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New Respect for Islam---- After Traveling to Morocco

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posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:37 AM
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I had never traveled to a country that practiced Islam before. My only frame of reference was what I had seen on television.

Like many of my fellow Americans, I had a negative impression of Islam and Muslims. 44% of America believes that Islam encourages violence amoung its believers. I had never learned to make a distinction between militant Islam and the general Muslim population.

During my travels through Morocco, I was impressed with the level of dignity most Moroccans possessed. Although many Moroccans live in poverty, a quiet dignity existed there, and although I've been stolen from in Europe (Greece, to be exact) I felt relatively safe in Morocco and no one in my group had any problems, other than the occassional beggar looking for a few coins.

Most women wore western clothing and the country was not swaddled in burkas, although some traditional women did indeed don such traditional clothing. Morocco is currently beefing up its infrastucture to encourage more tourism, and travelers can find comfortable lodging, amazing food and fantastic shopping in the souks and ancient alleys that weave their way through the old parts of the cities.

I attended a lecture there with a dignified Moroccan professor who encouraged my group to help dispel the myths about Islam when we returned home. He reminded us that Morocco was the first country to officially recognize the United States in 1776 when we became independent from the British.

In America, we are getting a constant drumbeat of negative information about Islam---and it's a shame, because I think we are above this. We cannot link all Muslims with extremists. We can visit a place like Morocco, and respect it's culture and history and try to see it with a fresh perspective. Morocco boasts an incredible amount of archaelogy, beautiful deserts and shoreline and lively and intriguing cities. Some of the mosques are breathtaking and I found it intriguing to watch the trails of people make their way to prayer when the call sounded. But religion didn't seem to be the overall message I came away with----

The people of Morocco are really no different than we are. They are raising families, working, living---just like the rest of the world.

Experience is the great liberator and I'm glad for the opportunity to have changed my mind.....about something so important.

Perception is everything.....isn't it?




posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:42 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 


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posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:46 AM
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Actually, I'm an international tour director.

That's what I do for a living.

I'm an American. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Mother. Writer. Gardener. Cook. Educated.

I was hoping to share a part of the world with you.

But sadly, I can see, in my first response, I have run into the same ignorance that is ruining the world.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:49 AM
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reply to post by MRuss
 


You just brightened my view on humanity a bit sister! (sorry for assuming you were a male)

I just left a very disenfranchised post on what had become a very Anti Muslim thread.

This brought my day back up.

Thank you. If you are interested, I can link you to that thread, maybe you'd like to give your perspective to them.

Although it is a mine field there...I wouldn't blame you for not wanting to.
edit on 10/28/2010 by iamsupermanv2 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:53 AM
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Of course, "most" Muslims are, in reality, normal, peaceful people who just want to irk out an existence. Then, of course, are the much more vocal minority of extremists who want nothing but power, control, conflict, and simply use religion as an excuse to try to dominate everyone around them. The only thing is, almost EVERY religion/ideology/group/whatever has "those" people, only they vary a bit on their outward violence, and the decibels they shout their ignorant, hate filled rants at.

You throw in poverty, unstable governments/communities, rampant violence and corruption, people will latch on to any cause/movement/belief to lash out at those they believe placed them in their situation.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:54 AM
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Welcome to the world of truth friend. Morocco is a wonderful country, as are many many muslim countries.
Hope you had a mint tea for us



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:55 AM
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Sure...link me to that thread.

What a sad surprise to find that all these "open minded" people could be so ignorant about a large part of the world.

I had many of the same biases.

I thought when I arrived in a Islamic country, I'd be trampled on the way to prayer or I'd be dining in caves or running from terrorists.

That isn't the case.

That's why traveling is so important.

You wake up when you travel.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 08:59 AM
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Originally posted by lobo2099
reply to post by MRuss
 


..... you sound like a dis-info agent, possibly muslim yourself. islam is a plague


Running into your post after the op was like hitting a wall, not a pleasant experience, wow such tenacious commitment to a series of false impressions.

Great OP MrRuss, I seriously don't know where the 2nd poster is coming from, I guess way below yourself



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:01 AM
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reply to post by MRuss
 


Here you go linky

I'll say again, it's a bit harsh...some are trying to sound educated but yea. Maybe not my personal best at keeping my cool, but what I said I feel needed to be said.

