Living in Europe we frequently read about the challenge of integrating Arab immigrants. In Europe we think of Arab Europeans as a low income group. Personally I don´t know if this perception is true but I to learned today from my friend Kaleil Isaza who started JumpTV that this is certainly not the case in the United States. Indeed the Arab American´s average income is higher than the average income of all Americans. Later at home I found this article on Arab American demographics that corroborates what Kaleil told me. JumpTV by the way is an interesting venture that brings TV over the internet to immigrant groups and is mainly focused on Arabic and Spanish speaking channels. For JumpTV it´s very important that immigrants be reasonably well off as internet tv requires a much greater investment than regular TV. As I read the Arab American Institute web site and how Arab Americans I wondered about the factors that led to the tremendous success of Arabs in America and if these could be replicated in Europe.

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Xavier on April 3, 2006  · 

Well just a small correction, You said “arab europeans, Arab americans” and it will be better that you indicated “Islamic europeans, islamic americans”.

Basically because In europe we don’t have too much arabs, and this small comunity is richer than the european average.
But that hapen is that in europe we have a big islamic comunity that comes from North Africa, and a lot of them are inmigrants that are searching a better life than in his country.
And in America, they have more islamist that comes from Asia, where the economic situation is better than in the north of Africa, specially because the Islamist in america use to be legal, so you must have money. And in Europe you have a big part that is or was ilegal, so they suffer very bad labour conditions.
Also a big part of the inmigration to US has university degrees, and that is not the case in Europe, where a lot of them comes too young to can finish his studies.

Well that’s my opinion, Don’t you think???
Of curse you have north african inmigrants tha comes with Phd, but unfortunatly thay are a small minory, and we don’t help too much to the rest to develop them.

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Jose Luis Mesa on April 3, 2006  · 


I think the explanation is simple:

1) The requirements for foreign people (including Arabs) to enter the States are very high, so only the best Arabs can make a life in USA. I know successful Arabs in UK, but it is hard for me to find the same in Spain. Why? Because the process to enter the country is harder in UK than in Spain.

2) Most Arabs work in the private sector, a better pathway to the top.

3) Most Arab people have a lower perception of risk than other people. You know perfectly the importance of having a low risk perception to start a business. Other people just don’t start a business because they feel it is risky.


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Eric on April 3, 2006  · 


“Arab” pertains to any person who is ethinically Arab. This generally means someone from a country and culture where Arabic is the prominent language, regardless of religion (there are Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, and yes, even Arab Jews). If you check the link that Martin puts here on his blog, it highlights where the “Arab Americans” come from. All of those listed are Arab but not necessarily Muslim, in contradiction to your assertion. As a matter of fact, the link states that the majority of Arab Americans are Christians (even 24% are Muslim).

They include: Syrian, Jordanian, Palestian, Lebanese, Moroccan, as well as others.

Non-Arab muslim countries would include Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan (Malaysia, Indonesia, and non-Arab Sub-Saharian Africa). There are plenty of people from these countries in the US, many of whom are entrepreneurs, business people, and professionals who do well. But, these people, contrary to what you suggest, are not listed in the link Martin refers to.

My guess is that the difference between the type of Arab who emigrates to the States versus to Europe has to do with why and when they emigrated, not necessarily country of origin or religion.

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Xavier on April 3, 2006  · 

Eric, you’re rigth I din’t reed the article, but I think is a mistake to said that North africa is arab, because isn’t it. Arab i not the first even the second language in those countries.
Also they feel completly diferent, and historically inside the islamic world they had a lot of problems between them.

But if you take out the difference between arabs, the result is the same the majority of the european inmigration, that comes from “islamic” tradition (even if they are jew or catholic…) comes from Africa, and a big part are or was ilegal, but in US, the inmigration that comes from “islamic” world is legal, and with better qualification level.
I think is more apropiated say “islamic” than arab, because clasical arab could be the oficial language, but is not the language spocke by the people, in Marroco, just 32% of the men spocks arab correctly, they use diferent dialects, with a big influence of the berebers languaje, also the education was in french until one decade ago in most of this countries.
Also they have a bereber culture, more than arab culture. Arabs are a minory in north Africa, only represents 25/30%

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Eric on April 5, 2006  · 



Sorry, I don’t mean to get into too much of an argument about “definitions”, but North Africans speak Arabic and are Arab.;

I am not quite sure what it is that you dislike about North Africans. That they may be Arab? That they may be Muslim? That they may have arrived illegally? Because the nature of your argument is that the fault lies with the immigrant not with the host country.

I will agree, though, that the difference between Arab Americans and Arab Europeans has to do with the nature of immigration, but I do not believe that the difference has anything to do at all with culture or religion. I think there are interesting questions to ask to find a reason behind this. For example, why does an immigrant choose the US over Europe? Why and when does an immigrant decide to emigrate? Because of political reasons (civil war, regime change, political prosecution) or because of poverty or for temporary wokr)? North Africa was colonized by Spain and France: how does this affect the immigrant’s and host country’s perception of each other? How friendly is the host country to the immigrant? Is there a support group or a community that aids the immigrant upon arrival? Is any group of immigrants that arrive in Europe successful? Should the comparison be based on distance and not country or region? For example, are Arab-Europeans more similar to say Mexican Americans because the travel distance is less?

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Xavier on April 5, 2006  · 

#5 Eric,

Sorry but the links are not working.

North africa has a big influence of arab language of course, but is the same level that has the french.
For me and all europeans, North Africa and arabs are so different. And one of the examples is that in the mind of the people “moro” (it means originary from north africa) it has unfortunatly a bad mean, when it should be a normal word, if you said moro in Spain France or Italy this word has bad connotations, including can be use as an insult, and a lot of people try to evit to use this word to be respetuous when this word shouldn’t has any bad mean.
And if you said arab (specially beafore 11-S) you refer to all the god things, rich culture, glorious past of al-andalus, money…

But yes I’m agree with your comparation the inmigration in Europe of the north africans is similar to the Mexicans in USA, is an inmigration based in the fluency of illegal people that use the proximity to avoid the poverty of his rgions

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XAVIER on April 6, 2006  · 

Sure that if you study stadistics of inmigration you will see that more than 85%comes from North africa instead in USA I’m sure that comes more people from Middle east.

For me islamic culture could be diveided in 4 parts:
Middle east (lebanon-Iran)
Afganistan-Bangladesh (Included China)
Indonesia, Malasia…

Between this areas could be a mix, as an example some parts of Africa could be In Middle east.

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Lutful on April 6, 2006  · 

Martin, it will require a consistent influx of legal skilled and business-class immigrants from Arab/Muslim/Islamic countries for at least 30 years to duplicate the demographics of USA or Canada.

I fear that will not supported by the vast majority of the European population.

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