Building Bridges Through Language: UGA Professor Teaches Arabic Lessons to Athens Community

ATHENS– Members of the University of Georgia and Athens community are gathering together on weekends to learn Arabic at the Al-Huda Athens Islamic Center. University of Georgia Professor of Arabic and Religious Studies, Dr. Adel Amer, teaches Arabic lessons at the Al-Huda Islamic Center where he is also the mosque’s Imam. He began teaching these lessons after a successful open house at the Al-Huda center.

“These lessons are a good way for members of the Muslim and non-Muslim community to get to know one another”, Amer says. He continues, “We have to break the cycle of ignorance. People will take information about Muslim people from a third party, which is not necessarily true.”

A diverse group of about ten people come here to the Al-Huda Islamic Center on Saturdays to learn Arabic. They come from various religious and cultural backgrounds. Those that come to these lessons say they are important because of the current social and political climate.

One of these people is Annette Hynes, who formerly served in the Peace Corps and is interested in learning more about Middle-Eastern culture. “I would like to understand the culture better”, she says. “With the current political climate, I would like to get to know more people of Muslim and Middle-Eastern background.

University of Georgia student Shireen Pirani has a similar sentiment. As a Pakistani, Muslim-American she feels that it is part of her duty as a Muslim to learn Arabic. “It’s really refreshing to come to class to see that there are non-Muslim people interested in learning Arabic. As a Muslim-American, I don’t really know how people around me feel.”, Pirani says.

The Arabic lessons are free of charge and will take place every Saturday for the next 3 months at the Athens Al-Huda Islamic Center from 2-4 PM. For more information about these lessons, contact Dr. Adel Amer at profadel@uga.edu .

By: Donovan Harris

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