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New Columbus Newspaper Covers 'Ohio In Arabic'

A copy of the Ohio el Arabi newspaper, first published in February 2020.
Gabe Rosenberg
A copy of the Ohio el Arabi newspaper, first published in February 2020.

When Abdallah Mobaideen came to Columbus, he found a dearth of resources in his native Arabic. Now he's part of the solution as editor-in-chief of Ohio el Arabi or, translated, Ohio In Arabic.

Mobaideen says when he first arrived, there were plenty of news sources for immigrants like him, but the information was in English so he didn't know about them.

"I thought I should start to write down this information so that I can give it to other immigrants and newcomers," he says. "I decided to establish a newspaper to give opportunity to large number of Arabic speakers to access information and services and facilitate interaction between people from different cultures."

The first edition was printed this month. It included facts about Columbus and kid-friendly activities, a feature story about a Jordanian doctor who is now the director of bone marrow transplants at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and a list of free English classes in Central Ohio.

Mobaideen says those are resources that Arabic speakers in Ohio don't currently have.

"So they need an Arabic outlet to let them know more about the services and information," he says.

Mobaideen says he's written the newspaper in simple Arabic, so that a variety of speakers from across the globe will be able to read it.  

"There are about 22 countries in the Arab world, but there are a lot of dialects there. So I will write in formal language but in simple ways. So it's like a bridge between the dialects and the languages over there," he says.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.