Arabic foreign language class at Daphne High teaches a “culture of hate”, some parents say.

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Daphne High School is offering Arabic language classes instead of French classes this fall, taught by Sanaa El-Khattabi, a former University of South Alabama professor.

The school had a staff position open after its French teacher retired, said Meredith Foster, Daphne High’s principal. “We had to make a decision to replace that foreign language unit,” she said.

School officials believe the class will help prepare students to succeed in a global economy.

But some Daphne residents are upset that the Baldwin County school system is permitting its students to learn what they call “a culture of hate.”

“When you teach Arabic, you have to teach the culture along with it,” said Chuck Pyritz, whose two sons, Isaiah, 17, and Isaac, 14, attend Daphne High. “The culture is intertwined with Islam.”

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31 COMMENTS

  1. When I sold my home in Virginia – just prior to the 9/11 disaster – the single lady who bought the house was an FBI agent whose native language was Arabic. I understood her to say that, at that time, she was one of only eleven native speakers of Arabic in the FBI. Did that lack of language skills contribute to the US Intelligence Community’s failure to detect the 9/11 debacle? I don’t know, of course, but I’ll bet they have a few more now.

  2. Like a virus, religion opportunistically searches for niches in cultures, which are provided by vulnerable individuals, most often children, who can act as vehicles for its dissemination.

    It is horrible, in that like the fluke in the brain of a “mad ant” it disables the facility to think logically.

    I think the best and possibly the only antidote to it is free thought; vigilant free thought.

  3. Having fallen prey to the addiction of dabbling in but never mastering foreign languages I bought a teach yourself arabic book.
    (I no longer possess it, I lent it to the the Chandlers prior to their illfated sailing trip past somalia. If one more somalian pirate can speak Arabic I consider my money well spent).

    I could be remembering Incorrectly but I only saw the usual my name is Amir, i teach history in Cairo etc.
    Nothing at all about burning infidels or making improvised explosives although I did give up at chapter 5 perhaps that was in chapter 6.
    Nor did it say anything at all on the the rear cover about the book being suitable for beginner and intermediate level FBI agents.
    Jesus christ, it is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Believe it or not there are even atheists and christians who can only speak Arabic.

  4. I don’t see anything especially sinister in teaching a modern language.

    I’m surprised more Americans are not learning Chinese however, which will be quite useful when China forecloses on $16 trillion of debt….

  5. Although I’m a non-religious atheist, I must confess that arabic language as a language has nothing to do with religion… religion is a religion, and language is a language.

    It’s true that the ancient arabic language, is related directly to Qur’an, But the modern arabic has nothing to do with it, if you understand Qu’ranic arabic you can understand modern arabic, but if you understand modern arabic, it doesn’t mean you’ll understand the ancient.

    Arabic as a language, is a wonderful language, it’s my favorite language after English….it’s very very romantic and touching in a way you can’t even imagine. I like english language because it’s pronunciation is great … and I like arabic because it’s deeply emotional.

    My native language is Tamazight (aka Berber)…which has nothing to do with arabic, but I learnt arabic through practice and use it outside (because I’m speaking Tamazight at home with family)… and it’s very difficult language, but today : I can speak it and write it just like a native speaker.

    I agree that Arabic people brought but wars and ignorance to the countries they took from the indigenous people… but their language has nothing to do with their history, so far there are many pieces of art and manuscripts from ancient arabic, which date to the pre-islamic era, containing the best literature “chef-d’oeuvre” I ever seen in my life.

    There are the pre-islamic seven Mu’allaqat (poesy), which are really a miracle, I’ve never seen (and will never see) something like them in any language. Even if I can’t understand 60% of their words.

    Even Qur’an, even if it contains what we can call “culture of hate”, some of its verses and Surat are undoubtedly wonderful… most arabic people say, it’s not possible to write something like Qur’aan, even for the Best arabic linguists, in my opinion : some are really impossible to imitate , but some are as easy as common speech. Qur’an contains too many Surats and verses on the “culture of love”. It’s not different from Hebrew Torah (which contains the worst culture ever seen, from a wrathful God killing children and women),and the Gospel containing some verses of love and tolerance.

    So, why is arabic considered a “culture of hate” in the western world while we can see that those seven Mu’allaqat (the collection of the best poesy ever seen) mostly speak about “love”, “women”, “courage”, “wisdom” and “tolerance” ?

