Glass Enclave
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Sammar closed the magazine. Rae sat back in his chair. He coughed and blew his nose in a large blue handkerchief. He looked as if this was a story he told often and liked to tell again. 'I read this letter. It was, I think, the first time I came across the word 'Islam' and understood what it meant. Of course I was aware that my uncle had done something scandalous and I was curious. Also I had this essay that I had to write for school. I wish that I still had David's letter now, or even the essay. Because', and he paused, 'I plagiarised whole paragraphs. The title though was mine. David never of course wrote that Islam was 'better' than Christianity. He didn't use that word. Instead he said things like it was a step on, in the way that Christianity followed Judaism. He said that the Prophet Muhammad was the last in a line of Prophets that stretched from Adam, to Abraham through Moses and Jesus. They were all Muslims, Jesus was a Muslim, in a sense that he had surrendered to God. This did not go down very well in the letter nor in the essay'.

Rae was laughing again.

'And so what happened to your uncle?', Sammar asked, 'Did he ever come back?'

'He couldn't come back, even if he had wanted to. He would have been arrested. Defection, treason, these are serious charges. He kept writing for some years to my mother. He changed his name, married an Egyptian woman and had children. I had Egyptian cousins, relatives in Africa. I was very excited by that. I thought it was very romantic. But my mother never answered his letters, or maybe sent him nasty letters, in return, so he stopped writing. I went looking for him in '76 through to '81 when I was in Cairo teaching at the AUC, but I couldn't find him. I wouldn't mind going over to look for him again'.


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