The United States is home to millions of immigrants. About 44 million foreign-born individuals are in the country, and many experts believe this number will continue to grow in the coming years. Among the growing immigrant population is middle eastern Americans.
There are about 900,000 middle eastern Americans in the country, and it’s expected to reach a million next year. However, discrimination is still a reality for many of these individuals.
Making your community more welcoming to Middle-Easterners can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! You can make many small changes that will have a significant impact. Here are five ways to make your community more friendly to Middle-Easterners today.
Learn About Their Culture
One of the best ways to make Middle-Easterners feel welcome in your community is to learn about their culture and customs. This shows that you’re interested in learning and valuing their culture. There are a few ways you can do this. Here are some of them:
Visit a Cultural Center
Culture is a huge part of many Middle Easterners’ lives. A great way to learn more about it is to visit a cultural center near you. Many cities have centers dedicated to educating the public about different cultures. Some of the famous middle eastern cultural centers in the United States are The Arab American National Museum in Michigan and The Islamic Cultural Center of New York City.
Attend a Festival
Another way to learn about Middle-Eastern culture is to attend a festival celebrating it. These festivals usually have traditional music, food, and dance. They’re a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and have a lot of fun simultaneously!
Some of the most popular festivals include The Arab International Festival in Detroit and The Muslim Unity Festival in Chicago.
Read Books or Watch Films
If you can’t make it to a cultural center or festival, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways to learn about Middle-Eastern culture from the comfort of your own home.
One way is to read books or watch films about the culture. This can be a great way to learn about the history and customs of the Middle East. A few recommended titles include Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi and City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.
You could also watch movies like The Kite Runner and Paradise Now to better understand Middle Eastern culture and the issues the people face.
Use Inclusive Language
When talking about or referring to Middle Easterners, be sure to use inclusive language. This means using terms like “Middle Easterner” or “North African” instead of lumping all people from the region into one group (e.g., “Arabs”). It’s also important to avoid using offensive terms like “terrorist” or “jihadist.” Remember, not all Middle Easterners are Muslim, and not all Muslims are extremists.
Have Foreign Exchange For Their Currency
Foreign exchange is crucial for many businesses, and that includes small businesses. Not everyone uses or accepts American dollars, so it’s important to have foreign currency on hand. This is especially true if you’re located in an area with a large Middle Eastern population. Make sure you have a robust Islamic forex broker service to ensure you can always exchange currency when needed. This will make it easy for Middle Easterners to do business with you and show that you’re welcoming of their culture.
Be Their Ally
If you see someone being discriminatory towards a Middle-Easterner, speak up! Showing solidarity will let them know they’re not alone and welcome in your community. Allies can also help by circulating petitions, attending rallies, or donating to causes that support Middle Easterners’ rights.
If you know someone new to your community, go out of your way to welcome them! Here are some ways you can do that:
One way to welcome a new Middle Easterner to your community is to invite them over for dinner. This is a great way to get to know them and their family better. It’s also an opportunity to show off your cooking skills!
No problem if you don’t know how to cook traditional Middle Eastern food! You can always order take-out from a local restaurant.
Make Them Feel at Home
Another way to welcome newcomers is to make them feel at home in your community. This can be as simple as inviting them to join you for coffee or offering to help them with errands.
You could also introduce them to other people in the community or help them get involved in local activities.
Making your community more welcoming to Middle-Westerners is essential to work everyone can do! By taking some small steps—like learning about other cultures and using inclusive language—you can help make your community a warm and friendly place for everyone.