Unfortunately, Islamophobia is on the rise these days and with it, an increased suspicion of the Arabic language itself.Instead of being seen as the everyday language of hundreds of millions of people across many countries, including Christians and people of others faiths as well as Muslims, and a language linked with a rich culture and history - it is immediately linked with terrorism and suspicion.
This can be seen in many cases, including most recently the removal of a Southwest Airlines passenger from his flight for simply having a conversation in Arabic. Other incidents have included a Texas mayor calling the Department of Homeland Security about the FBI after discovering a flag with Arabic writing on it (It simply said "love for all"!) and an American student being detained and questioned simply for having Arabic flashcards.
In response to this hysteria, the Qatar Foundation has started a wonderful initiative called "I Speak Arabic."
In it, they use different approaches to humanize the language and connect people with it.One of my favorite aspects of this campaign are the videos made by non-native Arabic speakers talking about why they speak Arabic and have chosen to learn it.
Here is one of my favorites.It introduces us to a young boy in Alaska who has a passion for Arabic and is using it to do great things:
Check out more videos on their site here: http://www.ispeakarabic.com/