Bridging the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors

By Heba Abdel-Karim Imagine this scenario: You live in the same area with your Minnesotan Muslim neighbor. This person, his actions, beliefs, and practices seem a bit peculiar to you, as you have not encountered many Muslims. All you know about Muslims is what you hear others say, from the media and the like, but they are otherwise unfamiliar. You wish to get in contact with him or her—even with a simple “hi”—but you may subconsciously have second thoughts because of how Muslims are negatively labeled by others. This, along with some other reasons, makes it seem like the gap Read More …

Arabic not dangerous to America, but Arabic illiteracy dangerous to Muslims

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.”