Please Don’t Slam Islam

Lisa and I celebrate 25 years together this very year, remarkable marks we have made together: 7 years in the 20th Century and 16 years into the 21st Century. So, two millennia and counting 🙂

We met online at the speed of a dial-up: 1200 baud via a Unix powered bulletin boarding system called TriState Online, a public service of the local phone company. One anniversary I printed a long set of conversations and placed the matrix-dotted leaves  in a binder — it’s in yonder armoire.


The sound of a dial-up

Human shadows grow long and weary over time. Consider this, consider this: Ibrahim the Patriarch and his family. Lisa knows more about that soap opera than do I, and she knows her sources. She is well versed in Biblical affairs involving affairs, being one who believes the actual teachings of Jesus, something long lost in trampling, trampings and rumors of war) lost or defiled in the translation. Once you die there is no telling how your follows will bend, fold and mutilate the spoken word become Word.


I am always moved by my husband’s compassion for the “underdog.” I know the Palestinians have religious customs we may find archaic. I had a close friend whose belief was performed daily with 5 prayers from the 5 aspects surrounding her, the knowledge that God’s eyes were on her always.

Allow me to quote a descriptive text from the pen of John Walton, a soul seeking balance rather than judgement, understanding rather than divisiveness.

John Walton:

…please be patient and take the time to read — realizing that as Christians we share in the same salvation offered to the Arabic people whose religion grew up around that God — with their own Prophet to guide them in the dogma — the same as as with Pauline doctrine… Later, Hagar bore a son to Abram and named him Ishmael, as the Lord had told her to (Genesis 16:15). Hagar’s story resumes fourteen years later when Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 21). Shortly after Isaac was weaned, Sarah saw Ishmael taunting him and took the matter to Abraham: “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac” (Genesis 21:10). Although it grieved Abraham to do so, he gave Hagar and Ishmael some provisions and sent them away, and Ishmael and his mother wandered in the desert (verse 14).

When Hagar’s food and water ran out, she did not know what to do. She put Ishmael under a bush for shade and then went a few paces away so she would not have to watch him die (Genesis 21:16). As Hagar wept, the Lord called to her from heaven with words of comfort (verse 17); God then gave her a promise: “Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation” (verse 18). The Bible says that God “opened her eyes and she saw a well of water” that she had not seen in her distress (verse 19). God rescued Hagar and gave her hope and direction. God was with Ishmael as he grew up in the desert (verse 20).


Abraham’s sin with Hagar has resulted in centuries of sorrow and bloodshed, as the descendants of Isaac (the Jews) and Ishmael (the Arabs) have been mortal enemies since Bible days. Mohammed, the father of Islam, is said to have been from the line of Ishmael, which is one reason Muslims claim a right to the Promised Land, Israel. Hagar is a revered woman in Islam since Ishmael is the father of the Arabic people. The Qur’anic version of the Genesis account twists the story to make Hagar the heroine of the story and her son, Ishmael, the child of promise instead of Isaac.alhamdulillah

The apostle Paul uses the story of Hagar and Sarah to teach a spiritual truth concerning our salvation. In Galatians 4, Hagar represents the Old Covenant, based on the Law (given at Sinai in Arabia) and human works. Sarah represents the New Covenant, based on grace and the saving work of God. In Paul’s analogy, believers in Christ are like the child born of Sarah—we are free, products of the Spirit. Those who try to earn their salvation by their own works are like the child born of Hagar—they are slaves, products of the flesh. “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman” (Galatians 4:31). Paul counsels believers to “get rid of the slave woman” (verse 30)—that is, cease trying to earn salvation, because the inheritance of the children of promise can never be shared with those who live under the dictates of the flesh.

The story of Hagar is full of God’s goodness, and we can learn from the way God worked in Hagar’s life. She was a nobody, a foreign slave girl. Yet the Lord of Heaven saw her in her distress, provided for her need, and blessed her son because he was the child of Abraham. Hagar gave us the term El Roi, which means “the God who sees.” And her story reminds us that, no matter who we are or where we are, the Lord God sees us.



