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From the Archive
Atheism Is A Myth – (2) The Myth of Making Disbelief to Mean Denying God's Existence
We Have the Power of Knowledge but Lack the Financial Means
Those who believe and do good works
The Relation between the Yathreb City-State of Prophet Muhammad and the People of the Book
The Timing of the Fasting Month of Ramadan (3): Ramadan within the Historical Accounts of the Muhammadans
A propos de l'article précédent intitulé (Un appel adressé au président égyptien...)
L'Arabie saoudite sur le point de nier les hadiths sunnites: Le véritable danger posé par le wahhabisme au monde exige l'élimination immédiate du wahhabisme
To whom who says the Qur’an is not complete
Quranic Terminology: Al-Qayyum
We Say the Following about the USA, Israel, and the KSA
Legislation of Jihad in the Islam: -
It is me who said it for the first time about Al Aqsa
Fatwas Part One-Hundred-and-Thirty-Nine
Fatwas Part Seventy-Three
Le camp du bien s’oppose au terrorisme
Pieces of Advice Addressed to the Palestinians for the Last Time: Regarding What Should Be Done
The Patience of Job, the Patience of Jacob, and the Patience of Noah
Sufis Under Fire in Macedonia
Mental illness and the Will
On the Pessimism and Optimism Concerning the Possibly Coming Outbreak in Egypt
What It Takes to Be Here

It was Friday morning. Unlike our usual Fridays, none of our friends
came to pray with us. At noon-Friday prayer time- we all sat together, Dad,
Mom, me, and my five brothers. My dad finished the prayers quickly
this time. Mom was trying to keep herself from crying, and my elder brother
was holding my hand. I started feeling that something was just not right. Dad
turned to us saying, “ I’m leaving to the USA for good. I will first go alone,
and then I will work on bringing you. I do not know how long it will take to
bring you. I do not know whether I will be able to bring you or not, but what
I know is that if I stay here I will get arrested again, and this time it will be for good.” I was stunned. How did not I see this coming? Lately the state
security officers have increased their harassment of my father, using the
chaos all the world was in right after September 11th as an excuse. They
called him in twice last week. AH, this must be why our friends did not come
today.
“I’m forced to leave,” my dad said. “They just will not let us pray in
our home, That’s why we have to find another one.” What is this? It’s a tear
gleaming in my father’s eyes. For the first time in my life, I saw my dad
crying. At the age of 14, he managed to be the father to all his brothers after the death of my grandfather. He brought all of my uncles and aunts up to be doctors and professors. He had stood up against all his university colleagues, when they rejected the ideas he discussed in his PhD. He had refused to submit to the government’s will, or give up what he believed in. I used to stare at the floor when I talked to him because I just could not look him in the eye. He was crying because he was forced to leave his kids, his wife, his friends, and his neighbors. He was forced to leave his country at the age of 52. At an age when most people simply start thinking about retiring, he would be starting a whole new life in a whole new country. In less than a second, all our memories of struggle ran through my head. I remembered when I first realized that there was something special about my father.
I was seven years old. I woke up because of the loud knocking on our door. I ran to open the door. Once I opened it, a policeman came in without saying anything. He just pushed the door and asked for my father, who came running from his office. It took Dad one look to know what was happening. The officer asked dad to come with him to the station to have a small talk. Dad smiled and asked, “Should I take some clothes with me?” The officer said yes, implying that it would be a very long talk. Dad went with him.
I ran to the window, and I saw something I will never forget. All of our
neighbors were watching my father being cuffed just like a criminal. I was
too young to understand exactly what was happening, but I was old enough
to know that they were taking my father away. My father was put in jail for
two months. During these months, I repeatedly asked, “What did my father do?” Nobody could answer me. They said he was jailed because of his
writing. Well, I write my homework. Should I be put in jail?!
My father believes in an Islam that advocates peace and shuns
violence. There are a fundamental differences between our beliefs and most
other Moslems’, especially on the source. We only believe in the Quran,
but they believe in the Quran and also in other books that were written by
ordinary people, who attributed their writings to the prophet Mohamed,
although they wrote them hundreds of years after Mohamed’s death. That
leads to a difference in the interpretation of the Quran. They understand Quran through these books that were written in the middle ages; that’s why they come out with this violent interpretation that may only fit the middle ages, not our current time.
We understand the Quran through its own words and vocabulary, which lead us to an interpretation of Islam that matches the current human rights culture. That’s why my dad poses such a threat to the regime in Egypt.
That’s why he was put in jail.
Dad was released after two months. He joined Dr. Farag Foudah in
establishing the Egyptian Foundation of Enlightenment. They fought against
a religious state in Egypt, when such a notion was widely discussed and
advertised in Egypt. Farag Foudah was assassinated in front of his house,
when he was going out to meet my father. Everybody expected that dad was
going to be next. Dad was advised to disappear from public life at least for a
while, but he refused. He organized a conference to condemn the
assassination and continued the fight. It was clearly declared in the so called
Moslem newspapers that it is dad’s turn to be assassinated; however, the
worldwide reactions of Dr. Farag Foudah’s assassination were strong enough
to force the government to step in to stop such butchery.
I grew up with the feeling that we were different. During school
nobody knew whose son I was. I did not want to tell anybody. I always had
that image of my dad’s arrest in my head. I did not want to face any unexpected questions. In the meantime I started reading my father’s books. I grew up mentally and physically on his beliefs and ideas. The more I read, the more I knew him. Just when I got to know him well, when I started to appreciate every single moment I spent by his side, he was forced to leave me.
Dad left for the USA four days after that Friday. Two days after he
left, the police arrested most of our friends and charged them with contempt
of religion. They got sentenced 3 to 7 years of imprisonment, just because
of their beliefs. In America, Dad continued his struggle. He worked in NED-
National Endowment for Democracy- as an Islamic researcher. He was also
hired by Harvard University as a visiting professor, and was asked to conduct research about reforming the Islamic schools in the USA to confirm and to conform to the American values. He was lately honored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World peace as an ambassador for peace.
On June, 27 2003, I was exiting of Boston’s Logan international airport to find Dad waiting for me. I left all my luggage, my passport, and even my younger brother and ran towards him. All I remember is that I was in his arms for more than ten minutes.
Now my dad continues his struggle through publishing his essays and
books online. His books and articles still stir huge controversies and
discussion in the Arabic media.
Being a part of Dad’s continuous struggle story shaped me to be a
young fighter. I inherited his arguing and persuading skills. Also, living in
such an environment made me discover my love for philosophy. All of that
supported my dream of being a lawyer, to use my arguing and persuading


skills with my philosophical knowledge in my career. Such a dream is still far ahead, but I’m getting there. I have gone a long way since I started. I started working in the USA as an overnight gas station cashier. Through my discussions with the owner that we used to have every day, the owner found what cultured and intellectual person I am. I used to argue with him every day about a different topic. One day, he came arguing about a potential law that they might pass in Massachusetts. By this law, high school students could be searched for drugs. He argued for ten minutes about how such a law violates the students’ rights. After he finished I said, “Dr. Abdo, it is not about their rights; it is about what is right for them.” He stared at me for a while and left. The next day, he offered me a job at his travel Agency. I started as a travel agent, and now I’m the manager of Hajj and Umrah division, organizing the religious pilgrimages to Mecca, Saudia Arabia. I do all of that, and I study full time. I do that because of Dad. I cannot let him down after all he did for me. I will not.

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