In Their Own Words…Excerpts From 2011 Winning Abdelkader Essays

1st Place – Cole Crawford, Dubuque

Though much of the Western world did not respect or understand Muslim culture, there was something different about the Emir … Even though he lost battles – indeed, even lost the war for Algerian independence – Abd el-Kader won a greater and more timeless war. He fought a struggle to capture the world’s hearts and minds, and emerged decisively victorious.

2nd Place – Madi Johansen, Decorah

The life of Abdelkader can provide a lesson in tolerance, religion, and humanity. The Emir’s actions throughout his life showed the true religion of Islam; following his faith made him a hero … In the words of the Qur’an 5:7, “Let not your hatred of other men turn you away from Justice. Be just…that is closer to piety.

3rd Place – Ben Bernatz, Decorah

I began to view his application of Islamic law on Algeria as a vehicle for establishing order and justice in his country and was forced to recognize a difference between the emir and extremist Muslim groups today. After years of warfare, Abdelkader realized he couldn’t win, and voluntarily ended the war. He resigned himself to what he saw as God’s will and ended the horrific fighting in his country.

Elkader* – Bob Spielbauer

Abdelkader had the character of a leader and the morals of a saint. The strong moral guidance of his parents, especially his father, had taught him to be culturally tolerant. This boundless acceptance was one of Abdelkader’s most valued attributes. His character, especially strong humanitarian morals, has had the most effect on my life. Reading about his life has helped me come to see his people in a whole new light, and I only wish that I could show others my new perspective as well.

Elkader* – Joe McGreal

After I read this book and took a step back, I realized that Muslims and Christians aren’t so different. The foremost similarity between the two is that they both emphasize carrying out the will of God. Abdelkader yielded his own will to the will of God, which required trust; trust that God would find the best alternative, trust that God wouldn’t leave him out to dry, and a belief in God and His will.

*Best of Elkader essays

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