Lion of the Blogosphere

“Allāhu akbar” forbidden at New York Times

As we see in this article, when someone says “Allāhu akbar,” the New York Times will now report that he said “‘God is great’ in Arabic.”

Which is not the correct translation. “Allah is the greatest” is the better translation of the phrase, indicating the belief that Islam is greater than all other religions. “Allah” should never be translated into anything, because it’s a proper noun unique to Islam. You will never see the NY Times translate Islam to mean “submission to Allah.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 23, 2018 at 1:28 PM

Posted in Religion

47 Responses

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  1. I believe Jews and Christians who speak Arabic also refer to G-d as “Allah”

    Otis the Sweaty

    March 23, 2018 at 1:47 PM

    • Muslims themselves don’t agree. In Malaysia, only Muslims are allowed to call their god “Allah.”

      I say that although the word Allah was used before Islam existed, it has since come to be the proper noun for the Islamic god.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 23, 2018 at 1:58 PM

      • Well, the existence of that story indicates that non-Muslims in Arabic-influenced places do call God “Allah”. Some Muslims believe they should stop doing that — although as far as I know, this attitude is unique to the east Indies. Which might have something to do with Arabic seeming like Exotic Religious Language to them; for Arabs it just seems like Normal Everyday Language.

        Greg Pandatshang

        March 23, 2018 at 3:55 PM

      • Malaysia is weird. You have “khalwat” laws there were it is illegal to come into “close proximity” with the opposite sex unless you are married to that person or part of your “mahram” (people that you cannot marry under sharia).

        You simply cannot hug or kiss there. And I don’t mean actually having sex with a person. Just intimate contact.


        March 25, 2018 at 6:01 PM

  2. I believe Christian Arabs say “Allah” as well. The Maltese are Catholic but speak a Semitic language and call God “Allah”.


    March 23, 2018 at 1:53 PM

    • The word “O Allah” – ojala in Spanish means I hope. The etymological origins could be of 800 years of Islamic rule in Spain.

      Intellectuals in other parts of Europe who studied Spain, as far back as the Renaissance, often referred the Spaniards as the “Moors”.


      March 23, 2018 at 2:59 PM

  3. Go to a Catholic church in Malta and the first words of the service are “O Alla” (the Maltese are Catholics but their language is an offshoot of Arabic)

    Allah is just the Arabic word for “God” (though you’re right akbar is a comparative form (from kabir – large, great) and the slogan is about the supposed supremacy of Islam over other religions).

    The problem with the NYT is that it’s an objectively terrible newspaper full of people with no real journalistic skills (you helped point that out).

    The problem with westerners is that don’t understand that some people have different values and agendas, they think everyone is a northern liberal under the skin and filter out any conflicting information.

    cliff arroyo

    March 23, 2018 at 2:01 PM

    • “The problem with westerners is that don’t understand that some people have different values and agendas, they think everyone is a northern liberal under the skin and filter out any conflicting information.”

      I think that should be narrowed to liberal westerners who believe that. The right agrees with reality that different people are..different. For liberal westerners, diversity means the United Colors of Benetton and for the right, diversity means your neighbor is casting Santeria spells on you.

      Mike Street Station

      March 24, 2018 at 9:58 AM

    • There is an argument that says the Roman Catholic Church created Islam.


      March 24, 2018 at 2:48 PM

      • Certain Islamic individuals during their heyday in Spain, when it was Muslim and the Roman Catholics were the minority, noted the (R)adical (A)utonomous behavior of Christian priests who fornicate with women and perhaps men, but never had children and were never married. The Muslims thought these individuals were degenerate.


        March 25, 2018 at 10:53 AM

  4. Larry Auster used to have a field day with these phrases:

    “Hostage situation.”

    The word “situation” is a dead-giveaway that they are weaseling.


    March 23, 2018 at 2:04 PM

    • I don’t believe Arabic speaking Jews referred to the Almighty (blessed be he) as “Allah.” I think they used Hebrew euphemisms like “HaShem,” and so on.


      March 23, 2018 at 4:19 PM

      • HaShem, Adonai, etc, not “Allah”

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 23, 2018 at 4:31 PM

      • Yeah, I don’t think they use Allah at all. Arab Christians are Arabs, but Jews who spoke Arabic weren’t. They never considered themselves Arabs at all. I think the Iraqi Jews considered themselves Iraqi, but not Arabic.


