CHICAGO, Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Award winning syndicated columnist Ray Hanania announced the launch of The Arab Daily News, an online publication showcasing original features and news about American Arabs and Muslims.
The website, www.TheArabDailyNews.com, is intended to help the American public and mainstream news media better understand the American Arab community through stories that focus on the community rather than on Middle East politics.
American Arabs and Muslims suffer from stereotypes and myths defined by outsiders that feed the misunderstanding by the American public and media.
"American Arabs are no different than other Americans. Yet mainstream Americans know little about us," said Hanania, a syndicated columnist who began his journalism career covering Chicago's City Hall politics in 1976.
"We're defined by inaccurate stereotypes promoted in the mainstream news media that feed a growing anti-Arab racism."
Hanania argues American Arabs share responsibility for the stereotypes.
"We have too many activists whose entire focus is on the Middle East. They live in America physically but are mentally in the Middle East."
American Arab writing, Hanania says, fails to appeal to non-Arabs or document an Arab experience that began in America in the 1850s.
"Most American Arabs have either assimilated to the point of losing their cultural identity and are invisible to average Americans. Or , they have embraced political activism and are seen as radicals by Americans," Hanania says.
"We have doctors and lawyers but few professional journalists who tell our real story to the American public in a way the American public can understand. We're not telling our story. Instead, we are allowing outsiders to define who we are. That is a fatal flaw that feeds inaccurate stereotypes and discrimination."
Hanania said he is paying American Arab freelancers to tell their story.
"We don't need more political stories or activists yelling at Americans in columns about the Middle East. We need compelling features and news stories that accurately portray Arabs," said Hanania, a military veteran who served two years active duty during the Vietnam War.
"The majority of American Arab books are boring and dry dissertations about the Middle East. Americans are not reading them. Arabs have to stop writing for themselves or for their egos. We need to write to Americans in the way Americans want to be written too. We have to speak to Americans the way they want to be spoken too."
Hanania said there are 250 American Arabs in the Arab ethnic media that consists of 100 newspapers, nine radio programs and six cable TV shows.
"The majority of what they produce is insider Middle East politics that is confrontational rather than educational," Hanania said.
Hanania said he is hoping for more support from other American Arabs and Muslims who recognize the need to document our existence in America as Americans.
"We are Americans just like everyone else. We're patriotic. We contribute to America's success. But we don't get any credit. That has to change," Hanania said.
SOURCE Ray Hanania