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Author Archives: Evan Ploeckelman

Somalis: Arab or Not?

By: Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Somali Americans have been gaining particular influence in the United States in recent years. They have a significant population in the Minneapolis and Columbus areas, and there is even a Somali American politician, U.S representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN). But while Somali Americans are grouped together with Arabs … Continued

History of Mandeans and Their American Community

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Many religions have risen and fallen throughout the history of the Middle East. One such community which has withstood the religious changes of the region is the Mandeans. Their unique faith is in trouble, however, due to the conflicts in Iraq over the last few decades and … Continued

Arabs in Indonesia: Historical and Modern Arab Influence

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Indonesia is an archipelago nation in southeast Asia with the fourth highest population in the world. Did you know, though, that Indonesia has the highest population of Muslims out of any country in the world? This is due to its history, which was heavily influenced by Arab … Continued

Tamer Nafar: Making Palestinian Hip Hop Mainstream

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Tamer Nafar and his hip hop group DAM were one of the first Palestinian rap groups to become mainstream. Born into poverty, his upbringing along with the politics of Palestine, influenced his early rap and hip hop. The fact that he was one of the very first … Continued

Jamil El-Reedy: Egypt’s Lone Winter Olympics Participant

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer While many nations in the Arab World have participated in the Winter Olympics, these nations usually experience some form of snow, with nations like Lebanon, Algeria, and Morocco, with their large, snow capped mountains, regularly sending athletes to the winter games. Besides those three, however, only one … Continued

How Similar are the Arabic and Persian Languages

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Arabic and Persian are two of the most important and widely spoken languages in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asian regions. One might think they would be similar at first glance, as they have lived alongside each other in the region for centuries. While they … Continued

How Backgammon, or Tawla, Became Popular in the Arab World

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Tawla, Arabic for backgammon, is arguably the most popular board game in the Arab world, with people idling for entire afternoons with family or at cafes playing the game. Backgammon, however, has not always been a staple of Arabs. In fact, it has its origins in a … Continued

Ahmed Adaweyah: King of Shaabi Music

Ahmed Adaweyah brought the Egyptian musical genre of Shaabi to the mainstream, making it a global sensation. This new genre of music has defined Egyptian popular music to this day, creating a distinctive Egyptian style. Origins of Shaabi Music Shaabi music originated in Egypt, specifically Cairo, during the 1970’s as a form of street music. … Continued

Noor Al-Jeylaani: Pioneering Sudanese Music and Identity

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Noor al-Jeylaani is one of the foremost musicians of Sudan, popular even to this day. Many Sudanese musicians are not very popular around the world for a variety of reasons, including the over-prevalence of Arabic singing musicians from other countries in the Arab World like Egypt, the … Continued

Socotra: “The Most Alien Place on Earth”

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer Socotra, an island off the coast of Yemen, has a reputation as “the most alien place on Earth.” Home to around 700 animal and plant species found only on the island, Socotra is definitely an oddity in the Arab World. While tourism is currently restricted due to … Continued

Who are the Yazidis? A Look into their Faith

By Evan Ploeckelman / Arab America Contributing Writer The Yazidis are a primarily Kurdish religious group who live mostly in the northeastern mountains of Iraq. However, there are many stereotypes about the Yazidis, ‘devil-worshippers’ among them. So where did Yazidism come from? What do they actually believe? And what is the current state of their … Continued

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