On (Not) Offending Muslims
Kevin James Bywater
As they say, reality can be stranger than fiction. So it is with people: the realities can be stranger than the stereotypes. And some conversations are just different that usual. Some can strip away preconceptions. Here are snippets from one I had with a Muslim taxi driver in Oxford. He was an amiable chap, about my age.
• • •
We had been quipping back and forth about the traffic when I asked, “Where are you from?”
He chuckled deeply, “Pakistan.”
Really, I wondered to myself, with his clear Oxford accent?
“How long have you lived here in Oxford?” I followed up.
“For over forty years,” he smiled. “I was born here. I grew up here, in Cowley.”
He was born in Oxford. He grew up in Oxford. He is from Pakistan?!
What strange language is this, I wondered. Then I realized that it sounds about how children of Christian missionaries might answer.