Thursday, July 21, 2005

What Do We Do?

I have Egyptian friends. They left that country because of religious persecution. They are Orthodox Christians and were treated as second or third class citizens living there in a Moslem society. They owned a grocery store in Orlando and sold some of the best meats you could buy and I dare you to ever find hummus and stuffed grape leaves that were more delicious than what they made. I used to make a marinade I sold in stores. They were gracious enough to allow me to mix and bottle it in their store since I needed an inspected kitchen to produce it. I know, living here, there is prejudice, too. I have heard people say they wouldn't shop there because they are dirty Arabs and a few other choice descriptions. How sad. And I would have a few choice words of my own to say back. Sami and Samia are the salt of the earth. They have two children, all grown up now. They were born in this country. That makes them as American as me. Their son went to the University of Florida. A lot of Latino students would go up to him and speak Spanish, assuming he was Puerto Rican because of his skin being a little darker than your average Swede. He always got a kick out of it, but, wondered how people could prejudge him that way. He'd speak Arabic in return to really confuse them.

Since the attacks in London, two families of the suicide bombers have come forward to apologize for their sons' crimes. I've heard a lot of reaction from some of my American friends and what I've heard in the media, much of which is not on the kind side. All Arabs are alike and you can't trust any of them. I mention my friends, Sami and Samia, and they say, "Well, OK, there might be an exception." Might be? I look at those families and the disgrace they must live with for the rest of their lives. What about Sami and Samia? They are so generous. Suppose some sort of Al Qaeda cell got to one of their children. Suppose they weren't Christian, but Moslem instead. There is no law against that. Would Sami and Samia be horrible people now? They are the nicest people you could find and have nothing but contempt for terrorists and their kind. I can look at those families in England and sense how they must feel. This is not how we brought our children up, they say. I am sure they mean it. These criminals were born and raised in England. Native sons. One of the families owns a bakery in London. Did he set up shop there to watch in horror as his son committed a most heinous crime, so his business would fail?

I hear there are 1.2 billion Moslems in the world. They can't possibly be all bad. I understand that perhaps a solid 1% of those are terrorists. That means there are about 12 million people who want to see you and the rest of us around the world dead. That's a lot of nasty people out there, looking to blow you up or chop off your head. But, that also means 99% aren't like that. This majority needs to take a very good and deep look at themselves and their neighbors. They need to weed out these villains who would take their children away to blow themselves up along with as many as they can take with them. They need to throw out their clerics who preach violence. How many old men and women are suicide bombers? These jihadists seem to go after the youth, to indoctrinate them at a very early age. Does this not constitute child molestation of some kind? They are raping their minds and murdering their souls. Isn't this something for the parents to reflect upon?

Since September 11, 2001, there seems to be a sort of de facto prejudice. Where blacks or African Americans, if some prefer, were held in low esteem to many around this country, they seemed to have moved up the American social scale, usurped by people of Arabic origin and of the Moslem faith. What a poor excuse for rising up the ladder and an even poorer excuse for prejudicing over a billion more people, many born and raised right here at home and in other unsuspecting countries. Did the blacks really rise up the ladder or was there just another rung added below it?

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