        March 23, 2018 at 4:33 PM

      • Cat, you are wrong. In Judeo-Arabic they use אללה. This is in the original texts of Rambam and Rav Saadiya.


        March 23, 2018 at 6:06 PM

      • All references to God in Rambam & RSaadiyah are “Allah”? Or just under certain circumstances? Context matters.

        Anyway I’m referring to common speech, not the writings of sages.


        March 24, 2018 at 7:17 PM

      • Because they are not Arabic and the Iraqi Jews specifically were there long before the Aarabs took over. The closest Hebrew word is Elohim and is the most commonly used, stemming from El which is same as Al in Allah and is the general noun for God. Hashem means “the name” (that thou shalt not mention) and Adonai means “my lord”, so both means god but it is not the actual word for god.


        March 23, 2018 at 7:08 PM

      • Jews were in most “Arab” countries long before they were Arabized. The question really is one of Arabization, not who is actually an Arab. The Iraqi Jews were the most Arabized, but in a very special way. They had good relations with the elite Arabs and were culturally much like them, but not like the poorer Arabs or peasants.

        In Egypt the Jews were very separate and distinct from the average Egyptian. Didn’t even speak Arabic until they had to, when Farouk was deposed.


        March 24, 2018 at 7:19 PM

      • When a Hebrew verse is translated Allah is usually used used. Jews from Arab countries freely used Arab expressions such as inshallah – G-d willing. I heard them myself. Cat, don’t be stubborn.


        March 25, 2018 at 2:44 PM

      • Inshallah I can see because that’s an idiom, slang. But referring to God as Allah, in writing and orally? I doubt it.

        Hashed? What say you?


        March 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM

  5. What the NYT also would never publish is the opinion muslims hold of American blacks. I once had an extended discussion about blacks with three Egyptians living in the U.S. Let me know if interested.


    March 23, 2018 at 2:06 PM

    • Marty, I had a similar conversation when visiting Egypt in the late 90’s. The Arabs don’t suffer blacks gladly.
      I was told that the black man was “abid”, or slave, and was created by Allah to serve. This was told to me in the most relaxed, matter of fact, tone. Arabs will say this right in front of black people, at least in Egypt.
      Egyptians think American whites are ridiculous for putting up with nonsense from black people.
      Prior to the 1960’s, most people in the U.S. would have enthusiastically agreed.
      Now we walk on eggshells around them.


      March 23, 2018 at 3:32 PM

      • “Prior to the 1960’s, most people in the U.S. would have enthusiastically agreed.
        Now we walk on eggshells around them.”

        This too shall pass. Their TFR is below replacement level.


        March 23, 2018 at 4:24 PM

      • Black tfr is really below replacement level??


        March 23, 2018 at 8:10 PM

      • “Black tfr is really below replacement level??”

        African-American is.

        African continent still well above.

        Jokah Macpherson

        March 23, 2018 at 10:01 PM

      • Cool. The ones in continental Africa don’t concern me, as I doubt they could make that long swim across the Atlantic to cause trouble over here.


        March 24, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    • I’m interested.

      I used to browse English-speaking Egyptian blogs and they were disarmingly frank about Michelle Obama’s charms.

      There have been many online accounts of the racism in Egypt. Black women are routinely referred to in front of their faces as whores. I read a few accounts of American blacks who tried moving there, thinking they would escape American racism, and were bitterly disappointed. Sad, really.


