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May 31, 2012 9:00 am

U.S. May Label Arabs as Disadvantaged Minority

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The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Photo: wiki commons.

The U.S. Commerce Department may classify Arab Americans as a socially and economically disadvantaged minority group, making them eligible for special business assistance, after the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) petitioned the department on the issue earlier this year.

According to The Hill, ADC asserts that Arab Americans have faced discrimination and racial profiling since the U.S. increased security measures following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. ADC alleged that the requirement of non-immigrants to register at ports of entry, stricter travel guidelines, and “no-fly lists” primarily composed of Arab Americans all constitute discrimination against Arab Americans.

However, FBI statistics released last November show that out of 1,409 religion-based hate crimes in 2010, only 13.2 percent were anti-Islamic. Meanwhile, 65.4 percent of those hate crimes were anti-Jewish.

If the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) approves the ADC petition by June 27, Arab American entrepreneurs will gain greater access to capital, contracts and trade opportunities.

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