In my previous article I talked about how exceptional my friendship with Susanne is. I never expected that a religious conservative American like Susanne would be ready to welcome a religious Muslim Arab like me in her life and hear my points of view and explanations concerning varied topics. Susanne has showed me from the very beginning a considerable tolerance toward our differences and an amazing understanding to where I am coming from. I would like to discuss now few of the many wonderful things I learned through my friendship with Susanne.

 

Before I met Susanne, I had always thought that most Americans are completely against us as Muslim Arabs and against our rights and they vote to whom they vote simply because they want to fight and hurt more Muslims. I never tried to think from the other point of view. I never asked myself,” Would I be immune from thinking like the Americans if I were living like them and heard the bad news they hear about us all the time?” My friendship with Susanne has taught me that kindness and honesty help in clearing up misunderstandings and misconceptions that exist in our minds because of the news each one of us hears about the other’s side. It is something sad that many Americans view us as the enemies but we have to understand that that fact can be changed if we try our best to reach out to them with kindness and respect. We should not demonize people, judge them and condemn them because of their ideas and views about us. What are we going to gain from doing that except for gaining more enemies? We should be aware of our great responsibility in delivering our message and our side of the story to as many people as we can. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to win your enemies to your side just by being kind with them instead of having an everlasting conflict with them?

 

My friendship with Susanne made me feel the importance of having a very different friend who is kind enough to tell you his/her honest thoughts and challenge you in things you used to take for granted. Although at times it is difficult thinking about our differences, we have come to realize that these are the things that make our friendship exciting and unusual. So instead of always dwelling on the troublesome aspects of our differences, we are learning to appreciate them. Hearing the point of view of an ordinary Christian American about my part of the world teaches me a lot of things, makes my mind more flexible and broadens my thinking. What would I learn if I only made friends with people who are like me and who think like me? Would it be really good for me if all people I know told me exactly what I want them or expect them to say?

 

I always thank the Lord for the wonderful opportunity He gave me in befriending Susanne. I have learned that there are so many unexpected things that bring us together with people whom we think we are at opposite sides with. I have learned not to focus on the bad news I hear on TV. We always hear in the news about bad things done by Arabs or Americans and it is natural that we feel sad or frustrated when we hear about people causing troubles. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that the media is not going to report much about Arabs and Americans doing good things. That’s why I feel so glad and honored that God gave me the chance to know about people from the other side away from the media. If more people experienced the wonderful things Susanne and I have experienced in our friendship, our world would be better for sure.

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