One of my close friends is a muslim and a teacher. She is a delightful and interesting woman with a bright smile. I speak with her three or four times a week.
She is Indonesian, and teaches Indonesian language and culture.
As part of her programme she talks about the religious culture of Indonesia. She tells the students she is a Muslim, and explains something of her faith. I have no problem with any of that.
A couple of days ago she was distressed and angry after school. I asked her what had happened. She told me she had been telling the students Islam was a religion of peace. They laughed at her.
That was rude. And to be fair, she is not always treated well, by staff or students. But I almost laughed too.
This is the monthly jihad report for April 2009 from Religion of Peace:
Jihad Attacks: 158
Dead Bodies: 715
Critically Injured: 1135
Her response to the class resulted in further laughter.
She started by telling the class that the way people thought about Islam was because of distortions by the media.
Christians killed people just as much, she said. Martin Bryant, for example, killed all those people at Port Arthur. And then to illustrate how morally lax Christianity was, she pointed out that here in Australia lots of men have sex with one another.
She assumes that everyone in Australia, or every white person, is a Christian. She has been here long enough to know better.
But more alarming is the blindness, even in this intelligent and largely westernised woman, to the horrors perpetrated in the name of Islam
Where to begin?