Chicagoans are fond of saying that there are more Poles here than anywhere outside of Poland. But ask about Palestinians and you may get a blank stare. As it turns out, there are likely more Palestinian immigrants living in the Chicagoland area than anywhere else in the U.S.
The nexus of Arab American life in the Chicago region is the city's Southwest suburbs. Bridgeview, the oldest and most established of the area's Muslim community, is seen as the hub, but the community also extends to neighboring towns like Oak Lawn and Orland Park.
When listeners learned that reporter Michael Puente and I planned to visit Orland Park this week, they asked us to look into the town's diverse population. "I work out in Orland and I'd be interested to hear you address the large Arabic populations here," listener Eric Olsen told us. "Where are they from?"