Police who patrol Malmö’s Rosengård district are being offered a special Arabic language class to help them better understand and communicate with local residents in the predominantly immigrant area.
So far 45 officers have signed up for voluntary twelve-week class, which will provide training on a number of common greetings and pleasantries in Arabic, the local Skånska Dagbladet newspaper reports.
“It’s about dealing with immigrants in a more dignified and little more civil manner,” local police chief Bengt Hersler told the newspaper.
According to Hersler, the course was arranged at the request of officers who have pushed the department to provide them with the tools to better communicate with Rosengård’s residents, many of whom are immigrants and have Swedish as a second language.
In addition to teachings in basic Arabic, the tailor-made course will also offer lessons on Muslim culture and traditions to help officers better understand some of the cultural differences that can lead to misunderstandings in dealings with local residents.
“We’re looking to broaden our knowledge, Said Hersler.
“Ever time we speak, we express ourselves from within our own culture. Even if you speak the same language, there’s no guarantee that people understand each other.”
The tailor-made course, arranged by studieförbundet Vuxenskolan, will be held during participants’ free time and will focus on phrases that officers would likely be able to use in their everyday work.
“They obviously aren’t going to learn the whole language,” Lena Gustafsson from Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan told the newspaper.
While no follow up course is currently planned, Hersler told the newspaper that, if the Arabic language and culture class proves successful, a follow-on may be arranged.
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