Category Archives: names

Terminology: ISIS vs. ISIL–Everything You Always Wanted to Know and Much, Much More

The esteemed Dr. Justice has an excellent post about the term ISIS vs. the term ISIL–two different translations for the same name of the organization in Iraq.

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Click this messy-looking link to read to your heart’s content: http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2014/06/isil-vs-isis.html

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This is an issue because ignoramuses keep staying stupid stuff, as ignoramuses will do. Here’s overpaid bobblehead Chuck Todd: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/chuck-todd-knows-why-obama-prefers-isil-to-isis/

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Filed under arabic, arabist, language, names, Our glorious war in Iraq, translation

Here’s a New (to Me) Guy with a Fake Name

http://wonkette.com/555064/deleted-comment-of-the-day-cool-cigar-guy-is-cool-panhandlers-are-terrorists#more-555064

Wonkette has a post about this guy who had the super brilliant idea of asking panhandlers for money. Whatever, but the important thing is, this tool calls himself Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, and refers to himself as Abdul.

As you know, Abdul means “worshipper of the,” and is therefore only half of a name. And that hyphen there, that hyphen should be between Abdul and Hakim, not between Hakim and Shabazz.

But since Shabazz is a made-up name that Malcolm X thought sounded cool and Arabic when he invented the name and the fake backstory to go with it, I can’t be surprised.

Mr Hakim-Shabazz, or Abdul, appears to be about middle aged, so it’s possible that he has nothing to do with this travesty of name he’s carrying around. Maybe his parents foisted that on him. It happens.

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Filed under arabic, names

Nelson DeMille’s The Panther, part one

A couple days ago I started reading The Panther by Nelson DeMille. “Yay,” I thought, “Finally another book to write about on my blog. Almost nobody writes novels with Arab villains these days.” But Mr. DeMille came through.

Rather than wait until I finish it, I’m going to start with my thoughts so far, as they are many, plus I just got to something that really tickled my funny bone.

I’ve mentioned in my previous posts about Nelson DeMille’s Arab-related novels that he really seems fascinated almost to the level of having a fetish about Arab names. The villain of two of his previous novels was named Asad Something or Other. Asad is a very common proper name and it means lion, and throughout both books the author or perhaps the narrator just couldn’t stop comparing the human being to a lion.

Arab names are a lot more likely to be words still in use in Arabic, unlike names in English, which come from all kinds of languages so that we often have no idea what their original meaning was. Nevertheless, being named Asad in the Arab world is very much like being named Mike or Jim or Dave in the US. No big deal.

Protagonist John Corey killed “The Lion” in a previous novel. His new nemesis is “The Panther.” In the case of this new guy, his given name was something else, and he actually chose to be called “the panther,” or al-numayr. (Al Numair in the novel). Numayr is a word I didn’t know, so I looked it up. I did a Google image search. I looked at over 100 image results without seeing a single picture of any kind of big cat. I saw lots and lots of pictures of Arab human beings named Numayr. (I searched on النمير, for those who wish to recreate my experience).

And what’s killing me is that John Corey can NOT think of this guy without mentally calling him “The Panther” and comparing him with a big cat. You know how you do, like when you watch golf and compare Tiger Woods to a real tiger, or listen to Charlie Parker and muse on how much like a bird he is?

Later I hope to piece together my thoughts on John Corey’s casual racism (but Arab isn’t a race!) and his Iraqi-American Muslim pal who denigrates Islam, but for now I must rush to page 208. Up to this point, John Corey has mentally or verbally referred to “The Panther” at least two dozen times (I’m estimating), and remember, the man nicknamed himself al-Numayr or Al Numair, not “The Panther”–and from what I know after 20 years of Arabic plus a lengthy google search, it is not at all a common word for panther–when he is introduced to Dr. Fahd.

Corey has nothing to say about Dr. Fahd’s name, or how much Dr. Fahd resembles any given animal. No internal musings on the prey-predator relationship or nocturnal habits or hunting ranges or anything…because John Corey doesn’t know what Fahd means. Fahd is just a man’s name.

Guess what Fahd means. “Panther.” A Google image search brings up mostly pics of cheetahs, I saw one of black leopard, and I’ve also told it can mean ‘lynx.’

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabic, books, names

Send Me Movie & Book Suggestions

Back at the end of 2006 I started this blog partly because I had recently learned of the existence of blogs and partly because I was reading a book in which the author did a hatchet job on Muslim Arabs, and I wanted to talk about that.

 

Well, it’s not stylish to spout off bogeyman nonsense about Arabs and Muslims anymore, so I don’t stumble across good stuff to blog about very often. It has become mainstream to point out racism and bigotry, which is good! It just doesn’t leave me with much material to blog about.

 

So please send me tips about novels and comics and tv shows and movies that I could investigate. Just comment on this thread. Thanks!

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Filed under arab, arabic, arabist, movies and shows, names

Quiz: How to Pronounce Bashar al-Assad

How to pronounce Bashar al-Assad. I’m using the English spelling that the media likes to use, and I’ll give you a hint that it is misleading.

The Arabic is: بشار الاسد

His last name means “the lion.”

The answer is in the comments.

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Filed under arabic, names, poll

But What Religion is Loughner, Part 2

The AP had a long piece giving a little bit of background on America’s latest bigtime terrorist, Jared Loughner, who they refuse to label a terrorist although he was proud to declare himself one. All these paragraphs, yet neither the reporter nor the editor nor, apparently, the public thought to give a damn about his religion. This would be completely different if only one factor were different. It could be his name, say if there were a Muhammad or an Ahmad or even a Samir in there. It could be the appearance of being of African descent. A few tones darker, and the Malkins and Gellers would be making assumptions. It could be having taken a class in comparative religions or an attempt at learning a challenging foreign language. Or travel. All of those things would send the media machine shrikeing about “radicalization,” politicians bloviating, and reporters digging up Loughner’s and his family’s religious background like a pack of bloodhounds.

