I just received this beautiful letter from a Jihad Watch reader, who has kindly allowed me to post it. Be sure not to miss the exchange between the teacher and student:
Good evening, Mr. Spencer.
I wanted to share a personal note with you and Hugh and Rebecca. I only know how to get in touch with you, however, so please feel free to pass it along if you feel it appropriate.
I have been quietly watching Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch since a new friend introduced me to it several months ago. Only very rarely do I muster up the nerve to comment, as I feel that many of the participants are far more knowledgeable than I (and I”m fearful of looking ignorant or ridiculous — or perhaps both!). I”ve been studying Islam and the Middle East since shortly after the events of 9-11. I”m a paramedic and I knew many of the firefighters killed in the World Trade Center attacks. Once a few weeks went by, I felt an overwhelming need to understand why the whole thing happened. Sadly, like most Americans, I was ignorant about anything that had to do with Islam, terrorism, or the Middle East. I turned to the mainstream media and knew almost instantly that no real answers would be found from within the walls of the “newsrooms.” And so, my quiet, independent studies began.
At the time, my son was nine years old, and after much deliberation on my part, I decided to include him in my studies. The more I learned about Islam and the more I learned about the effects — both real and potential — that it was having on our society and on societies across the globe, the more I was determined to educate my son on the subject the same way I choose to help educate him with math, science, and other necessities of the world. Together, we have read nearly all of your books and many, many works that you have recommended (we”re currently working our way through all of the books we”re not supposed to read that were mentioned in PIG). We have recently finished reading the Qur’an for the third time — it’s difficult to comprehend it all the first time, and it’s still hard to believe that it says what it says the second time, so we found we needed three times to full grasp the content.
My son is now thirteen. He attends a private school, and he came home nearly in tears three weeks ago. While in his history class, his teacher was speaking about the KKK and mentioned that at that particular period in America’s history, members of the KKK sincerely felt they were doing God’s will just as the terrorists who have hijacked the peaceful religion of Islam believe they are doing God’s will. Well, my son raised his hand and said something to the effect of, “Actually, Islam is not a religion of peace. Did you know that the Hadith” — and he explained what that is — “dictates that only three choices are acceptable for non-Muslims according to Islam?” He went on to explain the three choices were conversion, paying the non-Muslim tax, or death. At that point, his teacher said to him something of the effect of, “Telling vicious lies like that and spreading hatred for Muslims is exactly the same thing the Nazis did when they spread lies about Jewish people eating Catholic babies in order to spread hatred for Jewish people.” My son sat in his chair, said nothing, and class proceeded. My son came home devastated.
But, never did he question that what he said was accurate. He was devastated that the teacher made him look like a liar and a “discriminating punk” — his words, not mine — in front of his classmates. He was heartbroken that people would look at him as someone who would ever spread hatred or untruths when he — at the age of thirteen — had spent four years learning what the truth is and uncovering the places where true hatred lives. I knew immediately that this was a situation that my son needed to handle himself, so we began to speak about the options that he had in dealing with his teacher, his classmates, and his school administrators. He worked out a plan with which he was comfortable, began printing articles from your site and others, used his own money to purchase a copy of the Qur’an for his teacher (which he highlighted — heavily), and worked up the courage to take it all to his history teacher. After a very long conversation, and after receiving an apology from his teacher (for hurting his feelings but not for saying that his statements were untrue), my son was allowed to speak to his class about what he had said and why he believes it to be true. His “speech” was short, and I wasn’t there to hear it, but I”m quite certain he did the best job that he could. I was — and am — very proud of him.
So, now it’s been three weeks since that incident, and my son came home from school today with the age old assignment of “Please write an essay naming five or six famous people you would like to have dinner with and why” essay. The essay was assigned by his history teacher. Curious who he would choose, I asked him. He looked at me like I was stupid and said, “Robert, Hugh, Rebecca, Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye”or, and you. Even though you”re not famous I figure you should get to be at dinner. But I get to sit near Rebecca. And we both know you want to sit near Hugh anyway.”
Out of the mouth of babes.
Thank you so very much for the service you provide and for the struggle that you, and so many like you, persist to keep alive. It is because of your efforts during the past decades, and the efforts that I know you”ll be making for decades to come, that children like my son will be able to grow up and enjoy a life free of the oppression and violence dictated by the jihad.
With absolute sincerity and with the utmost respect,
Andrea L. Padinha
Thank you, Ms. Padinha. I look forward very much to that dinner.