Kuffar or Infidels?

Discussion in 'Islam' started by Muslimwoman, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    as salaam aleykum

    I found the following on IslamOnline and thought I would share it. It is by Dr Badawi and discusses the use of the word kuffar.

    IslamOnline.net - Shari'ah & Humanity

    I speak arabic every day, yet I was unaware that a good believer could also be referred to as kafir. I shall certainly be more careful in future how I use these terms.

    Salaam
     
  2. Abdullah

    Abdullah Member

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    Assalamualikum wr wb sister :)

    MashAllah, JazakAllah for that article; it's allways nice to learn more about the insights that Scholars have on such matters.

    Salaam :)
     
  3. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    In Arabic (well, at least the Arabic I speak which is the Palestinian dialect), Kafir means blasphemer and it's pretty negative.
    I had no idea the word the Qur'an used for infidels was "Kufar", I think it's a pretty harsh word...

    The article is interesting ... but I can't help but cringe at the use of the word "kufar" to designate Jews and Christians :eek:

    Then again, I don't speak Arabic (classical or dialectal) well enough to have any opinion on that matter :D
     
  4. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hi Karim and welcome

    Yes in Egypt it is also particularly negative, which is why I was so surprised to read the article and wanted to share it. I was hoping that people may use this knowledge to refrain from using the word in the context they generally use it (ie with such negative overtones toward certain groups of people).

    I would love to hear about where you are living if you don't mind sharing. Are you Arabic or just living there? Sorry travel is a passion of mine and I love to learn about life in other places (the real place, not the touristy stuff).

    Salaam
     
  5. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    Hey Muslimwoman, thanks :D

    I'm guessing the word "kuffar" was sort of neutral at first - it only designated those who "rejected" Muhammad's teachings but gradually (because we all know how bigoted and narrow-minded us humans can be :rolleyes:) evolved literally into an insult.

    I gotta say, there are words in the Muslim terminology that I just can't stand. Kuffar is now one of them. Alongside "Jahilliyah" (however you write that in English). Jahilliyah is such a pejorative word used to designate what used to exist before Islam. The Age of Darkness before Light. Barbarism, etc.
    Ironically, the Jahilliyah may very well be the Golden Age of our culture...

    And as for your question, no, I don't mind sharing, that's why I'm on a forum, right? :D
    I'm a Palestinian - I live in Bethlehem, but I do often feel like a complete tourist (I get a lot of "welcome! welcome! good shop!" and when I answer in Arabic : "La hawlah wala kouwa! You're an Arab?!") ... Officially, I'm a Christian. I say officially because in our backwards pseudo-state, we actually have our religion written on our IDs. Seriously, my ID reads"Religion : Christian". Unofficially, I am ... uh... *ponders* well, agnostic or lost, whichever your like :rolleyes:
    You live in Egypt? Ever been to Israel/Palestine? You should... Although it's not my dream-place, it's such a special yet weird experience.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Namaste Karim,

    Welcome to CR it will be absolutely awesome to hear your take on our discussions....you being in the middle of things as it were...A Palestinian agnostic Christian in Israel...

    We get our 'news' from the newspapers and the nightly news and from news radio...I would prefer to get news of the middle east from those that are there! Especially those like MW who straddles the fence and is open enough to expose the boils in the process.
     
  7. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    tut, tut, tut... Palestine, not Israel ;) I'm not allowed to be in Israel (seeing as I'm a potential terrorist and all : a teenager. Arab. Male. Which obviously means I'm unstable and manipulated and liable to randomly go bomb a [FONT=&quot]café[/FONT].)

    Thanks for the welcome, wil :)
    Don't get your hopes high, though, I'll probably be as biased as anyone can be! :p
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    aaarrrgghhh I don't know my geography?? Bethlehem is in the West bank? It is, my bad...and I've met Palestinians who crossed the border to work...of course they live here now and that was years ago...is that not done anymore...no standing in lines at the fence?
     
