Deputy mayor in France sends police to school to protest Arabic language classes

A city council official sent police to a primary school in France to protest the school’s decision to offer its students the option of learning the Arabic language. The deputy mayor of Six-Fours-les-Plages in southeastern France was acting on an inaccurate claim on Facebook that said students were being forced to learn the language.

Jean-Sébastien Vialatte confirmed that police officers were sent to the Reynier primary school twice in November to tell school officials that the deputy mayor opposed the teaching of Arabic there, local media reported Wednesday. The incident came to light when a local lawyer disclosed court documents revealing a failed legal suit by the council to halt these classes. Vialatte added that officials had their doubts about the teacher as well because he wasn’t a state employee.

An image shared in September by a parent of one of the children who attends classes at the school inaccurately said the Arabic language classes were mandatory sparking an outcry among parents in which politicians quickly joined.

Frédéric Boccaletti, a local politician and member of the far-right National Front, shared the image on his Facebook page blaming “friends” of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Moroccan-born minister of education, as the people behind these mandatory classes. He also condemned Vialatte for allowing the classes to continue.

French Muslim activist Yasser Louati said the incident was representative of the “normalization of state-sponsored racism.”
“Sending the police to make sure an Arabic class isn’t held shows how much hate government institutions can express for Arabs. In 2015, we had cases of primary school children being humiliated, assaulted, and even taken to the police by their teachers,” Louati reportedly said. “Then we had school girls being barred from school for wearing a long skirt or the prohibition of substitute meals for Muslims and Jews.”

“The only solution for French Muslims and any citizen who loves justice and equality is to band together and engage in a power struggle with decision makers. The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections are an opportunity … nobody benefits from a society built on hate,” he added.

Arabic Course in elementary schools: Morocco colonizes Treviso

Arabic language taught in Italian schools begins, surprisingly, in the fortress of the Northeast, the hard and pure Treviso. Just the inhabitants of the Marca Gioiosa, who pushed for the Venetian dialect to be the official language, people are now sending their children to learn Arabic. In fact  the elementary school Coletti will begin the lessons as part of a course on Arabic language and culture . “The institute in Treviso is the first in Italy to implement an Arabic language course totally free, paid for by the Government of Morocco” says professor Zinoun Bouchra, of Moroccan descent “…children in third to fifth grade will have the opportunity to learn the Arabic alphabet, and the history and culture they come into contact with through many of their companions. And all during the school day, Treviso is ahead of the curve offering this as absolutely free.”

 

Twitter-loving American jihadi faces death threat from Somali militants after fallout

JOHANNESBURG — An Alabama native who moved to Somalia to wage jihad alongside al-Shabab militants faces a Saturday deadline to surrender to the insurgents or be killed, according to his Internet posting.

Omar Hammami — whom the FBI named as one of its most-wanted terrorists in November — has engaged in a public fight with al-Shabab over the last year, and a Twitter account that terrorism analysts believe is run by Hammami or his associates announced Jan. 4 that al-Shabab fighters had given him 15 days to surrender, or else.

“Shabab make (an) announcement in front of amriki: drop ur weapon b4 15 days or be killed. Its on,” the tweet from the Twitter handle (at)abumamerican said. Hammami’s nom de guerre is Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, or “the American.”

The killing of an American foreign fighter would likely harm al-Shabab’s efforts to recruit Westerners, but Hammami has felt in danger for many months. Hammami first expressed fear for his life in an extraordinary web video last March that publicized his rift with the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab slapped Hammami publicly in an Internet statement last month, saying his video releases are the result of personal grievances that stem from a “narcissistic pursuit of fame.” The statement said al-Shabab was morally obligated to out his “obstinacy.”

Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who runs the website jihadology.net, thinks Hammami’s recent outbursts — on Twitter, and a short Arabic-language video — have been a way for the American to rally protective support for himself. Hammami has sought out al-Qaida central, the al-Qaida branch in Yemen and Islamic scholars to take his side, but he has largely been given the cold shoulder.

Calgary Board of Education considers Arabic in public schools

Metro Calgary – May 12, 2011

The Calgary Alberta Board of Education is now considering Arabic language studies in city schools. With a growing Arabic-speaking population, a group of parents banded together to petition the CBE for this change and with enough demand the board could move forward.

Like all of CBE’s bilingual programs, 30 per cent to 50 per cent of classes would be taught in Arabic, with the rest being taught in English. A cultural component would also be included. The parents are expected to present their case May 19 at Central Memorial High School. The CBE is expected to make a decision thereafter. Arabic would join four other languages offered by the CBE, including French, Spanish, German and Mandarin.

French schools slow to include Arabic language training

Libération – February 3, 2011

Even if five million people speak Arabic in France, Arabic language training in schools is not well developed especially in secondary schools. 22 French universities and nearly all the most prestigious post-secondary schools teach the language but fewer than 1% learn the language in high school. Owing to budgetary constraints, there are only 217 schools which offered these language classes in 2010-2011. Some have suggested young people could take these classes in local mosques.

Registration for Islamic school in Calgary, Canada draws long line-up

CBC News – January 28, 2011

About a hundred parents waited in line outside the Calgary Islamic School for a chance to enroll their children. The private school — which teaches kindergarten to Grade 11 — has room for about 20 new students next year, officials said.

But since it’s the only school of its kind in Calgary, which has a Muslim population of about 60,000 people, parents line up outside in the cold for a chance to register every year, said principal Moussa Ouarou. He added that the waiting list already has 300 names on it.

The school, which is located at 26th Street and 37 Avenue N.E., teaches the regular provincial curriculum in addition to Arabic language courses, Islamic studies and Qur’an recitation and memorization.

Community Organizations in Paris’ Suburbs Find Funding Difficult

This article chronicles a suburban community organization, Zy’va (slang for vas y or “go”) in a Paris suburb and the difficulties encountered in finding continued financing. Zy’va has assisted more than 550 young people – mostly Muslims of North-African origin – in schoolwork and as an after-school drop in center since 1994. The organization recently began giving Arabic language courses due to popular demand.

Dutch Scholar Studies Origins of Islam in Arabic Papyri

November 25 2010

Radio Netherlands Worldwide carries a profile of the work of Petra Slipsteijn, professor of Arabic language and culture at Leiden University. Slijpstein works with papyrus manuscripts which are the only remaining historical source contemporary with the life of Muhammad. Her research suggests that the texts “largely confirm the official Islamic version of events”. The RNW’s profile frames Slijpstein’s work as disproving the assertions of “skeptical scholars” who claim that “Muhammad did not exist and that Islam is a fabrication made up in later centuries”.

Radical Yemeni cleric calls for killing Americans

A U.S.-born radical Yemeni cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to previous attacks on the U.S. called for Muslims around world to kill Americans in a new video message posted on radical websites Monday. In the 23-minute Arabic language message entitled “Make it known and clear to mankind,” al-Awlaki said that for Americans and Muslims it was “either us or them.”

Born in New Mexico, al-Awlaki has used his website and English-language sermons to encourage Muslims around the world to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and has been tied by U.S. intelligence to the 9/11 hijackers, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as well as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in November at Fort Hood, Texas.

“Don’t consult with anybody in killing the Americans, fighting the devil doesn’t require consultation or prayers seeking divine guidance. They are the party of the devils,” he said. “We are two opposites who will never come together.” Al-Awlaki also attacked rulers in the Arab world, particularly Yemen, describing them as corrupt and he called on religious scholars to declare them “non-Muslims” for betraying the Muslim people.