I have been sitting on the tarmac in Paris for the past five hours aboard United Airlines Flight 915. My Boeing 777 has been sequentially delayed by mechanical failures, a freak snowstorm, and de-icing issues. I am returning from spending Christmas in Morocco as a tourist, an unforgettable journey to arguably the most progressive Islamic state in North Africa. As I wind my way home (hopefully), I leave with much more than great pictures and souvenirs. I return with a greater appreciation for the Islamic faith and heightened awareness of the potential cost of our cultural isolation from the modern Muslim world.
As Americans, we are exposed to a never-ending news cycle that often covers the Islamic world in the context of war, conflict, or terrorism. With no intention, one could easily fall victim to dangerous stereotyping of the billion-strong Muslim world. After a brief ten days among the people of Morocco, my perspective of that world has been dramatically altered by this shining example of Western culture and devout Islamic faith living harmoniously side by side.