Let’s get it out of the way: Barack Obama said a word in Arabic to the Saudi King! How many of these Arabic “words” does he secretly know? What we need is more Ed Henry-type reporter antiheroes to pin this down, before “Judgment Day.”

The supposed “only” Muslim word he said today was “Shukran,” which may or may not translate to the Christian term “thank you.” We are only aware of this secret translation intelligence — the Internet and Google do not speak Arabic, you bet Jesus they don’t — thanks to the deep undercover journalistic sleuthery of the USA TODAY blog The Oval, which has a local source.

Update: 10:17 a.m. ET: “Shukran” means “thank you” in Arabic, Mont Mensoor, a teacher of the language at Washington, D.C.’s Berlitz Center, tells the Oval.

Okay okay we get it, USA TODAY, you are not terrorists, you don’t know the terrorists’ mouth-sounds, you’ve got nothing to do with the terrorists, we won’t blame you for terrorism. You do not have to call an important language scholar for the translation of one basic Arabic pleasantry; it’s cool, you will not be sent to Gitmo.

Obama tries out his Arabic [USA TODAY]

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  1. We should take bets as to see which WingNut pundit/blowhard gets the outrage ball rolling on this. Hannity? Malkin? David Gergen?

  2. I can already hear Rush, Sean, and Glenn baying to the moon about “Shukran” being an al Qaeda code word for GENTLEMEN START YER BOMZ.

  3. This is amazing. I took three semesters of Arabic in college. Does that make me a terrorist? I can make the mouth sounds and write the little “words.”

    Which go RIGHT TO LEFT. That’s terrorist for you.

  4. Reminds me of the time right after 9/11 (Google it) that Bush talked about “the one who named the stars”, and someone pointed out that 99% of the stars have Arabic names.

  5. Well, “gracias” and “mas cervesa” was pretty much the only Messican that W knew, and the media called him fluent. Since we all know they don’t have dos equis in Saudi, the question now is WHY DID NOBAMA HIDE HIS MUSLIN FLUENCY?

  6. I hope our President didn’t shake hands with any of those Arabs, because after defecation, they wipe their asses with their hands – not with toilet paper.

  7. [re=331213]Jim Newell[/re]: You realize that you too are complicit now that you have typed Muslin words on this blog. We must bless the pages or report you, Newell. WHO HAS HOLY WATER?


  8. [re=331221]Larry Fine[/re]: The left hand is used for these things, that’s why you never touch a middle easterner with the “unclean” hand — or so I heard…

  9. He said Shukran for the big ass rope chain they gave him when he got off the plane. Then he grabbed his mic like he was on Soul Train.

  10. This reminds me of the great scandals that followed Ben Franklin’s saying “Bonjour” to Jacques-Donatien Le Rey de Chaumont, Richard Nixon’s mumbling “Ni hao” to Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, and George W. Bush’s asking the Queen Mum, “Where’s the loo at?”

  11. As you may have heard, W. also said “shukran,” whereupon someone threw a shoe at him. [This is actually true.]

    Turns out, in the Iraqi dialect, “shukran” means “your mother sucks donkey dicks.” Oops!

  12. Can’t blame USA Today for a little fact checking after that unfortunate Chinese symbol tatt turned out to mean “ButtSecks Forever” instead of “Fear This”. Although shockingly, even “Fear This” is no longer considered the panty-dropper USA Today thought it would be.

  13. Reading those USA Today comments makes me wonder about the future negative, historical, reflections of Barack Obama –

    “BooSuck Omoron: Muslim teleprompter teleprompter – How the dumbest man on earth is muslim and fucks teleprompters and I’m smrter than him!!11!” written by Tad Kleetus Witherton Jr.

  14. Well, now that our president isn’t embarrassing us internationally, SOMEONE’S got to have the cojones to do the job. I smell Tapper courting Drudge pageviews….

  15. As an arab, I disagree with the President using this word.
    Now every jag-off customer at a falafel stand is going to mispronounce it after he gets his pita. Just like those dorks who throw an awkward ‘aree-gaato’ at the sushi chef.

  16. Reminds me of when Obama managed to enunciate “Spasibo” after meeting with Medvedev, and all the Russians were like, “Well, aren’t you a poly-wollyglot – and yet your state department can’t get a simple computer term like ‘reload’ correct.”

  17. It sounded like, “Get your sh*t together you m*ther f*ckin’ arab sh*ts before I testify and nookify yer asses”, to me.

  18. from Wikipedia:

    “…educated Arabic speakers of sharply different dialects may resort to the use of English or French to communicate, since knowledge of foreign languages is a key part of education in most of the Arab world.”

    Just imagine if educated Americans had knowledge of foreign languages. We would be as smart as the terrorists!

  19. What was the rest of the sentence in which the word “Shukran” was used? “Shukran, for not sending another dozen Saudis over to ram an airplane into a big building?”?

  20. [re=331266]american mutt[/re]: Speaking of which, did he just say shukran because it was on the teleprompter or did he not need it because of all that training in Jihad that he did at the madrassa he went to?

  21. He could appease the wingnuts, look at the Saudi king and say “Dirka dirka!”. Then he’ll turn to the camera and give a thumbs up. STARBURSTS.

  22. I’m cool with being a Muslim nation, but only if we’re like Kuwait, where we all get Corvettes and all dress like Will Smith in the “Miami” video.

  23. How dare he show even a modicum of decency to these t’rrrists! He should have just made out with him and nanced around holding hands like our last real p’rznit.

  24. [re=331280]doxastic[/re]: The TV version of MASH had an Ethiopian in one of their plotlines. I don’t remember a thing about the episode other than Hawkeye saying “That’s Haile Selassie of you!”

  25. That whole arrival ceremony was a colossal fail. I kept waiting for Michelle to get off the plane with bare arms. THAT would have been a party. But, no, Hopey had to do the Muslin thing and leave her at home.

  26. [re=331364]nestor[/re]: You can do it, but not very well. That’s supposed to be ‘^’ before ‘$’ except after ‘%.’


  27. At least it’s an improvement over GWB:
    Saudi King: “As salaam alaikum, Mr. President.”
    Bush: “And a big ShamWow to you too, buddy.”

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