Swedish public radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio has announced a new series of debates and workshops for the Stockholm area which will be exclusively in Arabic to “reach out to new arrivals”.
The project, which began this week, will see the broadcaster invite Arabic-speaking members of Swedish political parties to debate issues ahead of the national election next month, Sveriges Radio reports.
The leader of programming for the radio broadcaster Samar Hadrous commented on the new initiative, saying: “First of all, I hope that there will be a real debate. I really want that when the debate is over, the audience will have become a little wiser at political debate and Swedish politics, have more understanding on how Swedish politics works.”
He added: “This year, there are record numbers that have the right to vote in municipal and county elections and a large part of them are Arab countries. It is important that they know how the debate is going and what the different parties are responsible for.”
For the week of the election, the broadcaster has announced additional workshops and seminars in a number of other languages including Somali, Kurdish, and Persian with an additional debate in English as well.
Arabic Classes Overtakes English and French in Sweden https://t.co/9qI7u7YLdS
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Arabic has become more and more common in Sweden following the migrant crisis, with Arabic language lessons becoming more popular than French or English with adult learners according to the Swedish educational association Folkuniversitetet.
The increasing use of Arabic and languages like Somali has also put a strain on services like the country’s emergency telephone service, with SOS Alarm, who run the emergency lines, saying they require more interpreters to keep up with the rise in calls from Arabic and Somali speakers.
Last year, the Swedish medical research university-hospital Karolinska was also finding it too difficult to find enough translators and instead decided to produce informational videos on childbirth in Arabic and Somali, citing a steep rise in births to women who do not speak Swedish.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com