Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Say Osama, I Say Usama.....Why the Media Spells bin Laden's Name Differently

From the minute I heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed by the brave Navy SEAL team, I flipped around the TV channels to see what was being reported. Immediately I noticed that FOX News was using the spelling Usama...in fact, I thought at first that it might be a typo though that seemed rather unlikely.

But two days later, the Usama spelling is still being used by some as well as the more familiar Osama. I wanted to know why.

I found out that translating Arabic words and names into English does not necessarily match up letter by letter. So while we most often see bin Laden's name written as "Osama bin Laden"' The FBI and CIA, as well as other US Governmental agencies, have used either "Usama bin Laden" or "Usama bin Ladin" both of which also may be abbreviated as "UBL." Less common is "Ussamah Bin Ladin" and "Oussama Ben Laden" used by the French media. Other spellings include "Binladen" or, as used by his family in the West, "Binladin".

In The Arabic language "Osama" or "Osama bin Laden", would be used but not "bin Laden" alone, since it is not used as a surname like in our Western culture. In its expanded form, it means "Osama, son of Mohammed, son of 'Awad, son of Laden".

Osama, who had many followers and admirers who referred him as the Prince/Al-Amir, the Sheikh, Abu Abdallah, Sheikh Al-Mujahid, the Lion Sheik or the Director.

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