I like to think of myself as open minded and not a bigot, although there have been moments...
I have a Lady friend that is Jewish; for the sake of this blog I'll call her Gretchen. Very intelligent woman, educated, accomplished, and I think, cute!
I also had an Egyptian friend who is Muslim; for the sake of this blog I'll call him Hansel.
One day Gretchen came to Greeley and we decided to go out to dinner at a soup place I like called Pho Duy on 23rd Avenue in Greeley. Earlier in the day I had talked to Hansel about the possibility of us having dinner together. He really likes Pho Duy and stated that he might be able to meet us there.
Well, Gretchen and I got to the restaurant, ordered, had our meal, and Hansel showed up with his wife and her daughter. Since the table we were sitting at was small, we decided to get a bigger round corner table to accommodate all of us. I made introductions and we moved to the bigger table.
We sat there making small talk, with the little darling being a pain in the arse, but that's another story. This was shortly after the Egyptian elections with the Muslim Brotherhood taking control.
Gretchen asked Hansel about the turmoil in his homeland. His answer was almost mechanical, "I don't know what's going on over there. All I want to do is work, make a living and take care of my family." As soon as I heard that, warning bells started going off in my head. Gretchen continued to try to engage Hansel in friendly discussion, and whenever she asked a politically weighted question, he would answer, almost word-for-word, "I don't know what's going on over there. All I want to do is work, make a living and take care of my family."
Gretchen also tried to ask Hansel a question in Arabic (?). When she did, he looked at her like she had sprouted a couple of heads with horns on them! Gretchen was married at one time to a man from the Middle East, who was Muslim, and had learned a fair share of the language. At his lack of response, Gretchen got up from the table to use the restroom. I could tell she was getting agitated with Hansel.
While she was gone, Hansel turned to me and asked me, "What the F*** are you doing dating a Jew?" I didn't think I heard him right, since he was somewhat whispering, and my brain didn't want to accept the question, so I asked him, "What?" He repeated himself, and I "got it".
When Gretchen got back to the table, I had had enough. I turned to Hansel and told him in so many words, that I couldn't believe that he didn't have an opinion about what was going on in his home country, since we had talked about such things, even the previous week. I didn't appreciate him lying to Gretchen and I, and acting like such a dumbass! With that I turned to Gretchen and suggested we "partake of our abscence", meaning, leave.
I waited until we were out in the car and had left the parking lot when I told her what Hansel had said when she was in the bathroom. She was livid, and rightfully so. I was too, but controlled myself.
Now a few points to make.
When we were talking and Hansel answered with his stock answer, I "heard warning bells going off in my head" because of some of the E-mails I had gotten about the "Muslim Threat" and Sharia Law. I TRY to take all the E-mails I get with a very big grain of salt, meaning that I don't necessarily buy in to whatever they are promoting. Some of them had been about the "Muslim Threat" and Sharia Law being forced into our laws, with one stating that radical Muslims, if threatened or "cornered", will say, "I don't know... All I want to do is work, make a living and take care of my family." It is a stock line that they are told to use to disarm their opponents. Word for word, this is the answer Hansel had given us. So now I wonder if he's a radical Muslim.
The next point is: No matter what you think of a man's girlfriend, you don't say anything about her! I could be dating a hairy circus midget covered in tattoos, but you don't diss on my woman! Hansel broke that rule big time.
Finally, I wonder: What was Hansel thinking? He knew I was dating a Jewish woman. If he was so bigoted, then why did he agree to meet us for dinner, albeit late? If he has so much hatred towards Jews, why did he show up?
I haven't talked to Hansel since that day. I told my boss about what happened, and he said that he never did trust Hansel. He also stated that if he sees Hansel again, he'll give him a piece of his mind, and he's not welcomed down at our shop; he'll call the police!
I know a couple of Muslim Fuel Haulers, and they're very nice, hard working men. I also know a few Muslim store owners who wouldn't give me the time of day.
Fortunately, this one incident hasn't made me Muslim-phobic.
It has, however, made me very aware.