Monday, November 2, 2009

Cairo native speaks out against radical Muslims

Central Florida Future. By Monique Valdes

Nonie Darwish, a former member of jihad who has witnessed firsthand the power of radical Islam, came to UCF to ask students and guests one question: Why?
Why do people feel that the Israeli and Arab conflict cannot be solved? Why, whenever a peace agreement is near in the Middle East, is there another uprising to stop it?
Darwish came to UCF on Wednesday, Oct. 28, to share her message. Hosted by the College Republicans, Darwish represented the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group for young people.
Christina Aiuto, a senior political science major and the chairwoman for College Republicans, said she was happy to hear a more conservative viewpoint concerning the threat of radical Islam.
“Obama has yet to really take a stance,” Aiuto said. “I’m beginning to see apathy towards radical Islam.”
To understand her stance on Islam, Darwish said it is important to note what kind of culture she was raised in.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, and later raised in the Gaza Strip, she was taught by the government and her peers that Jews were the enemy and the reason for every problem in the world, she said.
Her father led a fedayeen, a group of Muslim men willing to self-sacrifice against Israel, which is the current model for terrorist organizations.
Darwish grew up with an intense indoctrination of violence and hatred toward Israel. She was surrounded by propaganda that spread outright lies about Jews, Darwish said.
“Peace was never an option growing up,” she said. “Our only option was to help eradicate Israel.”
Darwish said her father was eventually assassinated by the Israel Defense Forces. She described how her father was labeled a hero upon his death. She said the president of Egypt came to her house to ask her and her siblings, “Which one of you will avenge your father’s death by killing Jews?”
For 30 years, Darwish continued to witness hatred and believed terrorism against “the monster” was acceptable. Things like polygamy and cursing Jews in prayer was the norm, she said.
“When you grow up with hatred, it feels normal,” Darwish said.
Coming to America after studying at the American University in Cairo helped prompt a change.
“When I came to America and went to churches and synagogues, I noticed they were praying for all of humanity,” she said. “This is when I found something terribly wrong with my religion.”
Breaking away from Islamic ideals was not easy, Darwish said, but she now vehemently renounces jihad and devotes her life to reformation in the Islamic world at the cost of her own safety.
“I think the West is tired of being free,” she said. “It is as though we want to be cradled in the arms of our government.”
Darwish went on to discuss how, in her eyes, the anti-Semitism and propaganda she saw growing up is now coming to the West.
“There are people advocating this kind of speech,” she said. “[The] Times of London reported how Muslim students in England are being taught non-Muslims are filth.”
Darwish said she would like to see Western media talk about the lies and propaganda seen on Arab television, which happens to be easily found in the West.
“Arab media is demonizing rhetoric that incites violence that impacts Jews and Israel,” she said. “Gaza culture is being brought to America.”
Jonathan Miniello, a senior political science major, said he learned a lot about the fear of giving up any ideology.
“How dedicated must you be to Islam in order to abandon or disinherit your family if they don’t believe?” Miniello said. “I admire her struggle to follow her heart and brain versus her family.”
Miniello said he thought Darwish’s discussion of how Islam is the only religion on Earth that kills those who leave it was interesting.
Junior film major Abdullah Sabawi disagreed with Darwish on many points.
“I gained a clear understanding of people unwilling to open hearts and learn about reality from normative means,” Sabawi said. “The media has made Sharia (Islamic law) a dirty word and has taken Quran scripture out of context.”

No comments:

Post a Comment