Learning Arabic

I Speak Arabic!

I Speak Arabic!

Islamophobia seemed like it was on an endless climb in the first two decades of the 21st century in the west. With that, came an ambivalence towards the Arabic language itself: do westerners learn it to neutralize their fears or do they create a taboo around learning it? Instead of being seen as the everyday language of hundreds of millions of people across many countries, including Christians and people of other faiths as well as Islam, and a language linked with a rich culture and history – it became synonymously linked with terrorism and suspicion.

This could be seen in many cases in those years, including the removal of a Southwest Airlines passenger from his flight for simply having a conversation in Arabic. Other incidents included a Texas mayor calling the Department of Homeland Security about the FBI after discovering a flag with Arabic writing on it (it actually said “Love for All”) and an American student being detained and questioned for having Arabic flashcards.

In response to this hysteria, the Qatar Foundation founded a response initiative called “I Speak Arabic.”

It utilizes different approaches to humanize the language and connect people with it. One of my favorite aspects of this campaign are the videos made by non-native Arabic speakers talking about why they speak Arabic and have chosen to learn it.

Here is one that particularly stood out to me. It introduces us to a young boy in Alaska who has a passion for Arabic and is using it to do great things .Click here to watch the story.

Check out more videos on their site by clicking here.

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