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Sunday, February 5

What A Shame!

First of all I would like to clarify that my Blog is not about political issues nor Islamic ones.

Concerning the so-appeared to be peaceful and civilized protests against offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were published in a Danish newspaper a few months ago that turned into a shameful violent act, my friends, Ayman and Ihsan said it all, I wouldn’t have said it better than they did.


  • What was done to the Embassies was a criminal act. In my country we have those that have gotten violent. We have had race riots that turned violent and business's were looted and set a fire. More recently we have someone or more than one going around and burning churches. It doesn't matter what your faith is. It is people that want to cause problems for others. This may not be of much consolation but I have drawn strength from everyone of you. Through reading what you have to say and keeping an open mind there is no doubt that we are a like. When it comes to our believe in God there is no differences. Ghalia again I commend you for what your blog has done to build the bridge for friendship and a better understanding. Our religions may have different names and we may have different coustoms but again God's teachings are the same. May we all do what God wants us to do. Some day I feel that we will stand as one and show the strength we have in our believes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/2/06 5:11 PM  

  • For what it's worth, I believe that most Westerners know that the mobs do not represent the norm in your country.

    My feelings about the cartoons and the issues involved are complicated -- I'm sorry for the insult but defiant that we should be allowed to be rude and even insulting within the boundaries of our own societies, just as you set the values that apply within the boundaries of yours. Nevertheless, I, as a journalist, would not stoop to such insults against another's beliefs, just as I understand that you and your friends, as passionate Syrians and Arabs, would not stoop to the rioting and violence that we have seen on TV.

    Anyway, this blog and others like it seem like perfect ways of cutting through the nonsense. There are moderate majorities in every country. It's high time for all of use to make our (quiet) voices heard.

    Rabbina ma3aki

    By Anonymous Mark Goldrup, at 6/2/06 6:32 AM  

  • I know the current events are hard to look beyond and that people are wanting to discuss them here as well as everywhere.

    But I for one would love to see more pictures and hear more stories of Syria.

    By Anonymous elengil, at 6/2/06 9:36 AM  

  • A catholic priest was murdered in his church yesterday apparently by a muslim in retaliation for the Danish cartoon episode. What a shame indeed.

    By Anonymous vaughan west, at 6/2/06 10:04 AM  

  • # Vaughan: would you plz link to the source you read the news? and how can you say apparently?

    By Anonymous Ahmad, at 6/2/06 11:46 AM  

  • vaughan: Like ahmad I would like to know the source also. I have searched every possible news source I could think of and can find nothing about that happening. I hope that this isn't just something you made up to stir up resentments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/2/06 1:56 PM  

  • I would like to share this with you all. It comes from a forum in America that I post on quite often. At the time I thought I was going to be heavily critized for what I believed but found that others here in the state of Nebraska felt the same way I did. If anything about this post is not accurate please tell me. Here is that post:

    Some basic facts of Islam:

    Islam forbids the use of icons. No pictures of Muhammad or other religious figures.....this happened in the Catholic church about 1400 years ago, but the Pope was almost killed for declaring this edict.

    Not ALL Muslims are terrorists. They DO NOT teach to kill.

    It is a woman's choice if she wants to wear the hajib.

    OUR western society has misconstrued this religion. It is a disgrace!

    Here are the five pillars of faith so that YOU may be a better educated Nebraskan:

    1. Declaration of faith. "There is no God but Allah" (BTW, the same god as the Christians God)

    2. Daily prayer, 5 times a day.

    3. Giving of alms....charity to the poor 2.5% of your income.

    4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan. (nothing in your mouth, including water from dawn till dusk)

    5. The hajj...the pilgrimmage to Mecca.

    Please don't stereotype these people. I roomed in college with a Hindu and a Muslim. I consider myself to be fairly educated and non-judgemental. Please do the same for yourself before becoming biased against a wonderful group of people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/2/06 11:16 PM  

  • ... I don't see a prohibition against depicting Muhammad in that list..?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/2/06 3:18 AM  

  • chet:
    It is a woman's choice if she wants to wear the hajib.

    no its not her choice she have to,but we will not force her to do so.

    By Blogger Linux Juggler, at 7/2/06 9:21 AM  

  • I would like to thank “Chet” for his effort in trying to bridge a way for a better understanding.

    # Mark Goldrup, I don’t agree with you that most westerners know that those mobs don’t represent us, in my opinion and if they have to consider us they only do it through these images especially since the media highlighted so much. And it is obvious to some extent through the comments I get on this blog.

