Taylor Roth Reports
Nonie Darwish at the University of Florida
This semester, I was honored to have the opportunity to work with the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute to host Nonie Darwish at the University of Florida. As the Founder and President of Arabs for Israel, Nonie Darwish advocates for peace in the Middle East through recognizing Israel’s right to exist. In addition to presiding over Arabs for Israel, Nonie Darwish is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy and an established author of four books: Now They Call Me Infidel, Wholly Different, Cruel and Usual Punishment and The Devil We Don’t Know; the dark side of revolutions in the Middle East. Although she now identifies as a Christian, Darwish was born and raised as a Muslim in Egypt where she experienced the dangers of Sharia Law first-hand. In fact, she was personally exposed to the Arab-Israel conflict during the 1956, 1967 and 1973 wars. Today, Nonie Darwish travels across the globe to share her expertise on Middle Eastern studies and topics related to human rights, terrorism, national security, combatting radical Islam and standing with the Jewish state. She has shared her story with European Parliament, the British House of Lords and to students at Oxford University. Darwish has also been featured on major news networks such as CNN, MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN and Fox News.
Darwish began her lecture by recalling her experiences growing up in Egypt during times of immense conflict within the region. While attending elementary school in Gaza, she claimed that she was taught “hatred, vengeance and retaliation” toward the Jewish people and state of Israel as a whole. Darwish described how she was indoctrinated at a young age with the idea that all Jewish people were criminals and that war waged against the Jewish community was always justified in the eyes of her educators. At the time Nonie Darwish was growing up in Egypt, her father was serving as a Colonel in the Egyptian Army. As a result, he was responsible for the deaths of many Israelis. Because of these killings, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed her father in 1956. This event deeply impacted Darwish and resulted in her family being urged to avenge her father’s death.
However, Darwish’s views toward Israel and the Jewish people began to change after she journeyed to the United States and quickly embraced its Western culture and the Judeo-Christian values that make it the freest and most prosperous nation in the world. When marrying her husband in 1978, Darwish recalled her initial fears about being discriminated against and vilified for being a Muslim. To her surprise, Darwish stated that she did not experience that hatred that she was anticipating. In fact, she remembered one instance where she attended church with one of her Jewish friends and was amazed by how peaceful and compassionate the ceremony was. “They prayed for the whole world,” Darwish recalled with delight. Following this epiphany, Darwish decided to read the Bible for herself and adopt Christ as her Savior through converting to Christianity.
Nonie Darwish further discussed how women are mistreated and denied equal rights and protection within many Middle Eastern countries. While growing up in Egypt, Darwish claimed that the only women who were ever celebrated were those who raised Jihadists and terrorists against the Jewish people and Israel. Ordinary women were never cherished or given the opportunity to utilize their basic human rights and potential to succeed. Darwish watched as women were forced to pledge loyalty to their husbands. In marriage, Darwish claimed that she saw how husbands were constantly allowed to physically and mentally abuse their wives. If a woman ever called for help, Darwish stated that the police would simply respond by “laughing and hanging up” on her. The imagery Darwish created in the lecture hall served as a chilling reminder of how privileged we are to live in a nation that respects and ensures equal rights and individual liberties for all American citizens, regardless of sex, age or race.
Within her closing, Darwish emphasized the importance of supporting countries that guarantee human rights and ensure protection for all individuals. Like the United States, Darwish noted that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that allows Jews, Muslims and Christians to worship freely and visit all holy sites within the country without restriction. Israel also ensures equal protection for women, men and children of every race. Perhaps most importantly, Nonie Darwish discussed how crucial it is to protect these freedoms through ensuring that our borders are well-regulated, our national security is prioritized first and our citizens are protected. To ensure that we are able to maintain the incredibly important freedoms that we are guaranteed in the United States, Darwish discussed how we must protect our borders and understand how imperative it is to properly vet those entering our nation. In order for America to continue to thrive, it is critical for all citizens and those undergoing the naturalization process to adhere to the same values and principles of individual liberty and human rights that are upheld within our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The future success of our country and the safety of all citizens is directly impacted by our will to succeed at fulfilling this necessity.
- Taylor Roth
- College Representative
- Legal Immigrants for America