‘Unicorns’ Update

Islam interview:


I was pretty nervous going into this one.  Not for whom I was interviewing.  He’s a really cool, laid back dude.  I had just built this interview up in my mind quite a bit.  Some back-story for new readers: I’m researching and interviewing for a documentary graphic novel about religion in Spartanburg.  It’s split into Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Wicca.  Two months for each religion, give or take.  I’ve done the interviews for Wicca (though I’m hoping for some more developments in that area) and Saturday got the first one done for Islam.

The Islam interview has been gestating for some time.  I was a tad nervous about asking for it, because he’s the perfect dude for the job, and if he said no then I’d be back to square one.  But he didn’t.  And the interview went well!

I emailed him earlier this month asking for then interview.  Now, this guy’s a doctor and extremely busy (my age, by the way.  Makes me wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life) but said he had most weekends off this month.  So of course, this interview being important and me knowing the time was limited, I waited until the last possible second.  This past Friday.  Luckily he agreed to meet with me the next day.

I have nearly finished the “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam” but hadn’t read through the history of Islam yet.  I thought that subject might come up so I took the day off work and headed to the West side Library to read “Islam: A Short History” by Karen Armstrong (pretty good book).  After staying up half the night finishing it I typed up some questions and plugged the tape recorder’s rechargeable batteries in the wall (my normal interview routine).

We met at the Fuji at Westgate behind Hooters.  I don’t want to get into detailed information about the actual questions and answers.  Here’s some fun tidbits though.  When asked what my own religious affiliation was, I said I didn’t have one.  Now that’s not really a lie, since I don’t have a religious affiliation as an atheist.  I did feel bad when we got on the subject of atheism and he didn’t know I fell in that camp.  The reason I left that detail out is I wanted to save it for part 2.  This interview was more about his personal experiences growing up in the South as a Muslim.  Not so much about dogma and philosophies.  I have some pretty good questions concerning Islam and Atheism.  But I want to talk about them in the context of Islam’s beliefs and culture, more than his own personal opinion about it (because I’m fairly certain it would be the same as  a devoted Christian’s opinion).

Also I wanted to tread lightly because I knew there had to be at least one more get together with him.  Next time I won’t be as worried about whether or not he’ll want to talk to me again.  That sounds harsh, but in my opinion that’s the way you have to approach this.  Hmm, I wonder if there’s any chance he can find this article.  I think I have my website displayed at the bottom of my email.  I link to here from there.  Ah well, here’s hoping I haven’t written anything especially offensive.

Oh, and I heard some great stories and opinions about what it’s like being a doctor.  I honestly don’t know if he knew the tape recorder was on when he was complaining about patients.  It was though.  I’ve currently heard from two practitioners of medicine that the television show “Scrubs” is by far the most accurate portrayal of what working in a hospital is like.  If you’re a fan, that statement should fill you with nothing less than giddy glee.

All in all he was incredibly kind and humoring.  He told me some fantastic stories and gave me great insights and was indeed exactly who I was looking for.  Oh and he paid for lunch.




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