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Arabs and Arabic have an image problem

Reader comment on item: A Madrasa Grows in Brooklyn
in response to reader comment: racism and communication

Submitted by Ramakrishnan (India), May 6, 2007 at 06:05

Your comments are interesting. You say many Arabs are not prejudiced. I agree. You say a few Arabs are extremely prejudiced. I disagree. I think most Arabs are extremely prejudiced against both Jews and the West. The real point is this; it is not possible to teach or learn Arabic without IMBIBING this hatred. Anti-Semitism and paranoia against the West are built into the idiom of this language. There is no gainsaying the fact that knowledge of Arabic opens a window on the Arab world. If Arabic is needed for diplomatic or translation purposes there is harm in pursuing the learning of Arabic. But to teach that language to Muslims in America in a school dedicated chiefly to that purpose would pave the way for indoctrinating young American Muslims in the ideology of hatred.

Arabic as a language has no history of open dissent and pluralism. Arabic speaking societies have created huge walls that separate them from what they perceive as alien ideas. And these "alien ideas" include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, alternative lifestyles, et al.

It is time Muslims in general, and Arabs in particular, woke up to the reality of how their religion and culture are perceived by outsiders and why such perceptions exist. If it were only the Westerners who think negatively about Muslims and Arabs, there could be a case for thinking of it as racist bias. The fact is Hindus who number almost a billion also share a negative perception. The Hindu testimony against Islam and Muslims has not been heard in the West because Hindus as yet do not command sufficient attention and sufficient media space there. But as and when things change, further testimony of a massive kind will be piled against Islam.

Submitting....

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