Justice

The Meaningful Translation of This Arabic Tote Bag

August 17th 2016

By:
Almie Rose

Accessories that prominently feature foreign scripts can be hit or miss. Look no further than this 2013 Buzzfeed list of "Ridiculous Chinese Character Tattoos" for proof of how easily profound messages can get lost in translation.

But a new tote bag created by Israel-based designers Rock Paper Scissors featuring a message in Arabic leaves no room for misinterpretation, and is causing a huge stir on social media as a result.

What is the message?

A Facebook post from journalist Nader Al-Sarras that's been shared nearly 12 thousand times as of writing reveals all:

 

"This text has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language."

Praise for the tote bag

The bag has many adoring fans from all over the world, as comments on the Facebook post and the brand's own Instagram reveal.

Arabic tote bag Instagram comment

Arabic tote bag Instagram comment

Arabic tote bag Instagram comment

But the bag has its detractors as well

Is the bag a statement on Islamophobia?

It seems pretty clear that the main reason why this bag might exist, and why the message is written in Arabic and not say, French, is in response to Islamophobia. After all, the text reads it "has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language."

As ATTN: previously reported, "48 percent of Muslims believe they are more likely than any other popular religious group in America to say they have personally experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year" according to a 2011 Gallup poll.

There have been news stories as of late that highlight these prejudices against Muslims and the Islamic community, such as the woman who panicked when the Muslim woman sitting next to her on an airplane texted in Arabic. Fortunately, that story had a happy ending when the women wound up befriending each other.

But it doesn't always end that way. Sometimes, Islamophobia wins, like when an Iraqi college student was kicked off a Southwest flight simply because he was speaking Arabic and it scared someone.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has built a campaign on disparaging Muslims and Islam, from proclaiming "Islam hates us" to calling for a ban on Muslim immigration. But contrary to what Trump thinks, the entire religion of Islam doesn't hate anyone, and not all Muslims are terrorists.

Similarly to how just because something is in Arabic doesn't mean it's dangerous.

ATTN: has reached out to Rock Paper Scissors and will update if we hear back.