Monday, November 16, 2009

Religious Tolerance....Palestinian Style!

Sometimes you have to tell others about things that you consider ...amazing !It's nothing near to gossip.It ia actually something that is not expected...not in normal real life at least..I mean it could happen in a too good to be true film senario.

A couple of days ago,i was visiting some friends,...did i mention that they were christians????So together with other five lady friends,(it happened that we were all moslems),we sat in this beautiful Foyer-living room of a hundred years old Nablus house,with it's very high arched ceiling.

Our two hostesses with the typical hospitality and ultimate friendliness of most of the Palestinians,did their utmost to make us comfortable,entertained and above all....well fed(typical Palestinian gesture of hospitality ).
It was when the Isha Prayer (that is the evening prayer) was due and we heard the Athan(calling for prayer through the microphones of the mosques),that we were destined to witness such an unforgettable moment .My friend Muna who was with us too,would never miss praying at the exact prayer time...she would not postpone it for anything.Everyone of us-her friends and aquaintances knew this,she prays wherever she is(one time she did pray in a taxi).

All of a sudden Muna -with her beautifull blue eyes,blondish well-made hair and tres chic trouser suit-stood up and said gently:"I have to pray".And before we had time to ponder about her proclamation at the heart of a non-moslem house(I mean how are they supposed to help her),our christian hostess moved gracefully towards the end of the room snatched something from atop an armchair and handed a wrapped bundle of fabric to Muna saying:"Here are the prayng rug and the head cover".

I do not know about the others,but i sat with eyes wide open watching how Muna took (so normally) the bundle from our generous hostess....she was so used to this ....for they were her across the street neighbours for as long as she has lived.


  1. Dear Haifa,
    This story shows that most people understand dignity and respect.Muna and her neighbour obviously have a good friendship based on these values.I look forward to reading more and being allowed inside your normal life.If people in power showed this tolerance the world would be a much nicer place.I love your strength.

  2. I totally agree with Davina - it shows the complete respect Muna'a neighbor has for her as she knew her well enough that she was prepared.

    I learned a long time ago that different doesn't mean wrong...thanks so much for including me when you announced this blog. Between you and Davina you are the superheroes of peacemaking...

    Robyn Hawk

  3. Davina...preserving your normality, humanity amidst all this craziness in all aspects of our life ,is an accomplishment.Thank you Dear Davina for your endless support and friendship.
    Still waiting for updates of your journey.

  4. Hey Robyn....thank you so much for reading and commenting.And please do not thank me for forwarding my articles to is you who i have to thank.Part of it i think is the pleasure of pointing out gestures and actions of normality and sanity, instead of always criticizing your society and resenenting being part of it.Partly its about telling mind led(not media led) people like Yourself and my friend Davina and many others,about different aspects of our daily life,things that are rarely covered by the media.again thanks Robyn.will keep in touch

    Again iam so gratefull for your reviews and guidance on art matters.

  5. Dear Haifa
    Those pure and honest words express the real culture and attitude of the Palestinians through history.
    It's you and me and our parents before us and then our kids all raised up on undrstanding the others and respect their beliefs regardless of their religion, race or color.
    Your words touched both the heart and brain and it's a clear message to those who think they live alone on this planet, and the insist they're right and all the others are wrong.
    Well done Haifa
    Samer Qutob

  6. shukran ya Samer for reading and taking the time to comment,and for your supportive words.your comments, those of Robyn Davina's and many other friends who called to comment,help me focus on untold stories of us Palestinians as Arabs,
    moslems,christians...above all of humans .Reminding others that we need a life rich in arts, culture, happiness, prosperity and certainly freedom!thanks again ya Samer.

  7. wow.. a beautiful and surprising post :)
    I'm a muslim and sometimes i find it hard to say "i'm going to pray" even in a muslim household.. and i never did that in a christian house.. even though some of my closest friends are palestinian christian..

    still it shows how comfortable she must have been there.

    lovely story.. very human.

  8. thanks BuJ for reading and commenting.In Palestine our struggle unites us time to think about minor details and differences....religion is one thing that never seperates us...politics may...!

  9. Haifa dear, that is as it should be great respect for each and everyone's way to pray to their God as they wish.

  10. Thank you Blue Moon and so sorry I just noticed your kind comment.Yes this the kind of religious respect that should prevail.

  11. this is what i call spirituality and not only religion. Rituals are so easy to practice. U can choose a veil or a miniskirt, pray 5 times or go to church once a week.... all rituals are easy and abundant for us to choose from. What is really divine is to naturally love everyone literally everyone, accept them and tolerate their differences. I wish religious people would really choose this pathway. What i truly dread is that some people so called religious people forget that love values are more important than the number of times to pray or what to wear. i think we should learn from people like Muna and her friends and respect their gracefulness in loving God and therefore loving each other.