Friday, July 29, 2011

replying to comment

I just had a first-time experience... I got some hate mail on my blog! The following is what I wrote in the comments section on that particular post. I love dialogue and feel bad about having taken down the comment but it contained information that shouldn't be on my blog. I may be opening myself up to a huge can of worms, but I want everyone to be happy and I love to talk things out, so here is the comment:

"I'm sorry Anonymous, but I had to delete your comment. My blog is about exploring ideas, not tearing down individuals, which is what I felt you were doing. If you feel I am tearing down individuals in my blog, I apologise - that is not my intention. My intention is to seek a deeper understanding, and if you can pinpoint what exactly I said that attacked an individual, or a group of individuals, I will gladly delete or change it.

"Also, as a point of courtesy, I do believe 'hate' comments should not be posted anonymously. My understanding of internet etiquette is that comments such as yours (particularly because you used my full name which I never do on my blog) should be connected to your identity. Please if you re-comment, I'd appreciate if you identify yourself.

"Thank you so much for understanding and I hope we can talk openly and get to a deeper level of dialogue.

"Finally, the one point you made in your comment to which I can reply is the following: I believe immigration and multiculturalism is a beautiful thing, and I definitely think my Muslim friends contribute a great deal to European society. I also think that Muslims have the right to proselytise just like Christians have the right to proselytise. I believe we are all equal as human beings, under God. If you interpreted my words differently, again, I apologise."


Issam said...

WOW! You made an entire post about this. It actually made me chuckle.

What I said was not "hate mail". That is not what I had in mind when I wrote that comment. And there was no hate in my post. I did use a strong language indeed but that was in response to what you wrote, not because I hate you. I Also I did not know that you kept your name a secret on this blog when at the same time you posted personal pictures of yourself in specific posts and on the blog itself. You also made your Linkedin profile private! Apologies.

My first name is Issam, and I will leave it at that since this is a virtual world. I have a keen interest in inter-religious dialogue and plan, God willing, to work as a missionary to Christians. I also monitor Christian missionary activities and that is how I came to your blog after reading your article on St. Francis' Magazine last December and another article that made a reference to you. I read almost all of your posts and the comments on your blog from 2008 till now, and I was actually interested in meeting you personally. Not sure if you are.

Christianity is not just a part of you, it actually defines you. You have spent almost a decade wandering from one Arab country to another and also made your way to Indonesia. You have admitted that people have always treated you very well and were very hospitable to you. Therefore I expected some reciprocity. So when I came to your post about the Christian terrorist who murdered more than 100 innocent lives because he hated Muslims, I expected to see a very strong condemnation of that Christian terrorist and everything that he stood for. Instead I saw excuses, justifications, calls for limiting the presence of European Muslims and diversity, how things should have remained the way they were like maybe a 100 years ago, and to top it off a promotion of the widely discredited "Clash of Civilizations". We have a strong word in Arabic for someone who is welcome by others but does not welcome those others later on. And I won't say that word. So there is no specific sentence that I can pinpoint for you. Your entire post had a disturbing message which only manifests itself in the literature of Christian fascists. And you say in your blog description that you don't belong to any country but to "heaven". Yeah right.

So with that in mind I am sorry to say that I don't believe you when you say "I believe immigration and multiculturalism is a beautiful thing". It is a late attempt to recover your image. I also don't believe you have any genuine friendships with Muslims, unless you have to meet some of them due to your apparent obsession with Muslims.

I know I sound very blunt and perhaps hostile. I am just a very frank guy who calls a spade a spade. My intention is not to "tear you down". I am always interested in dialogue with Christians and would actually love to meet you personally and talk with you.


Kati patrianoceu said...

Dear Issam,

Thank you for your reply. I know that if you've made up your mind about me there's nothing I can do to change that, but instead I will humbly suggest that perhaps you viewed my post from the perspective of someone who lives surrounded by discrimination. I don't know where you are from or where you live so I can't really speak to your world, but I can see how you would see my thoughts as supportive of Christian terrorism if that is all you have seen - if you haven't seen Christian mercy.

As for myself, I am pleased you have taken the time to read my posts and realise how important Christianity is to me. It really is, probably as important as Islam is to you.

That being said, I live in the world of liberal academia, humanitarianism and humanism. This is a world in which Islam is good and Christianity is bad, because it's "cool" to support the "underdog". When I read the line in the killer's manifesto that talked about 'political correctness', I was reminded of times when my colleagues have dismissed Christianity so blithely and yet supported Islam so passionately. It was to this that I was responding.

And I tried to make it clear in my post that, even though I thought he made ONE good point, I still think what he did is terribly wrong. If that wasn't clear, please believe me: I think a person can say one logical thing and be extremely deluded about everything else. This is my perspective on that man.

This "reciprocity" you are looking for is condemnation, right? I believe that reciprocity is taking the amazing graciousness and hospitality I have experienced in my travels and extending it to everyone, even people who do bad things.

I really do believe in equality. Of course I have a preference for Christianity and love Jesus; I wouldn't be a Christian otherwise. But I also believe that foundation of my faith is the knowledge that we are all human, that we can all learn from each other. When ANY nation (and I've seen it happen in all corners of the world) closes its borders, that nation's people lose out on something wonderful. These are issues I haven't explored in my blog, but I think that if you ever met friends of mine, they would tell you I'm a seriously open-border kind of a girl.

Finally, I would rather not get into who is and isn't a friend of mine. Or whether people who I consider friends are not really friends, or even worse, vice-versa. It's all a bit too personal. Maybe this is wrong of me, but I feel uncomfortable trying to gain credibility by telling you about the background and religions of my friends.

Issam said...

