Tag Archives: Arab

Responses to CNN article

Thank you all for all of the responses to the CNN article. We’ve had a lot of really  positive comments and some constructive ones.

The post about Arab, Alabama has received a lot of attention. It’s now our most popular post. Even the Arab Tribune wrote about out visit.  I’m from Huntsville, just up the road and was excited about bringing the team to Alabama. We chose Arab because of the name, really. And yes, we knew the story about the name beforehand. We just wanted to have a little fun with it and see what it would be like to put Hailey in an abaya (traditional Arab dress) in a town with the same name–no offense meant to the good people of Arab. Take a look at our earlier post about stereotypes. We know that the sterotypes are not necessarily true. I, for one, expected the kind of generous and warm reponse that we got all over the south, not just in Alabama. Please see “Journey into Islam“, our previous project, to see how we were treated in the Muslim world as obvious non-Muslim westerners–similar to the hospitality we received in Arab.

I was really proud of the way that Hailey was treated in Arab. I keep telling the team that relations between different races and religions are sometimes better in the south than other places. Hailey got much worse looks in Miami, for example.

In Alabama with our friends at the Gadsden Islamic Center

In Alabama with our friends at the Gadsden Islamic Center

We also made a stop in the small town of Gadsden, Alabama and had lunch with some wonderful new friends. They live very peacefully with the non-Muslim majority and have not had many problems at all and all of the women we met wore the hijab.

So thanks again for all the comments. More posts are on the way.

Jonathan Hayden

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An Arab in Arab, Alabama

By Craig Considine – We stopped in Huntsville, Alabama (Jonathan’s hometown) after staying in Atlanta for four very busy days.  About 45 minutes south of Huntsville is a town called Arab.  We had to be in Nashville, Tennessee by Sunday night, but we figured we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit, considering we are studying Islam in America.  We ended up driving one hour in the opposite direction from Nashville just to visit this town.  Watch the video and you can see why it was well worth it.  

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Dresden or Detroit?

By Craig Considine

I returned back to the hotel in Dearborn, Michigan completely and utterly exhausted. We had just visited the ‘Grand Circus Park’, an area that epitomizes the impoverishment of downtown Detroit. Parts of the city have characteristics of a ‘Third World’ country. Large skyscrapers are completely vacant, with their windows either smashed or non-existent. Its old brick buildings are half in-tact reminiscent of a bombed Dresden, Germany after World War II. In my estimation, three of every five business stores are either empty or boarded up with plywood. Homeless people appear defenselessly sprawled out on its vacuous sidewalks. The atmosphere is so dull and depressing that one wonders if it has any vibrancy or pulse at all. Even a whisper can echo and bounce of the barely standing homes on the deserted streets of Detroit.

As a deeply patriotic American concerned for the well-being and happiness of my fellow citizens, I was baffled that such a historically important city could deteriorate into such a miserably depressed and impoverished environment. How our political leaders could let ‘The Motor City’ slide so deeply into the depths of ‘Third World’ poverty without any large scale governmental intervention to transform conditions on the ground is still beyond my comprehension. Instead of diverging in foreign wars that are arguably of no real threat to our national security, the government could re-appropriate the billions of wasted dollars to help its own American citizens.

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