By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota.
“Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is much worse.”
A couple of years ago, I was in a training session in Edina. The instructor, who was from Texas, went out of his way to be nice to me during the session. Every now and then, he would pause as though he wanted to ask me a question that wasn’t training-related, but he would change his mind.
Toward the end of the session, he found the courage and came to where I was sitting to ask me what was on his mind. I pointed to my hijab, as I thought he was going to ask why I wear the hijab. So I prepared myself to answer that question. I was a bit surprised when he blurted out: “Are Muslims trying to take over America?”
I discussed the matter with him, but he kept mentioning Qur’anic teachings he’d heard that tell Muslims to dominate non Muslims wherever they are.
Later, I exchanged emails with him and promised to email him with information to help clarify his concerns, particularly his belief that the Qur’an teaches hatred and violence.
Below are the email exchanges between us. Information that might point to his identity has been removed, and I also changed his name to John.
“Hi John, I am the Muslim woman in one of the …training…You asked regarding Muslims and coexistence and I told you then I would send you an article regarding the issue.I got busy as my father recently passed away and I just saw the note regarding emailing you the document.
It is attached and may answer questions you have.
If you are ever in need of a speaker for a group locally – we can send a speaker or we can refer you to someone in Texas to answer questions. Coexistence requires dialogue.”
“Please accept my sympathies for the passing of your father.Thank you so much for remembering me and the information.It might be interesting for you to read a paperback by Mark Steyn (I think) called America Alone. Lots of statistics and his prediction of the growth of Islam in Europe. He has received a lot of negative press, but there is probably some truth in everything.
Thanks again, and I hope to see you in another class some day. –John”
“John,Thanks for your kind words regarding my father.If you check Steyn’s website – it is very self-promoting. In times like these, a lot of people rise up and pretend to be heroes wanting to save the world or their group from whoever. They throw some truths here and there and voila – they prophecy doom and destruction and incite fear and hatred – and they are superman, if only people will listen.
My faith teaches me, that if the day of judgment arrives, the believers are building trees.
Because truth is not bits there and here, but a light that allows us to listen and understand reality one layer at a time when we are emotionally and mentally centered and not incited.
Why not stop at a Muslim center and engage Muslims instead face to face and drink some tea and coffee and discuss your fears or concerns if you have any?”