Last fall, I had the distinct displeasure of listening to Nonie Darwish speak at the University of New Mexico. If you haven’t heard of her, consider yourself fortunate.
Ms. Darwish is an Egyptian-American who self-describes as a conservative-Christian-Republican since arriving in the USA many years ago with her husband. She is very grateful for the opportunities that America has given her and believes it is her duty to repay these blessings by warning Americans about Islam and the “true nature of Muslims;” hence, her books and speaking tours on college campuses around the country. She is an Islamophobic fear-monger if there ever was one.
I wrote about the encounter last year (available here) and I don’t want to revisit it.
Unlike people who are simply ignorant or close-minded about traditions that are not their own, Ms. Darwish is a dangerous, hateful person. I don’t write those words lightly. Following her speech, I lodged a written complaint with the University and the U.S. Department of Justice.
This morning, I was reminded of her fear-mongering as I stood on the balcony of my room in downtown Cairo. Below me were 75-100 men prostrate on the ground praying in the direction of Mecca. They were listening to the Iman sharing a lesson and then chanting some prayers.
I didn’t understand any of it until the end. “As-salam alaykum.” There was no musical accompaniment, but the melodic, chanting voices were very peaceful.
Why would Allah, God, Yahweh, Jehovah or __, __, __ create such peace and hatred to coexist in the same world?
I’m searching, but that’s a question for which I haven’t found the answer.
I believe every religion or spiritual faith shares a common tenet — The Golden Rule — “Treat Others As You Wish They Would Treat You.”
President Obama: I’m damn sure that Americans would not like foreign drones killing American “terrorists” on the streets of NYC.
Prime Minister Netanyahu: Your constituents in Tel Aviv would not appreciate drones flying overhead 24/7 and targeted assassinations on the city streets.
Prime Minister Haniyeh and President Abbas: What does the Golden Rule mean to each of you? I’d really like to know.
I’m a firm believer in keeping religion and politics separate, but I’ll make an exception for the Golden Rule. Every elected official (local, state, national) around the world should be required to affirm their allegiance to it.
I know . . . I know . . . I know. “Lora is a naïve, soft-hearted, idealist who doesn’t understand that evil inhabits the real world,” you say.
Maybe so. But I clearly understand that the current U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli Occupation of Palestine are not benefiting anyone, with the exception of the weapons industry. Labeling people as “terrorists” is juvenile. Fear-mongering is destructive. Isolating, boycotting, and collective punishment are counter-productive.
Time for a change.