Moj novi blog

First of all I apologize if with this blog I will inadvertently hurt somebody’s feelings but read this on and perhaps you’ll forgive me…

There is something really annoying about religious people’s quest to convert areligious people or people of other religions into their religion – be it Christians or Muslims. I find the latter in this respect a bit hypocritical. Why you ask? In Islam apostasy or conversion to another religion is haram (completely forbidden and thus according to some even punishable by death). However, it is ok for Muslims to actively engage in converting let’s say Christians or areligious people into Islam. After all, in their opinion, Islam is the greatest and the only true religion so why wouldn’t you want to convert (this discourse of course could be applied to Christianity as well)? Even Jacques Cousteau realized that when he saw an inscription of a Qur’anic verse (aya) at the bottom of some ocean during one his diving expeditions; and the astronaut Armstrong as well when during his walk on the Moon saw a similar Qur’anic inscription on the surface of the Earth. Of course they converted instantly, at least according to my host Mom. Needless to say that this story is just too crazy to be even a tiny bit believable, but I will still mention the first question which arose within me when she was telling me this story: how the hell did Cousteau and Armstrong who, at least to my knowledge, didn’t speak Arabic recognized that the verse was, first, from the Qur’an and, second, what its meaning was…but I should know by now that religious people don’t go into unnecessary details and take religious meanings at face value and hence for them Jacques’s and Neil’s apparent conversions are a true sign of the correctness of Islam. I wont argue with any religious person, be it Christian, Muslim, or Jewish about this last point because they can believe whatever they want to. And this is exactly what I’m getting into – if I don’t try to convince religious people that there is no God/Allah/Yahweh then who gives them the right to try to convince me that there is God/Allah/Yahweh and that either God or Allah or Yahweh is the best (I will get into this fabricated distinction between the three a bit later)? God/Allah/Yahweh? And also, why are religious people so concerned with what happens with me in MY afterlife? Is it really because they truly care for my wellbeing or is it because they get some made-up points from heaven to convert ignorant people into their religion?

Let me go back to the origin of my frustration. I have been asked too many times since I got here why am I learning Arabic if I’m not a Muslim or have no intention of becoming one. Probably what really baffled them was how come reading the Qur’an and studying Arabic hasn’t made me want to convert to Islam as if Arabic should only be spoken or studied by Muslims (on a side note – I do agree with Muslims though that the Arabic language and thus the language of the Qur’an is exceptionally beautiful but also intimidatingly rich as there are at least fifty words for every meaning or thing and we have to learn them all with their miniscule nuances). Namely, when studying the history of Islam and conversions of Christians, Jews, and other pagans J into Islam you learn that a lot of the conversions were allegedly done after these non-Muslims heard the beauty of the Qur’an and its language. Well, I guess it doesn’t work with anyone, does it? … I could tell you of at least 5 such attempts of Moroccans telling me that studying more of Arabic will eventually lead me to accept Islam as my faith. Just today during my morning coffee and kharsha (a type of bread made out of corn flour) two waiters on two separate occasions (!) tried to convince me that Islam is the true path. When I argued that what should matter is that I’m good in heart and a moral person they both said that that’s ok but these are the matters of this life on Earth what about my afterlife?

The other quite odd instance to say the least was when I was talking to a bus driver on the way back to Fez from Chefchaouen. The conversation was about whether I could sit in the front instead of the back (so nothing worth mentioning) and when I thanked him, I used instead of plain ‘shukran’ (or thank you) ‘tabaraka llahu fik’ (or may God bless you) which is the other more commonly used expression of saying thank you a lot. The immediate reaction of the driver was whether I was a Muslim and since I’m not why am I invoking the name of Allah. Oh boy, here we go again. The heart of the misunderstanding between people of the three monotheistic religions – without this driver knowing anything about my religious background (except of course that I wasn’t Muslim) he forbade me say the word Allah as if ‘his’ Allah was different than what he presumably thought was ‘my’ Christian God or someone else’s Jewish Yahweh. I think it’s time that all three peoples realize that Allah equals God equals Yahweh. The name may be different in different languages (duh!) but the substance is the same. I mean, according to their logic (and here I mean Western Christians, Muslims and Jews alike!) English God is different than the Slovene Bog.

I always tried to avoid Christian missionaries and now I have to deal with lay, unorganized Muslim ones. I really do have a problem with this on a couple of levels. The first one I already mentioned – Muslim double-standards about converting people; and the second one is the sheer nerve of all religious people to tell me what I should do and what I should believe in. I think I’m old enough to think for myself and decide by myself whether I want to be saved through Jesus, or through Islam or whether I want to be saved at all. Perhaps I’d like the world and me to be saved by true socialism. Ha!

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12.04.2008 14:29

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