    I’m sure islam, and it’s culture is the cause of all this view…arabic is a good language, and one of the best languages… but the Islamic culture has made it look like that.

    Nowadays, there are many books written in Arabic, there’s the “God delusion” in Arabic, Dan Brown’s works, Secular articles and books, Scientific reviews.. just like any other language, if you just can speak it and understand it, you would notice that it’s a very polite and respectful language.

    The bad thing is the Islamic culture and history. And not Arabic. After all, we can’t say German language is a “culture of hate” based on what Hitler did and said.

    Language is meant to communicate ideas and thoughts and nothing more.

    Source :
    My experience as an Arabic speaker.

      • In reply to #11 by McCourt:

        In reply to #10 by Mohamed Taqi:

        Although I’m a non-religious atheist…

        I must confess, that’s my favorite kind of atheist.

        Thank you my friend, and you’re the best :)

    • In reply to #10 by Mohamed Taqi:
      Most of the time, learning a language in school includes learning about the associated culture and history, to better understand the language (certainly did when I learned basic French and Japanese). I guess this is where the fear comes from.

      • In reply to #17 by ShadowMind:

        In reply to #10 by Mohamed Taqi:
        Most of the time, learning a language in school includes learning about the associated culture and history, to better understand the language (certainly did when I learned basic French and Japanese). I guess this is where the fear comes from.

        In that case it is no different from learning about religions in a comparative religion class, which has been touted to be a good way to ensure that children, while learning to understand history, politics and much else in society, eschew personally believing in any such religion themselves. Besides, many Arabophones are not Mohammedan and many Mohammedans not Arabophone. I grew up regarding Arabic as the first language of one of my grandmothers and her brother and sisters. They were descendants of Maronite Catholics and Mohammedanism was viscerally repugnant to them. The good people of Daphne, Alabama, should be more worried about evil cultural influences being insinuated into their fair community by Anglophone means, for example pseudoscience and extreme, antisocial forms of capitalism, not to mention that other prominent religion, Christianity.

      • In reply to #17 by ShadowMind:

        In reply to #10 by Mohamed Taqi:
        Most of the time, learning a language in school includes learning about the associated culture and history, to better understand the language (certainly did when I learned basic French and Japanese). I guess this is where the fear comes from.

        I agree, But … there’s nothing wrong to learn Arabic for people who want to use it. I’m too learning Japanese and Chinese to understand their culture…But I remember that I learnt French at school without actually understanding french culture.

        Because : learning a language at school doesn’t include learning its culture since you’re just doing so to graduate, but learning it at home means you have more resources to use and more time to waste on it, it means also you’re enjoying that, and you’re not bored, and you’re ready to be a Japanese :)

    • In reply to #10 by Mohamed Taqi:

      “arabic language as a language has nothing to do with religion”

      Yes it does- much is made (by Muslims) of Koran being delivered by Allah in Arabic, the ‘most beautiful’ of languages.
      One must ask, why not in Chinese or Hindi, to reach the most people??
      ‘nothing to do with’ raises my suspicions

      “There are the pre-islamic seven Mu’allaqat (poesy), which are really a miracle, I’ve never seen (and will never see) something like them in any language. Even if I can’t understand 60% of their words.”

      Poetry/poems you mean? Miracle, my ass! Don’t bring such claims here and expect to be taken seriously!

      “Even Qur’an, even if it contains what we can call “culture of hate”, some of its verses and Surat are undoubtedly wonderful… most arabic people say, it’s not possible to write something like Qur’aan, even for the Best arabic linguists, in my opinion : some are really impossible to imitate”

      Rubbish! Another ‘miracle’ claim? It is a BOOK, you know, written by humans…

      “Qur’an contains too many Surats and verses on the “culture of love”. It’s not different from Hebrew Torah (which contains the worst culture ever seen, from a wrathful God killing children and women)”

      Another untruth. Read it again. Koran refines cruelty and death to new heights. FAR worse than any other ‘holy’ book.

      Quoting ‘scilling’ “All these past fairy tales used to control primitive societies need to be discarded as they are irrelevant in the 21 century”

      Mohamed, it is good to know you are a ‘non-religious atheist’ but I suggest you have some way to go to cure your Islamic indoctrination. However I wish you success.

