A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

diversity where you least expect it: Arabic lawyering in Iowa

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 27, 2008

On Monday, my father sent me the scanned image of an advertisement he had noticed in the Des Moines paper: an English-Arabic language advertisement for a bilingual tax presentation to be conducted the next evening:

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We were both a bit surprised: Iowa has a measurable Lebanese- and Syrian-American population, descendants of the immigrants who came here in the early 1900s. But their Arabic is generally limited to food words. And Iowa has a long-standing Muslim population, as witnessed by Cedar Rapids’ Mother Mosque, but not necessarily an Arabic-speaking one.

My father offered to go to the presentation, since my flight wasn’t scheduled to arrive until later that night. But thanks to the country’s weather woes, he instead spent the evening driving halfway to Chicago, thinking I might get stranded there. I didn’t, but my flight to Iowa was delayed long enough that he was able to drive all the way back and still reach the airport before I did.

So: no answer to the Arabic tax advice mystery. But we hope that there was a big turnout: we like seeing diversity in our state! And thank you, Dad, for devoting your evening to your daughter’s interests: first in Arabic, and second in getting home for the holidays🙂. (And thanks to my mother as well, who kept me updated on my changing flight status, and waited up until the wee-est of the wee hours to make sure we got safely home!)

2 Responses to “diversity where you least expect it: Arabic lawyering in Iowa”

  1. snarla said

    What strikes me about that poster is how small the Arabic text is compared to the English text. As a native English speaker and someone with weak eyes, I always wonder why it is that Arabic speakers are content to read that tiny little font. Isn’t there popular demand for a large text?

  2. Maria said

    What a sweet story– so much selflessness. Only a parent would do something like that out of love for their child (and I refer to the driving halfway to Chicago part under wintry conditions on top of the offer to attend the even).

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