Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thought-Provoking Thursday

I’m reading a fascinating book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali called Infidel. It’s her autobiography of growing up Muslim, and how as an adult after 9/11, she spoke out about the culture of Islamic clans and how they are taught to hate non-Muslims. She now has a large target on her back and is sought after by many terrorists for her outspoken anti-Islam views. It’s very interesting, and I’m almost to the end of the book. But it brings up some fairly complex questions.

I like to think of myself as an open minded person. When there was initial backlash against the Islamic faith after 9/11, I sided with the liberal camp, thinking that only a few of these people must be crazy. I thought that just like we have our own extreme ‘Christian’ freakazoids, they have theirs, and we must not condemn an entire religion – a third of the world’s population no less. I’ve met a few Muslims, though I’ll admit, they’re hard to find here in rural Iowa. After 9/11, I had some very interesting conversations with my friend from Bosnia who loosely follows Islam. She clearly doesn’t hate Westerners. She and her husband came to the US, immediately learned English, got their degrees, and made quite a life for themselves. I (maybe naively) thought that she was like most Muslims. I still want to believe that.

But Hirsi Ali’s book contends that it’s not just a small portion of Muslims who are radical and want to convert the world to their faith or get rid of the non-believers. Her view is that this hatred of the Jews and Christians is taught in the Quran and is as fundamental as their oppression of women (which is a whole other post, but I won't go there). I don’t want to believe this, but I have to admit, she was exposed to this her entire life, and she writes very convincingly about it.

So how do I bridge the gap between what I still want very much to believe and what I read in this book? What is the answer here? Do any of you have any experiences or opinions on this to share?

Lent update: I survived my first day without chocolate. One day down, 39 more to go. Are there really 40 days in Lent? I've never counted...

Get moving update: I also did Tae-Bo with the kids last night and ran afterwards. So my Get Moving campaign is revived.

Winter in Iowa sucks update: We got 9 inches of snow Tuesday night and a snow day for the kids yesterday. Working from home with three cooped up kids is not as much fun as it sounds.


ALF said...

found your site from duchess jane's - just wanted to say hi.

My Grandma lives in Iowa - I love going to visit her!

Jenster said...

Very interesting. I want to believe like you do, too, Monnik.

We had some snow this morning and we all got excited. We haven't had a decent snow yet. Surely there's a happy medium somewhere.

Prairie Chicken said...

I imagine the Koran is interpreted in as many ways at the Christian Bible, but one fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam is that Christianity is at its root a religion of pacifism--turn the other cheek, love thine enemy, etc. while Islam is a combination of religion and political system born in the desert where as the author's grandmother explained to her as a child, if you don't fight, you die. Which is not to say that all Muslims are of the desert. She also talks about the iloation and segregation first and second-genration Muslims experience--or choose? in Europe which compounds the situation at the economic, cultural and political levels. No easy answers.

Travis Erwin said...

Hope your lenten goals are going better than mine. I am falling farther and farther behind. :(