Arabic is a Dangerous Language

BBC NEWS | Americas | Arabic T-shirt sparks airport row

Apparently now if something is written in Arabic on a T-Shirt, that means that the person wearing it is a terrorist.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so disturbing.

Here’s what happened: An architect of Iraqi descent has said he was forced to remove a T-shirt that bore the words “We will not be silent” before boarding a flight at New York.

Mr Jarrar’s black cotton T-shirt bore the slogan in both Arabic and English.

Raed Jarrar said security officials warned him his clothing was offensive after he checked in for a JetBlue flight to California on 12 August.

Mr Jarrar said he was told a number of passengers had complained about his T-shirt – apparently concerned at what the Arabic phrase meant – and asked him to remove it.

He initially refused, arguing that the slogan was not offensive and citing his constitutional rights to free expression. After a difficult exchange with airline staff, Mr Jarrar was persuaded to wear another T-shirt bought for him at the airport shop.

“We Will Not Be Silent” is a slogan adopted by opponents of the war in Iraq and other conflicts in the Middle East.

It is said to derive from the White Rose dissident group which opposed Nazi rule in Germany.


4 Responses to “Arabic is a Dangerous Language”

  1. Logipundit Says:

    A fricking T-Shirt…yeah, I think maybe singling him out to be screened, or “profiled” might have been appropriate, but making him remove his shirt is not even close to appropriate.

  2. DC Offline Says:

    Exactly. I’m a big fan of profiling – we should be doing it. But telling someone to change their shirt because you don’t like the message is over the line.

    Especially when you just don’t like the language the message is written in.

  3. Logipundit Says:

    You know, though…what if it said something like:

    “All infidels must die a horrible painful death…yes white-boy that means you…and your whole family!…Allah Ackbar!”

    Would that be grounds for removal? Just a kind of hypothetical.

    It reminds me of asking a kid to remove their shirt at school that says “Jesus Loves You” on it, because some might find it “uncomfortable”. But on the other hand if the shirt said “You’re all going to burn in Hell, you f***ing sinners!” Well, I would say…maybe get the kid another shirt.

    Anyway, just a thought.

  4. DC Offline Says:

    I think there’s a big difference between free speech and a written threat. I agree with you 100%.

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