Several years ago, when first in the United States on a teaching scholarship, one issue leapt out. A man asked an innocent enough question: Where I was from? I told him; then, as a courtesy, asked him the same question.
“I am a Muslim,” he smiled.
Thinking that perhaps he had not understood the question — he sounded American or English — I asked if he was from the United States.
“I am not American,” he said again; “I am a Muslim.”
I subsequently learned that he was an Islamist, a preacher of strict religious teachings, and that many of the people to whom he preached held the same views.
In Iran and Syria, where I was born and raised, I had never before heard this answer.