      • In reply to #24 by Billy Joe:

        In reply to #10 by Mohamed Taqi:

        “arabic language as a language has nothing to do with religion”

        Yes it does- much is made (by Muslims) of Koran being delivered by Allah in Arabic, the ‘most beautiful’ of languages.
        One must ask, why not in Chinese or Hindi, to reach the most people??
        ‘nothing to…

        Thank you my friend, These are my replies :

        Sorry for the word “Poesy” , I mean Poetry … I used the french (Poésie) and I wrote it too many times in a way I didn’t notice. Thanks for mentioning.

        You said :

        “One must ask, why not in Chinese or Hindi, to reach the most people??”

        I say :

        “it’s my favorite language after English”, Arabic is not my best language, my best languages are Asian languages, then english, then arabic” but arabic is one of my favorite languages.According to the collection of languages I’m learning currently.

        I agree, most arab muslims consider Arabic as the best language ever and even some say they are the “best people” ever ,and yes they’re racist. But most of the non-Arabic Muslim ethnicities don’t do so… they just consider it a language chosen for Qur’an by “Allah”, those are more tolerant about other languages and ethnic groups.

        You said :
        Miracle, my ass! Don’t bring such claims here and expect to be taken seriously!

        I say:

        First I’m speaking about Mu’allakat, which are collection of poems written by people which are atheists and polytheists from the pre-islamic era… even Muslims know they are written by people.. But Miracle doesn’t just mean “God’s deeds”, it can mean “human achievement” too.

        Yeah, I can imagine most non-religious people laughing at every “Miracle” word encountered in a dictionary, Hold on! , Einstein did a miracle (according to the Arabic definition of a miracle)… even me and you can’t be the first to figure out how did it happen to be the first person to discover the E=Mc2 equation!

        Yeah, one can say: I can learn physics, differential equations and achieve it… But : can you be the first to do it? You can’t because Einstein did it first. The answer : you can’t do it now, it’s done… and that’s a miracle attributed to Einstein (at least in arabic).

        I know where the misunderstanding came from … in arabic, Miracle is “Mu’ajizah” which is an adjective (or present participle) coming from the verb “Ajiza” which means “To be unable to”.

        So , Miracle in Arabic means “which makes you unable to do it again”. Einstein did a miracle because we can’t be THE FIRST to Re-discover the MC2 equation.

        As I know, thousands of Arabic writers and authors tried to imitate the Mu’allakat, every imitation tends to be but a modification on the first writings.You can do a miracle in something else, and your miracle can even be more wonderful than Mu’allakat and Qur’an, but you can’t imitate them.

        There are verses in Qur’an which are very annoying, because of their length and non-sense, But on the other hand, there are verses I tried to imitate, but in vain. Every time I try to imitate them… I find myself just copying the method and expressions and changing words and meanings. Because Qur’an is not written by just one person, it’s written by too many people, and it’s very contradictory just like any other “holy” book, even in its grammar expressions.

        You said:
        Koran refines cruelty and death to new heights. FAR worse than any other ‘holy’ book.

        I say:
        Take two examples ( I want to show you that Qur’an is nothing different from Torah (Mishnah and Gemarah)) :

        • In Torah God ordered to kill 42 kids.
        • I Qur’an God ordered to kill non-believers who rejected Islam.

        Do you think one is worst than the other at this point??.

        On the other hand do you agree with torah and qur’an when they order to honor parents:

        • “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”
          (Torah)
        • And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination. (Surat Lukman, Qur’an)

        I don’t ask you if you agree about the “Honor your Lord” part in these verses (nor do I agree with them), But I agree about the fact that one must honor his parents, and be grateful to them.

        And, Yes… Qur’an, Torah, Gospel, Avesta, Vedas, Baha’i Aqdas and other ‘holy’ books are all in the same boat… they are 10% good and 90% bad.

        You said :

        But I suggest you have some way to go to cure your Islamic indoctrination.

        Thank you, But I’ve never been considering Islam as the word of “God” in my life, I’ve always considered it as a “Human heritage”…and it will be in museums after 20 years or so :). I was a Buddhist more than being a Muslim… Most of my family members are actually. None cares about religion… But what I’m speaking about is “human culture”…which produced Qur’an and Mualakat and other writings.

        Thank you so much … waiting for your reply ;)

      • In reply to #24 by Billy Joe:

        In reply to #10 by Mohamed Taqi:

        “arabic language as a language has nothing to do with religion”

        Yes it does- much is made (by Muslims) of Koran being delivered by Allah in Arabic, the ‘most beautiful’ of languages.
        One must ask, why not in Chinese or Hindi, to reach the most people??
        ‘nothing to…

        Okay, so with that logic we should stop having classes in German because the Nazis spoke it.

