Sunday, March 14, 2010

the Arabs

What is the difference, truly between the way the Israeli’s view the world and the Arab-Israeli’s & Muslim Arabs of the Middle East view the world? I specify because trying to include the broader Jewish or Muslim communities in my explanation of the perspective I have experienced would be impossible and end in useless generalizations.
When I lived in Egypt, I used to get annoyed at the close mindedness I experienced on a daily basis. Looking back, this was unfair. The Arab Muslims I interacted with had huge hearts and welcoming arms, much like the Jews. The difference in my mind is mainly this- the Arab Muslims who come from the Middle East live in nations who are suppressed through governments leading under the guise of true Islam. Political Islam is the government. Its leaders and subsequently, its institutions claim sole legitimacy to true Islam. In this way, its people are raised in an environment where challenging the religion is challenging the state (and can result in serious consequences- ie. imprisonment).
The mindset is refined when Arabs turn on the TV and see images of American’s flying private jets, throwing sweet 16’s worth more than they make in a lifetime, and throwing away precious resources in the name of materialism. No wonder their images of us are what they are. The claims made by their governments, and in some cases religious authorities, are confirmed by the only contact they have with our culture: television, movies and magazines. Liberalism does not exist to the extent it does in America.
More to follow...

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