Arabic: The Dangerous Language

I can’t believe I almost missed this post. I didn’t find out about it till I was surfing the Democracy Now! site. Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar from Raed in the Middle had an out of this world experience when he was not allowed on board a flight at JFK for wearing a t-shirt with Arabic script on it. The story is just simply bizzare and worth a read. If you feel so inclined to drop JetBlue a line after reading it, you can send a message here.

Here’s an excerpt:

“How come you are asking me to change my t-shirt? Isn’t this my constitutional right to wear it? I am ready to change it if you tell me why I should. Do you have an order against Arabic t-shirts? Is there such a law against Arabic script?” so inspector Harris answered “you can’t wear a t-shirt with Arabic script and come to an airport. It is like wearing a t-shirt that reads “I am a robber” and going to a bank”. I said “but the message on my t-shirt is not offensive, it just says “we will not be silent”.


  • Well! This is outrageous! But you know something … I stopped being surprised by people’s stupidity and ignorance – it seems the trademark these days!

    Personally, I would not have changed my t-shirt …but then again, I can’t really blame him for doing so!

    this is ironcially funny, though…yesterday I was wearing a t-shirt that reads: Property of Palestine 1948 Right of Return. ( I was, in my mind, sketching out my trip to Palestine this coming May…and I thought to myself what type of reaction would I get from the israeli side of the Alanby bridge?!

    my brother was visitng so I asked him what he thinks the reaction would be if…he said: well, they’ll tell you you have every right to return to where ever the hell you came from…

    I asked one of my sisters…she said, they wont say anything! But then again, this is coming from the sister who always wore handalla t-shirts and was held at check-points for over 8 hours almost every time she attempted to travel outside Ramallah ๐Ÿ˜€


    I am very curious to know! would they really deny my entry because of such shirt?!

  • Interesting. I have several shirts with Arabic on it. One says, in Arabic “I am not a terrorist” another just says “Palestine” one says “Allahu Akbar”.

    I have never had any issues wearing these shirts, although Arabs will always come ask me “do you know what that says”.

    My Arab friends have told me I get a pass on things like this because I am white. Maybe they have a point.

  • I dunno… “we will not be silent” sounds kinda uppity to me… better safe than sorry….

    Gotta protect us ‘Mericuns from the brown people you know. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Iman if youรƒยข??re so inclined to waste several hours or days of your life, yeah why not.

    in all honesty, would this be a ‘stupid’ move on my part? I wholeheartedly don’t believe so! I’m very well aware of the consequences yet I am still curious… and there is hope to democracy! – what israel claims itself to be!

    I remember before I left Chicago to Palestine a few years ago,(I travelled through Gen Gurion airport that year) I had started reading Soul in Exile by Fawaz Turki…I wanted to take it with me to finish on the plane … i had it set next to my passport and ticket …my brother took it in the name of smooth travel and refused to give it back! so much for smooth travelling, I had to spend more than 5 hours at Ben Gurion answering questions of one soldier to another before I was able to pass!

    so yeah…I have my outfit picked out already! so you know what?! I’ll keep you posted! ๐Ÿ˜€

Your Two Piasters: