Campaigners call for US census to recognize Arab identity

“We believe it is crucial for our community to be counted fairly and accurately,” says Samer Khalaf, National president of American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. (AADC photo via FaceBook)
Updated 29 July 2019

Campaigners call for US census to recognize Arab identity

  • The 24thcensus will take place in 2020, but offers no ethnic identity for Arabs, who are expected to check the box marked “Other.”

CHICAGO: Arab Americans are renewing efforts for their Arab identity to be recognized in data compiled by the US census.

“The census is important because it determines the allocation of dollars, the political influence, and the representation that we and all Americans are entitled to in the US,” campaigner Anna Mustafa told Arab News. “Arab Americans need, and have, to be counted in the census.”

The US counts its citizens every 10 years, and identifies their interests and national origins. The 24thcensus will take place in 2020, but offers no ethnic identity for Arabs, who are expected to check the box marked “Other.”

There was a push after the 2010 census to create a MENA category representing the Middle East and North Africa, but it failed to win enough support and was rejected in January 2018.


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“We believe it is crucial for our community to be counted fairly and accurately,” said Samer Khalaf, national president of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

“The only way to do that with any certainty is to have a category for our community. We have been fighting for the category for about 30 years and we will continue fighting for it until it is added.

Mustafa said: “What’s holding us back is our community divisions, as well as people in the US government who don’t want us to be recognized or to have power. In 2000, I felt there was support to have a category for Arab Americans. But what happened was that in less than one year that support for the census disappeared.”

 

 


Morocco, Spain to hold talks about overlapping territorial waters

Updated 25 January 2020

Morocco, Spain to hold talks about overlapping territorial waters

  • The territorial waters Morocco has claimed include the coast off Western Sahar
  • The territory has been contested between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front since the Spanish colonial period ended in 1975

RABAT: The Moroccan and Spanish foreign ministers said on Friday their countries would hold talks about overlapping areas of ocean that they both claim rights to in the North Atlantic.
The territorial waters Morocco has claimed include the coast off Western Sahara, a territory that has been contested between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front since the Spanish colonial period ended in 1975.
Morocco’s parliament passed two bills this week to give domestic legal cover to a coastal area the North African country already controls, causing concern in Spain’s Canary Islands, where the government warned of overlaps with Spanish territorial waters.
Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita said that defining territorial waters was a “sovereign right” and that his country aimed to upgrade domestic law in compliance with the UN law of the sea convention.
“In case of overlaps, international law requires states to negotiate,” said Bourita following talks with his Spanish peer, Arancha Gonzalez Laya.
“Morocco rejects unilateral acts and fait accompli,” he said, adding that Spain was a “strategic partner” and Morocco’s largest trading partner.
Gonzalez Laya said Morocco’s willingness to negotiate “reassures the Canary Islands.”
“Morocco is a source of stability for Spain,” she said, citing “close cooperation” in the fight against jihadists and illegal migration.