Arab visitors to London's Westfield shopping centre, located next to the Olympic athletes' village, have been welcomed with banners printed in Arabic gibberish.
Arab visitors expecting to receive a "WELCOME TO LONDON" sign were instead confronted with a banner spouting complete gibberish. According to the Guardian the displayed banner was equivalent to "WELCOME TO LONDON" printed as "N O D N O L O T E M O C L E W", which was simply unintelligible.
Chris Doyle of the Council for Advancing Arab-British Relations (CABBU) slated the error, saying "It beggars belief they cannot even write 'welcome' in Arabic. What will our Olympic guests be thinking? It is cringe-worthy." He explained: "You can try to decipher it but any Arab or Arabic speaker would see that this was meant to be Arabic but doesn't make any sense."
The Saudi Gazette reported the gibberish had also been printed on staff t-shirts at the shopping centre. A spokesperson for Westfield extended an apology, saying “Westfield sincerely apologizes for the incorrect printing of the welcome material."
The blunder compounded an earlier bloop by rail operator First Capital Connect, which displayed information signs in back-to-front Arabic.
On Thursday the shopping centre, which is the largest in Europe, was briefly evacuated as alarm systems went into full alert.