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Old 03-13-2014, 03:52 PM
 
Location: East coast
613 posts, read 1,053,131 times
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Because Middle Easterners are still portrayed as somewhat "new" or recent immigrants, I actually am surprised to read about how deeply established some Middle Eastern diasporic communities are, such as Turkish or Lebanese, which go back a century or more. Most Lebanese communities in the New World, from countries ranging from the United States to Brazil and Argentina, were actually mostly Christian, not Muslim and they immigrated during a time when there were more Christians in the Mid-east.

Many immigrated to western countries very early on, when the Ottoman empire was still around too. North African and Arab immigration actually has some history in nations like France going back generations and is not necessarily a "new" thing.

(Of course, I'm not counting migration links between the Middle east and the European "West" that go all the way back, whether it be the experience with the crusades in the Middle Ages to Greek and Roman classical antiquity and even before, to the Mediterranean origins of the "west" as we call it as a civilization.)

Yet, it seems like Middle Eastern immigration is quite a new thing in many western countries. I noticed in New York city, halal food carts appeared around the 2000s. In the '90s it was still hot dog stands. I know many who still think of kebab or tahini sauce as more exotic than even sushi or Chinese or Italian food. There wouldn't be so many tensions (like Cronulla beach or controversies with profiling in New York City) if Middle Eastern-descended westerners weren't at least seen as newcomers rather than long established folks.

Are Middle Eastern communities seen as old or new in your part of the world? In the US, it seems like they seem newer than many of the older 19th to 20th century immigrants like Italians, Germans, Irish, etc. and often first or second generation but another issue I have heard is that Middle Eastern communities earlier on were more Christian so they settled more easily with other Christians and blended in more, and that what we see now is a more recent wave that is more visibly Muslim which stands out more (eg. women wearing headscarves etc.). In the US, we have a lot of recent immigration to places like Michigan and California from the Middle East and some of that seems new.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:59 PM
 
Location: North West Northern Ireland.
20,694 posts, read 22,343,945 times
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Not really and I don't consider Turkish people as middle eastern.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,409 posts, read 29,229,788 times
Reputation: 16592
Well, I'm from Michigan and I would say they're very well established there.
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