www.middleasttimes.com The first center promoting Arab culture in the Baltic states is to be opened in the Latvian capital, Riga, the Libyan-born director of the center said .
The aims of the center will be to dispel commonly held stereotypes about the Arab world and to educate the Baltic public about the richness and diversity of Arab life, Houssam Abou Merhi, who has lived in Latvia for 13 years and speaks fluent Latvian, said.
"There are not that many Arabs in Latvia or in the Baltics in general, but a lot of information about Arabs is presented in the media here. Sometimes it is correct, sometimes not," he said.
"And there are stereotypes. We want to show that Arabs are diverse, not just Muslims, but of different religions including Christian and Jewish," he said.
The center, which is sponsored by Arab nongovernmental organizations, will also offer language courses and translation services, as well as classes related to Arab culture, such as belly dancing.
The center is due to open in one month.