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A bid of reconciliation

Reader comment on item: Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam
in response to reader comment: More fatansy from our dear Jon the tablighee and on being one's worst enemy

Submitted by Jon Frost (Germany), Aug 14, 2008 at 10:37

Hey dhimmiboy,

Let's be honest with ourselves: I doubt there are many readers on this anymore. So your words to the readers are probably not necessary.

But let's end the endless debate about my Master's Thesis. One good way to do this would be to play a little game. I'll describe the rules. You need to:

1) Go up to my first response to you, where I first mentioned going to Egypt, and
2) Find this phrase: "I recently returned from Egypt, and (out of interest) I talked with a lot of Coptic Christians there."

See? That was a pretty easy game, huh?

And see, there I say that I went to Egypt (first clasue), and that I talked to Coptic Christians out of interest (second clause). Both of which are true, as I have maintained since. I also did interviews on my topic, which informal employment of youth (check out this presentation by Prof. Ragui Assaad to see what it is: www.iza.org/conference_files/worldb2006/assaad.pdf. As you will see, it is a pretty big topic in economics and especially in Egypt). Those interviews included one with a Christian named Maher, and 18 other interviews with Muslims, all regarding their labor market situation. Maher mentioned some things about his religion and Muslim friends, as well, but it was primarily in the other conversations that I heard the statements to which I was referring. I never claimed that these were a representative sample, only that they were an impression I heard often. If you want to go do research about Coptic perceptions of their societal standing, I welcome you to do so. Please tell me about the results when you go.

On another note, you are right that Egyptians are very friendly people. I, for one, had a very good stay and had good experiences with a lot of people. My trip to (alright) Harat el-Zebbaleen was a real highlight - though it was in my free time, and not related to my thesis interviews, which were in, as I have said, the Darb al Ahmar/al-Darb al-Ahmar/el Darb el Ahmar/ ed-Darb el-Ahmar area.

By the way, in case we're still fighting about spelling, let's try doing "a google" and finding all these different spellings of that district. Another fun case is "Corniche al-Nil", which is (even on street signs in Cairo) alternately "Corniche el Nil", "Corniche al Nile", "Kornish al Nil", etc. Does it matter how we transliterate these things? Not really. Though I like your use of Arabic chat language. You seem to have the distinct advantage of being versed in that and American chat language, OMG LOL. ^_^

Anyway, let me wrap with one more word on the Bible. I actually don't believe that it is corrupted. I believe that it is exactly what the recorders of oral histories, passed down generation-to-generation by the early Jews and early Christians, heard and wrote down. It is all of human invention, as are the scriptures of all other religions. There are parts of the Bible I like: for example Luke 6:27, which you mentioned, and which invites Christians to "turn the other cheek"; I also like Matthew 35:30 which basically says a Christian will be judged based on how he treats the least among him. But a lot more of the Bible is weird, misogynistic, homophobic (especially things by Paul) or otherwise unappealing. Which is one reason why, though I was once a Christian, I gave that up and have a much happier, less restricted life as an Atheist.

Since we've been playing the guessing game about each other's identities, I am going to guess that you are an ex-Muslim (second generation immigrant with Arab Muslim parents, perhaps?) I can't prove it; rather, it is just a guess (perhaps your parents are also Lebanese or Syrian Christians, or perhaps they are hippie WASPs from upstate New York. Who knows?) But if you have, in fact, "abandon(ed) Islam", as I gave up Christianity, then perhaps we share more in common than you think. By the way, If you want to condemn religious violence and intolerance (for example by radical Muslims), I will gladly join you in that. But, as said, I'm not so much into decrying Islam and Muslims generally. I think that they should have the right to practice their religion in peace, as many do. And Americans should differentiate between Islamic terrorists and moderate Muslims, including those in the US.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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