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“God is Great”: English versus Arabic

Written by John (the other John).

Who could ever disagree with the statement ”God is Great” (besides an atheist). God is the creator of life, heaven, the earth, and all things in the universe. So if somebody were to say “God is Great”, then I would concur with that statement. But is this feeling universal? Let us experiment.

We can choose any random location for this experiment (take your choice: London Underground, Paris Metro, NYC Subway, on a plane during midflight, etc…). Person #1 can stand up in the middle of a large crowd and shout “God is Great, Jesus is the Prophet”, how would the people around him/her react? Perhaps other people may shout back “Amen” whilst in full agreement with him/her.

So this seems perfectly fine so far. Then we have Person #2, who also stands up in the middle of a large crowd and shouts “Allahu akbar, Muhamad hu alnabiu”; how would the people around him/her react? Likely the people would not shout back “Amen”, but instead they would say “holy $h!t” and run as fast as they can expecting mass carnage from an explosion and/or gunfire.

Which leads to an interesting question, why would the same phrase as per the Dictionary translation of English to Arabic/Arabic to English result in a completely different reaction by the people hearing these phrases? Is it racism? Perhaps discrimination towards brown people is the cause of this? Or perhaps it is reality: text and context. 1) The text of the Koran and the Hadiths have the mandate of killing non-believers, theft, rape, enslavement, misogyny, etc…, along with the 2) context of the preceding 1,400 years of murder, genocide, theft, rape, enslavement, misogyny, etc… Which then leads to the question, is this differing reaction baseless? No, it is completely meritorious and valid.

That being said, “God is Great, Jesus is the Prophet”, and “Allahu not akbar, Muhamad hu not alnabiu”.
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