A Syrian migrant teen has demanded that all signs and products in Europe should be labelled in Arabic to make migrants feel more welcome.
Aras Bacho moved to Germany from Syria five years ago and while only 18 has become a regular columnist in migrant issues across German media.
“Of course everything in Europe should be in Arabic for refugees,” Bacho wrote in the German edition of The Huffington Post. Claiming that he finds it “sad” that many migrants can live in a country like Germany for years, or even decades, without ever learning German, he says that integration is difficult due to the language barrier.
“I, as a refugee, think that inscriptions on street signs in Europe should be translated into Arabic. Equally, food packaging should be in Arabic. It should also be possible to take tests in Arabic,” he wrote.
According to Bacho, if everything were in Arabic then migrants who have passed their driving licence would find it easier to drive in Germany, they would “understand the law more quickly”, and be able to enter the labour market if Germans spoke and wrote Arabic, rather than German.
“We should help these people more. No matter what it costs,” he writes adding: “I think that Europe needs to establish the Arabic language. That would be very good for refugees.”
The comments made by Bacho echo calls by German academics who have suggested idea that German pupils should have mandatory Arabic classes until they finish school to better integrate new migrants. Professor of Computer Science Thomas Strothotte said such a move would make the migrants feel “more welcome”.
Linguistics Professor Angelika Redder also agrees with the concept saying the government needs to push the issue.
This commentary by Mr. Bacho is not the first time he has stirred controversy. In a column for Freitag Bacho took out his anger on “Wutbürgern”- a term for disaffected voters who protest against government policy, like members of the anti-Islamisation PEGIDA movement, or Alternative for Germany (AfD) party supporters.
Despite having only lived in Germany for five years he wrote: “We refugees and the Germans do not want to live in the same country with you Wutbürgern,” adding: “You also can, and I think this is right, flee from Germany. Please take Saxony and the AfD with you.”