Mothercorp was blasting away on this today. The man who gave the lecture is named Zachariah Anani, a Muslim who converted to Christianity (and then found his life threatened.) He is a former member of a Lebanese militia group called Ali's Youth and one way or another claims to have killed more than 200 people in the course of his career of rebellion. Before the age of 17. He decided to give that up and came to Canada as a refugee, and now he's a Canadian citizen. Anani's lecture was intended to inform people of the violent underpinnings of Islam and the Koran.
The second session in the conference is apparently called Could Jihad Be Coming to Your Neighbourhood? Nice, eh? Very neighbourly. Friendly neighbourhood Baptist Church.
Needless to say, the content of the lecture and some of the discussion that took place has caused some stir in the state of Whimsy. Hate speech, some are calling it. Jihad coming to your neighbourhood? Well, maybe not hate speech, but certainly a healthy dose of hyperbole. Fear-mongering. Just what we all need to sleep better at night.
The reason I bring this up is because I had an experience with this sort of thing a few years ago. I don't remember exactly when, but it was after 9/11. (As a matter of fact, I just remembered that it was around Nov. 11, Remembrance Day.) Now, I don't want you to think I'm picking on the Baptists, but it just so happens that this occurred at a Baptist church in Arnprior. (I could never make up a better name...) The sermon that day was about Islam. How "their" God is not "our" God. How they worship a black stone that resides in Mecca. How they were trying to fool us by claiming it was the same God. Infidels! Beware! All done with PowerPoint, no less! PowerPoint. Talking Points. Pamphlets for further perusal. Investigate the stranger in our midst!
The whole thing made me extremely uncomfortable. I did not feel as if I were in Christian surroundings. And though it may not have been hate speech, it was definitely (but subtly) inflammatory. And the congregation was encouraged to study up on this dangerous foreign religion. Ordinary whitebread Arnprior townsfolk being spoonfed bitter pablum by a nominally Christian pastor...and unfortunately, I could see that a number of them swallowed it.
Reminds me of a song by Steely Dan...Third World Man:
Is a bunker filled with sand
He's become a third world man
He's been mobilized since dawn
Now he's crouching on the lawn
He's a third world man
Yep, I'll be out patrolling the quadrangle of the Yoni School every afternoon now, just in case Jihad is coming to my neighbourhood.