Since late 1967 the majority of Arab immigrants coming to the United States have fled the horrors of war in their countries of Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan and Yemen.

The Arab-Israeli War of 1967 and decades of political unrest that followed in the region contributed to the increased numbers of Arab immigration to the United States and to a heightened sense of Arab American identity.

Iraqi Immigration

Iraqis began fleeing their country in large numbers during the 1990s due to continued economic and political hardships. The heavy human and economic cost of the 10 year war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s; the 1991 Gulf War; the 12 years of economic sanctions that followed, and the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein led to a large wave of Iraqi immigration, which reached its peak in the 1990s.

After the 1991 Gulf War, tens of thousands fled Iraq; some of them went to refugee camps in Saudi Arabia and were eventually granted refugee status and came to the U.S. Many came to the Detroit area because of its large Arab American community.

Lebanese Civil War

During the early 1970s, Lebanon witnessed a series of political and economic unrest that exploded into a 17-year civil war in 1975. In 1982, the Israeli Army invaded Lebanon and occupied the southern part of the country until 1997. These two major events left many parts of the country destroyed and the economy in shambles. Many Lebanese families left the country seeking a more secure life in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

The new Lebanese immigrants, especially those who came from areas that were occupied by Israel, were mostly Muslims. Many were urban, middle-class merchants and professionals. Some of the university students who were in the United States during the war found jobs and stayed. Today, in a number of cities around the world, we find concentrated Lebanese communities with a large number of recent immigrants, who often come from the same extended families and villages.