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Question for Jeff

Reader comment on item: The Clash to End All Clashes?
in response to reader comment: The value of empathy

Submitted by Question for Jeff (United States), Feb 9, 2006 at 19:16

Back in 1984, I had a college friend from Pakistan who I thought was a moderate. He and I traveled around the area and exchanged thoughts with each other about girlfriends and politics. So I innocently asked him what he thought of Salman Rushdie writings when we were at a college party. He asked me what he wrote, and nonchalantly I described the book "Satanic Verses" as "a book that the New York TimesBook Review said implied that Muhammad exaggerated or made up the Quran". Well his face turned red and he spitted out the words, "Kafir! Where is a knife -- I have to kill you!" in public at a friend's party.

Others from school stood between us and I was totally astonished. After that point he went on to graduate, ad I suspect he eventually became an extremist. But the point is, that his moderation still didn't prevent him from being an extremist by western standards. Would he be considered a moderate by YOUR standards?

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