Trouble in paradise? Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who nearly always agree that we should bomb more places, have finally found a point of disagreement: whether or not the Arabic expression for "God is great" is scary.
McCain planted his stake in the ground earlier this month when, on an appearance on Fox and Friends, he suggested that the expression "Allahu Akbar" wasn't itself cause for alarm. When a Fox host asked whether it was cause for concern that Syrian rebels had been heard using the phrase, McCain said, "Would you have a problem with an American person saying 'Thank God? Thank God?' ... That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”
Agree to disagree, responded Graham on Monday on Fox Radio. From The Hill:
"When somebody yells 'Allahu akbar' in the Middle East, I duck," the senator said on Fox News radio.
"It's not like, 'Hey, how you doing Lindsey,'" he said on Fox News radio.
Which is true, actually. It's more like saying, you know, "praise be to Allah." In 2006, Slate explained the expression's various uses, which carry significant religious weight. One of them is, as McCain suggested, to express thanks.
Meaning that if Graham always assumes the worst, he might want to be careful if he ever runs for office in an Arabic-speaking country, since he uses the expression "Thank God" a lot. We've gone ahead and roughly translated them into Arabic for him, via Google. Look for "الحمد لله" in each segment. That's the tricky part.
March 2011: "Thank God for strong women in the Obama Administration."
Arabic: الحمد لله للمرأة القوية في إدارة أوباما
May 2013: "Thank God for Fox."
Arabic: الحمد لله على فوكس
August 2013: "We've learned from Benghazi, thank God."
Arabic: لقد تعلمنا من بنغازي، والحمد لله