Teacher of Arabic Connects Wichitans

April 2, 2007

Author: Christina M. Woods

Source: The Wichita Eagle


Teaching Arabic is Yassin Shourbaji's method of building bridges between communities.

Shourbaji, a retired engineer and member of the Islamic Society of Wichita and the Islamic Association of Mid-Kansas, has been teaching Arabic to English-speakers for four years.

He expanded his course offerings in March to include an introductory course for high school and college students.

His passion has resulted in a group of diverse people meeting at a west-side mosque to learn the intricacies of a language that looks and sounds nothing like English.

And, in turn, the students are gaining first-hand insight into a culture that is often portrayed as everything but American.

"Language contributes to cultural enhancement and, hence, it will build better mutual understanding in our diverse, multiethnic society," said Shourbaji, whose wife, Judy, is also learning Arabic.