A German colleague brought me a book . Its title was Wallfahrt nach Mecca [Pilgrimage to Mecca], by Baron Heinrich von Maltzan, a German who claimed to have visited Mecca 150 years ago. I read the book with great interest. This book was simply fun to read, and it illustrated Arabs and Muslims in a humorous light.
The preface of Baron Heinrich's book, amazed me as it stated that:
"When Baron Heinrich von Maltzan published his book about his journey to Mecca in 1865, he was suddenly under the spotlight of society. He revealed himself to be a great scholar of Arab history, people, legend, and tradition. His knowledge of Islam and its commandments proved to be without the slightest doubt, the most accurate, not only for his time, but also throughout the century."
I was shocked; the book fell from my hand, and I was speechless. Baron Heinrich's work was considered serious science. I realized very clearly for the first time why the western world is so ignorant about us Arabs and Muslims; is this why Germans used to ask me silly questions?
Leon Uris wrote a book once, where he claimed for having penetrated the Arab mind, as if the Arab mind is a locked safe box, which needs to be penetrated.
The introduction of Arabs and Muslims should never be left to Baron Heinrich von Maltzan or to Leon Uris , we Arabs and Muslims must open up and tell the world who we are , what we think and how our dreams look like, especially in this time of conflict.
Muthanna Al Kurtass