Arab-Americans Tell Their Own Story

Paul M. Barrett in the Wall Street Journal:

Arab_museumIn a compact stone and glass building here, the creators of the Arab American National Museum seek to set the record straight.

“If somebody else tells your story, it’s not your story,” Ismael Ahmed told me, “and in this case, we even think the story has been told with malice” by others. Mr. Ahmed heads the nonprofit social-services organization in Dearborn that built the museum, which opens today. By malice, he meant a desire to portray Arab-Americans as out of the mainstream, hostile toward the U.S. and possibly sympathetic toward terrorism.

The museum uses personal artifacts, skillfully distilled reminiscences and absorbing interactive displays to recount the tale of Arab immigration and accomplishment since the late 1800s. There is much to boast about, but just below the surface of the museum’s colorful exhibits–and sometimes emerging into full view–is a sense that corrections are needed; wrongs must be righted. It makes for a lively museum experience.

More here.