Many of the Advocates and Allies of the Jewish people we tell you about were Gentiles who showed their friendship and heroism during World War II. But occasionally, we find the story of someone from the present day that is too good to pass up. This is the case with this piece from The Jerusalem Post by Israeli politician Dov Lipman, who tells us about his friend Hussein Aboubakr, an Egyptian who was raised to hate Jews, but who learned to not only trust, but befriend, the Jewish state and her people:
Why would I be friends with someone who grew up in radical Islamic, antisemitic Egypt? Well, Hussein Aboubakr, whom I met at a recent StandWithUs conference, is different from the rest.
Born in 1989 to a traditional, middle-class Muslim family in Cairo, Hussein relates that he was taught the following narrative – by his parents, in the mosque, in school and via television: “The Muslims are superior to all, with the best values, ethics, traditions and heritage. Anything in the world which is not a direct product of theirs is inferior. Western culture is the infidel, but the super villains are the Jews who are the incarnation and epitome of evil, who seek to destroy all that is good in the world.
These ‘Zionist pigs’ who control the banks, the media and all politics enjoy drinking Muslim blood from the Muslim children they kill. They are the descendants of apes and pigs, and the final redemption will come when we kill all Jews.”
Hussein saw these messages on television regularly, and he recalls how the movies of his childhood were filled with Jewish villains who were stopped by the good Egyptians. The No. 1 comic book character was “Man of the Impossible,” who went around the world destroying Zionist conspiracies. These stories – filled with mythology and fantasy – were captivating for young children, and Hussein took them for granted as truth.
All Egyptian children dreamed of playing their role in this epic battle of good versus evil. Obsessed with the super-villain Jews, Hussein also wanted to contribute to winning this war, so he decided to use his smarts and love for computers toward this end. He resolved to study Hebrew via the Internet, and to then infiltrate these evil plans and provide logistical support to the physical war against the Jews and Israel.
After Hussein learned Hebrew, he began doing research about the Jewish people, and was completely shocked by Jewish history: Here was an ancient Middle Eastern nation indigenous to the Land of Israel, with an ancient connection to Jerusalem. Hussein began to see Jews as people and began reading about the history of antisemitism, which he calls “blind hatred toward the Jews for no reason.”
And then Hussein took a step back, looked as his parents and society around him and asked himself: “Isn’t this antisemitism? Isn’t this blind hatred?”
This led to his rethinking the entire Islamic culture, and reanalyzing other things that he had previously taken for granted: that women are inferior, and that Egypt’s 10 million Christians should be oppressed. Hussein became horrified by “everyone around me telling me pure nonsense.” But feeling that everyone was wrong and he was the only one who was right led him to think that perhaps he was crazy: “How could all the imams, teachers, parents and television shows be all wrong?” Hussein became depressed and barely left his room.
ONE LINE from George Orwell’s 1984 changed Hussein’s life: “You are never crazy even if you are a minority of one...”