association to celebrate the end of Ramadan. It consisted of the
traditional feast, and a speech by a local imam talking about the
basics of the religion. The person who invited me was a Libyan
exchange student in the Econ department.
I got into a discussion with a mechanical engineering student from
Jordan. Actually, he and his family were originally from Palestine.
He originally went to some university in Ohio, but then moved to
our university, which he likes a lot better. Being in the worst part of
Cleveland is not a fun experience for anybody, especially a foreign
student. People he knew were robbed, and he saw someone who had been
knifed by a panhandler. Here, by contrast, is a utopia filled with
nothing but friendly, helpful people.
Yet, oddly enough, He said that before he came here, he had 'the wrong
idea' of the USA from movies. He thought America would be a 'bad,
dangerous' place. He did not say that Cleveland fit his expectations;
apparently his fears were even worse then the reality he experienced
I asked him about the Wahhabi sect*. Here is exactly what he said:
"They are very strict. They don't think."
Later, he said something like:
"There are a lot of people who use the religion to try to cover up the
problems in their lives. Instead of looking in their hearts, they
find an excuse to blame other people."
He said that the Wahhabi muftis are becoming less and less popular as
people realize how out-of-touch they are. Maybe he was just trying to
say what I wanted to hear, but it seemed like he really did view them
as ignorant hicks.
Related note: One of the presenters at the education conference a few
weeks ago mentioned that most terrorists do not come from the
madrassas (religion schools) They come from state universities. He
said that it was not the result he wanted to find, but the data show
having more knowledge of Islam makes one less likely to be a
* The branch that supports jihad, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorists.