What disturbed me the most and alerted me to the fact that we may, in fact, be witnessing the rise of a fascist regime, is a video on YouTube of a sheikh explaining Chapter 5 of the Quran. Verse five of that Chapter says, “The food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them.”
The sheikh explained this verse in a way that allows a Muslim to eat the food of a Christian. So far, so good. But then he volunteered to explain in some detail why he himself does not eat with his Coptic neighbours or acquaintances. It has nothing to do with piety, he shamelessly explained, but with disgust: “I get disgusted, man, what can I say? Oh, and their smell… Man, I just don’t like them. It’s my free opinion; I am disgusted by them, their smell, their form, everything.” Then he picked up a glass of water in front of him and said, “Even if he holds a glass of water like this, I would not drink from it.”
This sheikh then tells us two stories to explain his opinion about the difference between piety and disgust. The first story is how he went to a pastry shop to buy some sweets for his children. After he had put in his order he turned around and was stunned by what he saw: “You know, those pictures of theirs; their priest, another holding a serpent in his hand. Everyone in the shop had [wrist tattoos of] crosses, crosses, crosses.”
The sheikh quickly left the shop and got rid of the sweets he had just bought. He added the following explanation: “I get disgusted, man. I’m not going to say my position is informed by piety. No, it’s not piety, it’s disgust.”
The second story is about his Coptic neighbour who complained to him about a water leak that ruined his bathroom ceiling. Despite his disgust at his Coptic neighbour, our esteemed sheikh forced himself to go to his neighbour’s apartment to see the damage himself. As soon as he inspected it, he promised to pay for the repairs.
Two days later, the two men met on the street and his Coptic neighbour thanked him for responding so quickly. “He told me, ‘You prevented harm from befalling me’ and I responded, ‘My religion taught me to do so.’ He said, ‘Of course, we are neighbours and brothers.’ I said, ‘No, we are not brothers; brothers is a term you people use, as for me, no. You got what is your right, but don’t ask me to love you… You will only take your right from us, despite how much I hate you.”
And thus, the good sheikh taught us two lessons. First, he wants us to believe that his disgust towards Christians is a natural sentiment, meaning it is triggered by their nature (their smell, their form) and that this sentiment, disgust, is not socially construed. Accordingly, he believes that disgust is more akin to hunger, thirst or lust than it is to remorse, anger or jealousy. And since it is an instinctive feeling, it is to be sanctioned if not actually supported and amplified.
And so, although the Prophet had eaten from the food of the People of the Book, this sheikh prefers not to mix with them, not out of piety but out of disgust (linguistically in Arabic, qaraf, Arabic for ‘disgust,’ means contact with disease.)
The second lesson is that there is no room for love or affinity between Muslims and Copts; their relationship is ruled by justice, not by love. Sharia guarantees the rights of the People of the Book, “so don’t tell me to love him or ‘We are brothers,’ and those stupid things. No, we are not brothers and I don’t love him.”
The discourse of the esteemed sheikh is not only sectarian but also flagrantly racist. It is a discourse befitting of a fascist political system.
I hope Mr. Chaplin won’t be hating me on his grave after using this altered version of The Great Dictator used by a french website that I’d define as “fascist” myself (http://sitamnesty.wordpress.com/) , equally tasteless and irrational as the Sheikh depicted in the article, but I wanted to add a touch of humour on the fact that Christian Arabs….. nowadays mossarabs, suffer an increase in this kind of behaviours and attitudes.
I remember last summer I saw one of these beardies who rule the local mosque in my hometown having some juice outside a mall… he was wetting his beard into the juice. Used his hand to “clean” the mess… just to let the sticky hairs become a magnet for flies…
Am I saying that christian arabs are cleaner or that they are the kind of people that deserves bigger respect because they belong to my religious branch… or even for the fact they are an increasingly opressed minority in Middle East?… Absolutely not.
I could not appreciate too many differences between christian and muslim egyptians when I visited the country in 2008.
For the good or the bad.
It’s true also that historically, christian minorities were cultural spearheads in the countries they lived in. So education is an essential tool. But this as well does not deny facts like the massacres in Sabra and Shatila, in Lebanon.
Same as the whole Civil War, this shameful crimes started as a christian reaction to the increasing muslim political strength, after dozens of thousands of palestinians crossed into Lebanon’s borders.
So we have seen this among arabs almost as much as among europeans, or any other culture in the world.
It didn’t need to be based in religion, ethnicity, economical or cultural status. Even when all this has its influence.
Actually, stupidity does not depend on what is the stupid’s reasons to be like that.
Reasons are secondary needs for them.
They’re just useful as a moral shield to prevent these people from the effort of heading towards human improvement.
Stupidity is Everywhere, amigos.
And comes from a lazy moral guideline… or from the absence of it, added to the need of stating to others that we got one, after all.
Stupidity should be simple by deffinition. But it’s a messy thing.