Again, thank you for this thread. You brightened one persons day.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:03 AM
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edit on 28-10-2010 by Thepreye because: Wrong



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:04 AM
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reply to post by MRuss
 


Hello MRuss,
I've posted on a few posts about multi-culturalism and multi-religion in Western countries and my feelings. I'll state I don't think Islam works in Christian countries, or those that aren't Islamist.

That said, however slightly hypocritical this may sound, I agree with you on the fundamentals of your post. I've travelled to Morocco,Tunisia and Alegria. I think there is a huge difference between the people in those countries and those who left those countries to go to others (France, Germany, etc..). I also think there is a huge issue with the "flavour" of Islam. Morocco is not under Sharia law, thank god (whichever god you prefer).

Some of my best friends in France were Muslim, they were disgusted by the new Muslim ways, namely Sharia law which, for reference, is what the Saudi preach and publicise and push to be the overwhelming Islamist way. Their interpretation of the Qu'ran is .. according to my Muslim friends, a total travesty. It doesn't represent the whole, but sadly the minority are now in ever growing control and the amount of money spent to ensure that their version of Islam is predominent is staggering. (check it out)

So in closing I am glad you had a good experience in Morocco, less we forget Mesopotamia was the seat of civilisation and we should respect that. We should also try to understand the differences between cultures. I do however stand by my comments in other posts that at the root, Islam doesn't mix "well" with other cultures if it is the Saudi way.

Regards,
T

edit on 28-10-2010 by torqpoc because: punctuation, spelling, grammar
edit on 28-10-2010 by torqpoc because: and yet more corrections


+1 more 
posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:16 AM
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Originally posted by MRuss
I had never traveled to a country that practiced Islam before. My only frame of reference was what I had seen on television.

Like many of my fellow Americans, I had a negative impression of Islam and Muslims. 44% of America believes that Islam encourages violence amoung its believers. I had never learned to make a distinction between militant Islam and the general Muslim population.

During my travels through Morocco, I was impressed with the level of dignity most Moroccans possessed. Although many Moroccans live in poverty, a quiet dignity existed there, and although I've been stolen from in Europe (Greece, to be exact) I felt relatively safe in Morocco and no one in my group had any problems, other than the occassional beggar looking for a few coins.

Most women wore western clothing and the country was not swaddled in burkas, although some traditional women did indeed don such traditional clothing. Morocco is currently beefing up its infrastucture to encourage more tourism, and travelers can find comfortable lodging, amazing food and fantastic shopping in the souks and ancient alleys that weave their way through the old parts of the cities.

I attended a lecture there with a dignified Moroccan professor who encouraged my group to help dispel the myths about Islam when we returned home. He reminded us that Morocco was the first country to officially recognize the United States in 1776 when we became independent from the British.

In America, we are getting a constant drumbeat of negative information about Islam---and it's a shame, because I think we are above this. We cannot link all Muslims with extremists. We can visit a place like Morocco, and respect it's culture and history and try to see it with a fresh perspective. Morocco boasts an incredible amount of archaelogy, beautiful deserts and shoreline and lively and intriguing cities. Some of the mosques are breathtaking and I found it intriguing to watch the trails of people make their way to prayer when the call sounded. But religion didn't seem to be the overall message I came away with----

The people of Morocco are really no different than we are. They are raising families, working, living---just like the rest of the world.

Experience is the great liberator and I'm glad for the opportunity to have changed my mind.....about something so important.

Perception is everything.....isn't it?



Thank you for this post (S&F). I too have spent some time in Morocco, and loved the people there, and found them just as you say.

I remember being a bit concerned about dress code before I went there the first time (to give a seminar) and I found it refreshing that the women wore either western clothing, or some traditional muslim headscarves as they chose.

I too was struck by their dignity and also their friendliness and generosity - none of which was based on wealth, most of those I interracted with were ordinary working people.

I'm so glad you posted this. It has brought back many happy memories of my times there, and it is information people need to hear.

