Photo: Kdonmuang/Shutterstock

How to Piss Off an Arab

by Noha Nueinne Ballal Feb 2, 2015

You’re probably thinking “pretty easy” and you’re probably right.

Serve us food French-style.

Of course, I must start with food.

We’re a nation recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for making the largest food dishes on the planet. So, do not serve me bite-sized food. Unless you want my (not-so-positive) opinion before you even bring out the actual plate.

“But are you Muslim? …Aren’t you all Muslim?”

Contrary to popular belief, most Muslims aren’t Arab and millions of Arabs aren’t Muslims. There are more than 20 faiths in Arabia. In fact, religion is the reason behind many civil wars — current and past — in the Arab world.

Trying to determine the religion of an Arab is a very irritating issue. Asking a person wearing a cross or a hijab annoys them because if she’s a hijabi (covered woman), then obviously she’s Muslim. If she has a big fat cross, then obviously she is Christian! If she’s not sporting an obvious religious symbol, then don’t ask because she’ll think you’re trying to judge her.

“Do you ride camels?” “Do you have a tent back home?”

Yeah, a camping tent that takes me two hours to set up because I lost the instruction manual.

No, we ride Ferraris. We have more BMWs on the street than Germany. We have custom-made sports cars in funny colours.

Not impressed?

Fine, we’re suffering from a large number of abandoned luxury and sport cars here in Dubai. You know why? ‘Cause we don’t live in deserts and sleep in tents.

Diss another Arab in front of us

Look darls, we’re all cousins and you can’t just insult my cousin and expect me to sit there and smile.

Refuse to let us treat you

Arabs will never take no for an answer, so let’s not argue about it. Just allow me to pay the bill and next time you want to meet up tell me it’s your treat beforehand.

“Where the black-gold money at?” Ha-ha. No.

Saying all Arabs have oil money is as true as saying all British people have had tea with Queen Liz the second.

The sad reality is we are 22 countries (if you count one Sudan but not the other), and one of them is Somalia, which is rock-bottom poor and has oil. We have the Gulf countries that have varying amounts of oil and rich people. We have Le Grande Maghreb with not much oil and even those who have great oil supplies aren’t rich. Yemen and Sudan are struggling with everything. You get the picture. We’re not one huge bag of money called Arabians.

Asking me, “What do you mean by you’re broke? Where that oil money at?” will piss me off. Stop expecting me to be immune to going broke just because I’m Arab.

Rip us off

Don’t try selling us something from the 2012 autumn collection in summer 2014 and call it “special edition.” Forget offering us a “special discount” when we know you’re actually charging us more.

There is an Arabic proverb, “If your friend is made of honey don’t suck him all up.” Nobody likes to be taken advantage of, and out of every other race on planet we tend to take everything a bit too personally.

“You’re Arab!? How come you don’t have an accent?”

Ok, I agree that some Arabs have thick accents, but that’s because they learned the language late, or from a second-language speaker. That doesn’t mean we all do.

A massive amount of us speak perfect English and French, so give us a break will you?

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