    # Vuaghan West, I was waiting for the source of your info, please do not spread rumors here!

    # Anonymous, what Chet mentioned were basically a synopsis of the five pillars of Islam, and not a synopsis of Islam.

    I urge you to read Ayman’s opinion, cuz I totally agree with him concerning this topic.

    Thank you all.

    By Blogger Ghalia, at 7/2/06 4:25 PM  

  • Ghalia said: "I don’t agree with you that most westerners know that those mobs don’t represent us ... is obvious to some extent through the comments I get on this blog."

    You may be right, but I think you have to take into account that there are basically two types of Westerners who would take the time to read and respond to your blog: those who wish Westerners worked harder to understand the Middle East and those who are looking for a chance to argue with people from the Middle East. In either case, you're dealing with people who already have pre-formed opinions and are looking for a chance to express them (i.e. "it's all our fault for not understanding you" or "it's all your fault for being so crazy and hard to understand").

    I'm talking more about the passive majority who are by nature moderate, although they may be impacted by images they see on TV, etc. These people don't go searching for Middle Eastern blogs to read and respond to. I think that most of them recognize that there are some crazy people in every country and many more rational people and that's just life.

    Nevertheless, you may be right. I have to admit that I don't actually know what everyone around me is thinking all the time. All I know for sure is that most people that I personally talk to in the US are at once shocked by what they see on TV but also notice that it's only a few hundred people taking part in the actions. I think it is generally understood that there are lots of average people in the Middle East who don't participate in violent protest and who would rather not be ruled by either secular dictators or religious fanatics. But like I said, maybe not.

    Let me flip it around. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not always so sure myself about the moderate tendencies of most Arabs. I spent five years living in the region and have had many in-depth political discussions with many Arab friends, and sometimes I get the feeling that the violent protesters ARE in some way representative of Arab feelings. Maybe not in every way, but sometimes it seems that they are representative of at least some element of the average person's feelings.

    But again, the thing is, when you're an American walking the streets of Cairo, Amman or even Baghdad, who is going to take the time to talk to you about politics? The people who already have strong feelings about it. So when I used to get into casual conversations in a cafe or on the street, I would hear a range of opinions: "America is controlled by Jews and that's why you try to kill Arabs" or "All America cares about is oil," or EVEN some Arabs who didn't seem to like their own society and would say "America should just kill those crazies in Baghdad and start the country over again."

    Obviously, none of these are moderate opinions, even if they seem to take "both sides." Like the people who write into your blog, there seemed to be Arabs who said, basically, "it's all your fault" and also some who said "it's all our fault." Nothing moderate about either opinion.

    But what I found when my friendships with people developed and we went BEYOND these sorts of conversations, was that even the people who seemed the most extreme were willing to consider different opinions, and even change their minds about some things. I even managed to convince one or two people that America really WAS interested in supporting democracy in Iraq and I was also myself convinced of some things I didn't originally want to believe (like, even when its underlying goals are good, the US is far too willing to sacrifice other people's lives and dignity to achieve those goals).

    But all I'm saying is, you need to understand that the image you get of America, even through the seemingly objective medium of your blog responses, is in fact no less biased than the image Americans get of you. It's biased by the fact that only the loudest and most obnoxious people make it onto the nightly news (and only in their loudest and most obnoxious moments), and these are the same sort of people who take the time to argue on the Internet (like me, lol). Average people are much more moderate and easier to get along with. I am not always certain, but I believe and HOPE that most people in both of our societies instinctively know this to be the case.

    By Anonymous Mark G, at 7/2/06 9:23 PM  

  • I didn't believe Vaughan West at first, but was surprised to find this at the bottom of a Guardian story about today:

    "Elsewhere, the Turkish network, NTV television, reported that a 16-year-old student arrested in connection with the murder of an Italian priest on Sunday had told interrogators he killed the Rev Andrea Santoro to avenge the publication of the cartoons.

    Mr Santoro, 60, was shot while praying in his church along the Black Sea coast. Witnesses said the killer screamed "Allahu Akbar", Arabic for "God is great," before firing. Thousands have protested in Turkey against the publication of the cartoons."

    It is at the bottom of the story, which can be found here:


    By Anonymous Mark G, at 8/2/06 12:29 AM  

  • Sorry, the link didn't copy correctly. It's:


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/2/06 12:31 AM  

  • Don't know why, but I can't make that link work properly. Sorry for the repeat posts. Anyway, if you want verification of the story about the priest's killing, you can search news.google.com for stories with the keywords "Andrea Santoro." There are quite a few stories about it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/2/06 12:35 AM  

  • Ghalia,

    I know everyone feels strongly about their country and faith; but politics aside I would like to say that i just went through your photo pages again. Here is what I saw a beautiful land that reminded me of differnt places here in the US.

