Saturday, April 28, 2007

Brigitte Gabriel's Hate Speech Interview

I found this on the website. Brigitte Garbriel, a Lebanese Christian, is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel. I believe it is because of her constant hate speech towards Muslims. Actually, she has it backwards in this interview; and her comments are at the very least myopic. I am disgusted by her comments, but I think it is important to re-print excerpts from the yahoo interview.

It doesn't matter if one is Christian, Muslim, or Jew. It is important to realize that all human beings are the same. The discrimination against people based on religion needs to end.



Because They Hate, Part IILarry Elder, Yahoo News, 4/26/07
Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian who lived through jihad as a child, wrote "Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America." This is an edited version of our interview.

Elder: Are there moderate Muslims who condemn the radicals, who don't feel threatened by democracy?

Gabriel: Yes. . . . I call it a practicing Muslim and a non-practicing Muslim. I think it is a better description than "moderate" and "radical." A practicing Muslim goes to mosque, prays five times a day, doesn't drink, believes God gave him women to be his property - to beat, to stone to death. . . . He believes Christians and Jews are apes and pigs because they are cursed by Allah. He believes it is his duty to declare war on the infidels because they are Allah's enemies. That is a practicing Muslim. A non-practicing Muslim no longer goes to mosque or prays five times a day, has an occasional glass of wine and believes that a woman is equal to a man. . . . He believes he cannot murder his wife just because he wants to. He does not believe in taking four wives just for sexual pleasure. . . . He no longer believes that, as a Muslim, it is his duty to kill the apes and pigs that have been cursed by Allah. A non-practicing Muslim is educated, an intellectual who believes the Koran - written in the 7th century - doesn't apply to today's standards, and Islam needs to be reformed. Those Muslims do exist and live in the West. However, they are such a minority - we estimate about 2 percent - they are irrelevant because it is the majority that is causing the problem now. (MORE)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hassan is coming back to Egypt -- at least for a little while

Yes, well it's official. Hassan is making his way back to Egypt on May 28, Insha'Allah. It has been six months since he's been gone and though I miss him terribly I am grateful I had the opportunity to see how I could manage on my own.

But it wasn't all on my own. I have my real friends to thank for helping me along the way. I realized who my true friends are in school and outside of school. I even managed to make a few new friends along the way.

I gained my independence back, though it has taken me two years to do so. For the first time since I moved here, I am finally comfortable venturing out on my own, or with a friend or two. Friends who don't use me, friends who listen to me when I cry and complain, and friends who motivate me to keep on keepin' on.

I am still frustrated at not being able to communicate in Arabic, but I have found out that if I just use a few of the words I know, I am treated as though I belong here. Some experiences have been better than others, but overall it has been a very positive experience.

In terms of parenting on my own, I didn't do it all by myself. I have dear friends who have helped me carry the load and empathize with my situation -- Princess N for sure. Paul, Barbara and their children have been an absolute blessing in giving me some time off from parenting, as well as Amy, and Lisa. There are those who gave me words of encouragement and support throughout this time and I am grateful. Thank you all for your help and I cherish you in my heart.

I don't know how long Hassan will be back because he's not sure himself. I just hope that the time we spend together will make up for the time we spent apart.



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The School's Annual Show

The students have been practicing for such a long time to perform at the annual show which was held last night at the Cairo stadium. Watching the students for the past week practice for hours, I wondered how they would ever pull it together to perform at the show. It seems as though as soon as the students put on their costumes they got their act together and performed as one.

The annual show had all the students from all of the different campuses perform: National, English, French, German, and American. It

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Racism and prejudice are everywhere

Recently in the US a famous caucasian radio show host was fired for comments he made about a university's women's basketball team.

I was in the guidance counselor's office one afternoon and I heard a Somalian student say to his friend "Go to class n****r." I will not write the word because it's one of the words that should never be said to anyone. The student was unaware that what he said was bad, and that I heard him say it. Needless to say I verbally tore the student apart. I told him that if I said that to him, he would be on me in a second. The student agreed with me. When the guidance counslor, an African-American, heard what the student said, he also gave the student a piece of his mind. The guidance counselor and I are from the same area of the US and we told the student of our intolerance to use language like that.

The student was later in the library where I asked him to repeat to his friends what he said. When he did, a girl, also Somalian student in hijab turned to me and said "But it's ok if we say it to eachother." I said "No it's not okay for anyone to say it even to each other. How are people ever going to treat you with respect and dignity if this kind of talk is repeated. We need to set good examples not bad ones."

These students are mainly from Canada and Great Britain now living in Egypt.

Islam teaches us that all human beings are the same, regardless of the color of our skin.

These students seem to forget the basics of Islam.



Saturday, April 14, 2007

My weekend was a bust . . .

