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bremer in god's name

bremer in god's name - 'ln yod~/Nam~ 1~:W~4 Muslim Scholar...

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'ln. yod~~/Nam~ . 1~:W~4':'· Muslim Scholar Ebrahim Moosa On Freedom, Fundamentalism, And The Spirit Of Islam KRISTA BREMER 4 The Sun - April 2.006
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2 ast Christmas I traveled to Libya to meet my husband's large Muslimfamily for thefirst time. Stepping offthe plane in Tripoli, I was greeted by a massive portrait of Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya's dictator since 1.969, his head draped in an ornate covering and his eyes obscured by 1.970S- era sunglasses. From that moment on, Qaddafi was with us wherever we went in Libya. His face covered buildings, stared down from posts at the marketplace, flashed by on freeway billboards, and loomed over us in museums, shops, and hotels. My husband translated the Arabic writing beneath his picture for me: "Qaddafi, our souls belong to you." From the Tripoli airport, we drovealongtrash-strewn roads where cars careened at seventy miles per hour, their bumpers nearlygrazingoneanotheras they dodgedpotholes andpuddles ofstagnant water. My husband'sfamily home lies hidden in a tangled labyrinth ofalleys offan unmarked dirt road. We knew we were nearly there when my husband recognized a towering pile oftrash. "Unbelievable," he muttered, shaking his head. "That pile oftrash looks exactly the way it did eight years ago, when I was last here."Now I understood why we never sent mail to hisfamily: mail delivery - along with trash collection, street maintenance, and urban planning - is not among Qaddafi's national priorities. Yet Libya is an oil-rich country, home to the eighth-largest oil reserve in the world. Ourfirst day in Tripoli, my husband's brother - a judge and a prominent official in Qaddafi's regime - invited us to his beautiful housefor a feast. When we arrived, I jumped out ofthe car andspreadmyarms wide to hughim. My brother-in- law deftly leapt to one side with an expression ofalarm, leaving me grasping at air. His children watched wide-eyed as I recov- ered my balance. This brother-in-law, a conservative Muslim, would avoidshaking myhand, oreven makingeyecontact with me, throughout our visit. My female in-laws wore floor-length dresses and head scarves and gathered in animated circles on the floor, apart from the men. Loungingonpillows andsippingsweet, strong tea, I let theirArabic words and laughter wash over me. Sometimes, watchingmymother-in-lawshuffle around her cold,sparsehome in threadbare socks, Ifelt sorryfor her. Other times I envied the intimacy these women clearly shared and the slowpace oftheir daily lives, devoid ofmy typical American concerns: balancing career andfamily; savingfor retirement; trying to stay fit and thin. More than once, Libyans asked me why President George W Bush had chosen to invade Iraq, and yet decided to repair relations with Libya. Qaddafi is afar worse dictator than Sad- dam Hussein was, they said. Peoplevoiced heated criticisms of the U.S. - and equally passionate desires to move there. The American dream, I learned, was also the Libyan dream. All the people I spoke to longed to be able to express themseivesfreely,
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bremer in god's name - 'ln yod~/Nam~ 1~:W~4 Muslim Scholar...

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