The story of Anaheim’s Little Arabia will be the topic of speaker Amin Nash of the Arab American Civic Council at May 12, 2022 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society. Nash will discuss local immigrant communities from the Middle East and North Africa, how they established Little Arabia from the 1960s, and how the area has grown and developed in the decades since.
Tucked along busy Brookhurst Street in West Anaheim, Arabic signs advertise services from restaurants to lawyers to doctors. Some signs are explicitly in Arabic, while others are English transliterations, such as Forna al Hara, meaning “The Neighborhood’s Oven” and Al Tayabat, meaning “Wonderful Things”. The businesses and many others like them are regularly patronized by thousands of Arabic-speaking consumers who have made this part of Anaheim their center of business and culture.
This neighborhood has been affectionately named Little Arabia by Arabs and non-Arabs alike and offers a rich perspective of Orange Country’s – and Southern California’s – diverse history. Little Arabia’s story reflects the challenges the Arab community has faced and reveals heartwarming aspects of how Anaheim has supported the Arab community through the years.
Amin Nash is a Ph.D. Student at Claremont Graduate University, where he studies the Arab and Muslim American experience through literature, culture, and history. He is also a Fellow for the Arab American Civic Council located in Anaheim, where he regularly advocates for the Arab community and provides educational materials to the Anaheim population.
Amin grew up in Las Vegas, the third child born to Iraqi immigrants, and recalls regularly traveling to Anaheim’s Little Arabia to purchase halal meat during the 1990s and early 2000s. Amin feels that Orange County – and Southern California – has challenged Arab and Muslim Americans and brought an opportunity to the community. He hopes that his work will allow the experiences of this unique American community to be recognized and understood as positive contributors to Orange County and America.
Our program will be held this Thursday, May 12th, at 7:30 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend. (Doors open at 7:00 pm.)
If you’re not a member, please consider becoming part of the OCHS family today. (Dues start at $30, $25 for seniors.) Membership support lets us host these meetings and funds our archives and all the other services we offer to document and celebrate Orange County history. Visit www.orangecountyhistory.org to join online. Thank you!
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