As I have said in other threads, if we can drop the lables and the blind prejudice, there would be no problem between 99.9% of the world's population. In fact, I believe we have lots of wonderful things to learn from each other.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:19 AM
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Thanks T, for stating your views so respectfully. I learned something about this topic from you in your response, which is why sincere debate is so important-----we actually end up learning something from opposing views.

I am not a religous person at all, although I am a spiritual person. I have a problem with religions in general for all the reasons that have been discussed here at ATS over and over again. But I see what you're saying about different sects of religion hijacking the fundamental message of a religion, and I agree that this is often the basis of so many of our world's plights. When a message is hijacked to serve an agenda (like terrorism), we are in trouble. I see this in Christianity and other religions as well.

What I was trying to register in my OP was how surprised I was at how civil and dignified Morocco was, when the only impression of an Islamic country I'd had was pretty negative at the outset. I was a victim of the tainted views and negativity of our American way---media, ignorance, etc.

Thanks for responding...



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:36 AM
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What a wonderful thread!

Very funny that I just read the thread about the "liberal gene." Essentially, conservatives lack a gene responsible for a dopamine reaction that incentivizes a search for novelty. So liberals seek out new things, like travel to foreign countries, for example. It is no wonder that they tend to be those who are well traveled. And conservatives have limited life experiences and prefer sameness. Shocking!



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:42 AM
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Beautiful post! It's too easy to point fingers at Islam these days.

Everyone needs to see the world as it really is, first hand. People need to realize how beautiful this earth and the different cultures around it can be.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:45 AM
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I've known this for a long time. One of my best friends whom I worked with for 15 years just moved back to Saudi Arabia. I miss him. He taught me a lot about Islam and I do have a great of respect for him and his religion. The man is a saint when it comes to other people. It just went to show what I already knew. People who judge others by the actions of a few are nothing but ignorant.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:47 AM
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Nice post. S&F.

I have travelled quite a bit in various Muslim countries and have similar experiences.

I also went with some faulty pre conceived notions which were thankfully dashed.

One of the most spiritual ( and I'm an Atheist) experiences I have ever had was waking up in tent, in Egypt, to the sound of the call to prayer ringing in my ears. It was absolutely beautiful.

I have never felt unsafe in any of the countries I have visited that were predominantly Muslim, and I seldom take the traditional tourist route.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by MRuss
Thanks T, for stating your views so respectfully. I learned something about this topic from you in your response, which is why sincere debate is so important-----we actually end up learning something from opposing views.

I am not a religous person at all, although I am a spiritual person. I have a problem with religions in general for all the reasons that have been discussed here at ATS over and over again. But I see what you're saying about different sects of religion hijacking the fundamental message of a religion, and I agree that this is often the basis of so many of our world's plights. When a message is hijacked to serve an agenda (like terrorism), we are in trouble. I see this in Christianity and other religions as well.

What I was trying to register in my OP was how surprised I was at how civil and dignified Morocco was, when the only impression of an Islamic country I'd had was pretty negative at the outset. I was a victim of the tainted views and negativity of our American way---media, ignorance, etc.

Thanks for responding...



Dear MRuss,
My pleasure =) I truly respect those who stand out there on a limb to state things that the average joe will sadly not appreciate or "get" and invariably flame (see 2nd post).

All forms of extremism are intolerable and the real way to see the world is, as you say, to get out there and see it for yourself rather than reading some filtered and biased form in a newspaper or TV show. Once you have done that, then at least the view you have of things is your own.

Kind regards,
T

edit on 28-10-2010 by torqpoc because: seems i can't write anything without making mistakes..
edit on 28-10-2010 by torqpoc because: yet more mistakes nerfed



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 10:16 AM
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In hindsight, Lobo2099's response to my post was absolutely perfect.

The first response after my OP brought to the fore the sort of ignorance that exists. Lobo perfectly articulated what I was trying to point out. In fact, he couldn't have written a better response or placed it more perfectly.

Thanks, Lobo, for helping to put "punctuation marks" around the point I was hoping to make.

I do hope you get to travel one day...... I think it will help you to see the world in a different way.



posted on Oct, 28 2010 @ 10:19 AM
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Thanks for sharing this story with us!

Yes, Morocco is definitely a beautiful & exciting country with many nice & friendly people as well! - I would love to go there for a vacation trip again sometime in the future.

S&F





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