This evening, I attended in Newseum a conversation about the “American Muslims”. I was to see around 400 people attend the talk. The video about the American Muslims received much applause. The three Muslim speakers were equally impressive. Until then, I thought these guys were quickly winning hearts with their humor, passion and optimism.
Then the bad thing happened. By one mistake, these three inspiring Muslims lost control over the game.
“I will be honest,” said a bearded American among the audience during the Q&A session, “I don’t have much respect for Islam because it teaches an eye for an eye. Why didn’t the Muslims protest against 9/11 attacks?”
The Muslim panelist initially responded to the question with arguments.
He got angrier and louder.
” You [Americans] don’t like us because of our religion,” he shouted. It was a destructive response.
He got further angry and shouted louder.
“Why did we wage the damn war in Afghanistan to kill the Muslims? He replied ”
At that point I realized the shouting by one of speakers only renewed stereotypes about the Muslims as being intolerant and reactionary people. What I saw as a wonderful success was ruined at the end of the day because of provocation. No matter how offensive the question was, shouting wasn’t the best response to such a tricky question.
We all have to control our emotions and feelings while dealing with people who have a different opinion. We are not only judged by the response we give to a question but also by the level of our patience while taking such tough questions.