Discover Your Roots – The Middle Eastern Community Spotlight

Celebrating the Incredible Middle Eastern Community in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a city renowned for its diversity, and the Middle Eastern community makes up a significant part of its cultural medley. From community involvement to authentic cuisine and notable leaders, here’s a glimpse into the vibrant Middle Eastern presence throughout the city.

Community Involvement & Events:

The Middle Eastern community in Jacksonville actively participates in a variety of events that celebrate their rich cultural heritage and foster a sense of unity and belonging. Several organizations in the region host events throughout the year, offering opportunities for cultural exchange, socializing and community building. Here are some notable events that have taken place in the past:

  • Arabic Celebration in Riverside: This event celebrates Arabic culture through music, dance, and cuisine. This was an excellent opportunity for people of all backgrounds to come together and enjoy the rich traditions of the Middle Eastern community.
  • Young Muslims of Jacksonville Games Event: This event focused on youth engagement and community spirit. Participants enjoy a day filled with various games and activities, promoting camaraderie and a sense of belonging among young community members.
  • Kibbee Cookout by the Salaam Club: The Salaam Club hosted a traditional Kibbee Cookout, featuring one of the most beloved dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine. This event is a delightful culinary experience where attendees can enjoy delicious food, share stories and strengthen community ties.

Kibee Cookout Photo Credit The Salaam Club of Florida

With an array of opportunities to get involved and immerse yourself with the Middle Eastern community, be sure to keep a look out for news on any future events!

Thriving Small Businesses and Restaurants:

Middle Eastern cuisine enriches Jacksonville’s culinary scene with several establishments offering authentic dishes and flavors:

  • Noura’s Middle Eastern Fine Cuisine (Lakewood): Known for its exquisite Middle Eastern dishes, Noura’s is a culinary gem that delights diners with its authentic flavors and warm hospitality.

Photo Credit Florida Times Union

  • The Casbah Café (Avondale): A charming café that captures the essence of Middle Eastern hospitality, The Casbah Café offers a cozy atmosphere and an irresistible menu of traditional dishes.
  • Yafa Grill (St. Johns Bluff): Yafa Grill is a go-to destination for Middle Eastern cuisine, serving up a diverse array of dishes that showcase the region’s culinary heritage.
  • Beirut (Baymeadows):With its inviting ambiance and flavorful dishes, Beirut transports diners to the heart of the Middle East offering a taste of Lebanese cuisine in Jacksonville.

    Photo credit Beirut Official Site

  • Nara Restaurant & Lounge (Baymeadows): Nara Restaurant & Lounge is a haven for lovers of Middle Eastern cuisine, offering an extensive menu of dishes and a vibrant atmosphere perfect for dining and socializing.

Networking and Support:

Networking and support organizations play a crucial role in fostering a sense of community and providing valuable resources for the Middle Eastern residents of Jacksonville. Here are two prominent organizations that have been instrumental in supporting and uniting the community:

  • Salaam Club of Florida: Founded in 1912, the Salaam Club is one of many cornerstones of the Middle Eastern community in Jacksonville. The club honors the mutual heritage of its members by organizing a wide array of social, charitable, and cultural events. The club’s activities and events are designed to uphold their values and foster a strong, united community.

Salaam Club of Florida Photo Credit Jacksonville Today

  • Islamic Center of Northeast Florida: Since its establishment in 1978, the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida has been a vital part of the Jacksonville community. The center serves as a religious and cultural hub for Muslims in the region, offering a variety of services and programs. From educational workshops and religious services to community outreach and support, the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida is dedicated to enhancing the spiritual and social well-being of its members. 

Notable Leaders:

Jacksonville is proud to be home to notable leaders of Middle Eastern heritage who have made significant contributions to the city’s social, political and cultural spheres.

  • Tommy Hazouri: A prominent figure in Jacksonville’s political landscape, the late Tommy Hazouri’s Lebanese heritage and dedicated public service have left an indelible mark on the city. From serving as Mayor to holding positions in various governmental bodies, Hazouri’s legacy reflects the strength and influence of the Middle Eastern community.

Tommy Hazouri Photo Credit The Florida Times-Union

  • Rick Mullaney: As a leader in academia and public policy, Rick Mullaney’s Syrian heritage and commitment to service have positioned him as a respected figure in Jacksonville. His contributions to education and governance have helped shape the city’s future.

Richard Mullaney Photo Credit Jacksonville University

Discover Your Roots to Plant Your Future

The Middle Eastern community in Jacksonville is a vibrant and integral part of the city’s cultural fabric. From enriching the culinary scene with authentic flavors to making significant contributions in various fields, the Middle Eastern residents of Jacksonville embody the spirit of diversity and unity that defines the city. As the community continues to thrive and grow, its influence and impact on Jacksonville will undoubtedly endure for generations to come.


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