Justin Linds

Lynn Amhaz's Religious Experience

A tale from Noord.

Religion certainly means two different things in Lebanon and The Netherlands. Lynn Amhaz was given a taste of the latter on her first day in Amsterdam.


Graphic designer Lynn Amhaz had been living in Amsterdam Noord for all of two hours when there was a knock on her door. Upon opening the door, Lynn found a man dressed in plain clothes and a suspicious smile. The man was carrying a book with Jesus Christ on the cover, and offered her the book, for a price. Lynn told the religious stranger that she had no interest in owning the book, but the theology salesman insisted on knowing why. Explaining that she is not a Christian, and therefore not interested in buying a book on Jesus Christ, the forthright stranger asked, "what are you?" Lynn told him she is a Muslim, and was subsequently asked a second question: "where are you from?" Under the impression that this was a typical Dutch happening, Lynn answered "Lebanon." Yet somehow still unconvinced, Lynn was given one more opportunity to decide if she wanted to buy the overpriced Jesus manual or not. She shut the door.


Jehova's Witnesses - It is a common practice of some religious groups to go door to door preaching their beliefs. This photo is from the Wikimedia Commons

As one of the most secular countries in Western Europe - only 39% of citizens are religiously affiliated - The Netherlands stands in opposition to Lebanon where religion is closely connected with the culture and politics of the country. Though Lynn had a uncharacteristic early and affronting experience with religion in The Netherlands, it wouldn't be surprising if this was not the last she heard on the topic. She promises to keep us informed.