The founders of the Arab American Association of New York, who were prominent and active members of the Arab and Arab American community and were themselves immigrants, recognized the growing need in the community for a variety of services. They envisioned an organization that would serve the social and economic needs of the growing Arab population in Bay Ridge and the surrounding neighborhoods of Brooklyn, NY. Although the process of establishing the organization began before the September 11th attacks, the founders felt compelled to take more immediate action after they witnessed the heightened sense of fear and the acts of blatant discrimination aimed at their community in the days following the attacks.
It was thus that AAANY officially opened its doors as a not-for-profit organization in December 2001, not only providing invaluable social services to the community, but also empowering and defending the community. Co-founder and current Board President Dr. Ahmad Jaber insisted in a recent Daily News article that "instead of social services, we had to move into empowering the community, defending the community and supporting the community. It was not easy. We had to prove ourselves as Americans, to show that we do care, that we are part of the community." AAANY has served as a bridge between the Arab community and the greater New York City community, fostering more understanding of Arab culture and immigrant issues, serving as a liaison between schools, government and other institutions and residents to address issues of discrimination, as well as providing a variety of culturally sensitive social services.