  9. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    Yup... It's pretty much on the border between the West Bank and Israel... if someone removed check-points and huge walls and other mild nuisances, I'd take me five minutes to get to Jerusalem.
    So, yes, Bethlehem is in the West Bank.
     
  10. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    As for Palestinians crossing borders, of course they exist.
    First of all, there is a HUGE gap between what is official here and what is unofficial (we live in one big huge mess of illogicalness :D) :

    First of all, you need a permit if you're a Palestinian (in the sense that you have a Palestinian I.D... There are Arab Israelis, some of them consider themselves Palestinians others consider themselves Israelis, but they don't have a problem (well...) because they have an Israeli passport. You also have the "residents of Jerusalem" : lost people who don't have any passport, they only have an ID that says they can live in Israel (Jerusalem specifically) but officially they're neither Israelis nor Palestinians) (wow, long parenthesis). So I was saying : you need a permit if you're a Palestinian and want to go to Israel. Usually, permits are given to workers, businessmen, sick people who need to go to a hospital, etc. We also get permits on religious occasions : the Christian Palestinians get permits (not always) on Christmas, Easter, etc. to go to their place of worship (although it's a big excuse, they all go to the Mall :p), the Muslims for Al-Adha, Al Isra wal I'raj (oh god, I'm mutilating the words :D)...
    and THEN you've got illegal crossing of borders. That's sort of what I do (well, did) when I went to school. As I study in the French lycee in Jerusalem, and don't have a 24/7 permit, I cross the border in a French Consulate bus, so I'm sort of illegally in Israel but also sort of (yes a lot of "sort ofs" here... shows you how weird and confused/ing this place is :p) under the protection of the French govt.
    Well, actually, I'm also a French citizen, but according to International law, when you have more than one nationality, the nationality you "use" is the one that corresponds to the country you're in : therefore, I'm French in France and Palestinian in Palestine/Israel.

    Okay I'm not totally clear but you've got to admit : not an easy situation to explain :)
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    No not clear but ok, how did you get to be a French Arabic Palestinian Agnostic Christian in Bethlehem? I should probably be starting another thread...

    anyhow...so Palestine is currently a territory of Israel? And consists of the movable border of the West Bank and Gaza strip?
     
  12. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    Loooooooooooooooong story... ;)

    Yup, Palestine = West Bank + Gaza Strip.
    Palestine (the Palestinian Territories to be precise) is supposed to be autonomous : we have our own government, our own flag, our own citizenship, etc. But in reality, this is mostly empty talk (in my opinion, anyway). As you said, the borders are movable... in the sense that Israel can decide at any moment to enter Gaza or the West Bank or take lands that are supposed to be part of the Palestinian Territories. So we're not exactly a state (if I'm not mistaken, no country recognizes Palestine as an independent state... Or maybe just a handful of countries... and we only have an observer status in the UN) but we're not Israeli territory either. Yet, there ARE Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
    And we use the NIS (National Israeli Shekel), the Israeli currency. In a way, we're in limbo. :p We're not exactly an independent state, yet we strive to be one. And at the same time, we're completely dependent on Israel for our economy : Israel after all controls most of our borders, including the ones that connect us to the rest of the world : the main ports and the main airport, for instance, are in Israel.

    I think this needs a new thread... and also needs people who understand those details better than me. Because honestly, I can tell you what the day-to-day experience is, but I couldn't figure out what the hell is actually happening.
     
  13. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Not sure but I started the thread so I think I am possibly allowed to hijack it?

    Oh bless your heart, what a way to live. To be honest it is more the day to day experience of living there I am interested in. We only see the media version, which we all know is often biased.

    Have you lived there all your life? If you are Arabic, how do the Muslims there accept you and treat you? I only ask because I was so surprised to find in Egypt that Christian churches are often built next door to mosques and the people often celebrate together - I think it is wonderful.

