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Syro-Lebanese Migration to Columbia, Venezuela and Curacao: From Mainly Christian to Predominantly Muslim Phenomenon

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This study provides a long term perspective on Syro-Lebanese migration to the southern (Circum-) Caribbean. Starting in the late 19th century this still continuing migratory process has witnessed major waves of arrivals in the area from its inception until the 1930s and then again since the beginning of the Lebanon war. Characteristically, these two periods are also representing a shift from a mainly Christian to a predominantly Muslim phenomenon now subject to the forces of globalization. With respect to current European immigration and integration debates, the latter provides us with a glimpse on Muslim immigrant affairs outside of the exclusive club usually meant by the term “the West” and taken to be the sole recipient of such migratory movements. Focusing mainly on the Colombian experience of Syro- Lebanese migrants, the modes of adapting to local culture and environment of both waves, as well as those of an intermediary wave directed mostly at Venezuela, shall be compared and evaluated in search for differences, continuities and similarities.

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