DETROIT – During the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden dropped a word only known to a person who grew up with Arab parents.
Biden, during an exchange about President Trump’s taxes being released, asked Trump when he would release his taxes, and followed by asking, “inshallah?”
The term “inshallah” translates, in Arabic, to mean God willing. In theory, the term would be used to express hope. But the word has taken on an entirely new meaning for Arab households.
“Inshallah” basically means, not likely, or not happening, or -- don’t bet on it. For instance, if you were to ask your mother for ice cream, and she said “inshallah,” you’d know you probably weren’t getting ice cream.
In this context, Biden appeared to use the word to suggest Trump won’t ever release his tax returns, or at least not to expect it, realistically. He used the word in its proper context.
Biden dropped an "Inshallah" at the debate. pic.twitter.com/DLrGWR3eGb— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) September 30, 2020
At first, many thought he misspoke, perhaps trying to say July. But NPR’s Asma Khalid confirmed with the Biden campaign that he did indeed say inshallah.
Arab Americans cheered the use of inshallah on Twitter:
If my parents had told me when I was growing up that a major presidential candidate would one day say the words "inshallah" in a nationally televised debate, I would have assumed they were crazy. But anything is possible in 2020.— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) September 30, 2020
Did Biden say Inshallah?— Hamed Aleaziz (@Haleaziz) September 30, 2020
We made it lmaooooo
did Biden say “InshAllah” after asking “When?” indicating the proper use of InshAllah as meaning “never”? what in the cultural literacy— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) September 30, 2020
Haven’t paid attention to the debate so all I know is Biden used inshallah like a Muslim parent telling their kid they’ll “inshallah” consider letting them do something but really they mean ain’t never gonna happen.— Johana Bhuiyan (@JMBooyah) September 30, 2020
The next debate is one week away. It’ll be a town hall format, so interruptions could be a bit more limited -- inshallah.
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