Lebanese entrepreneur has an epiphany about Islamic culture

After spending three months in Lebanon, the country of his birth, an American entrepreneur returned to the U.S. with a very different outlook.

Statue of Rafic Hariri, Beirut.
Rafik Hariri Memorial garden honors former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 fellow victims murdered in a massive car bomb attack on 14 February 14, 2005 at this site. (Wikipedia)

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 25, 2015 – Every now and then, something surprises you and makes you just want to slap your forehead with the palm of your hand. It usually occurs when you have an epiphany about something that others have been shouting from the rooftops for years.

These are the moments when you begin to understand why people like Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabriel, et. al. continue their relentless pursuit to create a greater awareness of goings-on in the Islamic community that should be obvious even in a politically correct world.

Just last week, a local Lebanese entrepreneur named Billy returned home after spending three months in his country of birth. Billy is the successful owner of a small restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Now in his mid-40s, Billy has been in the United States since his early teens and has built a thriving business thanks to the legitimate freedoms available to him here.

“Why you not tell me what is happening in the Middle East?” asked Billy one morning as I was eating breakfast in his deli. “Those people are crazy. They hate. That’s all they do is hate. They are nuts.”

How does an American respond to someone from Lebanon who grew up surrounded by Islam and now believes that I know more about his former religion than he does?

“I was building a beautiful home in Beirut,” said Billy. “No more. I never going back. I sell my land and my property. I cannot live in a place where everything is hate.”

I just nodded my head, as if to say, “I’ve been telling you that for 15 years since I came back from Saudi Arabia.”

“You know what they say?” asked Billy. “They say Americans are evil. They say ‘I send my son to Iraq for training.’ Are they crazy? They send their 10-year old son to Iraq to learn to kill. The kid should be playing video games, not killing.”

As Billy continued, his face became redder and his voice was so loud that he was almost yelling. “I argue with them every day. Nobody listen. They say ‘How you can sell food to those people? They hate you.’”

“You don’t know nothing,” answered Billy. “My customers come every day. They are friendly. They don’t care where I came from. They don’t shout and curse about Islam. They laugh. They eat. They enjoy life. What if you open up a place in Beirut and a Jew come in to eat. What would you do? You wouldn’t serve him, would you? I feed Jews, Christians, Arabs, Indians. I feed everybody and they all have a good time. They say nothing.”

For Billy, his experience in Lebanon was an awakening. For the first time in his life he was old enough to comprehend the tension and hatred he grew up with but did not comprehend.

What a paradox to see a man convert from the world he once knew and accepted to what he has witnessed and experienced in the U.S. for himself as an expatriate.

Billy is not unique. There are millions of people just like him who reject what is happening in the Middle East. Some, like Billy, are fortunate enough to escape the violence and hatred, achieving a life far better here than anything they could ever have hoped for in their homeland.

Others less fortunate than Billy sit quietly on the sidelines in fear of retribution for speaking out against their religion. These are Muslims who privately denounce what they see but who are afraid to speak out.

But there is one other group. They are the Muslims who have been so indoctrinated by their faith that they use it as a crutch to take advantage of Western culture.

Egyptian Islamist researcher Ali Abd Al-Aal writes, “I have presented claims that the Muslims in Andalusia engaged in fornication, homosexuality and debauchery. Today, if you go to the West and tour the European continent, where there are 50 million Muslims… 80 percent of these Muslims are beggars, living on Western welfare. In other words, the European pays taxes, and the state gives the Muslim money to buy food.

“The Muslim in the West does not earn his daily bread. If he were in the Islamic world, he would die – even the cows and the goats cannot get their sustenance in the Islamic world. Eighty percent are unemployed.”

The people Ali Abd Al-Aal speaks of are the leeches of Muslim society who justify their lifestyles by resorting to victimization, bitterness and resentment.

Over time, perhaps more individuals like Billy will come to the realization of what is internally wrong with Islam in its purest form. Hopefully, politically correct observers in the West will also come to understand, as Billy has, that, for the most part, allegations of Western “Islamophobia” are imaginary.

Should such epiphanies ever occur, many things in this world would change for the better.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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