Thursday, June 28, 2012

for the record...

A very good day   “Some would say you’re a dangerous man,” my old friend, visiting Danville family for a few weeks, said to me. “I love reading your stuff, but some of it seems extreme. But then you write about your daughters. So moving.”

I waited for my friend to continue. Instead, there was a pause, long enough to suggest I was expected to respond.

“I understand. Some people have asked me to stop sending my articles. That’s to be expected. But that doesn’t make me want to stop writing.” The look I received let me know that our discussion wasn’t complete.

We were talking about Islam, especially its practitioners who are most devoted, and who are truest to the dictates of the Koran and shari’a law. Although they’re referred to as radicals, so as to differentiate them from moderate Muslims, they are, most often of late, the rulers or the force behind the rulers of most Muslim countries. Often they are the most respected Imams, wherever they are.

But, unlike my friend, I see those men (I haven’t found a woman who is an Imam), as being the dangerous ones. Since my friend wanted to know why I wrote what I did, I wanted to explain that the radically observant leaders were among the best and brightest; they weren’t stupid. And their agenda was clear.

At least to me. That’s what I was determined to convey to my friend. During our time spent at a buffet lunch, I accepted the challenge to make the seeming complexity of (radical) Islam and its purpose comprehensible. Instead, I provoked a question that really was unrelated.

“How do you feel about the mosque being built in Tennessee?” [please see: Murfreesboro Mosque: Eric Allen Bell, Filmmaker Who Supported ...
[Jun 23, 2012] NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) An outspoken supporter of a planned mosque that has sparked opposition in Murfreesboro, Tenn., has switched sides and joined the]

My answer led to the comment that began this piece. In other words, I had a lot of explaining to do and very little time to do it.

“Yes,” I said, “I believe in freedom of religion. I also believe mosques can be built in America.” As an aside, I mentioned that churches and synagogues should be allowed to be constructed in Muslim countries, welcomed the way that my friend would want me to welcome mosques in America. But they aren’t and they won’t be. I said that.

My friend appeared confused, as if his expression read, “Then you’re not a bigot.”

Of course, I’m not. But, as I told my friend, I don’t believe that our American freedoms are free. To enjoy them, one must be a responsible citizen who is willing to accept the laws of our country, based on its Constitution, as the sole source of those freedoms. That requires a commitment, an acceptance of the fact that no one is above the law.

“That’s the point at which Islam conflicts with Democracy.”

From the look I received, that didn’t seem very clear. Trying another tack, I said that radical Islam wants to replace our American Constitution with the Koran and its attendant shari’a law. “That’s the goal of those who affiliate with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood.”  [please see: CAIR Identified by the FBI as part of the Muslim Brotherhood ...Dallas--In testimony Tuesday, FBI Agent Lara Burns reported before the jury in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial that the Council on American-Islamic Relations ]

“They earnestly believe that Islam was created to govern the world, us included. Remember when I spoke earlier about Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb, believers and non believers?”

I waited a moment for that to register. “The perfect world is when non-believers or infidels like you and me leave Dar al Harb and become members of Dar al Islam. [please see: Divisions of the world in Islam - Wikipedia, the free ...Origins|Major religious...|Other ideological...|See also Dar al- Harb (Arabic: دار الحرب "house of war"; also referred to as Dar al-Garb "house of the West" in later Ottoman sources; a person from " Dar al- Harb" is a "harbi -]

“It’s as easy to do as saying the shahada,” I continued. [please see: Shahada (Faith): First Pillar of Islam - ReligionFactsThe first of the Five Pillars of Islam is the shahada. Shahada is the Muslim profession of faith, expressing the two simple, fundamental beliefs that make one a -] My friend looked squarely at me. I thought I noticed a nod of understanding.

It was time to leave. My next stop was to get my daughter and travel with her to Hillsborough, NC. I glanced at my friend. “Sorry you missed my class this morning. Dr. John Guzlowski read his Holocaust poetry. It was so moving. Outstanding.”

I didn’t tell my friend that, even after John left, my students didn’t seem to want to go. They wanted to talk more about his writing, the thoughts they had about it. Being there with them like that felt so special. All lines of communication were open. Indeed, those ten or fifteen minutes seemed reverential. Now this, at the buffet.

“Before I leave,” my friend said, “we have to meet again. I want a few more hours with you. But I’ll go to the library and do some research first. Then I want us to talk some more.”

I let my friend know how honored I would be if we could do just that.

                                                    B.Koplen 6/28/12

to read more of my articles and to subscribe to my blog, please go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment