2015 brought many challenges for the Arab American and American Muslim communities. The presidential primary season kicked into gear, and along with it came a fresh wave of bigotry. But looking at the year ahead of us, I am reminded of Arab Americans who, at times when our national character has been challenged, have stepped up and engaged.
The case of the citation to the Ramallah governor and the attempts to backtrack due to political pressure are not new in the US. But pro-Israel groups are more and more frustrated as their powers to silent Palestinian voices are slowly weakening even though the battle for telling the Palestinian narrative is a long way from becoming mainstream in the US.
It's all too predictable that some Muslims, as tragically disturbed and misguided as alleged Chapel Hill killer Craig Stephen Hicks seemingly is, will take matters into their own hands. That's one thing I'm afraid of. But I'm also afraid of the opposite -- that Muslim communities around the US will be terrorized into cowering timidity.
I first met Eric Holder during the Clinton years when he was serving as Deputy Attorney General. Back then, my community was deeply troubled by FBI harassment, the government's use of "secret evidence" to detain individuals and profiling of Muslim or Arab-looking individuals at airports around the country.
Next week, Arab American leaders from a dozen key electoral states will convene in Washington to map out a political strategy for 2016. Despite the very real challenges facing these leaders, this generation of Arab Americans can approach the future with some confidence given the progress that has been made the last three decades.