In what is most likely considered a provocative article in her country, a Saudi writer calls on the Muslim world to think about the reality if Christian-Muslim roles were reversed.
Liberal Saudi journalist Nadine Al-Budair, who lives in Qatar, penned an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai in which she wondered how Muslims would have acted if Christians had blown themselves up in their midst or tried to force their faith on them.
She presented the hypothetical question while calling on the Muslim world to be introspective and enact reforms, instead of condemning Western attitudes towards it.
“Imagine a Western youth coming here and carrying out a suicide mission in one of our public squares in the name of the Cross. Imagine that two skyscrapers had collapsed in some Arab capital, and that an extremist Christian group, donning millennium-old garb, had emerged to take responsibility for the event, while stressing its determination to revive Christian teachings or some Christian rulings, according to its understanding, to live like in the time [of Jesus] and his disciples, and to implement certain edicts of Christian scholar,” she wrote, according to a translation of the article by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“Imagine hearing the voices of monks and priests from churches and prayer houses in and out of the Arab world, screaming on loudspeakers and levelling accusations against Muslims, calling them infidels, and chanting: ‘God, eliminate the Muslims and defeat them all.’”
“Imagine that we had provided an endless number of foreign groups with visas, ID cards, citizenships, proper jobs, free education, free modern healthcare, social security, and so on, and later a member of one of these groups came out, consumed by hatred and bloodlust, and killed our sons on our streets, in our buildings, in our newspaper [offices], in our mosques and in our schools.”
“Imagine a Frenchmen or a German in Paris or Berlin leading his Muslim neighbor [somewhere] in order to slaughter him and then freeze his head in an ice box, in a cold and calculating manner… as one terrorist did with the head of an American in Riyadh years ago.”
She was referring to American engineer Paul Marshall Johnson, who was abducted and beheaded by Al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia in 2004. His severed head was found in an ice box in a Riyadh apartment approximately one month later.
“Imagine that we visited their country as tourists and they shot at us, blew up car bombs near us, and announced their opposition to our presence [there] by chanting: ‘Remove the Muslims from the land of culture.’”
“These images are far from the mind of the Arab or Muslim terrorist because he is certain, or used to be certain, that the West is humanitarian and that the Western citizen would refuse to respond [in this manner] to the barbaric crimes [of the Muslim terrorists]. Despite the terrorist acts of Al-Qaeda and ISIS [the Islamic State], we [Muslims] have been on [Western] soil for years without any fear or worry. Millions of Muslim tourists, immigrants, students, and job seekers [travel to the West] with the doors open [to them], and the streets safe [for them].”
“However, how much longer [will this last]? Today things are different. [Western] anger [at Muslims] is apparent, and they make scary declarations.”
“It is strange that we [Muslims] believe we have the right to condemn such statements rather than address the implications of some of our extremist curricula, our education, and our regimes, and be ashamed [of them]… It is strange that we condemn [the West] instead of addressing what is happening in our midst – the extremist ways in which we interpret the shari’a and our reactionary attitudes towards each other and the world. It is strange that we condemn instead of apologizing to the world.”
“How would you react if a European blew up a theater in your city or a café that your son frequents? What would you do if you heard curses against your religion and faith every Sunday, as they hear [against theirs] from some of our imams on Fridays and other days?
“Imagine being in Amsterdam, London, or New York and knowing that students [there] learn as part of their curricula that you are an infidel, and that killing you is jihad that leads to the virgins of paradise. Would you extend your stay there to the end of the summer, or stay away? [Would you] blow yourself up [as the Muslim terrorists do], or would you do less than that: [Merely] conquer your rage and demand to ban Christians from entering Arab countries. What would you do?
“[Imagine] the war that would break out had Westerners shed their values in the face of the bloody crimes committed by foreigners, and if Western or Christian counter-radicalism had emerged in our Arab cities?
“After all these farces, some Arab analyst comes out touting a pathetic message, and reciting the same words in his friend’s ear that he has repeated millions of times: ‘Those [Muslims who commit terrorism] do not represent Islam, but only themselves.’
“This is all we [know how to do] – absolve [ourselves] of guilt.”