On Wednesday I responded to a Craig's list ad for a senior CPA for audit and tax, so responded to it. The poster of the ad called me, gushing over my extensive resume, and asked me to come in and talk to him. I did. I knew from his name and accent he was Indian, but did not know that he was a Muslim until I sat down in front of his desk. He had a beard, and there was a Muslim newsletter laying on his desk. It was then that I silently spoke to God: "You really have a strange sense of humor!"
He was a young guy who is facing his third tax season and needs some help. I found him personally likeable, so said I'd come back the next day and do some work for him and see how it goes.
Today he introduced me to some of his associates, all Muslims. One was a client; the other was a marketing consultant, complete with white knitted cap, and the other was an employee, a young man who has passed the CPA exam but has no experience. I found all of them to be very likeable, cheerful and possessing a healthy sense of humor. They seemed totally accepting of me and I returned their friendliness.
My new associate took me to lunch at an Indian restaurant. When we returned to the office, he did his afternoon prayers right there in the office, bowing towards Mecca in the middle of the floor. I didn't mind. I almost told him to pray for more business, but thought the better of it.
I don't know where this is going to lead, but I will stick with them for awhile, and sincerely try to help them. I figure God has his reasons for this association and I want to see what they are. I suspect the lesson to be learned is that, although Islam is a violent, oppressive and cruel ideology, many of its adherents are innocents, sincerely trying to do the right thing and live productive lives. Many Muslims are decent people. That said, I doubt that anything can favorably change my opinion of Islam or Muhammad. However, I can better appreciate Pamela Geller's statement that one can love Muslims even while hating their ideology.
On a side note, my new associate told me he had received 200 resumes the first day he ran the ad. A lot of people responding to the ad had excellent experience and credentials and some seemed desperate, willing to work for almost nothing. Achmed, my new associate (not his real name) said that it would be good if we could put some of these unfortunates to work. In any case, the response to the ad underscores just how bad the job situation is here in Silicon Valley.