But Jared Loughner is named Jared Loughner and he’s blindingly white and apparently went through his life without being charmed by any other cultures. So although he very cleary carried out a premeditated act of multiple murder in a public place with the intend to change other people’s behavior, our media and politicians will not label him a terrorist.

Peter King, congressman and Irish terrorist sympathizer will continue with his plans to hassle the Muslim community in the US. The Jewish Anti-Defamation league will continue to be silent about anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry. Geller, Malkin, Schlussel, Pipes, Spencer, and the rest of the “I’m a xenophobic ignoramus” choir will sing the same song they’ve been singing. “Muslims bad. Christian good.”

There is actually this one little bit about Christianity in the article. Notice how the reporter downplays it. This is the No True Scotsman fallacy: although Loughner is expressly talking about Christianity, the reporter (the supposedly impartial, unbiased reporter who is just giving us the facts, mind you) interjects his little disclaimer:

Loughner was arrested in October 2008 on a vandalism charge near Tucson after admitting he scrawled the letters “C” and “X” on a road sign in a reference to what he said was Christianity.

See? “In reference to what he said was Christianity.” I imagine the reporter or editor or both were expecting a firestorm of outrage if they left out “he said was.” Because the American public knows that if you leave out the ETA, the IRA, the Lord’s Resistance Army, the KKK, folks who assassinate doctors, and myriad others, Christianity is always peaceful today. Nevermind the Crusades and the Inquisition, which happened back in the mists of time.

Interestingly, to show how Christianity-soaked our country is, the Sheriff’s captain mentioned in the article is named Chris, the 9-year-old that Jared murdered is named Christina, and one of the reporters of this piece is named Christy. (Turns out there were five reporters involved, and although I used the male pronoun, most of them were women–good).

So as a friend of mine pointed out, there is no outcry that Loughner “lawyered up.” He remained silent and sought the legal help of a lawyer, just as we expect white Americans to do when they massacre. There were no calls to throw him into Guantanamo and let him moulder there. He was embraced by the US justice system, and the US public is perfectly happy with that. After all, he had mental problems and just needs help, the poor boy.

US citizens it's okay to shoot on sight

US citizen who just needs some help, poor boy

US citizen killed by Israeli commandos, no protest by US

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Filed under arabist, domestic terrorism, names, Our glorious war on terror

OH NOES! A Scary Name is Popular

I found a lovely blog today, Mail Watch, which I’ve barely looked at so far but which seems to do a valuable service: exposing sensationalist journalism. How I wish I had the time and patience to run a similar blog.

The article I stumbled upon, while researching stories about Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to take guide dogs (which is not all Muslim cabbies, obviously), is about recent (and also old) news about the popularity of the name Muhammad in England.

Please go over there and read it. Here’s an exerpt:

■It’s a crap trick. Adding together 12 variations of a name and saying the official list has Mohammed at number 16 without pointing out that the official list doesn’t add any variations of names together is just a bit dishonest.

■As is not bothering to mention exactly how popular a name Mohammed is among Muslims.

■Or that altogether, boys named every variation of Mohammed made up around just 2% of all boys. Actually, the number of boys named all variations of Mohammed actually took a slight drop since last year, but you didn’t mention that either.

■It’s an old crap trick. I was mentioning it on my blog back in 2007, when the trick made it look as though Mohammed was the second most popular boy’s name.

UPDATE: ha! Tabloid Watch has an even funnier takedown here.

This one is less funny, has more statistics.

Yet another way of looking at the facts here.

You may know that American “comedian” Bill Maher said stupid nonsense about this “alarming” naming trend a few days ago. So while I’m at it, I’ve always wanted to know, is there a woman alive who doesn’t get a creepy vibe from Bill Maher?

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Filed under bigoted idiots, Blogroll, names

Everyone’s Stealing My Thunder

This whole “Ground Zero Mosque” debate is all over the internet and everyone is doing my job for me, blog-wise. There’s so little left to say about the whole pack of nonsense, but let me at least clear up how this man’s name is supposed to be pronounced.

“Rauf” is just the last half of his last name. “Abdul Rauf” is one unit. This is why I favor the hyphenated version of spelling these kinds of names, thusly: Abdul-Rauf or Abd-al-Rauf. On top of everything else, “Rauf” is no more supposed to be pronounced ROWF than Saud is supposed to be pronounced SOD.

It’s Ru’uf, pronounced roo-(glottal stop)-oof.

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The Distinguished Ambassador…

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have all chosen not to receive the proposed ambassador from Pakistan. The ambassador has a distinguished record in diplomacy. All three nations declined to give a reason for their rejection. This apparently is causing tension in relations between Pakistan and the Gulf States.

None of the countries in question admits it, but popular opinion is that the Pakistani ambassador has been rejected because of his name, Akbar Zeb, which means “the biggest dick” in Arabic.

Arabic story here. English story here.

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Is It My Imagination…

…or isn’t this woman a dead ringer for Emilio Estevez?

wanted to put an Emilio Estevez quote here, but couldn't find any

Emily Ruete (1844-1924) was born in Zanzibar as Sayyida Salme, Princess of Zanzibar and Oman.

Almost. Sayyida is not her name, it’s an indication that she’s supposedly a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, and I don’t know that “princess” is the most appropriate designation, but she wrote her own history for a western, Christian audience, so “princess” is what they would have understood.

Wikipedia has more.

But seriously, she looks like Emilio Estevez, right?

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabist, names, pedantry