Anaheim officially recognizes Little Arabia after years of lobbying

David González Image
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
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The Anaheim City Council recently voted to officially recognize a portion of the Brookhurst corridor from Ball Road to Broadway as Little Arabia.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- After years of lobbying, Anaheim has officially designated an area in the city as Little Arabia.

Altayebat Market is one of several Arab-American businesses in the district.

Mohamed Khouraki opened the store more than 40 years ago.

"We opened a little small store," Khouraki said. "That little small store, all the products were Middle Eastern."

The market is located near the corner of Brookhurst and Ball Road.

It was the first Arabic market to open in the area.

Altayebat has become a cornerstone in this community, which has transformed itself into an ethnic enclave known as Little Arabia.

"It was organically developed. This is not something that came from corporations," said Mirvette Judeh, one of the lead organizers for the Little Arabia Coalition. "This is people that came here -- hard work and sweat -- and developed an incredible area that, it's not a jewel in the rough, it is the jewel."

Judeh said it was a collaborative effort between multiple people and agencies like Rashad Al Dabbagh, Arab American Civic Council and CAIR-LA.

"As an Arab American that was born here I feel rooted in my community and in my culture and my heritage because of this," said Rida Hamida, founder of Latino and Muslim Unity.

Last Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council voted to officially recognize a portion of the Brookhurst corridor from Ball Road to Broadway as Little Arabia.

"We come from a community that a lot of people come from different countries where they're running away from their governments, where their identities have been stripped, their homes have been taken away and this is their home," Judeh said.

People in the community had been pushing for acknowledgement for decades.

"We really will push to advocate for our businesses to feel that they are part of the fabric of Orange County," Hamida said.

Judeh said they will now work on getting all of Little Arabia designated from Crescent to Katella along Brookhurst.

"Little Arabia actually is 3.5 miles," she said.

They also want to see a sign letting visitors know they have arrived in Little Arabia.