I am optimistic that over time, world Islam can become a religion compatible with modernity, that separation of church and state can come to be the norm and that other religions will be respected. I don’t know how long it will take or how many terrorists and innocents will have to die in the meantime, but I believe it can and will happen.
Meanwhile, this prosaic, minor story from the Arab News is a rather perfect little synecdoche for how far things have to go before “normality” can be achieved.
- JEDDAH – Paper cups with Hebrew writing disturbed both employees and medical staff at King Khaled National Guard Hospital on Saturday. The catering subcontractor for the hospital coffee shops began using them on Saturday after their usual supply ran out.
“We were shocked and angry,” said an employee. “How can Israeli products be allowed and how did they enter this hospital?” he asked.
The Filipino employee who works in the Al-Musbah coffee shop asked: “Why is everybody mad about the cups?” He was told: “Because they are made in Israel!”
According to hospital officials, the matter is being investigated and action will be taken.
…Arab News contacted Ibrahim Al-Musbah, manager and owner, who said, “I thank you for informing me. I will look into it personally and the offending articles will be disposed of.” He added that the company has a supplier in the Kingdom from whom they buy restaurant supplies. According to Al-Musbah, the supplier might be unaware of the problem.
…The paper cups were quickly withdrawn from use but might there not be other, less obvious, Israeli products in our shops and marketplaces?
Need I say more?