I was first oriented to Islam in 1977 when I was a T-38 IP at Vance AFB, OK. We had a contingent of Iranian students coming to Vance for pilot training and the State Department sent a representative to give us a briefing on their customs and beliefs. It was one of those briefings I really didn’t want to attend but was ”mandatory’ in order to fly with these folks. It also turned out to be one of the most informative briefings I had whilst on active duty.
One of my “takeaways” was that certain behaviors of Islam didn’t apply when Muslims were in countries not under Islamic rule or law. Drinking – specifically prohibited, but heavily engaged in at Vance by the Iranians. Smoking – the same. Dating ‘infidels’ – the same. And so forth…
Another interesting facet I discovered is, in Islam it is not considered a “lie” if the lie is not discovered, or challenged. And it is considered “impolite” to challenge someone about a lie. Well, okay.
I addressed this right off the bat with one of my first Iranian students. As we approached “the perch,” the point where we were to begin the final turn, he asked me what our final turn airspeed was. I intentionally gave him a speed 10 knots below our calculated airspeed, knowing it would generate a horrendous sink rate. And true to form, we were soon dropping like a rock in the final turn.
“Rolling out on final, go around,” called out the controller, “use Burners!”
I was about to direct the go-around myself when the call came in. Lt. Bosh then executed a go-around, arresting our sink rate. As we accelerated down the runway he exclaimed, “Sir, I am not thinking the airspeed was correct.”
“Oh,” I replied, “you caught me. I just want to make a point here Lt. Bosh.”
“And what is that, Sir?” he asked.
“Well,” I said, “I understand that ‘lying’ in your culture is not a ‘big deal’ – if you are not caught. So I want to make a point here: if I think you are lying to me, I will lie to you. And my lies will kill you.”
“Sir, may I speak freely?” he asked.
“Sure,” I replied.
“I think you are crazy!”
I may have been (or may be), but I don’t think any of the Iranians ever lied to me. Lt. Bosh was their senior ranking officer, and the ‘word’ soon got out.
This was just one experience I encountered with their customs. In later years this was reinforced with the Saudi and Kuwaiti students I flew with. Not a “big deal” once you understand them.
I don’t “have it in” for Muslims; but I also don’t accept everything “they” say at face value. I also don’t think I am obligated to “respect” Islam just for being Islam. “Respect” is earned, not something mandated.
The biggest problem I have with Islam in the United States today is, certain groups (CAIR) and individuals are promoting Islam as something I don’t think it is – a “religion” of peace. And “mandating” that I accept it for what they are telling me it is. Nah, that isn’t going to work with me…
I watch the European experience with Islam, and see where it’s going, and I am not convinced. Time will tell, but I think we are experiencing an “invasion;” from within. Oh well…
One final note here: It was later reported that most, if not all of the Iranians we trained, were killed when the Shah fell to the Ayatollah. Must be a part of the “peaceful religion” I don’t get as an Infidel…