This past Sunday, my husband Teo and I attended the 5th annual Atlanta Arab Festival. Sponsored by way of the Alif Institute and the Arab American Women’s Society of Georgia, the festival afforded attendees a fantastic mélange of Arabic meals from Morocco, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon in addition to Arabic tune, arts and crafts, buying at a charming souk, and several exhibitions focusing on beyond and present Arab highbrow achievements and Arab records within the United States alife Tokyo.

After having a gorgeous lunch of Moroccan and Palestinian fare, Teo and I puzzled around the competition speaking to the numerous festival goers and organizers. We spent some time on the dessert sales space relishing within the decadent array of Arabic goodies and speakme to Helen and Widad-contributors of the Arab American Women’s Society of Georgia which became chargeable for the terrifi collection of famous Arabic goodies. I was specially desirous about the homemade basbousa, a semolina cake soaked in sweet syrup and kissed with a delicate essence of rose water.

You may be wondering why I am writing approximately this festival and what it has to do with faith? Well endure with me and let’s experience the rest of the tour earlier than attending to the extreme stuff. After dessert (I sold a few basbousa to move), Teo and I went to look the exhibition located inner of the Alif Institute. Upon coming into the exhibition, we straight away encountered wall posters list prominent American-Arabs together with Salma Hayek, Ralph Nadar, Tony Shalhoub, George Mitchell, John Sununu, Spencer Abraham, Helen Thomas, Marlo Thomas, Bobby Rahal, Paul Anka, Paula Abdul, and Shakira. The exhibition also provided a ancient tour of Arab achievements in technology, math, and technology, in conjunction with examples of the great Arabic paintings from diverse countries. Beautiful glassware from Iraq, Eastern Orthodox Christian Icons from Lebanon, and inlaid furnishings from Syria have been prominently on display. One of the most poignant exhibits venerated the four generations of the Najjar circle of relatives who had proudly served inside the U.S. Navy. Aside from the exhibits, the Alif Institute supplied more than a few getting to know activities for children and adults.

During the tour of the show off, as I spoke to a few of the attendees, it passed off to me that in celebrating Arab records and tradition, this pageant had managed to transcend the non secular battle that so often grasps our interest on the nightly news. I was surrounded through Muslim, Christian, and secular Arabs who had put aside their religious differences to celebrate their cultural/ethnic identification. Unfortunately, Americans are frequently blind to the non secular and ethnic range that exists in the Arab world however fortuitously, the Alif Institute did an first rate task organizing and supplying this range to competition goers, Arab and non-Arab alike. According to the pageant application, the Alif Institute determines Arab identification in step with spoken language-now not ethnicity.

“Arabs are numerous peoples who stay in 22 nations: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco,, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The word “Arab” embraces extra than 300 million multiethnic and multiracial Arabic-speakme peoples living in these countries. In addition to language, Arabs are unified via cultural and historical roots traceable to Abraham and Shem, the eldest of Noah’s three sons, as well as the exceptional Semitic migrations originating from the Arabian Peninsula that brought about the upward thrust of the Assyrians, Arameans, and Canaanites.”

Of direction, Arab identity is tons extra complicated and can not certainly be defined by way of a commonplace language. Arabs almost constantly hold more than one identities right away consisting of: Syrian, Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Shia, Sunni, Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Coptic, Jewish, and secular Arab. Collective identity can be accessed now not most effective thru language however via religion, stories, history, lifestyle, politics, ideology, commemoration of activities, or a simple birthday party of one identifying component which quickly overrides spiritual, ideological, or political differences. The Atlanta Arab Festival drew Christian, Muslim, and secular Arabs together to have a good time the rich tapestry of Arab identity and achievements. I applaud their efforts and sit up for attending next year’s occasion.

This brings me to the questions of the day: As the United States is most probable the maximum ethnically, racially, religiously, and linguistically diverse country inside the international; what factors shape our cohesive identification? Or-is the political and religious divisiveness so distinguished in America these days emblematic of a lack of unifying factors?

My name is Heather Abraham Sagisman and I am a faith addict or as my husband Teo calls me, the Religion Nerd. I am passionate about faith and the whole lot about religion. It does not count which religion, I discover all of them captivating and feature spent most of my existence analyzing about religion, staring at diverse religions in practice, and ultimately attended Georgia State University for formal education in spiritual studies. After incomes both a BA and MA in Religious Studies (comparative faith), I locate that I am nonetheless hungry for extra-my blog is an extension of my impressive obsession.