism committed by other groups. In
addition, there have been highly publicized cases when Arabs were singled
out, early on and erroneously, as suspects. The Oklahoma City federal
building bombing in 1995 was one such case.
is meant by the phrase "Islamic fundamentalist"?
This is complex. The term fundamentalist, whether applied to Muslims or
Christians, is a largely American construct that has been used to imply
politically conservatism and, sometimes, extremism. The term "Islamic
fundamentalist" has been used to refer to people who use Islam to
justify political actions. This has blurred the distinction between religion
and politics. Because of this, acts carried out for political reasons are
sometimes attributed to religion. Fairness and accuracy mean attributing
political actions to the group, government or party responsible, and not to
a religion, which may have millions of followers around the world. Avoid
constructions like "Muslim bomb."
Islam a violent religion?
The Quran teaches nonviolence. Throughout history, political groups and
leaders have used Islam and other religions to justify many things,
Arab-American women subservient to men?
No sweeping statement can reflect all the roles of Arab women. They range
from leaders of matriarchal societies to independent businesswomen to
extreme deference. Their roles are affected by their country of origin,
whether they are from urban or rural areas, religion, degree of assimilation
and, of course, their own, individual characteristics.
is that charm with the eye or an eye on a hand?
Often worn as jewelry, the hamsa is a non-religious symbol for protection or
good luck. The eye, usually blue when colored, wards off the evil eye or
evil spirits. For example, the charm may be put on a baby to protect the
child from harm. This cultural tradition is shared by many people of
Contents :: Overview
:: Origins :: Language
:: Demographics :: Family
Religion :: Politics
:: Terminology :: Stereotypes :: Coverage
:: Resources :: Credits
Content © copyright 2001 Detroit
Free Press. All rights reserved.
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