    As for visiting the area, I would love to but my husband is Egyptian and very hot headed, so unfortunately I wouldn't dare visit such an area with him. I am ashamed to say that the hatred for the Jewish nation runs very deep here, to a level I simply cannot get my head around. The Israeli/Lebanon war last year almost led to my divorce - seriously, I just did not recognise my husband when he started ranting, so instead of divorce we just banned politics from our home :eek:
     
  14. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    I totally understand that. It makes me so uncomfortable when people tell me things like : "You know, the Jews ..." whenever someone begins a sentence like that, I'm pretty sure it's going to end with something that would be very funny in other circumstances because it's ridiculous like "they rule the world, see, and the Holocaust, well it's true, but then they just hijacked it, you know, to conquer our land" etc. etc. etc.
    I know exactly what you mean when you say you didn't recognize your husband anymore.

    In my school, we're mostly Arabs or French expatriates but all my teachers are Jewish. Naturally, I'm lucky, I know what the "other side" thinks and is. I know the Jews are, you know, people, and not monsters all part of a huge international conspiracy that's trying to take over the world. (besides, it's sort of absurd, isn't it? given the fact that they're all so cunning and sly and everything and have been trying to take over the world and everything for centuries, shouldn't they be done by now? ah....)

    But then I go through a check-point and I understand just where this hatred comes from. It's so incredibly humiliating to see an elderly woman getting yelled at and mistreated by some teenage punk.
    Once, a friend of mine was going through a check-point. She was sick : usually, you're supposed to get out of the car and go through a maze to get to the other side. She asked the soldier-girl if she could pass. The girl was like : "No, can't, everyone has to go down, etc." So my friend told her : "Okay, fair enough. But can't you bend the rules a bit to be human?"
    you know what the girl answered?
    "With a green identity card [the Palestinian ID], you can't be human"
    Now I know, of course, that not ALL Israelis think like that. Just as not ALL the Palestinians hate the Jews, etc. But still, it's just the sort of story that makes me sad, because my ideal of a one state solution really is a utopia.

    As for the relations between Muslims and Christians... well, they're pretty ambiguous. They're good, in a way, nice and all, but you still FEEL the underlying and mutual suspicions. Now people here don't usually say that, they like giving tourists and strangers the idea that we're a united people. Things is, we're not. Christians are, what, 1% of the Palestinian population. If I had to be really schematic, I'd say that religion roughly corresponds to a certain social status and defines your place in society. This is something that Westerners in general have a hard time understanding. When someone says "he's a Muslim" or "he's a Christian", people get all sorts of information (prejudice, but whatever) about someone. For instance, there are Muslims who think Christians are basically traitors, or have no morals, are decadent, filthy rich, etc. On the other hand, there are Christians who despise Muslims and won't even have anything to do with them. But this is specific to Bethlehem and its region, because it's one of the places where the Christian population really is significant.

    That's the bad side of the story. Now, the good side!
    It does happen that Christians and Muslims celebrate together. -->

    "In Islamic cultures, the Prophet or Saint al-Khidr or Khizar; according to the Quran a companion of the Prophet Musa (Moses), is associated with Mar Girgis (St. George), who is also venerated under that name by Arab Christians, especially Palestinian people, and mainly around Jerusalem, where according to tradition he lived and often prayed near the Temple Mount, and is venerated as a protector in times of crisis. His main monument is the elongated mosque Qubbat al-Khidr ('The Dome of al-Khidr') which stands isolated from any close neighbors on the northwest corner of the Dome of the Rock terrace in Jerusalem."


    Saint George - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    During the El Khader festival, you often see masses done honoring Mar Giries (Saint George) with A LOT of Muslims attending. Although I really don't care for mass and am hardly a Christian, I like going to El Khader (which is also the name of a village near Bethlehem) when they're celebrating Mar Giries because it's a really nice thing, to see priests giving blessings to Muslims and everything.

