Out of all the questions that my husband and I have ever faced, this one definitely takes the cake. I don’t even know where to begin with this so I think I’ll start with the setting within which this question was asked.
My Hubby is a successful personal trainer. He has several clients of various ages and backgrounds. He once trained a male teenager who was around 16 years old. My husband had trained him, on and off, for roughly 6 months. Usually, my husband is quite friendly and open with his clients, but given that this particular client was underage, he thought it best to exercise caution and keep more distance than usual. While my husband did his best to maintain a professional client-trainer relationship, the teenager always wanted to test the boundaries and ask my husband personal questions.
During one session, the teenager asked my husband about his nationality. My husband told him that he was from Iran and the conversation didn’t really go beyond that. On the next session, however, the boy came out with this precious gem:
“So ‘cause you’re Iranian and all, do you have any Jihadi friends?”
I would have punched him, but that’s just me. My husband, however, answered the teen’s question with another question- “Can you tell me who jihadists are?”. After some silence, the boy replied with: “terrorists”. My husband then asked “Okay, and who are terrorists?”. After some more silence, the teen uttered the following golden nugget:
“Terrorists are Muslims who kill people”- the teen replied.
Out of mouths of babes…I would have punched him again, harder than the first time. But my angel of a husband simply laughed and said “Oh-kay buddy, ten more squats, thanks”. Later that night when my husband told me about the conversation, I lost my temper. My husband calmed me down, laughed and then jokingly said, “If I actually had Jihadi friends, the kid wouldn’t be alive right now”.
I thought it appropriate to tell the teen’s parents about what had happened, but my husband said that he wasn’t prepared to offer the teen, nor his parents any such favours. As my cousin pointed out after reading one of my very first posts “Building Tolerance”, it’s not good for children to learn intolerance, it’ll only make it harder for them later on in life in our multicultural world.
Funnily enough, when I Google terrorist, the definition doesn’t state “Muslims who kill people”, it states “a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims”. While my husband handled the situation beautifully (and I can only aspire to such eloquence and patience,) he shouldn’t have had to experience that kind of situation at all. Having said that, had the conversation not occurred, I wouldn’t have been able to make this post, so I guess I need to be kind-of grateful to the teen’s ignorance and intolerance, otherwise I’d might have run out of material by now.
Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.