How much acrimony is there really between Muslims and non-Muslims in Muslim dominant parts of the world? Is it a matter of the media hyping it up, and making it seem like we just never see eye to eye with others? I ask myself these questions everytime I see my doctor, who happens to be a Coptic Egyptian.
He is always unfailing embracing of Muslim cultural traditions. He tells us stories of how in Egypt, Ramadaan was his favorite month; when he describes Eid in Egypt, he says his parents would get them all new clothes and gifts, and how exciting it would be. How his best friends names where Muhammad, Abdullah, and Hussein, and they were all Muslims (not surprising, with Copts being a minority), and how he still misses them.
Then there is his humble acknowledgment that Allah (he doesn’t say God too often, mostly says Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is responsible for every good result in his treatment of his patients is so similar to our core belief too. The belief being that everything good, anywhere, in any shape, is certainly from Allah. And everything that has bad results is from our own shortcomings.
So to what degree are the stories of inter-religious friction true? Is it a matter of exaggeration on the part of the media? Or on the part of the people with motives and interests at stake? What gives…because I have noticed this with Armenian Christians as well. In the media, all I hear is how much they dislike Muslims for the oppression they were put through. Yet, when I meet one for real, the little old Armenian lady hugs me and asks if I am Armenian. Same story when I meet Shi’ite Iranians, too, by the way. So how much is hype? How much is genuine discord?