    I'd say that in general, Christians and Muslims are forced to interact on a social or economic level, but they're kind of reluctant... This of course, is in a nutshell. Thousands of books couldn't even convey all the shades and nuances you have here : I mean everything I said is true, and yet at the same time, there are A LOT of Muslims and Christians living in a friendly atmosphere, etc.

    Oh, one last thing about relations between these two communities. Marriage. Happens, quite a lot. But it gives SUCH a BAD impression. I have a friend whose dad is Christian and whose mom is Muslim. Her mom's side of the family won't have anything to do with them.
     
  15. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    I totally understand that. It makes me so uncomfortable when people tell me things like : "You know, the Jews ..." whenever someone begins a sentence like that, I'm pretty sure it's going to end with something that would be very funny in other circumstances because it's ridiculous like "they rule the world, see, and the Holocaust, well it's true, but then they just hijacked it, you know, to conquer our land" etc. etc. etc.
    I know exactly what you mean when you say you didn't recognize your husband anymore.

    In my school, we're mostly Arabs or French expatriates but all my teachers are Jewish. Naturally, I'm lucky, I know what the "other side" thinks and is. I know the Jews are, you know, people, and not monsters all part of a huge international conspiracy that's trying to take over the world. (besides, it's sort of absurd, isn't it? given the fact that they're all so cunning and sly and everything and have been trying to take over the world and everything for centuries, shouldn't they be done by now? ah....)

    But then I go through a check-point and I understand just where this hatred comes from. It's so incredibly humiliating to see an elderly woman getting yelled at and mistreated by some teenage punk.
    Once, a friend of mine was going through a check-point. She was sick : usually, you're supposed to get out of the car and go through a maze to get to the other side. She asked the soldier-girl if she could pass. The girl was like : "No, can't, everyone has to go down, etc." So my friend told her : "Okay, fair enough. But can't you bend the rules a bit to be human?"
    you know what the girl answered?
    "With a green identity card [the Palestinian ID], you can't be human"
    Now I know, of course, that not ALL Israelis think like that. Just as not ALL the Palestinians hate the Jews, etc. But still, it's just the sort of story that makes me sad, because my ideal of a one state solution really is a utopia.

    As for the relations between Muslims and Christians... well, they're pretty ambiguous. They're good, in a way, nice and all, but you still FEEL the underlying and mutual suspicions. Now people here don't usually say that, they like giving tourists and strangers the idea that we're a united people. Things is, we're not. Christians are, what, 1% of the Palestinian population. If I had to be really schematic, I'd say that religion roughly corresponds to a certain social status and defines your place in society. This is something that Westerners in general have a hard time understanding. When someone says "he's a Muslim" or "he's a Christian", people get all sorts of information (prejudice, but whatever) about someone. For instance, there are Muslims who think Christians are basically traitors, or have no morals, are decadent, filthy rich, etc. On the other hand, there are Christians who despise Muslims and won't even have anything to do with them. But this is specific to Bethlehem and its region, because it's one of the places where the Christian population really is significant.

    That's the bad side of the story. Now, the good side!
    It does happen that Christians and Muslims celebrate together. -->

    "In Islamic cultures, the Prophet or Saint al-Khidr or Khizar; according to the Quran a companion of the Prophet Musa (Moses), is associated with Mar Girgis (St. George), who is also venerated under that name by Arab Christians, especially Palestinian people, and mainly around Jerusalem, where according to tradition he lived and often prayed near the Temple Mount, and is venerated as a protector in times of crisis. His main monument is the elongated mosque Qubbat al-Khidr ('The Dome of al-Khidr') which stands isolated from any close neighbors on the northwest corner of the Dome of the Rock terrace in Jerusalem."


    Saint George - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    During the El Khader festival, you often see masses done honoring Mar Giries (Saint George) with A LOT of Muslims attending. Although I really don't care for mass and am hardly a Christian, I like going to El Khader (which is also the name of a village near Bethlehem) when they're celebrating Mar Giries because it's a really nice thing, to see priests giving blessings to Muslims and everything.

    I'd say that in general, Christians and Muslims are forced to interact on a social or economic level, but they're kind of reluctant... This of course, is in a nutshell. Thousands of books couldn't even convey all the shades and nuances you have here : I mean everything I said is true, and yet at the same time, there are A LOT of Muslims and Christians living in a friendly atmosphere, etc.

    Oh, one last thing about relations between these two communities. Marriage. Happens, quite a lot. But it gives SUCH a BAD impression. I have a friend whose dad is Christian and whose mom is Muslim. Her mom's side of the family won't have anything to do with them.
     
  16. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    I have heard this said by Arabs about the Jews, where will the insanity end? I see news items from one side and I feel so sorry for then, then you see the other side and feel so sorry for them. There seems to be good and bad on both sides but it is usually the voices of the bad that are loudest.

    That's ok, I have a utopian vision for the whole world where tolerance is the buzzword in every language. I am a born dreamer :D

    I know it is a silly comparison, so please forgive me but what you are saying reminds me of the musician Sami Yusuf. There is always debate as to whether he is Sunni or Shia, yet Muslims of both love his music. But you can actually feel the potential, that if he declared he was one or the other that the other group would immediately vilify him.

    I also feel it here when I go into a Christian shop. It even sounds silly to say Christian shop but they are segregated and Muslims employ Muslims and Christians employ Christians (usually because they are family but not only for this reason). When I first came here people told me so proudly how they live together with no animosity and complete friendship. I used to buy drinks and cigarettes from a kiosk opposite my shop. One day the Muslim Brotherhood came to talk to my husband and asked (politely) why I used a Christian shop and not the Muslim one in the next street. Even though my husband suggested politely that they mind their own business, after they left he suggested to me that I should change shops or people may stop using our shop.

    So I do understand what you are saying, on the surface everything is nice and friendly but underneath something lurks.

    How does this play out with respect to religious monuments? Are any shared and relevant to both faiths?

    I am so delighted to hear that there is some good news.

    Wow that is a surprise but a very welcome one. Why can't everyone follow this example?

    Here we differ. I know a few Muslim men that have married Christian women and the families 'seem' fine about it. There is an awful lot of hinting and expectancy from the family that the wife will convert. Although that said the ladies are european so it may make a difference?

    It sort of makes a mockery of the Islamic teaching "there is no compulsion in religion".

    Thank you, it is so interesting to hear about your life there and no bombing cafe's right :p:D
     
  17. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    karimk,

    first of all welcome to CR - i don't think we've had an arab christian here before, much less one from bethlehem. forget the french lycée - your english is excellent.

    it's nice to hear from someone who's on the ground with a reasonable point of view. obviously i have a large number of relatives in israel, some of whom are in range of katyushas from lebanon and others in range of qassams from gaza, to say nothing of the ones in me'ah she'arim and alon shvut.

    i was quite struck by your story:

    i can actually just hear that tone of voice - it's very familiar. you know, in the diaspora we spend quite a lot of time rolling our eyes over just what a bunch of arrogant rude sods israelis can be - i am sure the checkpoints bring out the worst in what are, lest we forget, people probably not much older than you are. i'm not excusing anyone, by the way, but i find the border checks at ben gurion unpleasant enough as a jew - goodness knows what it would be like to have to go through that on my way to work every day. puts london traffic into perspective i dare say. jews are certainly not immune to abuse of power, that's for sure, even if we don't quite control the entire world *yet* (muwahahahahahahaaaa, i should probably add) i find israeli officialdom and bureaucracy insufferable - just as inefficient as the UK, but a dam' sight less polite. i often think that if i ever went to live in israel, i'd open a business teaching people etiquette and good manners. i mean, sometimes it's quite refreshing how direct israelis can be, but other times it can be abrasive to the point of, well, you know what i mean. i really wonder what they teach people at school there. unfortunately, i know what gets taught in the schools run by the really religious people - on both sides.

    in fact, i'm glad there's a palestinian christian here who can give a bit of context to some of the sillier american evangelicals who seem to think every aspect of israeli government policy is directly inspired by G!D. this sort of thing gives religion a bad name - it's just a government. the president just got impeached (good thing too) - in fact, the only good thing you can really say about the israeli political system is that it's better than any of the local alternatives and at least there's a free press and recourse to the law. i wish people would understand that israel is neither a demonic cancer, nor a choir of saints and angels. in the end, the work of the Divine must be done by us humans - and, these days, those who claim they have a direct line in to the Will of G!D are more likely to behave like they're working for the "other side".

