One week and over one million YouTube views. After seeing the video go viral, we just had to get in touch with him!
Twenty-one year old Joshua Van Alstine, also known as Abu Mit’ib, composed a video poking fun at Saudi’s non-verbal communication, in Arabic! And no, as you can see, Joshua is not a Saudi hybrid. Half American and half Turkish, Joshua studies at the University of Denver, but met his first Saudi colleague from his hometown, Texas. He was always eager to learn Arabic, so he took two basic Arabic classes. However, it was a language barrier that has lead to his fame. His second Saudi friend, Abdullah Al-Amri, was very foreign to the United States and the English language. He forced Joshau to learn Arabic so they would be able to communicate and become friends.
Joshua started posting videos about Islam and Saudi Arabia after discovering a video of an American girl, Corissa Chantelle, loving Saudi Arabia for all the wrong and meaningless reasons, he says. In one of his first videos, Joshua challenged her to find one inaccurate point in the Quran with a reward of $10,000 and Joshua would convert to any other religion. Let's just say, Chantelle never received her $10,000.
His first video also received over a million views and all his friends supported him to keep posting more. His friend/director has supported him by encouraging him to create a blog, which will consist of his personal diary and opinions. His family, on the other hand, is not. “My family seems disinterested. They are very worried about my studies. I show them my recent successes and they don't understand what the big deal is. Maybe it’s a generation issue,” says Joshua.
He has visited Saudi Arabia once for about a month, saying it was the best time of his entire life. Two things he has learned from Middle Easterners are the “true meaning of a5la8 and the true meaning of generosity.” (Yes, he really did use the 5 and 8 to spell it out!) He finds Arab non-verbal communication hilarious and uses it to joke around with his American friends.
“I want to start getting deeper to encourage Muslims and Arabs in general to gain more pride of who they are traditionally and culturally. I want to also stretch out into a western audience to show that Muslims are not boring, we are not cowards, and we are freaking hilarious,” he says.
– Iqbal Al-Sanea
Image courtesy of Abu Mit'ib