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She didn't realize it was a dangerous question. All Natalie Shepherd* wanted to do was learn the Arabic word for lion.
"We were sitting in a public place with my husband's Arabic teacher in Syria, and I pointed to a statue of a lion and asked him how to pronounce it," said Shepherd, formerly a Southern Baptist worker in the country. "His eyes got huge, and he said, 'Shhhh! We can't say that out loud in public!'"
The Arabic word for lion -- asad -- also is the president's surname, and the Shepherds' teacher didn't want to risk someone overhearing and thinking he was slandering the president's family....