Right, but Bill was relating how he feels. We're not as comfortable with Moslems as we 
are with other Christians, even those Christians with whom we
share little in common (in some cases, there are groups, like Ismailis, with whom we 
might have more in common than we would with other Christians, imo,
ironically).

But more to the point politically speaking, Moslems ask themselves the same questions. 
They've taken different approaches in different countries -- we're
not as a group aware of the tremendous diversity of the "Islamic world". Many of these 
countries ask questions relating to what it means to be Arab as
opposed to Islamic, for instance (Iran is not an Arab country, for instance; neither 
is India, Pakistan, or Indonesia, and Morocco and Algeria have
substantial Berber populations). Also many "Moslem" countries have historically had 
large non-Moslem minorities, although the size of those minorities
have dwindled in the past century. Baghdad used to be around 20% Jewish, believe it or 
not. Egypt is still around 10% Christian, and while the al-Assads,
both late father and son and current president, are both, technically speaking Moslem, 
they are secularist in their politics (as is Saddam Hussein and
Hosni Mubarak and Jordan [can't remember the new king's name]), but the al-Assads come 
from a despised minority known as the Alawites, considered by most
Moslems not even to be real Moslems (sound familiar?). "al-Assad" isn't even the real 
family name. That's Arabic for "the lion" and is *not* an Alawite
name; they'd never dare take on such a "presumptuous" name. It's an accident of 
history that, with the help of the French, one of their number came to be
in charge of Syria.

Lebanon's the best question. There are, last time I looked, 12 or 13 "official" 
religious groups, "official" in this sense meaning they have a right to
denominational representation in running the country. Lebanon is "denominationalist" 
in that its constitution guarantees a certain power-sharing split
between the three major groups, and the others get lumped in with one of the major 
groups. The only problem is that the group that used to be the
smallest (the Shi'ites) are now the largest and vice versa (Marionite Christians), and 
that's what led to the civil war back in the Reagan era.

"John W. Redelfs" wrote:

> At 10:05 PM 10/3/02 -0400 Grampa Bill favored us with:
> >Grampa Bill comments:
> >     I do. But in all candor, I must admit that I would be very uncomfortable if I 
>heard a Muslim say, " I am a Moslem first, and then an American."
>
> Islam is a false religion.  Ours is true.  It makes all the difference. --JWR
>
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--
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling 
short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
--Michelangelo Buonarroti

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; 
its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the authorís
employer, nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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