You’ve really done it this time, Alabama.
Unafraid of reinforcing the negative stereotypes of the South, a number of Daphne, Alabama parents are outraged after learning that their children will learn Arabic as a foreign language in school.
The parents spoke out on the issue recently, and apparently they see the Arabic language and Islamic extremism as one in the same.
“This is America, and English is our language, and while I understand the alleged premise of offering Arabic at our high school, I don’t agree with it,” said resident Michael Rife. “It is not just another language; it is a language of a religion of hate. It just concerns me that we’re headed down a path of further eroding our society to a Muslim-based society, or Sharia law (the moral code of Islam).”
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“If they want to speak their language, that is their privilege in this country,” another resident said. “But don’t silence another voice, such as Christianity. … We are not a Muslim nation, and yet they’re trying to bring this kind of nonsense into (schools). I am absolutely against it. Arabic leads right into the Muslim teaching, and that is where the danger is and that is what I am absolutely against. Let them teach that in their mosques -- but keep it out of our schools.”
I could keep going – “they’re trying to indoctrinate our kids with this culture that has failed” – but you get the point.
Fact: alongside Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, Arabic is one of the most valuable languages you can learn. If you speak English and Arabic, you’ve opened up a ton of job opportunities for yourself – especially with the current state of America’s international affairs. To dismiss an entire language and culture because of the actions of a few extremists is the pinnacle of ignorance. It also wreaks of the same hatred some accuse the Muslim world of having.
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Thankfully a few more reasonable voices in the community spoke up as well.
“If you look at the languages of the world, Arabic certainly would be one of the languages that I would want my own child to learn, because of the opportunities it would provide” said school superintendent Alan Lee.
“The growth of international businesses in the South is increasing exponentially,” said Brian Heuser, an international education policy professor at Vanderbilt University, when asked about the new class. “Those countries that decide not to learn languages, that decide not to invite immigrants from all parts of the world, are the ones that will fall behind in the global economy.”