12 Stories

Entire School District Closed Over Calligraphy Lesson

Riverheads High students were asked to copy Islamic statement of faith

(Newser) - Students of Augusta County Public Schools in central Virginia are enjoying an early winter break thanks to outrage over a lesson in Arabic calligraphy. During a world geography unit on Islam on Dec. 11, Riverheads High School teacher Cheryl LaPorte asked students to practice calligraphy by copying an Islamic statement... More »

Arabic Speaker Briefly Barred From Flight After Complaint

Other passenger was apparently uncomfortable

(Newser) - A Philadelphia man says he is humiliated and upset after he was briefly stopped from boarding a flight from Chicago when another passenger overheard him speak Arabic, making him uncomfortable. Pizza shop owner Maher Khalil emigrated from Palestine 15 years ago and is an American citizen. He says he had... More »

Arabic 'Terror Message' Not Arabic, Not Terrifying

But it scared some Louisiana residents anyway

(Newser) - The Louisiana town of Gardner—population 1,964—was on high alert last week after residents spotted a number of signs around town that could have contained a "terror message written in Arabic," per KALB . In reality, those signs held a much more innocent message. The station reports... More »

NY School Sorry for Arabic Pledge of Allegiance

People who lost relatives in Afghanistan complained

(Newser) - A school in upstate New York has apologized for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic after complaints from district residents. The pledge was read in Arabic during Wednesday morning announcements at Pine Bush High School, 65 miles northwest of New York City. Some students were angered and responded with... More »

'Death Is Not Imminent' for Hasan Despite Multiple Shots

Plus, a report that he was yelling in Arabic

(Newser) - Suspected Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan isn’t mortally wounded despite taking at least four bullets, military officials say tonight. “I would say his death is not imminent,” notes a spokesman at the Texas military base where the Army psychiatrist killed 12 and injured 31 earlier... More »

Web Addresses Will Gain International Flavor

Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew domains, among others, will have support by 2010: ICANN

(Newser) - In the biggest change ever to the system, Web domains will soon be available in the native scripts of Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, and other non-Latin-based languages. A proposal expected to be approved this week means “Internationalized Domain Names” could be up and running as soon as mid-2010. China and... More »

US Still Lacks Translators in Vital Languages

Intelligence, military officials often unable to read texts, emails

(Newser) - Nearly eight years have passed since 9/11, but national security agencies remain disturbingly low on translators for crucial dialects, the Washington Times reports. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives email and text-message each other freely in languages the CIA largely ignored before 2001. "I can't explain it,... More »

Disney Takes Aim at Family-Friendly Mideast

Company seeks to tap into Arabic appetite for family-friendly films

(Newser) - Disney has decided it's a big world after all, the Financial Times reports. The company is making its first Arabic-language movie, aiming to tap into demand for family-friendly fare in the Middle East. The Last Storyteller will be produced somewhere in the Middle East and distributed in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon,... More »

Army May Pay $150K Bonus to Arabic Speakers

It considers hefty retention incentive to keep translators

(Newser) - The Army may pay $150,000 to US soldiers who speak Arabic if they agree to stay in the service, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The Army also is ramping up its program to recruit and train Arabic speakers, both in the US and abroad. If the retention bonus is... More »

MTV Launches New Arabic Channel

Music videos and Arab rap try to woo a huge under-30 audience

(Newser) - How do you say "pimp my ride" in Arabic? Fans will find out when they tune in to MTV Arabia, a new channel launched yesterday in Dubai. The youth brand hopes to deliver its sassy programs to an Arab world, where two-thirds of the population is under 30, without... More »

Arabic, Asian Languages Gaining More US Students

Arabic enrollments grew 126.5% from 2002 to 2006

(Newser) - American students are studying Arabic and Asian languages more than ever before, according to a Modern Language Association survey. Spanish has been the most studied language since 1995, still with more than 50% of students, but Arabic is fastest-growing, jumping 126.5% from 2002 to 2006—making up 1.5%... More »

Businesses Line Up for .Asia Domain Rush

Governments also get first dibs on coveted new address suffix

(Newser) - The regional internet domain .asia has opened for registration; businesses and governments will get first crack at trademarked and other protected names. The public will come rushing in to scoop up what’s left of the suffix in February 2008. The second regional domain—.eu began selling in April 2006—... More »

12 Stories