      March 23, 2018 at 4:21 PM

      • In ’03 Dave’s Smoke Shop, a Berkeley institution about a block from the campus, was owned by a guy from Egypt named Mustafa. He had two sons, Iman 14 and Karim 17, and a 27-year old son-in-law., a laid-off Delta pilot, with the delightful name Ja-Ja (“heeYA-heYA”). I was in there one Saturday morning when a young black woman In full Kwanza regalia went up to the register and asked for some exotic brand of cigarettes. Ja-Ja told her, ‘sorry, the state of California says we can’t sell those anymore – they’re on the banned list’. At this, she starts ranting “well, that’s racist!,” and generally makes a big scene. After she leaves, Ja-Ja says to me, “you believe that? We could be cousins and she’s calling me racist.” That kicked off a general discussion of blacks. Ja-Ja, who attended military school in Georgia, said that blacks “made me fight every day.” Karim, who attended a largely black public high school, said, “I don’t have any problem with black people,” to which Ja-Ja replied, “that’s because you kiss their ass, Karim.” Then I turned to Iman, the 8th grader, and asked him about his school. He said it was about half black, but the teaching staff was 2/3 black. I said, “blacks kids are smart, right?” And he immediately shot back, “No, they’re STOO-pid.” He said the girls in his class gave blow jobs for $25, and that his teacher had told him, “white people are gonna have to come down a few notches.”


        March 23, 2018 at 5:45 PM

    • “What the NYT also would never publish is the opinion muslims hold of American blacks”

      Nor the opinions of Latins, Hispanics, Asians, Slavs, Russ and Turks.


      March 23, 2018 at 7:27 PM

  6. “All the new that fits our agenda”


    March 23, 2018 at 2:08 PM

  7. “Allah über alles” works.


    March 23, 2018 at 2:40 PM

  8. O/T – FYI, this French Comedian is a Sephardic Jew from Morocco.

    He studied at McGill University in Montréal and is seen here making fun of the French Canadian accent.


    March 23, 2018 at 3:04 PM

    • He said it’s funny the first times. After , it’s a way into fitting into society. Jewish have a sense of becoming very local while keeping their own ethnic interest at mind. In this program , he adopts the ironic detachment of today’s young French bourgeois (paris premiere TV or Canal +).


      March 24, 2018 at 3:41 AM

      • You might be correct. But he’s also no different from all the Maghrebi Arabs in French society.


        March 24, 2018 at 8:06 AM

  9. ” The reputed perpetrator uttered a phrase in a Levatine language. Translated into ours, the phrase declared a certain deity to be doubleplusgood.”

    How’s that?


    March 23, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    • Not bad, but it needs more passive voice for maximum obfuscation. “A phrase in a Levantine language which, when translated into ours, declared a certain deity to be doubleplusgood, was heard emanating from the reputed perpetrator’s lips.”


      March 25, 2018 at 8:57 PM

  10. Muhammad’s Allah is not the greatest.

    Ali is the greatest.

    Muhammad Ali.


    March 23, 2018 at 6:45 PM

  11. Allah is just the Arabic word for God. Arab Christians use it and will Issa ibn Allah (Jesus son of God). Arab Muslims will use the word Allah to refer to the deity that Christians and Jews worship. Allah is God in Arabic as Dieu and Gott is God in French and German.

    A lot of non-Arab Muslims particularly those in South Asia think Allah is the “Muslim God”. This is a stupid position and it is contrary to Muslim teaching and ultimately against monotheism.

    However I still think that NYT should report the phrase as Allahu Akbar and not translate “God is Great.” We all know what it means when a person say Allahu Akbar whereas God is Great is confusing.

    The NYT is making the translation to confuse readers about Islamic connection to terrorism not to better inform them. Misleading people in the name of social justice is worst kind of political correctness.


    March 23, 2018 at 7:23 PM

  12. Allah means God and refers to the Christian god in the Arabic bible too. But you are tight that “u Akbar” dies mean “is greatest” rather than “is great”. God is great would be “Allah Kabir”.


    March 23, 2018 at 8:43 PM

  13. Allah means God and refers to the Christian god in the Arabic bible too. But you are right that “u Akbar” does mean “is greatest” rather than “is great”. God is great would be “Allah Kabir”.


    March 23, 2018 at 8:45 PM

  14. Will the NYT refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses as God’s Witnesses?


    March 24, 2018 at 11:44 AM

    • This reminds me of something else Larry Auster used to have a field day with: mainstream liberal journalists using the phrases “the Holy Koran” and “the Prophet Mohammed.” Wake me up when the New York Times starts referring to the Bible as “the Holy Bible” or Jesus as “our Lord Jesus Christ.”


      March 25, 2018 at 8:55 PM

  15. Mohammedans proclaim in stunted translation,”god is the greatest (because he can do anything).”

    Christians believe that God is (P)erfection.

