[In a hot sauna]
Where are you from?
Ohhh, Hugo Chavez.
No, that’s Venezuela.
Ohhh, that’s right.
Yeah. And you?
Take a guess. Sometimes I get away with Latino, Puerto Rican when I’m in the States.
Mmmm, I don’t see it. You look like you’re from Lebanon….Jordon…
The Middle East basically?
Yeah for sure, somewhere there, don’t know the country but…
So is Chavez a good guy or bad guy?
I think he’s bad.
He’s bad? Why??
Well cuz he had oil, he could stand up to the Americans.
Yeah so that’s good. Did the people like him?
Mmm, not in the end.
But it’s good to stand up to the American’s. They kill so many people and that’s cool but not the other way around.
Yeah well, that’s the way it goes.
Do Latinos like Americans?
It’s like 50 50.
They’re good story tellers.
[He nods.] Yeah.
Like the common man like me and you. No one gives a $$$$ about Muslims when you come home after a long day of work. Naturally you will be affected by the negative storytelling. There is never anything positive about us. Meanwhile they’re dropping bombs and killing innocent people and terrorizing a whole population yet nothing is mentioned about that.
Yeah but Muslims always put their faith first when they kill people.
Faith first? Christians do the same thing.
You wanna make a bet? They say oh God made me do it or God is so a part of their lives, he comes first. Look man, when you destroy a whole nation and kill an economy, kill people and do bad things to their loved ones, someone is going to go “crazy”. They call it Terrorism. I call it insanity. How is it human to keep a population under siege and expect no reaction? Pathetic. We ain’t controlling New York’s airspace or dropping bombs on Washington. But justice isn’t fair.
You feel there is discrimination here?
Oh yeah man, big time. You can feel it from the way they look at you or at the border, you get “randomly” searched.
Man we don’t even have enough leaders. That causes a psychological problem in you. Can we even be leaders? The leaders are always white!
But I work in a school, there are so many Muslims.
Yeah but not in power.
Well that’s true. But you have some. You have a lot of Sikhs.
Yeah but they are just one community. We got Latinos, White people, Chinese, Arabs, Pakistanis you name it. It’s a larger community.
Well I respect everybody.
That’s nice but we got it the other way. If a Muslim commits a crime, they tag him by his religion. How many white and black people have shot at the White House, yet they never mention them by religion.
But Muslims are so stuck to their faith.
Man I could be the worst Muslim on earth and they’ll still find a way to peg me with the religion card.
It’s too bad.
We need more dialogue, people just don’t know. More positive stories. Like even something like Aramaic, it reads from the right to left, not like Latin which goes left to right. That’s the tradition of Jesus Christ. He spoke Aramaic. The same as Arabic, the same as Hebrew.
Oh how do you know that?
Just researching…working on stuff. Anyway about crimes, talk about the Christians, The Spanish forcing Christianity down the Indians throats in South America. They banned the Mayan’s writing.
[Third guy jumps in]
Yes because they said it was against their Christian god.
They burned their books.
And forced them to write in Latin.
Yes because that was the language of Christianity…Latin.
But Latin wasn’t the only popular language. Arabic was used even in Islamic Spain to write Spanish and Portuguese. The Muslims were there for 800 years. The Muslims wrote Spanish in Arabic and the Jews wrote Spanish in Hebrew.
Oh talk about Islamic Spain, just last year I went to Southern Spain.
Oh like Seville, Granada….
Yeah there’s this place Al-hambra.
Oh my God the palaces there are breath-taking. I was so impressed with the writings on the ceiling.
The Arabic writing from the Qur’an?
Yeah they say it even glows at night. I was like wow. Have you bin?
You should go and see. It’s amazing.
That’s what I’m talking about. These kinds of references are key to telling the story.
But you know what the controversy is?
So the Spanish government is like anyone who was a Jew from Spain from that time can get citizenship.
No way. How will they even know?
Yeah I know. Like my name is Pareida. And Pareida is a Jewish name. Many people from Brazil also have that name. They used to be Jewish.
The controversy is people are asking, okay so the Jews get citizenship, but what about the Muslims?
That’s what I’m sayen. The Catholic church apologized to the Jews for the Inquisition but not the Muslims. That’s wack.