Thank you for reading and I hope the desperation of a people being forced into a ghetto, with dwindling resources and constant raids by military police may remind you of something the current Israeli government seems unable to recognize as the same forest they survived — for its blind focus on the trees. God bless all of us and may we share the security and peace we enjoy with those less fortunate, at home and abroad.

Whisper Alhamdulillah softly and reverently in an aircraft, or suffer slings and arrows. Speaking at a conversational volume and you may find yourself immediately and roughly removed from the company of some very nice people. Very nice indeed.

“Is Islam a religion of peace?”  91,400 results (0.36 seconds)
“Is Christianity a religion of peace?” 5,970 results (0.44 seconds)
“The Rosary is an assault weapon with a 50 round clip.” Philosopher Dave.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Bill Ziegler

I am a former resident of Delhi Township. These are memories of my life and times in that community during the 1950s and 1960s. A time capsule.

16 thoughts on “Please Don’t Slam Islam”

  1. The descendants of Hagar have a 20% stake in Israel. They are indeed a part of the fabric of the country. The descendants of Isaac on the other hand do not exist anymore in Medina.


    1. Hello Michael, Those descendants would have a much higher stake had Nakba not displaced 700,000.
      Ironically 700,000 Palestinians were exiled in 1948. 70 years later 700,000 settlers live in the West Bank. The settlers are hardly a displaced people.
      Speaking of Medina — I’m not a big fan of the family Saud and the influence that a single clan commands, or of ethnic cleansing in general.


      1. ~700,000 Arabs were indeed displaced but so were a similar number of Jews from all the Arab countries not long afterwards. They also lost their property and livelihood. I would think similar to what happened in Pakistan and India. In fact in those days changing of populations happened often. The settlers are their own problem and don’t forget that if peace would have been made when my wife and I were still drinking coffee over the weekend in Ramalla in the 1970’s, this problem would never have arose. That was the time but I think both sides can take the blame for that. Maybe part of the problem at that time was that nobody really owned the land as it was originally part of the British mandate and meant to be a homeland for the Jews. But at that time there was not enough Jews here and world politics intervened. International lawyers need to work it out. True the settlers live in disputed territory (the correct definition) and the longer the Palestinians take to come to a settlement there will probably be more settlers there. The basic reason for not making peace, even though in 1948 the Arab countries started the war, is they want to get rid of Israel and I believe murder most of whoever they find here. All of the countries around here were created by the French and British mandates and so should have an equal status in the ME. What would have happened if the Arabs would have accepted the UN partition plan? We will never know but in my opinion Israel may not have had an army and so many busses and restaurants would not have been blown up. Possibly international air travel would not necessitate all our present day searches and x-ray machines. Maybe also there would not be so many refugees in Europe. In fact the whole world would be a lot safer. Just blaming one side of this conflict and having so much made up facts and history is a sad fact in 2018. Maybe women just be put in charge.


