A group of Arab Americans recently submitted a petition to the Commerce Department to be named a socially and economically disadvantaged minority group. Under such designation, Arab Americans would become eligible for services, including access to capital, contracts and trade opportunities, provided by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).
The petition is led by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who state that Arab Americans have had a difficult time competing in the business world due to discrimination, especially following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Commerce Department has requested more information and examples of this discrimination prior to its decision, scheduled to be announced on or before June 27.
MBDA services currently are offered to African Americans, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Native Americans (including Alaska Natives, Alaska Native Corporations and Tribal entities), Asian Indians and Hasidic Jews.