I have seen Christian discrimination and mercy, just like I have seen Muslim discrimination and mercy and Jewish discrimination and mercy. I was not addressing all Christians. In fact Islam did not become my identity until I experienced the hatred of Christians toward my religion and my co-religionists. Before that Islam was a part of me. But in my comment I was addressing you and only you. You advocated the discredited clash of civilizations theory, you do not like diversity, you do not like the Muslim presence in Europe. And you did not condemn the crimes of that Christian terrorist in your first post. What do you call all of that? If you think that that Christian terrorist made one good point, then so did all the great criminals in history like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini etc... After all, everyone is bound to make a logical point throughout his life. None is 100% wrong all the time.

If your colleagues dislike Christianity so much and like Islam instead, then you have to respect their opinion. Freedom of expression anyone? You love Christianity much more than they like Islam and I am sure that you do not like Islam very much. I am also sure that you would like your colleagues to respect your views too. Again, learn to reciprocate.

The reciprocity I was talking about is hospitality, not condemnation. Please read carefully. You were welcomed by people in Indonesia and the Arab world for a decade and yet you are against the Muslim presence in Europe and diversity.

We are all human and we can lean from each other in all religions. I totally understand your preference for Christianity since you are a Christian, but that should not make you dogmatic or biased, otherwise you become irrational.

It is okay to tell me about the background and religions of your friends. It is not like you are going to tell me their names or addresses. I can tell you about mine too. It is alright and takes this dialogue to a deeper level.

You did not say whether they would be interested in a meeting?


Kati patrianoceu said...

Hmmm... I'm not sure where else to take this discussion since you are convinced that I hate diversity and, in particular, Muslims. I have tried to assure you that that's not true but you seem to have made up your mind. I'm very sorry about that indeed, and sorry that I feel it means we can't have a true discussion since it's based on a falsehood.

That being said, my email address is on the sidebar of this page and if you would like to write me, preferably discussing something else, you are very welcome to do so. Thank you!

Issam said...

OK, if you think it is a falsehood, then let's leave it at that. Even though you never condemned that Christian terrorist and instead you wanted to offer him grace.

I want the discussion to continue here if you do not mind (I could not find your e-mail address anyway).

You said that you had Muslim friends. So why do not you tell me about your friends? And would you be interested in a meeting for inter-religious dialogue?


Issam said...

I do not want you to feel sad with my comments. That was not my intention at all. I sincerely wish that you do not hate Muslims and are not against diversity. I just got a different impression, that's all. We can certainly discuss something else like a potential inter-religious dialogue and your friendships with Muslims. So I will be waiting for you reply.


Kati patrianoceu said...

Hi... Yes, well, I guess I am rather sad. I started this blog because I like exploring different cultures and want to encourage openness and dialogue. If you read bigotry into it, that is really a bit heartbreaking. Do I really represent myself that poorly? Or is this whole dialogue just demonstrating that the "clash of civilisations", a concept which you certainly dislike (but which I feel explains so much - precisely because it places all civilisations on an equal footing), is even worse than I had thought? This will be occupying a good bit of my mind for a while, I suspect.

I can't really discuss the things you want in a comment feed, and wouldn't feel comfortable meeting a complete stranger just-like-that. If there are any open events you're involved in, I might be interested in attending. My email address is ktk (at) patrianoceu (dot) org; please feel free to get in touch with me that way.

Issam said...

So you think this whole dialogue is reinforcing your opinion that there is indeed a "Clash of Civilizations" and that it is even worse than you had thought? WOW!! I really do not understand how you think. And now I understand why all those annual American "reports" on "religious freedom" are so biased and sectarian. You say that you like exploring different cultures and want to encourage openness and dialogue, but the "clash of civilizations" runs against that. You are contradicting yourself. And if you feel so superior about yourself and are stuck up the "clash of civilizations" then please stay in the UK and do not mingle with those uncivilized and backward non-Europeans.

The "cash of civilizations" does not explain anything, and it does not place all civilizations on an equal footing. It just gives the criminal American establishment excuses for launching wars to reinforce its economy and political and militaristic hegemony because the American has been built on warfare from day one.

It is okay for countries or civilizations to compete and even to cooperate, but competition must be fair and the American establishment does not like fairness or it would be exposed and collapse.

As for the things that I want you to discuss, we can do it via e-mail. I will be moving to the UK in the next few months God willing, and if you are still there then we can arrange a meeting at any of open events over there.

Kati patrianoceu said...

I think the definition of the term 'clash of civilisations' that you are using is different from the definition I am using. I wish you might withhold judgement for a while and seek some common understanding, instead of calling me so many bad names in one comment thread. It hurts even though I don't know you. I'm surprised that you can't see that. This comment that you just posted might be a little too inflammatory for me to leave publicly visible. If it goes down, that's why; I'm sorry.

Issam said...

Okay, so what is your definition of the "clash of civilization"?

I actually tried seeking some common understanding but you did not help me. You did not even condemn the Norwegian Christian terrorist. I do not know but I think there is some confusion on your part. At any rate, I am all ears and will wait for your clarification.

Issam said...

I just replied to your e-mail. It felt sad reading that. I do not have any animosity and I do not believe that you are an awful person. You just need to clarify some things. By reading your comments here I get a very confused message, and I really want to understand and communicate with you in a meaningful and respectable manner, I really do.

I respect your decision not to debate, but I never wanted our debate to be intense. Actually I do not like intense debates because I always want people to be reasonable and calm. It is not a contest.

Anyway, please go on and explain. I am all ears and will wait for your reply here and to my e-mail.

I hope by now you realize that I am actually a kind person who wants to understand, not to clash or insult.


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