During an extended visit to the Middle East in my research for the roots of Jihad, I chanced upon a small village near Mecca. I had had enormous trouble at the border entering Saudi Arabia as I always carry a King James bible and a Greek New Testament, as well as a Hebrew Tanakh. Also customs gave me a hard time about the two passports I carried, as I enjoy double citizenship. To make a long story short, they confiscated my bibles. Much to my surprise they even took the English translation of the Quran I had on me. The customs officer said that Quran is so holy that only the original language of the prophet Muhammed should be allowed. Never had there been put such a strain on my diplomacy as a Christian.
In a bookstore there I met a man who took a liking to me when I expressed my pro-life philosophy and claimed that Americans are guilty before the Almighty as baby killers en masse. He took me home and I must say his hospitality was excellent. As happenstance would have it, he turned out to be the local imam. While enjoying a hearty meal of lambchops it appeared that he knew much about Christianity. Only he stayed rigidly within the lines of Islamic dogma.
That evening he spurred me on to address the local population in the mosque and he introduced me as a friend against imperialist America. Using that as an opportunity I started pointing out the shady side of big city life and continued preaching about the holiness of God in general and that He demands us to be sanctified also. I finished saying that before the face of the Almighty it is not a question of weighing our sins in the balance and that one would be allowed to enter paradise if the scales were not tipped to the side of evil, but that it is a question of salvation by the Work of Christ. For God is so holy that one sin is enough to land us in hell. I took a chance doing that, as there is a stern warning against preaching the gospel in Saudi Arabia. But it seemed my reputation had been well established already.
That evening I was invited to spend the night. As I had felt already, I had won the day; but in my boldness I did test his patience. Talking with his wife all of a sudden I said to her:
"You are not a Muslim!" First her and his face expressed surprise, then he frowned and later he told me that it had entered his mind to have them give me thirty lashes or have me imprisoned for blasphemy.
"Why?" she asked, keeping her composure.
"Because you are a Muslima!" And at that she smiled and he almost rolled from his chair with laughter, his belly shaking like a jelly dessert. All in all it had been a learning experience. My reputation as a Christian had flourished and I had grown in my understanding of Muslim self-consciousness.