    There is a revolutionary chasm between the two interpretations of the metaphysical reality.


    March 24, 2018 at 2:59 PM

  16. Alhamadulillah! (all praise is due to God!)

    Off topic. This is somewhat related to HBD.

    The point that I got here was that the NCAA’s increased standards increased graduation rates for black athletes, but it does lower the number of “first generation” black college athletes.

    John Thompson Jr. posed a version of that same question a quarter-century ago. He was uncomfortable denying educational opportunity to scores of low-income students for the sake of improved college graduation rates among athletes. In 1986, the NCAA introduced Prop 48, which required a minimum 700 SAT score (17 ACT), and 2.0 high school GPA in 11 core classes, to practice and compete as freshmen. Most players affected by the new standard were black: Within one year, the number of African-American freshmen recruited into all Division 1 sports fell from 3,724 to 3,041.

    Then in 1989, NCAA members approved a rule denying athletic scholarship aid to any freshman who didn’t meet the standards. In protest, Thompson walked off the court before a game and drove around town. At one point, he passed a convenience store. “If these kids today don’t get that opportunity [at an education], who are they going to look to? Those people lingering at [outside the store]?” he told The Washington Post.

    The rule was rescinded. But NCAA members picked up the battle again in 1996 with Prop 16, introducing a sliding scale for GPA vs. standardized test scores and tougher requirements. Again, the proportion of African-American freshmen fell.

    With each change, however, graduation rates for black athletes improved. And those rates became the common measure of success. Gradually, the rebellion lost steam, undercut further by academic fraud involving athletes at high-profile programs such as Tennessee, Minnesota, Florida State and North Carolina.

    The advocates for tighter standards had won.

    Now, the bar is being lifted further. This school year, the NCAA raised the minimum high school GPA for athletes to 2.3 in 16 core (college prep) courses, 10 of which must be completed by the start of the player’s senior year. The latter requirement prevents sometimes dubious “credit recovery” efforts near the end of high school that have been used to rehabilitate the transcripts of prospects.


    March 25, 2018 at 1:39 AM

    • I forgot the link

      Pressure to recruit athletes who are likeliest to graduate will ramp up further in 2019. That’s when the NCAA introduces, for the first time, financial rewards for athletic departments with the best academic records. Millions will be distributed to programs that retain athletes, graduate at least 90 percent of them, or whose all-sport graduation rate is at least 13 points higher than its overall student body.

      Haney, the basketball coaches association executive director, likes where NCAA policies are headed.

      “Every time standards are increased and information is communicated effectively to prospective student-athletes, they take the challenge,” he said

      I think a hard limit (imposed by the NCAA) is more effective since it is possible that coaches, if they want to win, could ignore the financial incentives and recruit athletically talented, but academically mediocre players.


      March 25, 2018 at 1:45 AM

  17. Is this the same New York Times that defended the Iran Deal and said Trump should honor it? The newspaper owned by Carlos Slim the owner of telefonas Mexico? The newspaper that endorsed Hillary Clinton based on the fact she was born with a vagina?

    Seems legit.

  18. Your comment imply you don’t believe in monotheism which is fine. For them, the différents names of God carries different concepts and beliefs – truth or false – but refer to the same object, the one and only god. LLike Adonai, Elohim of Yahve were different persons !

    The arabic language has a strong h like in english « « « house » but can be pronounced in any parts of the sy’lable. That’s why you transliterat AllaH with the H of house at the end. But when another world follows, a spoken vowel pops up, and it can be an U but very light Alla-H-u . Akbar is the superlative of Kebir (big or great). It is not a specialized word . A big house is Il Beyt Il Kebir. Then Arabs don’t use auxiliary verbs like to be. So if you say « the house big », it means « the house is big ». If you want to say « the big house », you have to say « the house the big ». That’s why AllaHu Akbar is a sentence. I don’t think there is anything there.

    In France, Madrasa, wich is the word for school, means a place where people learn how to kill people. Tâlib means student, Tâliba is the female student and Taliban (one should say Tâlibeen) is the plural. Harvard law school students are Taliban. Arabic is only a language. It is not magic 🙂


    April 2, 2018 at 12:29 PM

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