Leftward-leaning German politicians have lauded the decision to erect the nation’s first street sign in Arabic script as a “a symbolic expression of social inclusion.”
This month, the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital of Düsseldorf has begun exhibiting the name of Ellerstrasse in Arabic letters: شارع إلَرْ.
Touted as a campaign to underscore the diversity and international flair of Düsseldorf, the Arabic street sign has been placed in Oberbilk, a district with a particularly large number of people with Moroccan roots.
According to a decision by the city’s “integration council,” there will eventually be bilingual street signs in ten different places around the metropolis.
The councilor for Oberbilk, Green party politician Samy Charchira, said the new sign bespeaks a symbolic expression of “social inclusion,” showing that people identify with their district and the diversity of its residents.
The more people do that, the more social responsibility they can assume, he said.
The politician also said that the sign holds up for admiration and gratitude the many “people, families, and tradespeople with a Moroccan and Maghrebian background” who have “helped to build” Germany for several generations.
Moroccan Consul General Lalla Loubna Ait-Bassidi and chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, similarly praised the move.
“I am grateful that integration is being expressed in a way that people from 20 Arab nations can read and understand,” Ait-Bassidi said. “The sign symbolizes that the migrants are recognized and it stands for the diversity of Düsseldorf, one of the most diverse cities in North Rhine-Westphalia.”
“Düsseldorf shows diversity and shows respect for immigrant Germans,” wrote Mazyek on Twitter.
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