Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror
An outstanding, courageous, and straight-from-the-heart book by a very remarkable woman, _Now They Call Me Infidel _gives an inside view of the sociopolitical and religious facets of Middle Eastern countries. Nonie Darwish is the daughter of Colonel Mustafa Hafaz, a high ranking Egyptian intelligence officer who was killed and hailed as a "Shahid," the highest honor bestowed on a Muslim that can be achieved by being killed during Jihad against the enemies of Islam. Darwish recounts her early experiences of being told outrageous lies, like Jewish rabbis kill Arab children to take their blood for baking cookies. She recalls being in schools filling the minds of the children with dread and terror when they hear the word "Jew" and being made to sing anti-Jewish poetry. Her education at school and her mosque bred fear, anger, and extreme intolerance towards other religions.
Darwish, who lived in Egypt for thirty years, explains that the major problem of the country is extreme poverty, which she feels is shielded in the cloak of religion. Her description of the mistreatment of Jews and other minorities (Coptic Christians, Armenians, etc.) is heart breaking. Jews were hung and branded as traitors, and they were forced to leave the country. She also identifies the Muslim marriage and divorce laws as oppressive to and fostering distrust between Muslim women, as the Islamic law allows a husband to have four wives. Darwish believes that religion is used by political and religious leaders to divert the attention from the other grave problems in Egypt.
After coming to United States, which she now considers to be her homeland, Darwish was astonished at the cultural gulf between U.S. and Egypt. She admired the way Americans accept different religious affiliations and this social equality made her ponder the degree to which Egyptian society oppressed and manipulated its citizens. She started questioning her upbringing, and the anti-Jewish propaganda she had been fed.
After 9/11, Nonnie thought it was her duty to speak out against religious fanaticism; she started to speak out and write against terrorism. Her point of view and non-defensive attitude earned her great appreciation from some, and she founded the website Arabs for Israel to provide a forum for Arabs and Muslims to express their support for Israel. On her tours, she was subjected to insults from Muslims who consider her a traitor, and many universities cancelled her presentations after Muslim students demanded that she not speak. She was shocked and embarrassed to find out that educated American Muslims think Israel should not exist and has become concerned that radical Muslim’s power is increasing in college campuses. Nonie Darwish's opinion on the problem of religious extremism is a must read.