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Arab diaspora refers to the numbers of Arab immigrants, and their descendants, who voluntarily or as refugees emigrated from their native countries and now reside in non-Arab nations, primarily in Western countries as well as parts of sub-Saharan Africa (Madagascar and Kenya).
The Americas have long been a place of Arab migration, arriving as early as the nineteenth century in some countries. The largest Arab colony in the world resides in Brazil, which has over 12 million Brazilians of Arab ancestry. Of these 12 million Brazilian Arabs, over 9 million are of Lebanese ancestry, making Brazil's population of Lebanese three times greater than that of Lebanon. Most other Brazilians of Arab descent are mainly Syrian. There are also large Arab communities in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. In the United States there are around 3.5 million people of Arab ancestry. Most Arabs of the Americas are of either Lebanese or Syrian extraction and are mostly Christian.
In France, the Benelux countries, Spain and much of the rest of Europe, the Arab communities are of North African origin, particularly Algeria and Morocco, and are mostly Muslim. There is also a large growing Arab community in Australia, where Arabic is the fourth most widely spoken second-language. Arab Australians are also predominantly Muslim.
Arab Americans in the United States, for the purposes of statistics, are categorised as white by government agencies and US census. This racial classification, however, is seldom the case for most Arab-Americans who are often excluded from the general structural concepts of white-American society. Many Arab Americans are not completely comfortable with this label. It is viewed by some as a means to assimilate and drown out their ethnicity. Other Arabs throughout the Americas are also generally classified as "white" for the same reasons.
In Europe and Australia just the opposite is true of Arabs, where they are not categorised as white and are viewed in a negative light. They are generally cut off from other segments of society, routinely face discrimination, are often severely disadvantaged and reside in segregated high-crime ghettos-like suburbs.
Prominent members of the Arab diaspora include;
- Steve Bracks (Lebanese origin), current Premier of Victoria, Australia
- Jaime Nebot (Lebanese origin), current Alcalde of Guayaquil, Ecuador
- Carlos Menem (Syrian origin), former president of Argentina
- Abdalá Bucaram (Lebanese origin), former president of Ecuador
- Alberto Dahik (Lebanese origin), former vice president of Ecuador
- Jamil Mahuad (Lebanese origin), former president of Ecuador
- Julio Cesar Turbay (Lebanese origin), former president of Colombia
- Ralph Nader (Lebanese origin), 2004 US presidential candidate
- Tariq Ramadan (Egyptian origin), Swiss intellectual
- Edward Said (Palestinian/Lebanese origin), US intellectual
- Elias Zerhouni (Algerian origin), American Director of National Institutes of Health
- Rashid Khalidi (Palestinian origin), US scholar, among many others
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