Wednesday, January 21, 2004

No connection
Almost one week with no connection to the internet… Who knows what has happened? I have been traveling: planes, buses, and automobiles…

I spent some time in the house of some religious friends of ours. There were many women and girls in the house. One of the girls was shocked by my lack of knowledge of Islam. Her father gave me an English Koran to read. There was one chapter (surah) that I read that was all about how Muslims should not be friends with Jews and Christians. By the end of that surah (is it 5?), I was extremely depressed. I felt that my friends must be uncomfortable to be my friends. This, despite the fact that I know that one of Mohammed's closest friends was Jewish. I did not get a chance to ask them how they felt.

I felt so comfortable with this family. The women and girls were not what I expected. This is my prejudice, of course: I expect traditionally religious women of all stripes to be meek and boring. I cannot remember ever meeting a traditionally religious woman who was meek and boring, but they must exist. They were neither: they were fun, smart, and at ease with themselves and with me. The funny thing was, that as the only non-family member in the house, I was the one wearing the headscarf, while the other women dressed as they pleased.

During the past week, in many different cities, with many different people, I can tell you that there was one topic that was notably absent from conversation: the upcoming elections. Taxi drivers did not discuss it. Friends did not discuss it. Family did not discuss it. No one said a word.

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