19 Dec, 2015
New York, United States – Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric tells one story about the modern day US. But, students painstakingly learning Arabic’s right-to-left script in classrooms across the country tells another. While fewer Americans speak Arabic than English, Spanish, Chinese or even Tagalog, it is perhaps the nation’s fastest-growing language and is increasingly being studied in kindergartens and colleges from the boondocks to big cities.
“Some people study Arabic for professional reasons or to get a government job, but most are the true Americans who are open to other cultures,” Mahmoud al-Batal, a Lebanese-American Arabic professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told Al Jazeera.