The September 11 Memorial Museum will not open its doors until April of 2014, but is already sending out signs that some are more welcome than others. As Raed Jarrar, communications director for the Arab-American Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC), points out, while museum brochures will be available in the nine languages (English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Italian, Japanese and Russian), they will not be available in Arabic.
The lack of a brochure in Arabic at the September 11 Memorial Museum stands out all the more as there are plenty of Arabic-speaking visitors to the city. In fact, according to statistics from NYC & Company (the official marketing and tourism organization for New York City), there are more visitors from the Middle East (including Israel) than are from China, Russia or Japan.
The memorial museum says that its brochures are available in nine languages and not in Arabic because they are "spoken by over 97 percent of our visitors" and because "Arabic-speaking visitors currently represent our 25th-largest group," according to the New York Post.
As Jarrar underscores in Al-Jazeera, "the lack of Arabic brochures and the apparent exclusion of Arab-American history suggests a pattern of discrimination towards Arabs and Arab-Americans."
Dear Ms. Alice M. Greenwald,
We, the undersigned, ask that the September 11 Memorial Museum make brochures avaiable in Arabic. Brochures are currently available in nine other languages, but not in Arabic, the fourth most-spoken language in the world.
Brochures in Arabic are necessary to welcome Arabic-speaking visitors to the museum; to honor a historical Arabic community, LIttle Syria, that once flourished in the very commerical district where the World Trade Center was; and in acknowledgement of the many Arabs and Arab-Americans who lost loved ones in the attacks on September 11, 2001.
In your capacity as the Executive Vice President for Programs and Director of the Memorial Museum, we ask that you take immediate action to provide brochures in Arabic.
Thank you very much.
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