by Hugh Fitzgerald
Steve Harvey is the host of a supremely idiotic television show, Family Feud, as well as the star of the Steve Harvey In the Morning show, host of Celebrity Family Feud, and of the Miss Universe pageant since 2015, and of Fox’s New Year’s Eve since 2017. He also had a steady gig In Las Vegas for 27 years. And I’ve left out so much more Steve Harvey has done to entertain and, it now seems, to instruct us.
Harvey is a Renaissance Man, doing what Leonardo da Vinci would be doing if he were alive today. He recently returned from the Sharjah International Book Fair in the Emirates, where he was a guest of honor. It turns out that actually reading books is not a requirement to be the guest of honor at this particular book fair. Harvey has many fans in the Emirates, and they lined up to see him, went wild at his appearance, clinging to his words of wisdom, even if they couldn’t always understand his English. As for Harvey, he was equally impressed with his enthusiastic reception, and no doubt even more deeply impressed with the amazing sum he was given for his appearance.
With a couple of days in Sharjah under his belt, Harvey is now quite the expert on the Emirates, the Arabs, and of course on Islam, which has been so terribly misunderstood in America.
Here is the report in the Khaleej Times on Harvey’s appearance:
Everything he said about faith, religious tolerance, and hard work was greeted with loud cheers and thunderous applause. Even when he gushed unintelligible words mimicking the Arabic language, no one batted an eyelid. The crowds only cheered louder. From Emiratis to Asians, and from adults to little kids, everybody loves Steve Harvey. And, Harvey loves them back. He even wore an olive green kandura and ghutra to prove his point.
Though Harvey has visited the UAE before, this is his first time at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), an event he hopes to be a part of more often. He wants to foster cultural dialogue between Americans and Emiratis.
His idea of cultural exchange is to bring more Americans to the UAE for his next trip, especially students, who can see for themselves ‘the real meaning of Islam’.
“There are many misconceptions about the Arab people in the US. But I can only change me. I can’t change America,” Harvey told Khaleej Times, commenting on the West’s misconception of Islam. “America has been that way a long time.”
By “misconceptions” about “the Arab people,” Harvey means those negative perceptions, having to do with 9/11, and other terror attacks by Muslims in Boston, New York (many times), Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles, Fort Hood, Little Rock, Orlando, San Bernardino, Chattanooga, and several dozen other places in America. Or perhaps American views on Arabs and Muslims have been influenced by the terrorist attacks in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris (many times), Toulouse, Tours, Nice, Magnanville, St. Etienne du Rouvray, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London (many times), Manchester, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Wurzburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Malmo, Helsinki, Turku, St. Petersburg, Moscow, an Beslan. Or perhaps he is thinking about how American attitudes toward Muslim Arabs might have been affected by the nearly 35,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims around the world since 9/11.
But Steve Harvey knows better. He knows that the negative views are unwarranted, but what can you expect, he said, of a country that elects Donald Trump as its President, with his “Muslim ban”? And who can doubt that when he returns to America, he will fill in his own American audience with what he learned in Sharjah? For the Emirates, he’s the ideal goodwill ambassador, well worth the money he’s been given.
Here are the excerpts from Khaleej Times’ conversation with Harvey:
1. From your interactions at the SIBF, it looks like the Arab world loves you. Were you aware that you have such a massive fan base here?
Steve: No, not at all. I was completely surprised. I’ve been talking to my wife, family, and business associates about it. It is mind-boggling for me because I had no idea. You know you go to work every day, trying the best to perfect your craft. But, this thing called YouTube – it sends out what you do globally. It’s unbelievable to me. People here have seen my clips that meant something to them or is funny to them. When I came here and saw the popularity that I have – it was very humbling to me.
2. Once you go back, what would you tell people back home about your experience at the SIBF?
Steve: I would say that they should visit this, and see all this for themselves. You got to understand – there are many misconceptions about the Arab people and Muslims in the US. They (the media) take the negative side (of Islam). They are people who have taken Islam and done some fake stuff with it. ISIS and stuff. and put Islam on it. That’s not what Islam is.
Islam doesn’t murder people, kill children and blow things up. If that’s what TV stations are showing the whole country, what do you think they are going to think?
And, in the end, you got a president who puts a travel ban on Muslim countries, and then you think – man, is this guy for real? Is he for real? (laughs). But, you know, that’s the government sometimes. It makes decisions sometimes that’s not the decision of all people. If I were to believe in the government, I wouldn’t be over here.
Here is an amiable fellow who commands an American audience of millions. He’s spent two, or possibly three, well-paid days in Sharjah, and now, back home, he’s ready to share his new knowledge about Islam. We already know, from his interview, what he thinks: “the media take the negative side of Islam.” Harvey is apparently unaware of how the American media bend over backwards to explain that Islam – the true, authentic, undistorted Islam — has nothing to do with violence or terrorism. He offers one bizarre claim after another: “They are people who have taken Islam and done some fake stuff with it.” Who are these people who have “done some fake stuff with it”? Does he mean the malefactors in the media or the Trump administration who have been trying to make us think ill of inoffensive Islam? Or does Steve Harvey mean by “those people” the terrorists who claim to be, but could not possibly be, real Muslims at all, who make up “fake stuff” about what Islam teaches to justify their murderous attacks? How does Steve Harvey know they have “done fake stuff with [Islam]”? Has he read the Qur’an or hadith? He gives no sign of having done so. But he just knows — don’t ask how — “that’s not what Islam is.” Islam doesn’t “murder people, kill children, and blow things up.” Steve says he’ll becoming back to Sharjah, “to experience and love the people.” So who are you going to believe – that sudden scholar of Islam, and media superstar, Steve Harvey, or your lying eyes?
First published in Jihad Watch.
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