English language learners

RIYADH: Al-Maidani Mosque in Al-Wurud district in Riyadh welcomes the followers of Islam every Friday to pray, but here, there is something unique: The mosque delivers the sermon in English.

Mohammed Abu Shaban, who delivers the sermon after the Friday prayer every week, told Arab News that expatriate worshipers asked for the translation for the benefit of non-Arabic speaking attendees.

“We started this translation over 10 years ago, it was organized in cooperation with Imam Abdus Salam, who kindly arranged this session with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, for our non-Arabic speakers,” said Shaban.

“At the beginning, we started with just the session in the mosque, then soon we launched our YouTube channel where we record the session, and then we broadcast it for our viewers. Anybody can search for our video.”

Shaban, who is from Australia, underlined that Saudi Arabia had a duty, as the “country” of Islam, to help people to benefit from hearing the Friday sermon.

“I believe there are similar sessions in some other mosques and we will encourage that, to benefit the maximum number of non-Arabic speakers, as it is our duty to make it available to the whole Muslim community,” he said.

“Thankfully, the ministry is fully behind it and promoting it. It’s the least we can offer to fellow Muslims.”

He noted that there are considerable number of people who do not speak and understand Arabic currently living in the Kingdom who would benefit from the translation.

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“Through the years many, even some non-Muslims, have come, and every few months we see new people becoming Muslim. This is another blessing that will encourage us to continue with the session and presenting what is the teaching of Islam as the people come to know it.”

Volker Enders, a German national who is now practicing Islam and attends the session, told Arab News: “I learned about this session from a colleague who brought me here and introduced me to the English sermon.” This is very beneficial to me, and I am also attending an English lecture at the King Khalid Mosque every Tuesday.

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new report from the New York State School Boards Association shows more than half of superintendents with non-native english speaking students in their schools are struggling to find teachers specifically trained to instruct those students.

The report credits the struggle to an increase in English language learners (ELL).

The NYSSBA Executive Director says this is a huge issue because every school in New York is required to provide English as a New Language (ENL) instruction to any student whose primary language is not English.

The report says schools will need to find creative solutions to meet the need for teachers qualified to teach English as a new language. 

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The Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) was established as an independent body to advise the British government – as well as the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – by the Climate Change Act of 2008.

“Achieving a ‘net-zero’ target by the middle of the century is in line with the UK’s commitment under the Paris Agreement; the pact which the UK and the rest of the world signed in 2015 to curb dramatically the polluting gases that cause climate change,” the committee said May 2.

The committee makes several recommendations, including a fully-electrified automobile fleet, setting thermostats more reasonably, eating less meat, and greater use of public transport.

Bishop John Arnold of Salford, the spokesman for the English and Welsh bishops’ conference on environmental issues, said the report “will be welcomed by the thousands of Catholics in this country who have responded to Pope Francis’s call for us to protect our common home.”

He said the document represents “a welcome recognition that as a country we must be a good ‘global’ neighbor and must think about the millions of our brothers and sisters around the world who already face danger and suffering, and the millions more who will increasingly be affected by climate change.”

The bishop said he was proud the Catholic community in the country has taken a leading role in showing what can be achieved.

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“Thousands of our churches are running on renewable energy and schools and parishes in dioceses around the country have committed to living simply and sustainably,” Arnold said.

“We look forward to seeing the government embracing its role in delivering this agenda urgently and enthusiastically. Pope Francis has asked why any leader would want ‘to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so.’ Those who think that this is an issue which can be left for another day should ask themselves this question,” he said.

Arnold was one of 40 representatives of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu communities who wrote an open letter that appeared in the Daily Telegraph May 3 supporting the climate report.

The signatories urge lawmakers to make the zero-emission target legally binding through the appropriate legislation; the current legally binding target is to ensure emissions are 80 percent lower by 2050 than they were in 1990.

“Such a target demands a cross-governmental approach and one which does not rely on offsets or outsourcing of carbon emissions to poorer nations – the very countries which are being hit hardest by climate change, despite having contributed least to the problem. We readily recognize this means changing our lifestyles and behaviors. Indeed, we welcome the benefits that will follow, including cleaner air and warmer homes,” the letter reads.

Greg Clark – the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – said the CCC report is a “seminal work and draws on the very latest climate science” and that the government “will study the recommendations very carefully.”

“In the years ahead the battle to halt catastrophic climate change will be won or will be lost. We intend to win,” Clark said.

“So in this crucial moment for our planet we should be united in our determination to tackle the climate emergency vigorously at home and show that leadership abroad,” he added.

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