A week or so ago I read that a man got bumped off an airplane because a paranoid lady seated next to him heard him say the word “insha’allah”. She felt this showed he was a Muslim, ergo a terrorist, and refused to ride along with him.

I haven’t checked the story but never mind, whether it’s accurate or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that some stupid Americans have reached a level of misunderstanding and fear of Islam as to make the story at least sound plausible.

I’ve spent many years in countries where most people say inshallah all the time. It has the same function for Arabic speakers as “no problem” has for Americans. “No problem” is not meant to be taken literally, in fact it will drive you nuts if you do. I spend an hour arguing with some idiot about a telephone bill or some such and when we agree to refer it to higher authority and the idiot gives me big smile and says “no problem” I want to wring its neck, but I am the exception. I am committing the social sin of taking “no problem” literally, when it has lost all meaning in common usage, and has become nothing more than an oral punctuation point, like a period or a comma.

It’s exactly the same thing in much of the rest of the world with “inshallah”. God has abandoned the phrase, his departure is as complete as it is from our own phrase “Goodbye” (once, God be with ye).

Enough said. This is a trivial subject and I am only wasting my time with it because I’ve just heard that my least favorite neocons have defected to Hillary. The less undesirable has been poisoned by the unacceptable, what to do? Maybe by November there will be some idea of a way to vote that is not totally unacceptable. God willing. Insha’Allah.

Carl Coon

This entry was posted in Topical Issues. Bookmark the permalink.