France Debates Where to Teach Arabic: Public School or Local Mosque?

01france-arabic1-jumboSource: The New York Times

By Emma Bubola

ROMAINVILLE, France — Early on Sunday mornings, Habiba Hatem, 9, prepares her own breakfast, grabs her flashy pink school bag and jumps into her father’s car — bound for Arabic lessons at her local mosque in a suburb north of Paris.

Colorful sketches of how to perform ritual washings decorate the walls of the classroom, along with drawings of butterflies, cars and carrots, with their Arabic names underneath.

“Today we are going to do a dialogue about ‘duyuf’ coming for dinner,” the teacher tells Habiba and a dozen other boys and girls ages 9 to 17, all born in France. “Duyuf means guests,” she says, writing the word on the blackboard.

Habiba’s grandparents came from Tunisia in the 1960s, and her father believes it is important that his child stays connected to her roots.

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2 replies

  1. The question is also, which Arabic? The classical one, the Quranic one or the spoken one in Algeria, Morocco ?

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