Abu Dhabi, 8th July 2009 The Cultural and Media Centre for H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed al Nahyan has organized, in its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, a lecture on “The Arabic Language in Africa: The Reality and Challenges,” delivered by Dr. Alkhidru Abdul Baaq Mohammed, Director of the Nigerian Centre for Arabic Research, in the presence of H.E. Bashir Yuguda, Nigerian Ambassador to the country.
The lecturer tackled the impacts of the Arabic language on Arab-African relations, and the efforts made to revive the language in the continent.
At the beginning, Dr. Alkhidru Abdul Baaq Mohammed praised the eagerness of H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Cultural and Media Centre, to promote Arabic and its role in the world, stating that His Highness’ interest in Arabic bespeaks his great cultural sense, which contributes to promoting communication among peoples and cultures.
He also commended the role of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its wise leadership in reaching out to African peoples and nations, mentioning the cultural presence of the UAE in the continent.
Dr. Alkhidru Mohammed said that Arabic culture have taken roots in Africa and become an important element of the life of African Muslims. He added that Arabic learning implies a social value and deep cultural significance, because Arabic is the instrument of Islamic culture and the ideal means for learning the principles of the true religion. He said that Arabic unifies the Muslim nations and peoples around the world.
The lecturer gave an historical background of the spread of the language and Islam in Africa, mentioning the great African Muslim empires, centers, and scholars who played a great role in spreading the religion and its language.
Concerning the present state of Arabic in Africa South of the Sahara, the lecturer said that the language and its speakers face many challenges. Among these challenges, which is more important, is the existing gap between the language and its culture in the continent, he notes, satiating that Arabic culture exists outside the mainstream culture in Africa South of the Sahara, as the official institutions do not recognize it. Hence, he said, its promoters face a great challenge in their struggle to restore the role of the language of the Holy Quran in the region.
Dr. Alkhidru Mohammed called on the Arab institutions concerned to provide help and aid for the Arabic speakers and promoters in Africa, so that the language restore its previous role as an instrument of culture and civilization.