By Elias Karmi Usually it brings a certain pleasure to be able to accurately predict what will happen next. When the prescience relates to the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip, however, that pleasure is lacking.
This month, the Arabic language came under attack when Debbie Almontaser, principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, New York’s first public school that integrates Arabic language and cultural studies with a public school curriculum, explained that the English translation for the word “intifada,” literally means to “shake off.” Almontaser had been asked to explain a word on the T-shirts circulated by the AWAAM (Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media), a Brooklyn-based organization that empowers girls and women.
The attack on Khalil Gibran International Academy is one of the most recent examples of America’s fear of the Arabic language, but it is only one of numerous examples throughout the nation. In August 2006, JetBlue Airways refused to allow an Iraqi man to board a flight at Kennedy International Airport because he wore a t-shirt inscribed with Arabic and English. The phrase read, “We Will Not Be Silent.”
By Elias Karmi The month of Ramadan is when Muslims worldwide are required to fast, meaning to refrain completely from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset. It is also a month when Muslims perform more worship than they would during the rest of the year: praying more at night, reading more Qur’an, giving more in charity, etc. A question that I hear frequently from my Minnesotan colleagues is: “Why do you do that?” – meaning, why do we fast. To Muslims, God’s order to fast is more than enough reason to do it, regardless of its health benefits that Read More …