Deputy Consul General Paul Hirschson’s visit to Orlando

I spent two days in Orlando this week which included giving four talks at UCF and Valencia College. In total almost 600 people attended although to be fair two thirds of that was at one lecture to the adult education program. In three separate discussions with students we spent most of our time addressing the Israel–Arab conflict although a fair amount of time was spent talking about the major issue of the Middle East, the Persian, Shi’ite (Iran) struggle with the Arab, Sunni world. It still surprises me that some people see the Israel-Arab conflict as the big issue of the Middle East rather than the big issue which Israel (and the Palestinian Arabs) faces. After all this time, especially in the USA with America so engaged in conflict in the Middle East, it seems to me that people would know that resolution of the Israel-Arab conflict, critical as the resolution thereof is to Israel, is not the major subject on the table when looking at the Middle East.

It is always great when Arab or Moslem students participate in my talks on campus. Beyond the fact that they know the region better, by nature, than students who have never been to the Middle East, they usually also bring another perspective. It is encouraging how many of them are willing to engage in honest debate and refreshing to find that most of them have little sympathy for human rights abuses prevalent throughout Arab countries. In many cases I find the Arab students better informed and more understanding of Israel than American students who have taken up the cause of opposing Israel, or Israel’s policies. Overall, it’s great to see how many students understand Israel’s position and support Israel.

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2 Responses to Deputy Consul General Paul Hirschson’s visit to Orlando

  1. Don Abraham says:

    Dear Paul,

    Enjoyed your article that appeared in today’s Orlando Sentinel on Christians marginalized in the Middle East. A very close friend of mine was stationed in Egypt and became close friends with an Egyptian pastor who just informed him that his English son-in-law ( a professor in Morocco) was just deported for being an active Christian leaving his wife behind in Morocco. I am enclosing his declaration below. Such happenings are not well publicized

    Sincerely Don Abraham

    Declaration by Dr Malcolm Williams
    Concerning His Detention and Deportation from Morocco
    Nm

    I, Dr Malcolm Williams, holder of British Passport No. 702740948, have been working for the Moroccan government since September 1989 as a professor of translation at the King Fahd School of Translation, Tangier, Morocco, attached to Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Tetouan.

    At 7:00 p.m. on the evening of Saturday, March 6th, I was arrested and then interrogated for five hours. I was then kept overnight in the police station while as they said they waited for instructions from Rabat. The questioning was general. They were obviously fishing. No specific charge was made. However, the document that I signed to acknowledge receipt of said, as far as I can remember: “I, the Wali of Tangier, hereby order the deportation of Dr Malcolm Williams, who is well known for his evangelistic activity, from the realm of Morocco.”

    There was no violence, and the questioning was good-natured. They are policemen doing their job at the behest of the government in Rabat. I was even bought a sandwich and a coca cola, at about midnight. I was able to sleep intermittently on a chair with my head against the wall. I was not, however, given any tea or any other hot drink in the morning, so I was somewhat chilled when I got onto the boat and unable to purchase anything to eat or drink until I was met by my friend in Algeciras.
    On Sunday morning, I was put on an early boat to Algeciras, in Spain. They did not allow me to return to my home to get a bag of clothes, money, or anything like that. If I hadn’t had my mobile phone with me to make the necessary arrangements, I would have arrived in Algeciras with no clothes, no money and no way of contacting anybody.

    While this is relatively mild, it is a shameful way to treat somebody who has worked for the Moroccan government for more than twenty years. The nature of my activities has not changed during that time and I have been quite open, so what is happening would seem to represent a radical change in Moroccan government policy on religious affairs.

    What is happening now goes way beyond my individual case, however. Up to now, over thirty people have been expelled for alleged evangelistic activities, including all the foreigners at the orphanage of Ein Louh. There has been no attempt to prepare the children for the separation, or to leave a couple or two behind to make some sort of transition. It is totally inhumane and demands an international response.
    Regarding what I want to see happen concerning my case, I would like if possible to return to Morocco and see out the academic year. However, if this is not possible, I would at least like to be allowed to return for a few days to give me enough time to sort out my affairs.
    Malcolm Williams
    9/3/2010

    .

  2. Don Abraham says:

    Forgot to check the second box on my previous email about your Orlando Sentinel Article.

    Best regards,

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