The following anecdote is written by my friend Aamer Jamali, via email a few weeks ago (prior to the Inauguration). I have his permission to reprint it here.
Of all the things to remember about my Hajj trip (and there are right
now, too many to recount) an especially illustrative anecdote stands
out in my mind, which may do more to establish a fundamental truth
about our recent election than any number of pundits could.
Medina (the Prophet’s SA city), a group of us from the States were
visiting a number of the Prophet’s SA original mosques. In Masjid
al-Fateh, a small masjid on a small hilltop, a group of us crowded in
to say our prayers. Seeing the group of us ascend the hill, two
members of the Moral Authority (Saudi religious police) followed us up,
and shortly after we began our prayers began to usher us out. Their
ostensible reason? There was a much larger masjid nearby where we
could pray more comfortably (not built by the Prophet SA). There was
no doubt that their outward ‘concern’ for our comfort was fueled by a
bitter dislike of Shiites (us) by Wahhabi Sunnis (them).
we were filing out (after an impressive Arabic shouting match by our
group leader), one of the ladies made a comment that gave away the fact
we were Americans. Immediately, the policeman stopped everyone to
loudly ask “You are from America?” Fearing that this lady had made a
comment that would land us a night in jail or worse, we meekly answered
A heated whispering Arabic discussion took place between
the two MA members. Followed by one of them addressing the lady
“Hussein Obama?” To which she enthusiastically replied “Barack Hussein
Obama!” At this point, the most amazing thing happened. The two MA
members, Wahhabis through and through, took pains to turn our group
around, usher our Shiite group back INTO the masjid, and exhort us to
take as long as we wanted to finish our prayers.
We have no
idea what kind of president Barack Obama will be. He has not even
taken office yet. But it is becoming clear what the fact that we
elected him says about US, the American people. And no matter what he
does or doesn’t accomplish, nobody can take that away from us.
Aamer H. Jamali, MD, FACC is a cardiologist in Los Angeles.