Kerala to mark UN Arabic Language Day

Updated 15 December 2013
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Kerala to mark UN Arabic Language Day

A renowned South Indian group which runs a chain of religious and general educational institutions in the state of Kerala has lined up a host of events in the run-up to the UN Arabic Language Day celebrations.
Organizers of the event said the Fiesta Arabia, comprising various programs, would commence at the Ma’din Academy center in the Muslim-dominated Malappuram district of Kerala on Sunday. Speakers and contestants from nine Indian states and seven leading universities in the country will participate in the event. Giving the details of the program, Ibraheemul Khaleelul Bukhari, chairman of the Ma’din Academy said, “The program aims at celebrating the cultural and literary tradition of Arabic language as well as promoting the awareness of Arabic across the nation.”
Bukhari said the three-day event will also examine the influence of Arabic on other languages and various civilizations.
A national elocution contest in Arabic language will also be organized in this regard. The winners will be awarded gold medals and certificates.
Kerala has hundreds of religious schools imparting Arabic language courses. The state-run colleges also offer bachelors degree in Arabic language.
In 2010, UNESCO declared Dec. 18 as the World Arabic Language Day to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity across the world.

This is for the first time the day is being celebrated in the state which has a major chunk of Indian workers in the Gulf states. UN General Assembly approved Arabic as an official language in 1973.
Ma’din Academy will also award scholars who have made outstanding contributions to Arabic language. The prizes will be distributed at the concluding ceremony of the event.


US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, photo provided by the ACLU of Montana, Martha Hernandez, left, and Ana Suda pose in front of a convenience store in Havre, Mont., where they say they were detained by a U.S Border Patrol agent for speaking Spanish last year. (AP)
Updated 5 min 36 sec ago
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US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

  • The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre

LOS ANGELES: Two US women detained by a border patrol agent in the state of Montana after he heard them speaking Spanish in a grocery store have sued the country’s border protection agency.
Video of the incident — which took place last May in the small town of Havre — showed Agent Paul O’Neal tell Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez that he had asked to see their identification as it was unusual to hear Spanish speakers in the state, which borders Canada.
“It has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it’s predominately English speaking,” he said.
“It’s not illegal, it’s just very unheard of up here,” he told the women.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre.
Suda and Hernandez say in the lawsuit that O’Neal detained them for 40 minutes.
California native Hernandez and Suda, who was born in Texas, said they were standing in line to buy milk and eggs when the agent — who was standing behind them — commented on Hernandez’s accent, and asked the women where they were born.
“I asked, ‘Are you serious’?” Suda said, according to the lawsuit. “Agent O’Neal responded that he was ‘dead serious’.”
The two women say they were then asked to show identification and questioned outside the store, before eventually being released.
“The incident itself is part of a broader pattern that we’ve seen of abusive tactics by border patrol which has gotten worse since the Trump administration, which has left border patrol officers feeling emboldened to take actions like this,” Cody Wofsy, an attorney with the ACLU, told AFP.
“This has been devastating for (Suda and Hernandez),” he added.
“Havre is a small town, they felt ostracized and humiliated and made to feel unwelcome in their own town and in their own country.”
He noted the United States has no official language, with Spanish by far the most common language spoken after English.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to comment on the case.
“As a matter of policy, US Customs and Border Protection does not comment on pending litigation,” he told AFP in a statement. “However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement or stipulation with any of the allegations.”