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  18. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Sorry Karim, there is already so much for you to answer here but we are so grateful to have you here and maybe dispel some of our media driven misconceptions.

    I was delighted to see last night that the British reporter Alan Johnstone had been released. Does this bode well for you, do you feel that the latest political shift may take the peace process forward or is it just another bunch of political thugs trying to get brownie points with the west?

    Salaam
     
  19. KarimK

    KarimK New Member

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    Yes, if there is one thing one should concede to the Israeli government, it's that it IS a democracy - to a certain extent, true, but I mean... The fact that Ilan Pappé is allowed to publish his provocative book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (which I haven't read yet, but I really want to... not that I think there ever was such a thing as an "ethnic cleansing", it's still probably an interesting read) goes a long way to show that free speech exists in Israel. Same thing for newspapers such as Ha'Aretz. I unfortunately can't say it's the same on our side of the border...

    Although I can't say that Israel treats Arab Israelis and the Arab residents of Jerusalem fairly... In fact, they're considered as a democratic threat (god, I love that expression... I think it was Netanyahu who used it a couple of years ago, I still find it very funny and scary and revolting. but mostly funny)... And the Israeli Govt really isn't subtle in the way they try to rid themselves of the Arabs in Israel. Example : a lot of my friends - residents of Jerusalem - have to pay taxes and everything, just like the rest of the residents. Yet, they're not entitled to social security, etc. And whenever a resident of Jerusalem gets a foreign passport, he's not entitled to a Jerusalem ID anymore (whereas the Jewish residents can have other passports, not a problem.)

    That's the paradox of Israel - a democracy (sort of) that perpetrates occupation and discriminates its own citizens... It's not easy being an Arab Israeli, you have to chose between your "Arabic" roots and your "Israeli" nationality... and you usually end up rejected by both.

    Do you visit often? It mustn't be easy for your relatives (well, except for the ones in me'ah she'arim... my school's right next to me'ah she'arim... I'll never get how a neighborhood can be both so ugly and bee-oo-tiful at the same time! :D)


    I cross check-points a lot. So I sort of have a list of "mean, meaner, meanest" soldiers. I can decide from afar if it's going to be a cool guy, a mean guy, or an a-word. :D Seriously, after a while, you get a knack at it. Although it's not excusable, and I sometimes feel revolted when some stupid kid humiliates an old, blind guy I also feel sorry for those guys. Most of them had no idea what the army is, who the Palestinians where (I bet you most of them thought we were some sort of myth before going to the army), etc. And they're just kids. My age. They're my age, and they have to do this horrible three-year stupid army sh*t. There are those who really are excited to go to the army (in the words of one of my *former* friends, "I want to kill a lot of Palestinians so I can get promoted!" Yeah. Imagine that.) to defend (sorry, I don't mean to be offensive, but I HAVE to roll my eyes here) "Eretz Israel" :rolleyes: ... and then, there are those who are just there because they have to.

    As for politeness... yup. I don't have anything else to say. I don't get that either. Ever try driving a car in Israel? :D

    And what gets taught at schools (on both sides, true)... Don't get me started, it depresses me. I'm SO grateful that I got to go to a french lycee and not have to go through the amazing bs they teach kids here. An this goes for the Israelis too...

