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The Seventh Annual Arab-American Bazaar

Identity politics — Bazaar yields support for immigration reform, new voters

The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

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Jersey girl: Seven-year-old Sabrina Kwaik travelled with her family from the Garden State to feast on treats at the bazaar.
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Flag fan: 17-year-old Moustafa Kalo of Bay Ridge brandishes the flag of the Syrian revolution in Shore Road Park.
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Rock star: Nerden Mohsen came across the Narrows from Staten Island to be a part of the festivities.
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Many colors: Arab-Americans wave the flags of Egypt and Lebanon.
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Dance revolution: The crowd broke out into a spontaneous dance at one point.
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New generation: One-year old Ismail Hamideh of Westchester dances in a traditional scarf.

There’s nothing bizarre about this bazaar!

Some 3,000 Middle Eastern-Americans from across the New York metropolitan area descended on Shore Road Park on Aug. 11 for the seventh annual Arab-American Bazaar — a medley of food, dance, and politics.

Organizers said the festival seeks to call attention to a growing part of Brooklyn’s — and particularly Bay Ridge’s — ethnic mosaic.

“We’re a community that’s here to stay, we’re a big community, we have a culture, and we want to celebrate it,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, the group that founded the festival.

Sarsour said the bazaar attracted Arab-Americans from as far away as Yonkers and as close as Staten Island and Bensonhurst, as well as from Bay Ridge and Sunset Park. The crowd included Brooklynites with roots in crisis areas like Egypt, Syria, and the Palestinian territories — which Sarsour said made expressing cultural pride even more important.

“Wherever there’s a problem, you’ll see more people coming out,” the Palestinian-American activist said.

The bazaar also had a poltical tinge to it, as the Arab-American Association got 350 attendees to sign postcards in support of allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain United States citizenship. The organization also registered more than 80 new voters.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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