With all the news and fear surrounding the planned Islamic Community Center at Ground Zero in NYC I determined to do something. Deciding that the best offense is a good offense, I went on the offense, and called the Islamic community center near me with a plan of my own. I would invite a Muslim family over for dinner on Sept. 11th, sending their people and their sinister planning committees into a tail spin as they try to decipher the meaning of my good gesture. Perhaps news of this would reach New York City, putting a cog in the wheels of their community organizing. Perhaps not. But I have a dream.
My phone call was intercepted by a man identifying himself as Roman Shareef and he claimed to have just finished praying. He listened to my story with what I assumed to be feigned interest, acting delighted, even touched, that I would suggest such a meal. I had him right where I wanted him. Just give me the names and numbers of a family or two with young children, Roman, because I have 5 kids of my own and it would be nice if they could make some new friends, too. This was going to be easier than I thought. But Roman was obviously well trained.
“It just so happens,” he countered, “that I will be with a whole bunch of Muslim families tonight at our recreation center for our 6th annual community dinner. It’s open to the public. Why don’t you and your family come join us?”
Well played, sir. Well played.
What Roman did not know is that I was well trained myself. I watch Fox News. Without skipping a beat I accepted his offer, not wishing for him to think that I thought that he thought that my thoughts were, well, working. I was prepared to take the game to his home court if that is what needed to be done to restore honor to our land.
We drove into the heart of Durham, following the directions of Mr. Roman Shareef. Our trip took us into an area I have rarely ventured, the other side of the tracks, as they say, and into a neighborhood that seemed every bit as threatening as the Muslims I was about to be eating with. As I parked my mini-van in what I hoped was a safe lot I was struck by the sheer brilliance of these people. What better place to conduct your sinister community dealings then in the heart of the projects, a place where white Christians won’t bother you? As the 7 of us got out of the car I told the kids to be on their best behavior. Not wanting to scare them, I said only to myself, ”Self, these are professionals we’re dealing with.”
The moment we entered the center they surrounded us. I didn’t pay any attention to their words of welcome nor their smiling faces because I was zeroed in on the sign-in sheet asking for not just my name, but the name of every person in my family attending. Although the lady asking for this information did not look like your average Muslim spy, I wasn’t taking any chances. I gave them the names they requested, but for each of my children I misspelled their name by one letter. You can have my wife and I, but not my children!
We were seated at a table in a gymnasium and handed a program (what I’ll call evidence) full of information about tonight’s event.
It was hard to concentrate as there was so much commotion around us. Kids were playing and socializing, a jazz band was getting ready to play and people kept taking turns at a microphone spouting off various kinds of information, or propaganda. They directed people to a room where free blood pressure screens were being done and another where you could get free HIV testing. A long table off to the side seated many volunteers from all sorts of organizations in Durham, such as the fire department, the police force, soup kitchens, churches, child care services, and employment agencies.
My God, I thought, their reach is further and deeper than I ever thought possible! It was exactly how I would plan a community take-over.
My fear-driven thoughts were interrupted by my cell phone ringing. It was Roman Shareef. My God, I thought, how have they gotten my number so quickly?? And then I remembered. I gave it to him.
Roman was looking for me. My eyes scanned the gymnasium hoping to spot him first as he chatted away, saying how glad he was we made it down. Luck was not on my side, however. We saw each other at the same time, his face lighting up in a smile that said, “Fatwa.”