I had one of those weekends where I had planned to do something everyday -- something exciting, unusual, and fun. As it turns out, I ended up doing absolutely nothing that I planned. Although I have been in a blue funk this weekend, no thanks to a cold and a migraine, I managed to think quite a bit about living in Egypt -- not to mention smoke too much.

A lot of people believe that when you're in a funk the best thing to do is buy yourself something to feel better. I don't believe this; rather I believe in reaching out to friends who are in need.

It puts my life in perspective and helps me to remember to say Alhamdulillah for everything.



Sunday, April 08, 2007

Stained Glass

Hassan and I love stained glass accessories for the home. We have been searching out stained glass pieces to put in our home. We have two huge standing lamps made in the Mission style that have been sitting in our living room for at least 8 months now waiting to find the perfect stained glass lampshades.

Last week Hassan got an email from his cousin, Sherif, who lives in London. Little did we know that Sherif is a stained glass artist. Talk about a small world. Please check out his website to see some of his work.



Friday, April 06, 2007

Pick-up Egyptian style

I was at the pool last week with my one friend "D". We were sitting on the chaise lounges, and I was not feeling particularly pretty. I was wearing my new jeans which are now very baggy and a jean jacket. D was sitting next to me. She doesn't wear hijab, but she is a Muslim. She has blonde hair and blue eyes and I think men are automatically attracted to her.

A man comes up next to me and asks me in Arabic if anyone is using the chaise. I said no. He sits down and gets himself ready to swim. I wasn't looking believe me. He gets up and goes swimming. D and I continued to talk to eachother. Later on the man comes out of the pool and sits down in the chaise next to me. The seat wasn't close to me, but it was the next one over from mine.

This is where it gets interesting.

Man: Are you visiting or do you live here?

Me: I live here.

Man: Do you rent or do you own?

Me: I own.

Man: Are you married?

Me: Yes. (I guess my wedding ring didn't give him a clue)

Man: Your husband, is Egyptian?

Me: Yes.

Man: Is he here?

Me: No, he is currently working in the US. BUT HE'LL BE BACK SOON. (don't really know, but went for it because I knew where this was heading)

Man: Is he a doctor or engineer?

Me: Engineer.

Man: Are you going to be married forever?

Me: Insha'Allah. (what else could be said at this point)

Man: I'm Professor (whatever) a professor at Ain Shams.

Me: Nice to meet you.

Man: Good bye.

Me: Good bye.

He gets up and walks away. Thank God. D asked if I was interested in a professor. I said "If I was, it wouldn't be that one." He was short, maybe my height, rather round and bald.

Then D grabs my hand and says "Ooh, rub whatever you have off on me. I want it. Men are very attracted to you." I said "You can have it." I told D that I think she is so much prettier than me and I don't understand why men talk to me like they do. D says it's my non-Egyptian look while wearing hijab. I told her I put on hijab to be anonymous, not to be more noticed. It backfired.



An update on S and her family

S is home again. She walking with Z on the streets of Cairo, taken by her father and put in the backseat of her father's car. Now she is "visiting" with him and his family in the country. Some of us at school think she is being married off. The taming of the shrew lives.

When D returned to school the following workday a teacher said "So is S dead yet?" D responded "No, of course not. You know, A is a good father and a good husband. He's a good man." Right, what has she been telling everyone since the school started 3 years ago - he was abusive to the entire family when he comes to Cairo from the US.

D has been going around school trying to repair the lies she says S has been spreading about her father. Again, right. How can you believe someone who has told you stories time and time again about how her husband abuses the family.

Now D is a "religious" Muslim. She prays, fasts, and lets you know it too. (Something that is very contrary to what Islam proclaims -- modesty and humility). OK enough of my personal opinions here, but I can't stop now.

She has been called the "modesty police" by some of us at school. You know the type - the kind of person who wraps themselves so tightly in their abaya and hijab but then tells other women that their skirts are too tight, their cleavage is showing, their nipples are showing through their sweater, and more. Don't talk to a man, don't shake a man's hand, don't have a conversation with a man - my God if you do they'll think you want to have sex with them.

Most of the comments D has made concerning women's dress has been aimed at me, except the cleavage comment. That comment was directed at the School Coordinator; she picked the wrong woman to say it to. When comments like that are aimed at me, I want to do more to throw her off.

Last year she complained to the principal that the 3rd grade teacher and 5th grade teacher were holding hands and it gives the wrong impression to the students. (Again, practically having sex.) So to get back at her, there were some teachers who would make eyes at each other and blow kisses at each other in the morning staff meetings just to piss her off. Well, the two teachers were reprimanded and asked not to hold hands in public anymore.

How are teenagers supposed to act when their parents repress everything and keep their children from going out and exploring the world. "If you pull too tightly, you'll lose control."

I think if I were D's daughter I would have run away too.