322: Shouting Across the Divide
Dec 15, 2006
A Muslim woman persuades her husband that their family would be happier if they left the West Bank and moved to America. They do, and things are good...until September 11. After that, the elementary school their daughter goes to begins using a textbook that says Muslims want to kill Christians.
This and other stories of what happens when Muslims and non-Muslims try to communicate, and misfire. Alix Spiegel's story in this episode—"Act One. Which One of These Is Not Like the Others?"—won a 2008 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.
- In the 1930s, the designer of the U.S. Supreme Court made a frieze to adorn the courtroom walls. It depicted eighteen great lawgivers through ages, including Moses, Solon, Confucius...and Muhammad. The only problem is that Islam forbids such portrayals of the prophet. Host Ira Glass talks to Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, about why the frieze is offensive to Muslims, and what they tried to do about it. (7 minutes)
- Serry and her husband's love story began in a place not usually associated with romance: The West Bank. That was where the couple met, fell in love and decided to get married. Then Serry, who was American, convinced her Palestinian husband to move to America. She promised him that in America their children would never encounter prejudice or strife of any kind. But things didn't quite work out that way. This American Life contributor Alix Spiegel tells the story. (33 minutes)
- The New York advertising agency where Shalom Auslander works got an assignment from the State Department back in 2001: Sell American values to the Muslim world. Now they just have to figure out exactly what to say to millions of people they know absolutely nothing about. Shalom is the author of a book of stories called Beware of God. (15 minutes)