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June 22, 2013 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 

Nonie Darwish was born in Egypt to a military family where her father Mustafa Hafez was a high ranking officer under Abdul Nasser.  She was born in 1949 and moved with her family to Gaza in 1954 where her father was assigned by Nasser as commander of the Egyptian Army Intelligence in Gaza.  Egypt had captured Gaza in the Israel War of Independence in 1948.  Hafez founded the Fedayeen (Arabic for freedom) which between 1951 and 1956 killed many Israelis, mostly civilians.  Obviously Hafez was a target for Israeli intelligence, and was finally killed by a mail bomb in 1956 when Nonie was eight years old.  This action was the first targeted killing carried out by the IDF.

Mustafa Hafez was declared a shahid (martyr) by the Arab world.  Nasser vowed that all of Egypt would take revenge for his killing and asked Darwish and her siblings, “Which one of you will avenge your father’s death by killing Jews.”

In her book “Now They Call Me an Infidel” Darwish explains:

“I always blamed Israel for my father’s death because that’s what I was taught.  I never looked at why Israel killed my father.  They killed my father because the Fedayeen were killing Israelis.  They killed my father because when I was growing up, we had to recite poetry pledging jihad against Israel. We would have tears in our eyes, pledging that we wanted to die.  I speak to people who think there was no terrorism against Israel before the ’67 war.  How can they deny it?  My father died in it.”

Darwish remained in Egypt after the death of her father until 1978 when she moved to the United States with her husband, a Coptic Christian.  She obtained United States citizenship and became an active Christian attending an non-denominational evangelical congregation.  After the September 11, 2001 attacks Darwish began writing about a subject she knew intimately; Islamic jihad and the Israeli/Moslem conflict.

I have sketched in this background because I want to share a paragraph from a recent interview of Darwish with the magazine ISRAEL TODAY.

She is answering the question, “Can the ‘land for peace’ formula bring a final end to this conflict?”  Her answer follows.

“We are kidding ourselves if we think that the idea of land for peace will work.  There is an intrinsic problem in Islam: it cannot coexist with other cultures.  Muslims cannot exist at any level with Jews or Christians.  The Arab nations pushed the Palestinians into war with Israel; on their own they never would have fought.  The Palestinians are puppets of 1.2 billion Muslims.  They are pawns of the Saudis and Iranians who want to rule the entire Middle East.”

We just finished Daily Vacation Bible School here in my congregation in Tampa.  We taught our children about Jesus and the love of God.  At the same time in Gaza 10,000 children as young as 6 years old are attending summer camp.  They are learning to kill with assault rifles and how to abduct Israeli Jews.

It is hard for Americans to digest this mind set, but we had better learn.

(Bill Scarle can be contacted at  END-whs