Why the establishment media and public officials keep mistranslating “Allahu Akbar”

They can count on the ignorance of most of their readers, the tacit approval of Muslim leaders who want the real meaning of the phrase obscured, and the assurance that none of their peers will hold them accountable for this inaccuracy, because the truth would be “Islamophobic.”

Google translate: God is the greatest

“Why media, officials mistranslate ‘Allahu akbar,’” by Art Moore, WND, November 2, 2017:

As the horrific news broke Tuesday that the driver of a Home Depot rental truck in New York City had mowed over pedestrians and bike riders, “terrorism” naturally came to the minds of most Americans.

When reports began circulating that witnesses heard the perpetrator yell “Allahu akbar,” even law enforcement officials typically reluctant to apply the terrorism label to such incidents acknowledged they were looking at something more than a tragic accident.

“Allahu akbar” is an Arabic phrase that has become significant in this post-9/11 era, yet in the aftermath of the attack Tuesday in which eight people were killed and a dozen injured, official after official and news outlet after news outlet mistranslated it, insisting it means “God is great.”

An accurate translation – and even Google Translate affirms it – is “Allah is the greatest” or, literally, “Allah is greater,” as in the god Allah is greater than all other gods.

The interpretation is important, contends Islam expert Robert Spencer, because it makes clear that the threat Western Civilization faces is rooted in a historic dogma of global conquest.

“‘God is great’ is a bland statement of piety. ‘Allah is greater’ is a declaration of supremacism and superiority, and of victory over the infidels,” Spencer told WND.

“The former is just an expression, the latter a declaration of war and of victory in that war,” said Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and the author of 17 books about Islam.

Aware of the fear “Allah akbar” strikes in Americans, the New York Times ran a story Thursday headlined “‘Allahu Akbar!’ An Everyday Phrase, Tarnished by Attacks.”

Times reporter Eric Nagourney typically mistranslated the phrase, writing: “The Arabic phrase, which means simply ‘God is great,’ has, it sometimes seems, become intertwined with terrorism.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper mistranslated it in the aftermath of the attack Tuesday when he commented “Allahu akbar” is “sometimes is said under the most beautiful of circumstances.”

Tapper, who got into a Twitter battle with Fox News host Sean Hannity over his comment, said to a guest on his show “The Lead”: “The Arabic chant ‘Allahu akbar,’ God is great, sometimes is said under the most beautiful of circumstances. And too often, we hear it being said in moments like this.”…

Spencer explained to WND why establishment media outlets such as the New York Times get away with continuing to publish mistranslations of the phrase.

“They can count on the ignorance of most of their readers, the tacit approval of Muslim leaders who want the real meaning of the phrase obscured, and the assurance that none of their peers will hold them accountable for this inaccuracy, because the truth would be ‘Islamophobic,’” he said.

Asked whether or not there were any Muslim leaders or scholars the Times could interview who could set the record straight, Spencer replied, “Not that I know of.”…

Translating and understanding “Allahu akbar” as “merely ‘God is great’ strips the phrase of its crucial aspect of Allah’s supremacy over all other deities,” wrote Yigal Carmon of the Middle East Media Research Institute on Wednesday.

Carmon cited MEMRI’s October 2016 analysis of Allahu akbar, which explained how and why the phrase is misunderstood and mistranslated in the West.

The report acknowledged: “Translating concepts from one language into another is a difficult endeavor. Translating concepts that have no equivalent in the target language is even harder. Translating religious concepts for a culture in which religion has ceased to play a central role in the life of the individual and in society is hardest of all.”

One of the reasons for such mistranslations, MEMRI said, “is the fact that in the modern Western world the struggle for supremacy among religions has almost completely ceased, and to the extent that it still exists, it is nonviolent.”

“Therefore, statements of religious faith that embody a continuing historical struggle for divine religious supremacy lack a modern religious/cultural conceptual basis through which to be understood in the West, and consequently lack a linguistic equivalent.”…

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EDITORS NOTE: When you type into Google translate the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” the English translation is “Allah is the greatest.”

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