The Tundra Tabloids was talking with Elisabeth the other day about her upcoming trial, and she mentioned a couple of interesting encounters she had with two very different friends. “Both kept me thinking very hard even after we parted ways.” This is Elisabeth’s account of those two encounters, which were first published at the Gates of Vienna. KGS
NOTE: Apologies for not getting this posted earlier.
Thoughts Before a Trial
Allison is the mother of twin girls who went to kindergarten with my daughter. Allison and her husband are liberals in the sense of “live and let live”; they have no connection with religion, any religion, and they believe that everyone should have the freedom to believe in whatever he wants, to dress in any way he wants, to eat whatever he wants. We have had many a discussion about what I do and what I believe in, and although we are friends, they have always told me that they think that what I do is wrong in the sense that I am unfairly attacking Muslims.
Allison called me the other night. We talked, and when I told her that I was sad that she and her husband had chosen the United Arab Emirates for their next vacation, she answered that I am a radical. I asked, somewhat surprised, why she thought that.
“Well, I see the hatred in your face when you see a woman in a headscarf on the street.”
“What?” I answered. “How can you tell? Can you read my mind?”
In any case, I do not hate people, but I criticize the ideology that forces women to cover up, that takes away a woman’s right to choose her life and her destiny, an ideology that enslaves women. I inform people about the contents of the Quran and am thus a hate preacher. Or, in other words, by teaching the Quran I am preaching hate. And people listening to me will feel hatred.
“But you also hate the woman, I can see that,” she replied.
I then told her the following: “Allison, once again: how do you know that? Can you read my thoughts? Furthermore, your belief in ‘live and let live’ can only work if everyone adheres to it. But Islam does not call for ‘live and let live’. In any case, you are actually saying what the prosecutor is saying, that this woman hates Muslims, hates Islam, incites other people to hate Muslims by feeling hatred towards Muslims. You should be hoping for a guilty verdict, because you believe you know what I feel.”
She was shocked. Apparently I had nailed her. “No, not at all. I want to you to win, with all my heart. You need to win.”
“But you’re saying something very different, Allison.”
“Well, actually I want you to win for your daughter’s sake.”
Note that she didn’t say: I want you to win because you’re right. Or: You have the right to your opinions, even though I may not agree with them. No, she said: For your daughter’s sake.
“I want you to win because your daughter should not have to deal with a mother who was found guilty in court. She won’t understand it.”
We then decided to change the subject, but afterwards the conversation continued to linger in my mind. What had happened here? Was I wrong? And still, I can only repeat myself for the umpteenth time that I do not hate Muslims (as a matter of fact, I do not hate, period), but liberals do not believe people like me. No matter what I say or do, it seems they are projecting their own bigotries upon me. I am merely holding up a mirror. What they see is not my — non-existent — hatred, but their own.
The next day I met my neighbor and friend Samantha. During our neighborly small talk I told her that I was busy preparing for my case, and this prompted her to say in a near-whisper, “You know, I have been following your case, and though I wasn’t always so sure about what you stood for I can tell you now that I think you’re spot on. I admire you. I do not have the courage to do what you are doing, but you are doing the right thing. I also tell my friends that I think you are right and you need to be supported. They criticized you heavily before, but they are also starting to understand.”
Not only did Samantha’s words move me to tears, but I was amazed at her honesty in admitting that she had actually studied my words and found them to be the truth. And this is what I hope the court will also conclude after careful study of my arguments. One may not agree with my statements, but they are still true. No matter how painful the truth may be, it must remain what it is: the truth.