Syria is enforcing a long-dormant policy to arabicize business names
, especially in Kurdish areas:
"In an effort to consolidate the use of Arabic in Syria, the authorities decided recently to enforce a years-old ruling that lays down a minimum proportion of Arabic in any sign on shops, restaurants and cafes.
"The move affected hotels and restaurants aimed at tourists in the old town of Damascus and other cities. Only agents of foreign brands, like Mercedes or Adidas, were exempt.
"The decision stipulates that at least 60 per cent of the space on a sign should be in Arabic. Latin letters can be used as long as they do not occupy more than 40 per cent of the sign.
"Although some welcomed the decision as a way to preserve the integrity of the Arabic language, many minority groups in Syria with a different mother tongue regard the step as a further attempt to undermine their cultural identity.
"Syrian authorities focused on enforcing the decision in the northeastern provinces of Syria, like Hassakeh and Qamishli, where a majority of the population are Kurds and use Kurdish names for their businesses, according to reports by civil rights organisations."
Labels: Kurds, Syria