A world scared of writing: why we need to learn Arabic

scared of arabs


It’s like the whole world has gone mad..

Imagine if people were scared of an inoffensive word like ‘kitten’. It’s silly, right? Why would these English letters scare anybody?

In the current global political climate it feels like the world is becoming scared of writing.

Yes, we see horrific news stories involving flags with Arabic writing nearly daily. So now many people equate a writing system used by 250+ million people with the actions of a handful of bad guys.

That’s insane.

I don’t follow world news too closely these days but it is plain to see that the western world has an ingrained and unjust beef with Arabic writing.

We have worrying stories of ‘middle eastern looking’ men prohibited from flying and downright silly incidents like a passenger being kicked off a plane for studying Arabic flash cards. We have American citizens questioned for wearing clothing with Arabic writing and arrested for displaying a flag.

These responses, small and large, create the radicalism we now so fear. If you are vilified then you have no problem becoming a villain.

But imagine if law enforcement, ground troops or even airport security workers had a basic understanding of Arabic or at least how to read and recognise certain words.

It could help avoid many, many misunderstandings…and their disproportionate responses.

I think the irrational fear of Arabic writing is actually more insidious than Islamophobia. A misguided Islamophobe could give you at least a couple of nutty reasons why they fear or dislike Muslims but how can you find fault in a writing system? I know Howard Stern is not exactly considered a reputable news source but his comments last year sum up the confusion we often hear.

You can calm your fears of an abstract something or even a group of people by trying to understand them first on the most basic level. Imagine how different you would feel if you could pick out a few Arabic words in the next panic inducing news piece.

TL:DR The world is scared of a writing system; not ideas or actions – just the ABC’s.

What is this site? And what about Kit Kats?

My name is Bob, I’m from Dublin, Ireland.

The very first time I saw Arabic script was on a Kit Kat wrapper and it blew my mind! I was ten years old. I asked every adult and teacher I could find about it, searching for the elusive answer:

“How the hell can these beautiful little squiggles be taught, learned, recalled, written and understood?”

As my career as a comic book artist and writer rumbled along I became intrigued with language as pictures; telling stories with pictures only, without words. In my twenties I dug up another impossible childhood dream: to crack these ´impenetrable´ languages and writing systems. I plunged into Japanese and this lead to the creation of the Dr. Moku Japanese systems.

I never really officially studied Arabic (or anything else!) apart from trying a few books and attending evening classes. Thanks to my amazing learning difficulties it was an uphill struggle. I just couldn’t remember the pronunciations or distinguish and recall the intricate shapes. So I vowed to one day create a system which would allow complete newbies like me to learn the Arabic alphabet in one day.

So here we are! Arabic Quick aims to create learning systems and products for all ages and learning levels.

This site features everything you need to learn the Arabic alphabet for free.

Bob Byrne
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