Monday, August 30, 2010
All was well for a long time. Then, one day after I had purchased my meager 4 cans of Diet A&W, I noticed that the refrigerator in our house stopped running out of the stuff. I turns out, one of Rhanda's new American friends also drinks and ONLY drinks Diet A&W Root Beer. I was drinking her stash that she keeps in our fridge for when she comes over. This isn't bad, except I found out.
All the managers of all the supermarkets selling Diet A&W Rootbeer have her on speed dial and she buys out their stock as soon as it gets in.... So -- the war is on!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Question No 1. There was a guy up on stage earlier (an Englishman) who had just converted to Islam. He appeared to go through some sort of emotional change during the "swearing in" (for lack of a better word). My question was: Christians also go through such an emotional change during the point at which they are saved, what is the difference between Christian salvation and Islamic salvation?
Answer: You can buy bibles anywhere in Oman. They teach bible in Oman.
What a picture! All I need is a quarter staff and a monk's robe!
Question 4: If choosing to be a muslim is something of that should be done of free will, why is it a death sentence to leave Islam?
Answer: Yusuf says it is not a death sentence to leave Islam (I have higher sources to the contrary). But the death sentence was set up to prevent non-muslim terrorists from sneaking into mosques and killing everyone (it happened a few times back when this rule was written). The rule is not in the Koran.
Final comments were a compliment to Yusuf on his lectures, an appology for being mistaken about bibles in Oman and a final greeting and handshake.
Yusuf shook hands with me and showed everyone that Christians also believe in telling the truth. He pronounced me "Brothers Through the God of Abraham".
It's funny... After the second speech I was sort of surrounded by guys in white turbans and long beards, but in friendship. They sort of gave me the Islamic version of what Christians call "The laying on of hands..." I had a lot of people talking to me. I had a lot of guys asking me questions... I got invited to a dinner with that Yusuf Estes guy.... That was an experience! It was at somone's mansion.
Omani houses have two entrances, the men's and the women's. My wife had to go through a different entrance. When I came into the men's entrance, Yusuf was sort of sitting in a central chair and talking to everyone through a microphone (it was a VERY big house belonging to someone famous). When he saw me walk in, he jumped to his feet and shouted "Paul's here! Allah Akhbar!" ... Which was followed by about a hundred guys in white turbins shouting "ALLAH AKHBAR! ALLAH AKHBAR!" over and over and I had to shake about a hundred hands and return a hundred smiles... It was pretty intimidating. After all that, I decided to keep a low profile. The ladies around the women's entrance asked my wife who she was. She said, "I'm famous Paul's wife!"
The end result was that it got my wife and I down to our own church (Generic Protestant) on sunday - which we hadn't attended in ... well never.... Yusuf pinned down a guy at the party and I was stumped at any means to defend him... Ofcourse, five minutes online and I was shouting "I should have said that! I should have said that!" So I decided that I had to get my head back in the game.
Muslims take their beliefs VERY seriously. There's no room for argument or jokes with anyone but your closest friends.
Like I said, I didn't want to be famous, so I laid low and let the attention go away. Every once in awhile. Someone comes up to me in a shopping mall and wants to shake my hand because he saw me at the Yusuf Estes lectures...
Yusuf is an evangelist minister, converted to Islam, so he uses all the evangelical chrisma that he picked up as a Christian, but under a different religion. People call him "The Funny Sheik".
Here's a sample of Yusuf in action.
Something we need to consider first before forming opinions either for or against the giant mosque and Islamic education center on the back door of the hole in the ground that was once the World Trade Center: It is against Islam to build a memorial to the dead. So before you get the idea that this is going to be something to memorialize or appologise to the thousands who died on 9/11 in the WTC, think again...
With that fact in hand, what is the purpose of putting such a large center for Islam at this location?
What stops the Japanese from putting a Shinto shrine on the Arizona memorial? What stops the American Airforce from flying barrel rolls over the Ginbeku Dome at Hiroshima every 6th of August during memorial services?
The people building this mosque must have one of two motives in mind:
1) To recruit muslims at the sight of the most extreme terrorist act ever performed by Muslims.
2) To educate Americans about our poor foreign policies.
To quote former NYC Mayor, Rudolf Giuliani, "There is no moral equivalent for this [terrorist] act. There is no justification for it. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered 4,000 or 5,000 innocent people." He made this statement after rejecting a 10 million dollar aid check from the Saudis that came couched in lecture from Saudi Prince Alweed on how America "should re-examine it's policies in the Middle East."
If this is an attempt to "educate" America, it is in poor taste. If it is to recruit us - or those who find this kind of action admirable, it needs to be stopped. There are other more appropriate venues for this.
I'm all about having an open mind, and yes, the United States is a free country, but we're also a nation that values mutual respect. This is where laws at the local level should take over. There are really good reasons why officials wouldn't approve of a KKK bookstore in Harlem. Why should it approve a mosque at the 9/11 site? There is no reason that muslims can't have a 13 story mosque - even in Manhattan, just not so close to Ground Zero.
Yes. Muslims also died in the Twin Towers, but muslims do not build memorials to the dead. They DO, however, build memorials to victory.