Thursday, June 4, 2009
Yesterday a Muslim deli owner, Mohammad Sohail (pictured above on the surveillance tape), stopped a robber who came into his store brandishing a baseball bat by getting the drop on him with his rifle. When the would-be robber broke down in tears and said he was only doing it to support his family, Sohail, didn't turn him in to the police. Instead he gave him forty dollars and a loaf of bread after making him promise never to rob again. (Sohail also pretended to swear him into the Muslim faith after the man said he wanted to become a Muslim too.)
"I felt bad for him," said Sohail. "I'm a very little man. I just did a good job. I have a good feeling in my heart. I feel very good."
He should feel good about himself. He acted in what, in this country, is often called a Christian way. The story got a fair amount of play on the airwaves.
It could not have come at a more propitious time for Barack Obama's major speech in Cairo today. Obama called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims," and said that "this cycle of suspicion and discord must end."
Let's hope it does.
Sohail certainly did his part to show a side of Islam that doesn't normally get publicized.
It's a good thing the Taliban didn't choose yesterday to punish another young Afghan couple who decided to elope by machine gunning them to death (as they did a couple months ago). That, well, might not have been such great timing.