    The one that really had me was the 2 photos of the farm. The one with the tractor made me think of my summers at my grandparents home in Kentucky. Also there was a photo with one tree can you tell me what kind of tree it is? I just liked the was it twisted and turned.

    I just want to say thank you for the everyday view of your home. Please keep adding to the photos and more HISTORY PLEASE!

    We only stop growing when we stop trying to learn.

    By Blogger Lodemai, at 8/2/06 5:04 AM  

  • linux juggler thank you, I appoligize for that mistake, I have a lot to learn, What I posted came from another American who does feel Like me, I will pass it on to him as I am sure he doesn't want to say what isn't true. Thank You. Ghalia, thank you, I just wanted to pass this on to let you know that there are some Americans that feel like I do. I do not argue the fact that we have a lot of knowledge About Islam but when we print something would appreciate being corrected if what we said wasn't right. How else are we to learn. Thank You

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/2/06 5:27 AM  

  • Need to make a correction in previous post. Should have read we do not have a lot of knowledge about Islam. Sorry for mistake.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/2/06 5:54 AM  

  • Mark G,
    I think you are spot on here.

    I can't understand how nearly any bad thing that happens, somehow people around the world want to blame the US for it. This line of thinking is ludicrous.

    QALAT, Afghanistan - Police killed four people Wednesday as Afghans enraged over drawings of the Prophet Muhammad marched on a U.S. military base in a volatile southern province, directing their anger not against Europe but America. The U.S. base was targeted because the United States "is the leader of Europe and the leading infidel in the world," said Sher Mohammed, a 40-year-old farmer who suffered a gunshot wound while taking part in the demonstration in the city of Qalat. "They are all the enemy of Islam. They are occupiers in our country and must be driven out," Mohammed said.

    By Blogger NMSportster, at 9/2/06 4:57 AM  

  • # Mark Goldrup, well me too I do hope that the majority of people recognize instinctively that these mobs don’t represent us! But the fact that we as people tend to shape an image on every nation, as maybe in a way to understand it or justify our reaction toward it, for example we got an images on some countries as friendly, fanatic, communists…etc, but the images that is well spread about Arab are; terrorism and backwardness, while these two images aren’t only restricted to us as Arabs.

    Someone stated it very well on his blog saying; I guess personally, I have mixed feelings about it. My first thought was, well, that does seem to be the face of Islam these days. When we see or hear about Muslims on mainstream media, we see extremists sawing off the head of a contractor, chanting "God is good", while doing it. Or we see them giving God thanks just before they blow themselves up, killing other folks enjoying the day with friends at a coffee shop. Sadly, this is the face of Islam and the Muslim religion that a lot of westerners see and think of when the subject of Muslim religion is talked about. I can't balme him for his attitude, you see!
    Anyways I do agree with you on many other ideas, thank you for helping me into a better understanding.

    # lodemai, thank you for dropping by. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of this tree.

    Concerning the murdered priest, I don’t know that to say, but I would like to stress that this has nothing to do with Islam. Otherwise God says in holy Quraan [151/6] Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from": join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want - We provide sustenance for you and for them - come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.

    And thanx for providing me witht the link. Sorry it turned to be true!

    By Blogger Ghalia, at 9/2/06 5:24 PM  

  • The West needs to learn to respect the religious sensitivities of Muslims, to a point.

    But Muslims need to learn that freedom of expression means having to peacefully tolerate the expressions of others, even if they are being expressed by morons who are just trying to create a name for themselves.

    Oops, I guess that wasn't very tolerant of me to call the Danish journalists morons.

    By Blogger Derek, at 9/2/06 5:31 PM  

  • I read a story today, that I thought was brilliant in explaining how Muslims may feel toward the Cartoons by comparing it to the Civil Rights Movement in the US. As Muslims, do you feel this is a comparable anology?


    By Blogger NMSportster, at 15/2/06 5:14 AM  

  • But Muslims need to learn that freedom of expression means having to peacefully tolerate the expressions of others, even if they are being expressed by morons who are just trying to create a name for themselves.

    Certainly, it's good when everyone gives each other the respect they deserve. However in societies that strive to embrace pluralism of cultures, ideas, and belief, there is bound to be conflicts of opinion and values. Flexible, open societies promote this approach, because it allows open discussion of possibly controversial ideas. This is the heart of the idea of free speech. And, I believe free speech does more good than harm, because it allows issues of contention to be openly discussed, without threat of censorship, violence, or imprisonment. Despite its detractors, free speech actualy promotes understanding and defusing of differences by allowing a dialogue to take place.

    By Blogger marin_explorer, at 18/2/06 3:11 AM  

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