    1. Thank you most kindly, Peter. We’re nowhere close to the anniversary number 42 that you guys enjoy. We say “Good on ‘ya.” And we note also that the number 42 has enormous implications for all who admire the Hitchhiker’s Guide too. Our hugs to you and family all 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Shelby. Thanks too for all the vibrant words you write. They pass the test of TRUTH — a rare element in what some would call “polite society.” I recommend your words to all and each who battle the tyranny of the majority. Long live us guys 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please forgive me Bill – congratulations on being part of a union that has passed the 25 year mark. Lately I have given much thought to how in this strange world it actually happens. We are indeed fortunate for whatever reason and from experience those who pass the 25 mark also pass the 50 mark as well. An interesting subject for a cold stormy winter day like we are having here now in Netanya. Maybe one day soon we will discuss it over coffee one day. Who knows what will happen this year 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you for these gratefully received words — it very much is a rare privilege and blessing to break ground and to break bread a quarter century since Lisa and I met on a text-only Unix machine stored in a corner of the local phone company. So 25 years ago we knew each other by our writings alone. Lisa shares your ability to write lengthy stretches of sustained and coherent wording. I suffer over each words and bleed from the ears before hitting the blood-stained ‘Enter’ key. There is much truth in the adage that the only way to write well is to write often. When teaching German I would encourage my students to make as many mistakes as possible, since you learn from your mistakes. I would declare that the learner with the most errors got to learn a lot. Those making not a single mistake hadn’t learned anything new. Now I wonder this: would my entry be approved or denied? . Perhaps I flatter myself by imagining that my stored data , most of it on the internet, would deem me dangerous. However that offer of coffee does appeal to the coffee advocate hobby I enjoy. Grind my own beans daily and measure water temperature to the tenth of a degree, stirred not shaken — black, no trace of extraneous flavorings.. That’s what I do. What is your coffee routine? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have a friend that you would either LOVE or HATE as he too is very (highly) intelligent and his routine laden day is absolutely fascinating – even when setting up his rather large telescope on wheels on his (very) hot paper laden veranda and all the time muttering some Scottish prayer that no bird shall crap on the mirror. He has routines for drinking large amounts of single malt whisky as he writes for Scottish whisky magazines and conducts lengthy phone calls to auction houses in the UK. He used to be a scientist working at a company that make blood lab control systems. However, dare I mention my coffee procedures differ to yours as I am in essence not really able to compete in your scary league. In the field (outside) the black elixir of false thoughts of greatness is made in a funjan over a wood fire using local Arab coffee with hell (the Arab name – we call it Cardamon) and good company. At home I have a Nescafe machine – but I do heat the cups first. Bill it is all in the company – I feel when good company is missing some of us (like me) go off the rails (a bit).
            Back to you and Lisa – if I had to name two songs that describe this kind of relationship it would be “wake up little Lucy” and “when a man loves a woman” and as for the future I notice the “little girls” in the kindergartens are more than amazing – maybe they will straighten out our bent back weary world. Ah to live long enough to be as amazed as I believe we will all be. Don’t you ever sleep? Must be after midnight over there 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

      2. Bill, you just made my heart sing with those words and you don’t how much they mean to me!

        I envy Peter who has actually met you and your wife. I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall during that get-together. There are so many people that I have come across in this virtual realm that I would love to sit down and actually talk face-to-face.

        And as you say, “Long live us guys!”

        Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Mikel,
    Thank you for the fascinating account, I always enjoy reading about anyone who departs from the most trodden paths, in fact I opt for the LOVE option. Don’t know how long I could take on a hot veranda while hoping that birds wouldn’t drop their droppings into my telescope though. I wanted to grind the glass for a telescope when I was a kid, even had the instructions for its manufacture.
    Lisa agrees with your song selections. They do indeed fit, she has eclectic musical interests as well.
    In 1972 I met a very interesting Scottish couple in Germany, fellow teachers who taught English for a couple years in Qatar. Their students were the spoiled kids of parents with many spare petrodollars who drove their BMWs to school. My friends received round-the-world tickets to use during the Summer months and saved up to retire in Crete. I really really need to get back in touch with the surviving husband, his wife died not long after my first wife died (1983). They actually stopped to visit around 1981 while on their way back to Qatar; they met my son when he was 3 — he’s now 39 🙂 Somehow 36 years passed in the interim. Their favorite whisky was Jack Daniels, encountered at a pub in Edinburgh. It was a lone dusty bottle in the back. Every English speaker in Giessen, West Germany knew someone that worked at the American Army base who could buy $3.00 bottles of JD or $3.00 cartons of cigarettes, cost ten times as much locally. Before Baader Meinhof we could walk directly onto the base, the sole guard wouldn’t even ask for an ID; I suppose they assumed that we were Army brats. There was a diner on the premises that was indistinguishable from any diner anywhere in what the soldiers called “Back in the world.” A far battle cry removed from Vietnam of course. Many Americans traveled with Maple Leaf flags if they didn’t want to engage in conversation regarding IndoChina. Speaking of that, one of my friends and I took the train to the American Consulate in Frankfurt to vote for McGovern 🙂
    We also bought large tins of peanut butter — a staple for those lean days before monthly stipend issuance, some months we would sell a liter of blood for 15 DM to afford pizza at a joint called the “Die Pizza Pie”, pronounced Pete’s a Pee. There was a beer vending machine in the dorm that served 0.5 liter bottles of local brew for one DM 🙂 The coffee we drank in town had a Tchibo coffee bar where you could get a cheap cup but had to stand, then leave. An Eduscho bar across the street had the same conventions but was for smokers. Tchibo was non-smoking.
    We were up late because we had to rescue my sister-in-law and nephew from a battle-weary Mazda MPV of 2001 manufacture. We drove it until about a year ago, they drove it until yesterday. Driving a vehicle until it falls apart is a family tradition.
    Wishing you guys a restful Shabbat!


