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Re: Osama or Usama?

At 01:36 AM 10/8/2001 +0000, you wrote:
>Something that caught my interest, I am at work, my shift is winding down,
>and I am checking out some of the various news web sites to see if there
>are any news updates. Every news agency from the best of my knowledge
>spells Osama bin Laden just as I typed it. However, foxnews.com seems to
>insist on spelling it Usama bin Laden. Are both correct, or is foxnews on

Those are two separate questions, and I won't give my opinion of Fox 
News.  But I will try to explain the Osama versus Usama issue. Arabic, like 
Hebrew and Chinese, has sounds for which there is no English 
equivalent.  For years, there was a question about the Jewish holiday that 
comes in December-- is it spelled Hanukkah, Chanukah, or what?  Ditto for 
China's big city-- is it Beiping, Beijing, or some other permutation?  The 
Holy Koran, the Muslim bible, does not begin with a K in Arabic, but 
rather, with a Q.  Since in English, the Q sounds like "kw", we turned the 
first letter of their bible into a K.  And now we have the same spelling 
problem with whether it should be Osama or Usama.  The truth lies somewhere 
in the middle-- the sound that begins the man's name is somewhere between 
an O and a U, and I gather than some media, trying to transliterate it, 
chose the O, while others chose the U.