Outrage as Sweden launches "Yalla Driver's License" campaign in Arabic

Date: 
May, 2019
Country: 
Sweden

The ad features an apparently Muslim immigrant couple complaining about the weather in the Scandinavian country and using a derogatory racial epithet for "Swedes".

The Swedish Transport Administration has launched an information campaign in Arabic about the process of getting a driver's license in Sweden.

The campaign is called "Yalla Driver's License" using the Arabic expression Yalla usually translated as "come on" or "hurry up" and features star blogger and influencer Mahmoud Bitar with over 1.5 million followers on social media and Tahani Abood, a programme host at Alkompis which is Sweden's largest news channel for Arabic speakers.

"In Sweden, Arabic is now the largest language after Swedish and at the Swedish Transport Administration about 20 percent of all knowledge tests are written in Arabic. At the same time, the proportion of approved tests is considerably lower than in Swedish. We want to change this by reaching out to the target group about what is required to be a safe driver", Kristina Hagberg of the Swedish Transport Administration said.

In the series of ads, Tahanny and Mahmoud discuss what it takes to get a driver's license in Sweden.

Later, the couple learns that you can pass the driver's test in their native Arabic using an interpreter.

The sequence runs almost entirely in Arabic, yet features Swedish subtitles. The choice of language coupled with the use of a racial epithet for "Swedes" many perceive as derogatory has sparked outrage among the Swedish public.

On YouTube, the videos sparked a mixed reaction. While some praised Tahanny and Mahmoud for their performance and hailed the Transport Agency's accommodating approach, others slammed the very idea of running the entire film in Arabic.

"Transport Agency, you damn traitors", a typical comment said.

Source: Sputnik