The Biblical story of Jonah in the belly of a whale is a fascinating allegory of moral instruction taught by God to man, or of man’s struggle for redemption in a sinful world.
It might also be read as a metaphor indicating only those individuals, or people, know best the nature of any beast if they have lived inside its belly, and survived to speak of the evil encountered.
The people who knew best the sheer evil nature of the former Soviet Union, for instance, were the ones who experienced it from within, and warned the world.
Similarly, only those with experience of politics in the Arab-Muslim world from the inside know well the true nature of its repressive culture riddled with violence.
Khaled Abu Toameh is a journalist writing for the Jerusalem Post. He describes himself often as a Palestinian-Israeli, an Arab, a Muslim and a resident of Jerusalem.
In other words Khaled — I will address him by his first name — is a man of multiple identities, and residing in the ground zero of the most intractable conflict of our time.
I draw attention to Khaled because his writings are warnings from within the belly of the Arab world. And his writings are required reading for anyone in the West seriously interested in understanding the interior nature of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the emergent shape of Arab politics as one set of despots fall and another tyranny looms large.
I first met Khaled here in Canada, and later visited him with his family at his home in Jerusalem.
Khaled’s personality is radiant, his courage is indomitable and his knowledge indispensable for outsiders struggling to understand the labyrinthine nature of tribal politics of the Arab world.
In a recent article, Khaled told the world why the so-called Arab Spring is inevitably turning into an Arab Winter.
He asks sardonically: “Will Libya take example from Iran, Sudan and Saudi Arabia where adulterers are stoned to death and convicted thieves have their hands cut off and beheaded in public squares?”
He then writes: “Those who thought the Arab Spring would bring moderation and secularism to the Arab world are in for a big disappointment.”
And why, we may incredulously ask.
Khaled answers: “What many Western observers have failed to notice is that most of the anti-government demonstrations that have been sweeping the Arab world over the past 10 months were often launched from mosques following Friday prayer.”
There you have the inside view from the belly of the beast. In our politically correct world of multicultural utopia, the reality of what occurs inside the mosque cannot be discussed.
To the mayor of New York, the Ground Zero Mosque can only be a place of worship where pious men — and mostly men — gather.
Khaled has no reason to be politically correct when he knows the inside story of how a mosque serves as the recruiting base for jihad against infidels and lapsed Muslims.
This jihad is turning whatever little promise there was initially invested in the Facebook revolution called Arab Spring into an Arab Winter, and rule by ruthless men obsessed by their Islamist version of a cruel faith and a vengeful deity.