Stories about Arabic

Konya: The city of legacies, spirituality and Rumi

As we returned home from our trip to Uzbekistan last year, we kept aside four days in Istanbul to break the journey. Since we had already travelled to Istanbul previously, we decided to spend some time in Konya, which is the burial place of celebrated scholar and Sufi poet, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. Situated in the heart of Turkey, Konya is very well connected to the world by road, high-speed rail, and air. We had made our reservations to reach Konya from Istanbul via Pegasus Airlines, one of the no-frills Turkish airlines where the return fare from Istanbul was $50 per person. The airline operates from ...

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I think, pray and speak in English, so why should I speak to my children in Urdu?

My twins are almost three-years-old and they can’t speak Urdu, my ‘mother tongue’. They hear it being spoken around the house, and occasionally I may try to converse with them in Urdu but truth be told, it doesn’t come naturally. As first-time parents, we did get the infamous lecture that we should only speak to our children in Urdu or else they will never be able to speak the language. People would say, “Don’t worry, they will learn English at school but you must speak to them in Urdu.” The common fear is that our children will drift away from their cultural heritage. Most people believe that language is what will keep our ...

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I support the Compulsory Education of Arabic Bill 2015

Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied,  “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...

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Can learning Arabic really prevent terrorist attacks? PML-N surely thinks so

I suppose it is reasonable to assume that the men and women in our National Assembly are mentally fit – people who think and act rationally. We elect them every five years, hoping that they will solve our problems and make us proud of being citizens of Pakistan. But then, one of them says something completely absurd which makes me want to bang my head against the nearest wall and regret not going abroad after I graduated (those were the days when it was very easy to get a US visa). I am referring to a female member of the ...

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Dear Adam Saleh, hijacking Muslim sentiments is not funny

From CNN to Al Jazeera, Adam Saleh’s video has made headlines across the world. We got kicked out of a @Delta airplane because I spoke Arabic to my mom on the phone and with my friend slim… WTFFFFFFFF please spread pic.twitter.com/P5dQCE0qos — Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016 Retweeted over 769,000 times on Twitter, the shocking footage shows him being escorted off a Delta airlines plane where he expresses outrage for getting booted. His crime, he says, was speaking a few lines of Arabic on the phone to his mother, an offense that was too much for his fellow passengers. As expected, many online reacted with disgust. Was just forced to leave ...

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Rounding up the usual suspects in Casablanca

Morocco – a country filled with diverse culture, memorable sights, sounds, and a remarkable cuisine. There are so many things that make this country stand out in my eyes. The divine bed and breakfast boutique hotels known as ‘riads’, the beautiful resorts, and the list goes on. My trip lasted a total of ten days, and started in Casablanca, followed by Marrakech and Fes. “Mystical” is the one word that describes my trip to Morocco the most. As I walked down the streets, I felt everything was alive around me. The atmosphere was thriving, and the energy was inexplicable. Women were ...

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If you ever travel on an American airliner, just remember this curly haired economist

Things have been really tough for the Americans since 9/11. All those people in and out of the country speaking so many languages, and if you’ve never gone beyond your local 7/11, how on earth would you be able to tell this language from ‘that’ one. You know, the one that all terrorists speak; Arabic! Which explains what happened to Guido Menzio. Menzio took an American Airlines flight from somewhere to somewhere, right? And the intelligent woman next to him caught him writing something and how was she to know what it was? Acting on the principle, that anything that does ...

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A Syrian refugee’s message to the European Union

When we first got here we had money to buy a little food. Now it’s gone. We stand in line for hours for a sandwich. My husband told a journalist recently, “People are fed up. Maybe tomorrow they will break down the gate and flood across the border.” The journalist said, “How many weapons do you have?” If we knew how to carry weapons or wanted to carry weapons we would not have fled Syria. We want peace. We are sick of killing. We fled a war, and now the European Union is making war against us, a psychological war. When we hear rumours that we’ll be let ...

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I am a Jew and he was my Muslim Uber driver

I walk out of my SAT test and turn on my phone. I see that four more Israelis have been stabbed. This has become our sad new normal. I then proceed to order an Uber taxi home. Within a minute, I get a text message saying that my driver, Muhammad is on his way. Muhammad, he must be Muslim, I thought. Maybe as an American Israeli, I should have hesitated, it wouldn’t really be unwarranted, would it? Regardless of the driver’s religion, I’m a five-foot tall, 17-year-old girl, getting into a taxi alone with a stranger. Instead though, I was optimistic — I’d ...

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I decided to find another wife for my husband

“If I had another wife, she’d have the house clean and a fancy dinner ready every time I came home,” he said, only half-joking and not for the first time. “Maybe I should just marry another woman. A proper Arab wife.” I looked up at him. “Maybe you should.” That night, I sent a message to several women I knew, asking them to find a second wife for my husband. And then I lay in bed and imagined what this woman would be like, the woman who would make my husband happy, who would be everything I was not, who would be ...

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