Friday, March 8, 2013

I Love Jews


Asalamu Alaykom,


There is so much Jew-bashing in Egypt.  I wouldn't mind if it was anti-Zionist.  That's about politics and land disputes which can be debated.  However, Jews are people; brothers and sisters in monotheism.  To hate a Jew is to hate your own theological family.

I had to deal with Hilter-saluting, swastika-wearing teens yesterday.  It was absurd.  What made it even uglier was that some adults around me took it lightly.

As I was trying to make sense of how Egyptian kids in 2013 could be playing Nazis, I was shown the history book from their class.  I didn't understand the pages.  What were those big black rectangles?  Was it some kind of funny twist of that all-white rectangle being a polar bear eating a marshmallow in a snowstorm?

"This blacked-out page  is what the Egyptian government doesn't want them to learn about the Holocaust.

Here's another page.

Here's another."

There were words underneath those censoring black stickers.  There were explanations of stereotyping, scape-goating, propaganda and systematic destruction.  There were pictures of a concentration camp hidden too.  When he ripped at the black, I could see a little of those striped pajamas on gaunt prisoners.  Sadly, those educational explanations of why 6 million people were persecuted and exterminated are outlawed in Egypt.  Hence, children who have little understanding.

This isn't the first time I've run across Egyptian anti-semitism.  I know, it's an oxymoron.  Arabs are Semites.  For Egyptians to hate Semites means they hate themselves.  In America, when I taught students of multiple backgrounds, the student with the least amount of cultural sensitivity was Egyptian.



Now, we have an Egyptian woman being accused of being anti-Semitic.  Samira Ibrahim was supposed to get an award in Washington D.C. for her brave fight against the absurd "virginity testing" during the Revolution.  She arrived in The States only to find out that her Twitter feed was under scrutiny.  She has been dropped from the Honors List for comments which seem to be against Israel.

You can be against Israel but not be against Jews.

You can hate the policies but not the people.  Don't hate Jews.

My name is Yosra.  I'm Muslim.  

I live I Egypt and I love Jews!

Jonas Salk...my protector against polio

Maurice Sendak...my illustrator through many stories and ages

Gene Wilder...my leading man of my childhood in "Willy Wonka," "Young Frankenstein," and "Silver Streak"

Art Garfukle...my sounds of silence in the seventies

Henry Winkler...my cool inspiration in "Happy Days"

Marily Monroe...my one-time idol

Arthur Miller...my dramatist who wrote one of my best parts

Billy Wilder...my favorite (or one of my favorite) directors

Billy Joel...my rock and roll of the eighties

Pat Benatar...my siren of the eighties

Frank Oz...my teacher of positive thinking via Miss Piggy's voice

Anne Frank...my darkest fear and highest hope

Rosana Arquette...my touchstone as Roberta in "Desperately Seeking Susan"

Mr. Libkin...my drama coach

Zvi Gilbert...my summertime crush of 1983

Golda...the "Fiddler on the Roof" character I played in high school

Jeff Goldblum...my leading man of my teens

Stephen Fry...my Brit-com leading man

Senator Paul Wellstone...my political champion

Sarah Jessica Parker...my escape

Gwyneth Paltrow...my role model for elegance and grace




Judy Feld Carr...my sister in faith

Andy Carvin...my news feed on Twitter

Jon Stewart...my sensible satirist

Leopold Weiss...my translator of The Holy Quran, though he changed his name to Mohammed Asad

There are so many Jews who have been good and kind to me over the years.  Some I knew were Jewish and some I didn't.

Back in 2008, when I was so stressed as I looked for worked, I called a private school.  It was looking for a teacher.  I talked with the principal.  We talked a while.  I found out it was a Jewish school.  I then found out he was the Rabbi.  I had no idea.  He told me that Jews can't pray in a Christian church but are allowed to pray in a masjid/mosque.  His kindness and understanding at a difficult time kept me going.  I can't remember his name.  God bless him!

May God reward us for the kindness we show each other in our thoughts, words and actions.




Read this story about Dylan, Sasha and Ahmed and their interfaith friendship on the soccer field.




Read this story about 102-year-old Ruth Knelman, a wonderful Jewish lady reaching out to cooks of all faiths.

Find a way to be loving and accepting of other faiths.  Find a way to be the person who stops prejudice and ignorance.  You and I can be better people than the past.  Inshahallah.



6 comments:

Marie said...

Yosra, this is another great post you wrote here.
It's something I never understood, how we could erase some part of our history or teach our children to hate other people, based on religious belifes, race or skin colour.
You are a beautiful exemple of love and acceptaction of others. May we all follow you on the road.

Much love from both of us.
Stay blessed.
Marie

Maryam said...

You would probably think differently if like my family,
you had to endure the daily oppression coming from the Jews.Our family land in West Bank is occupied,we live in an open air prison.Do you even know what your list of "stars" think of this situation.
I love all human beings who respect others rIghts, but I don't just paint everyone in a statement like you just did,

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Marie,

Love to see your comment. Love to see you! I think this is the first time you've left a comment as Um Mr. Pop. I wonder how you came up with such a nickname for your little guy. You'll have to share that eventually as you have me curious.

God willing, we will raise our sons with the big picture. Life is rarely one-sided and they need to get all the information.

Love and Light!

Asalamu Alaykom Maryam,

It's very hard for you to see the big picture in that prison---and I agree you are in a systmatic annihilation in Palestine. You are a victim of apartheid. Yet, you don't have to be a victim of hate. They can take many things away from you but they don't have to take away your goodness.

I've never been in your exact situation. I have been a trapped person who feared for my safety. I know how it feels to wonder about the future and to wonder if it's worth any hope at all.

The truth is that the future is not theirs since it belongs to Allah. The Creator is The Creator of All There Is. We can't cut apart the believers and decide to love only some.

And I really do have good feelings of love for the people I listed. It's my list. You don't have to agree. They aren't all stars. Zvi should have been a star, he was so talented.

All of us have choices. Make the most of yours where you are. I can't help you out of your situation and I'm sorry about that. If I knew exactly what I had to do then I would do it. I do the little I can to end hate against you.

I also do the little I can to end hate against your oppressors. Hating is never going to end a thing. It is only through love we conquer.

Light and Love...truly

Anonymous said...

I guess education means very little in some countries.
State sponsored hate is unconscionable.

Deanna Troi

egyptchick7 said...

OMGGG Do you know how many times I would fight with my own father about my love for Jews? I mean HELLO, I am a New Yorker living in a Russian Jewish neighborhood- When my father lived here he used to GAMBLE with fellow Jews at a synagogue and now he is anti-all things Jewish because Egypt has taught him to be this way.I am sure the Friday Khutbas probably are cause for this. When I try to tell my other family members about tolerance for them, it comes with a blank stare. I hope your son doesn't get indoctrinated with this ignorance.

I am against Israeli policy, especially with respect to Gaza and settlements on the W.Bank but I don't hate Jews because of it. There are many Israelis against the atrocities caused by their gov't. My girlfriend is half-Palestinian and half-Jewish- Mashallah!

UmmTimo said...

Salam Yosra, I respect your point of view but I definitely do not feel the same. This is not because I was programmed as an Egyptian to think a certain way, it is because of personal interactions and experiences with them in America.

The jews you mentioned you loved may not directly harm Muslims, but how many of them do you think support Israel and the unjust occupation and murder of Muslims through lobbying, donations or fundraising.

On a side note, I had no idea Marilyn Monroe was Jewish.