"This Article examines the legal origins of Arab-American identity during the racially restrictive Naturalization Era (1790 through 1952), when whiteness was a prerequisite for American citizenship. Ten of the 53 naturalization hearings during this era involved a petitioner from the Arab World. Judges during the Naturalization Era viewed “Arab” as synonymous with “Muslim” identity. Because Muslims were presumed to be non-white, and Arabs were presumed to be Muslims, Arabs were presumptively ineligible for citizenship. But this presumption could be rebutted. Arab Christians could – and did – invoke the fact of their Christianity to argue that they were white. These arguments sometimes secured citizenship for Christian petitioners, but did not always rebut the presumption that every immigrant from the Arab World was Muslim. "