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Author Dawkins: 'Allahu Akhbar' Is 'Aggressive-Sounding'

Author Dawkins: 'Allahu Akhbar' Is 'Aggressive-Sounding'
Author Richard Dawkins (Ludek Perina/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 19 July 2018 06:53 PM

Atheist and author Richard Dawkins sent a tweet saying the Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar" is "aggressive-sounding," The Atlantic reported.

"Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great medieval cathedrals. So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding 'Allahu Akhbar.' Or is that just my cultural upbringing?" Dawkins asked in the tweet.

Dawkins received pushback on his comments about the Muslim phrase, which means "God is great."

He faced accusations of bigotry over the comment, Newsweek reported.

Sociolinguists say that such a perception ties into cultural beliefs.

"A lot of times, people's negative or positive attitudes about a particular group get transferred onto the language. . . they start to believe that it's just the linguistic content of the language that is the bearer of those features that they experience as negative or positive, when that is almost never the case in actuality," said Christopher Lucas, a professor of Arabic linguistics at SOAS in London, The Atlantic reported.

"Sounds are just sounds. They don't have any objective content that you can map onto specific emotional states," Lucas added.

Dawkins' "vague soup of negative ideas (about Islam) is bleeding into his transcription," Lucas said, The Atlantic reported.

The correct transliteration would be "Akbar," not "Akhbar" as Dawkins wrote, because the word does not contain a "kh" sound, and native English speakers often perceive the "kh" sound as a "harsh, ugly sound," Lucas said.

Dawkins followed up by saying Wednesday, "My point is that 'Allahu Akhbar' is anything but beautiful when it is heard just before a suicide bomb goes off. That is when Islam is tragically hijacked by violence."

The Atlantic reported Dawkins has frequently taken aim at the Arabic language. Lucas said his comments about the language are tied to his lack of exposure to it.

"The people who get away with simplistic ideas about languages are people who don't speak them and haven't lived the experience of those languages being used to express love and anger and hilarity and sadness," Lucas said in The Atlantic.

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The Arabic phrase "Allahu Akhbar" is "aggressive-sounding," atheist and author Richard Dawkins tweeted, according to The Atlantic.
allahu akbar, terrorists, terrorism, radical islam, richard dawkins
Thursday, 19 July 2018 06:53 PM
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