Originally posted by lobo2099
reply to post by MRuss
..... you sound like a dis-info agent, possibly muslim yourself. islam is a plague
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?
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...