  6. Well said Mohamed Taqi,
    One has a bit of wriggle room if accussed of being islamophobic, Islam is not a race it is an ideology, Arabophobia however has no such luxury that is racism pure and simple.

    • In reply to #12 by jjbircham:

      Well said Mohamed Taqi,
      One has a bit of wriggle room if accussed of being islamophobic, Islam is not a race it is an ideology, Arabophobia however has no such luxury that is racism pure and simple.

      Thank you for your feedback, and yes, phobia is nothing more than a defensive racism, every jerk on earth has xenophobia (whether in the east or the west), they can’t figure out that other people are people just like them.

  7. Donna Rife, a Daphne resident who has two grandchildren in Daphne schools, questioned the fairness of teaching Arabic when public school systems often discourage any expression of religion.

    “If they want to speak their language, that is their privilege in this country,” she 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.”

    Well, ya gots yer stupid and ya gots yer Alabama stupid.

  8. “It is not just another language; it is a language of a religion of hate.

    So is English.

    “If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it ought to be good enough for the children of Texas.”

    Allegedly ascribed to a Texas Governor may be apocryphal but I like it anyway.

  9. A language is a means of communication, it is not a culture or a religion. Arabic may be a weakly developed language lacking structure and a proper dictionary, this is what I conclude by reading about the various interpretations of the koran, the same is true of the bible though. All these past fairy tales used to control primitive societies need to be discarded as they are irrelevant in the 21 century.

    What we need is a scientists who will create a simple non-pathogenic virus that will inhibit pregnancy and active treatments will become necessary to procreate. This will solve the single problem that endangers our existence as a species. Let me say I would not be unhappy is our species went extinct like millions before.

    • In reply to #16 by sciling:

      A language is a means of communication, it is not a culture or a religion. Arabic may be a weakly developed language lacking structure and a proper dictionary, this is what I conclude by reading about the various interpretations of the koran, the same is true of the bible though. All these past fair…

      Lisan Al Arab (One of the first Arabic dictionaries) …contains 80.000 roots, every root has a dozen of words… words are counted in millions. “Lion” for e.g has more than 100 synonyms in Qur’an Arabic and every synonym expresses one degree of courage and ferocity of the Lion. And grammar rules and tools are countless.

      The difference between Qur’an translations, is that there are verses one can’t translate precisely, because they are expressions used in arabic, and can’t be translated, so translators tend to use different expressions…and this fact leads to different meanings.

      Another problem, is that we can take a verse, and you can understand it in your manner, and I can understand it in mine…and none of us two is wrong.

      Because one verse can bear two contradictory meanings :D

      • In reply to #29 by Mohamed Taqi:

        In reply to #16 by sciling:

        A language is a means of communication, it is not a culture or a religion. Arabic may be a weakly developed language lacking structure and a proper dictionary, this is what I conclude by reading about the various interpretations of the koran, the same is true of the bibl…

        Yes, Muslim “scholars” use this vagueness to squirm out of the hundreds of unsavoury verses, don’t they?

        Why will they NOT see that the Perfect Word of Allah is absolute bunkum, by this metric?
        Latin would have been his ideal choice as it is regular and not open to mistranslation!

        • In reply to #30 by Billy Joe:

          In reply to #29 by Mohamed Taqi:

          In reply to #16 by sciling:

          A language is a means of communication, it is not a culture or a religion. Arabic may be a weakly developed language lacking structure and a proper dictionary, this is what I conclude by reading about the various interpretations of the k…

          Yeah, you’re right, I always used this fact in my debates with Muslim believers… why Allah didn’t choose specific words which have only 1 meaning, to avoid this contradictory situation. Or even choose a language which is not like a chewing-gum … because Arabic is like a chewing-gum.

          You can form it as you want… for example :

          Da’if means : Weak.
          verb Da”af (which comes from the same root) means both “to multiply” and “To weaken”.

          But for this example, one can understand it easily from the context, but there are other examples one can’t distinguish. Especially in ancient arabic.

  10. I wish I spoke Arabic. Not teaching Arabic because of its relation to Islam is like not teaching Latin because of its relation to Catholicism or not teaching Russian because of its relations to the Soviet Union or German because of the Nazis or English because we killed most of the Native Americans. I’m surprised though that an Alabama school would be willing to teach any foreign language. They aren’t the most accepting of foreigners nor are they able to speak English properly as it is.

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