WYOMING — Nonie Darwish remembers being told as a child living in Gaza never to take candy from a stranger because it might be a Jew trying to poison her. Such was her education as the daughter of an Egyptian military leader who terrorized Israel before his martyrdom in 1956.

“We grew up with a lot of hatred. We grew up with a lot of fear,” said Darwish, now a Christian living in the United States. “When you fill the heart of a child with fear like that, terrorism becomes acceptable. And not only acceptable, but heroic.”

Darwish, 58, rejected the faith of her father, Lt. General Mustafa Hafez, and now is an outspoken critic of an Islamic culture that she claims fosters tyranny.

She is one of two featured speakers coming Tuesday to Grand Rapids for a one-day conference on the dynamics of the Middle East.

A group of local Jews, Catholics and Protestants is organizing the event at Resurrection Life Church with sponsorship from a trio of pro-Israel organizations.


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