I think My Pakistani BuddyTM is starting to have some doubts, but I'm sure I'm wrong.
Not quite a year ago (or was it longer than that?) he got his own place. I mean, his own place without having to share it with anyone. A home of his own. A group of us at the office put together a care package for him, and I decided to throw in a copy of the Q'ran because I knew he would appreciate it. That, and I intend to read the thing, myself, and thought it would be good for him to have a copy close by for discussion purposes. He was overwhelmed by my gift. Not, as you might think, because of its thoughtfulness, but rather because the copy I gave him was a side-by-side translation in English next to the traditional Arabic.
When I asked him why the English version was such a big deal, he described to me the extent of his "Sunday School" education in Islam, which was pretty typical for the average Pakistani: he did not read the Q'ran in his native Urdu, but rather learned the Arabic for specific passages by rote only!
That's right! He's never read the whole thing! He's never even read part of the thing in a language (by his own admission) he even understands!
Wow! I thought. This is worse than the average Sunday School experience of most Christians! No wonder some Muslims are persuaded to blow up others along with themselves! No wonder some Christians are talked into murder doctors willing to perform abortion procedures! These people are not encouraged to read the texts and interpret for themselves! They are discouraged from following avenues that may lead to critical thinking!
I found myself wondering if My Pakistani BuddyTM would find the Q'ran as discomfiting as I found the Bible to be, when I started reading the whole thing...
Fast forward to today.
He's back from Pakistan, after being too close to the Bhutto assassination event. He's engaged. And he's been a bit quiet, of late. At first I thought he was just shaken up from being next to a major world event and acquiring a fiance in short order... now I'm wondering.
He sent me a link to the following YouTube video. Before going to Pakistan, I am almost positive he would have found this offensive.
Is it possible that between reading the Q'ran and witnessing senseless violence in his birth land, he's starting to have doubts?
I'm having lunch with him, today. I introduced him to massaman curry and he's now a slave to the stuff. Maybe we'll talk about it, then... but I'll let him bring it up, out of politeness.
Time will tell.