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12 Oct, 2014

Why you should visit a Muslim country – Sydney Morning Herald

By Ben Groundwater

There’s a disconnect here between the Islam we perceive – the scary, high-terror-alert Islam – and the one that really exists overseas. It’s a misunderstanding, a fear of Muslim people driven as much by a handful of extremists as a crisis-hungry media, an unpopular government, and a general lack of knowledge of what this religion and its adherents are all about.

The answer, for me, is travel.

Travel to a Muslim country. Spend time there, mix with the people, see the sights, walk the streets, eat the food, drink the tea. Very quickly you will begin to realise that this is not an enemy. The women who’ve been abused on Australia’s streets for wearing the hijab are not an enemy. The men pouring out of the suburban Sydney mosques are not an enemy.

I don’t profess to be an expert on Islam, but I know what I’ve seen when I’ve travelled. I know what it’s like to visit countries like Turkey, Iran, the UAE, Malaysia and Indonesia. I know how I’ve been treated there, how I’ve been welcomed. It’s surprising and humbling, warm and friendly. It changes the way you see the Muslim world.

Read the rest: Why you should visit a Muslim country.