Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Clarification from my Dad

My father read my last post and asked me to clarify that his views on Islam are 'not' typical American views. His objections are basically two-fold:

1/ Islams views of 'Non-Theists' (and Atheists) are deadly. If they are true believers, then they are 'obliged' to kill them. Their past actions speak for themselves.

2/ True believers believe in Shariah Law, which does not admit of separation of civil and religious authority. Therefore, when they swear an oath to our Constitution and its Amendments (particularly the 1st Amendment - on the establishment of religion) they are dissembling (and should be deprived of U.S. citizenship).

After living in the Middle East for more than three years, I would say that there is certainly a heavy dose of hypocrisy between what Islam or Islamic culture says people should do and what they actually do. But I tend to think the same is true in predominately Christian or Jewish cultures (Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, etc.). It seems to be part of the human condition that there will always be a gulf between what our holy books say is right and what is done in reality.

I was at a training we did for our staff in Syria last year and many of them went to a holy shrine there and told me how it brought tears to their eyes. I learned later that some of these same guys went looking (apparently unsuccessfully) for prostitutes right after they had visited the shrine.

For myself, I've told people here alternatively (depending on my mood) that I'm a Christian, an Atheist or a Buddhist. It hasn't changed anyone's behavior towards me ... but then I don't really hang out with Al Qaeda or Ansar Al Islam types, just as back home I do not gravitate towards the Neo-Nazis or fundamentalists bible-thumpers.