    I'm glad that the Jews of the diaspora stay true to (beware, stereotypes ahead)(but good stereotypes, so it's fine, right?) their sense of humor and their unmatched skill to make fun of themselves. :D

    Funny story, Muslimwoman.(well, funny... funny isn't what it used to be :D) And it illustrates perfectly this bad faith we have. We don't want to acknowledge this animosity that is VERY real but it's still there. We want to give to the world this ideal picture of Muslim and Christian Arabs being united (very much like this other illusion some still believe in of a unity of the Arab Nations) but it's just not true.
    Oh! Except in one case! Oh god, how beautiful it was, when the THREE representatives of the THREE religions spoke out against homosexuality together on the occasion of the Gay Parade in Jerusalem!
    How lovely, united in intolerance.

    I think it's pretty safe to say that most Christian religious monuments are relevant to Muslims. Apart from the Khader thing... Well, for instance, the Milk Grotto is this shrine next to the Nativity where the Holy Family is said to have stayed on their way to Egypt. When Mary wanted to breast-feed the Baby, milk flew out of her breast and onto the rocks of the grotto. It's a place where pregnant women and women looking to get pregnant go pray. I think (although I'm not 100% sure) that a lot of Muslim women go there too.
    Same thing with the Nativity, Muslims go pray there a lot.

    I think in general the holy places are well kept and respected by both faiths.

    As for the marriage issue. To be honest, if I EVER told my family that I was going to marry a Muslim girl, they'd go berserk. Really. Same thing for one of my Muslim friends. If she ever decided to marry a Christian guy, it'd be hell on earth. In Bethlehem, this thing happens a lot : young Christian girls often run away with Muslim guys (it's funny, it's usually Christian girls and Muslim guys not the other way 'round, I don't know why).. It's a major crisis for a couple of days. I mean once the Patriarch intervened and the girl got back home and they arranged for her and her family to get out of the country.
    :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: (three rolling-eyes-smileys were necessary. Although they look a bit happy there, they should be a bit more bitter)

    That said, I also want to say that it does happen that Christians and Muslims marry and are very happy. I told you the story of this friend of mine, but I also know these two kids, whose father is a Muslim and whose mom is a Christian. As far as I know, they're happily married, the woman is still a Christian and the guy is still a Muslim. They celebrate everything together. Usually, when a Christian and a Muslim marry, I'd say they stay happy as long as the families don't get between them.

    As for the ladies you're speaking of. I don't know, but I honestly think everyone's expecting them to convert. I'd be really surprised if they don't.

    Oh, I have a question. I heard there were massacres between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt. Is it true? By the way, do you live in Cairo?

    As for Johnston... I was also delighted, because BBC is one of the really rare TV stations that I respect and actually like. (as opposed to say, CNN, Fox News and Al Jazeerah) But I'm pretty sure the "peace process" (hey! someone still believes in that thing!) is just going to stagnate. Probably for a couple more years. Or decades. Until small stuff, like education, change our views on everything.

    Or until the world really gets sick of us bickering Semites and decides to bomb us all :p
     
  20. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:.......ask anyone here, it's not often I am lost for words but you got me. {MW hangs head in shame and wonders what Allah must make of it all}

    So how do your family feel about you having Muslim friends?

    I think that is the same for any marriage, whether religious or not. My motto is get married then move as far away from family as you can get - I found a different continent works :D

    I feel sure there is pressure, even if it is subtle. :(

    No I live in Sheben el Kom, which is a farming town but bizarrely has produced 3 presidents now......wonder if that explains the state of Egyptian politics??? So am about an hours drive from Cairo, into the Nile Delta.

    The religious driven violence has been growing here. I will post a link for a short newspaper article from 2005. It is becoming a worrying trend in the big cities. It all goes back to a play in a church in 2003 and they are still fighting about it in 2007 :(

    Egypt's Christian-Muslim divide - Editorials & Commentary - International Herald Tribune

    This is a great article by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, I keep the site bookmarked as it is a really info resource:

    Welcome to Cairo institute for human rights studies


    Salaam
     

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