    1. Interesting story. Life is pretty amazing and specially so then. We unfortunately also drive cars until the big truck comes to cart them off to the “happy field” to be used as scrap. We had this well publicized storm yesterday when so many people were frightened to leave home because of the very cold weather,sporadic hail and strong winds. The Russians (ex) were reported strolling on the beaches. They are probably swimming today – cold but sunnyish. We are off to a lunch with ex-IBMers in a restaurant called “Close to the heart” in a forest that now has a huge highway running through it – but out of sight and sound due to acoustic walls. Have a a very interesting week and bon-voyage to the next marital signpost. Here we eat a lot of spicy food and I wonder if you have any thoughts on if peppers are healthy? The Yemenite eat a past called Schug that is a potent mix of peppers and added to everything except ice cream. Have to dash.


  3. Hi Shelby,
    Lisa expressed visiting the Schreiner family best: an instant sense of acceptance, hospitality — as if you had always belonged there, no ice to melt! How many times are the non-vegans outnumbered by the vegans at the table? In this case 5 to 1. And for two meals as well. Unfortunately we had to leave early and missed out on an amazing vegan restaurant, but the good part is that we’re not far away and we plan to re-visit soon. And just in case Peter is reading these words: you are ever welcome to visit our abode 🙂 These electrons travel at the speed of light, but I always think about meeting the wonderful encountered via those electrons in person, face-to-face. I’m glad you do too.
    It brightens my day to read that I’d chosen the right words, and that they are well received. Most people do not even participate in their own lives, somehow believing that they are thinking independently but clearly echoing a parrot. Such a wonderful privilege to meet fellow travelers who do their own thinking — the well trodden road eventually turns into a rut that becomes inescapable. Vicarious living is not for me, and certainly not for thee 🙂
    So, dang it all to heck — Long live us guys!


  4. Real Jews, Christians and Muslims are those who believe in the same God/Allah, Who is Only One. The real lovers of God worship Only One True God, Allah the Most High Elohim, Hashem Jehovah, the God of Israel and the God of the patriarch Abraham.

    In Christendom we have the true followers of the Nazarene Jew Jeshua (Ishi, Jesus, Chesu, Jezus) belonging to Christianity and sadly the majority which cling to a threeheaded god and as such are really polytheists, clinging to the human doctrine of the Trinity. In case Muslims would be more conscious about the differences by the different Christian denominations there would be less reason for them to oppose Christians. Naturally it is up to real Christians also to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God and to spread the peace-message of Christ and to show others that Jesus is the way to come to God.

    Let us hope and pray Christians can act as a mediator between Jews and Muslims, Israelites and Palestinians and show them how we as children of God should work together and share our love for God together in a world which we should know does not belong as such to us, but belongs to God and as such should be respected to be a place for all lovers of God as well for all creatures of God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind, considered and considerate comment. Receiving a message that seeks to join disparate belief systems into a guide and a hope for a genuine conversation encourages me to continue looking for a just solution not built on quickening sand.
      I wish you the greatest success as mediators among so many groups, separate groups that actually have so much more in common than not. Talking in parallel or seeking to settle arguments with “superior” arms and loud voices of condemnation only serve to deepen the enmity that the innocent and least complicit suffer.
      Wishing you great joy and peace!

      Liked by 1 person

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