Monday, March 17, 2008

Early memories of a nonbeleiver

As a child, my dad taught me Arabic through recitation of the Quran. One of my most vivid memories of this experience was reading surat al-naba’ سورة النبأ (chapter 78), which contains some descriptive verses on Hell and the suffering facing nonbelievers there. My immediate reaction was “God must be bluffing, such place does not exist”. I did not hesitate in sharing these thoughts with my dad, who being an atheist (I did not know this fact at the time) was proud of my reaction.
Today, as a grown up who long declared himself a nonbeliever, I still find myself linked to Islam. I am linked to Islam through my Middle Eastern features, my culture and most important, through the Arabic language that I love and that I find inseparable from Islam (after all Islam is responsible for preserving the Arabic language in it original form for over 1500 years). I am also linked to Islam as a global citizen who is witnessing the ongoing conflicts in the world... one of which is the so called “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West.
The intent of this Blog is to discuss social/political/religious issues from the perspective of a person who is tied to both Western and Islamic cultures. Many of the topics that I will address are considered taboos in Islamic societies. They are unchallenged beliefs that are central to the faith and accepted as truths. Since the path to enlightenment begins with questioning the givens, there will be no taboos here.

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