Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As someone who regularly carries around Arabic flashcards in his pocket (I can now count to 100…. wahed, ithnayn, thalatha….), I was quite alarmed to see this story about the apparent detention by TSA of a student for carrying flashcards in “the language Osama Bin Laden speaks.” Obviously, this is messed up (assuming that the student in question’s side of the story is somewhat accurate) – for a couple of reasons.

First of all, speaking Arabic and being a terrorist is not the same thing, and TSA of all agencies needs to understand this. Second, blatant disrespect for and marginalization of Arabic speakers contributes to the radicalization of these individuals. As Jeff points out, the trend of third generation self-radicalized terrorists is increasingly the major terrorist threat to the United States, and is often exacerbated by US policy actions. Lastly, I believe it is crucial that the US government encourage more individuals to learn Arabic, rather than tolerating a bureaucratic culture that believes Arabic is somehow antithetical to American society.


Matt Green said...

Looks like I will be leaving my global jihad picture book at home for my spring break trip. I will also make sure to have a copy of "The Real America" on my person at all times, just to disprove all non believers.

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