Why Moffet Elementary School students singing an Arabic song on stage should not be peculiar - Generocity Philly

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Jun. 29, 2016 3:31 pm

Why Moffet Elementary School students singing an Arabic song on stage should not be peculiar

Muhammed Hansrod, a summer intern at local nonprofit Al-Bustan, wrote about why the organization's work preserving and promoting Arab culture is so important in the age of Arab culture reductionism.

Al-Bustan's end-of-year celebration in the garden at Moffet School.

(Photo by Emily Ganser for Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture)

Post-9/11 America has not been a friendly place for many Arab-Americans.

Between constant broadcasts of presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s desire to ban Muslims from the United States, threats from ISIS, over-simplified American (mis)understandings of the conditions surrounding the Syrian Civil War and the recent tragedies in San Bernadino and Orlando, it can be easy for America to want to dismiss and discriminate against not only Arab-Americans, but Arab culture, too.

It shouldn’t be that easy.

That’s why Muhammed Hansrod, a summer intern at local Arab culture nonprofit Al-Bustan, was particularly struck by a group of students at Kensington’s Moffet Elementary School who were singing a traditional Arabic song during a class concert.

It was peculiar because the students were not just Arab-Americans, but Black, white and Latino. But that concert shouldn’t have been such a peculiar sight to see.

“Thanks to mainstream media’s reduction of Arabic culture to violence and intolerance, it is easy to view the Arabic music concert at Moffet School as anomalous,” wrote Hansrod on Al-Bustan’s blog. “But this conclusion could not be further from the truth.”

Read the full story

Hansrod saw the concert as a sign of Al-Bustan’s success in “reproducing the Arab world’s rich cosmopolitan heritage in an American context.” Here’s to hoping for more of that in the face of discrimination.

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