Informational Resources on Arab-Americans, the Arab World and Islam

As part of its response to the aftermath of the September 11 hijacking attacks and the anti-Arab backlash in some quarters of American society, ADC has compiled and made available a resource guide for Americans seeking more information on Arab-Americans, the Arab World and Islam.

See also the list provided in the Education section >>


Unless they were published by ADC, ADC does not sell any of these books. When ordering ADC publications, be sure to include your street address and make out a check to ADC, 4201 Conn. Ave. NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20008. Orders can also be placed by emailing to or calling 202-244-2990.

Arab Americans

See the ADC Education page for a lengthy annotated bibliography on Arab Americans.

ADC has brief issue papers on “Kahlil Gibran” (author of The Prophet) and “A Celebration of Life: Memories of an Arab-American in Cleveland.” (Available from ADC for $1.00 each)

Nabil Abraham and Andrew Shryock, eds.,, Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream. Analytical articles, memoirs, poems present the diversity of the largest Arab-American community — Lebanese, Chaldeans, Yemenis, Palestinians. Covers food, music, religion, identity, and politics with academic sophistication and personal immediacy.

Anan Ameri and Dawn Ramey, eds., Arab American Encyclopedia (Detroit: ACCESS/The Gale Group, 2000). Articles cover every aspect of Arab-American life. Designed for middle school, but can be used much more broadly by anyone. History, immigration, language, religion, work, education, family, and gender roles, holidays, health, civil rights, organizations and political activism, music, literature, arts, media. Should be a standard reference in every school.

Evelyn Shakir, Bint Arab: Arab and Arab American Women in the United States (Praeger Publishers, 1997). The story of Arab and Arab-American women in the U.S. from the late 19th century until today. Based on interviews in which Arab-American women tell their own stories of struggles with identity and cultural value.

Michael W. Suleiman, ed., Arabs in America: Building a New Future (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000). Interdisciplinary essays by 21 scholars: community profiles, civil rights, youth, family life, political activism, and identity issues.

The Arab American Institute ( ): has excellent online resources on Arab-American demographics.

Anti-Arab Discrimination

The ADC Education page has an annotated bibliography on anti-Arab discrimination, stereotyping and hate crimes.

Anti-Arab Hate Crimes and Discrimination, 1998-2000 (Washington, DC: ADC, 2001). 77 page report on assaults and threats, hate speech, employment discrimination, civil liberties issues, educational bias, cultural stereotypes in the media, political bias in the new, and other defamation and bigotry. (Available from ADC, $10.00 for shipping and handling)

ADC Hate Crime Reports during the Gulf War and after the Oklahoma City bombing. (Available from ADC, $3.00 each)

Suha Sabbagh, “Sex, Lies and Stereotypes: The Image of Arabs in American Popular Fiction.” (ADC, 1990). 57 pages. (Available from ADC, $3.00)

The Arab World and Islam:

The ADC Education page has an annotated bibliography of storybooks on the Arab world for young children.

Mary Marcon, “Arab Contributions to Civilization.” ADC issue paper, 5 pages. Overview of aspects of medieval Arab civilization. ($1.00)

Edward Said, Orientalism 1979. The noted critic and a Palestinian now teaching at Columbia University,examines the way in which the West observes the Arabs

Edward Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World. 1996. From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the bombing of the World Trade Center, the American news media have portrayed “Islam” as a monolithic entity, synonymous with terrorism and religious hysteria. In this classic work, now updated, the author of Culture and Imperialism reveals the hidden agendas and distortions of fact that underlie even the most “objective” coverage of the Islamic world.

Edward Said, The Question of Palestine, 1992. Still a basic and indespensible account of the Palestinian question, updated to include the most recent developments in the Middle East- from the intifada to the Gulf war to the historic peace conference in Madrid.

Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples. (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1991). A classic history.

Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke, eds., Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writings. (Indiana University Press, 1990).

John Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path (New York, Oxford University Press, 1988). An excellent popular introduction to Islam as a living faith by a noted western scholar. History, religious beliefs, and modern interpretations, including politicized “Islamism.”

Elizabeth Fernea, ed., Children in the Muslim Middle East (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995). Essays, stories, poems, on growing up, work, education, play, politics and war. Available from AWAIR.

Elizabeth and Robert Fernea, The Arab World: Personal Encounters (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1985). A scholarly couple takes a reflective look back at human and personal aspect of their lives in the Arab world. An insightful look into daily life. It emphasized the lives and circumstance of women in south Lebanon and the West Bank.

Elizabeth Fernea and Basima Berzirgan, eds., Middle Eastern Women Speak. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977). Biographical and autobiographical essays, poems, lullabies, excerpts from novels and the Quran. Available from AWAIR.

Naomi Shehab Nye, Sitti‘s Secrets (NY: Four Winds Press, 1994), 32 pages. For younger children. Set in a small West Bank village, this is the story of a young Arab-American girl and her Palestinian grandmother. After meeting for the first time, they transcend differences in age, language, and culture to form a unique friendship.

Naomi Shihab Nye, Habibi (Simon and Schuster, 1997). An excellent novel for ages 13-17. A 14 year-old Palestinian-American girl‘s family returns home to Jerusalem and the West Bank. We see Palestinian culture and family life and the Israeli occupation through her eyes. She discovers a grandmother that she has never met before, aunts and uncles in a West Bank village, and a history much bigger than she is. Her friendship with an Israeli teen helps to provide a balanced perspective. Highly recommended.

Ronald Stockton, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Unit for High School Students. (Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan, 1993). This is the best resource for teaching on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 200 pages of lessons on the historical background. Used by teachers from middle school to college. Available from the Center ( )

Arab World and Islamic Resources (AWAIR) has an extensive catalogue of resources for teachers, students and parents. We recommend the Arab World Studies Notebook, 540 pages of lesson plans, essays, classroom exercises, and information on every aspect of Arab culture and Islam. ( )

Amideast has many excellent resources on the Arab world and Islam for k-12. We especially recommend the video “Young Voices from the Arab World,” a colorful and appealing presentation of Arab culture as reflected in the lives of five young people in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait and Morocco. ( )

The Council on Islamic Education has resources for educators. It also has online resources about Islamic civilization and history, including material on aspects of art, science and culture. ( )

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