Prayers in Vegas

Grandma holds a Koran to make sure American soldiers walk under it


Prayers in Vegas
by faridm

My mother took my grandmother to Las Vegas for the first time in her life. The interesting aspect of this trip is not so much my grandmother’s amazement of Vegas but more as to what she did to American soldiers in Las Vegas airport on the way back.

In Las Vegas airport, my mother and grandmother were waiting in the flight terminal to board their plane while hundreds of soldiers were getting ready to be deployed to Iraq. My grandmother, who always manages to be a social butterfly even with the little English that she knows, began to tell the soldiers how much she wishes they were not going to war and were able to stay home with their families.

The soldiers found a liking in my grandmother as she attempted to engage in conversations with her broken English and trying to get across her wild conspiracy theories. One of her numerous conspiracy theories went as far as accusing George W. Bush of going to war with Iraq to avoid the public from finding out about his addictions as well as his extramarital affair with none other than his intern.

My grandmother took out her Koran as more and more soldiers began gathering around her to get a laugh as if she was doing a monologue like Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. She starts chanting prayers for the soldiers and decides to walk toward the entrance of the terminal in order to make sure the soldiers walk under the Koran as they board the plane.

It doesn’t get any more wicked than having an old Iranian grandmother, standing in an airport, holding a Koran and making sure that American soldiers walk under it as they are about to go fight in Iraq. Even better, I would have loved to be there to hear her yell to the soldiers, “Please kiss the Koran, please kiss the Koran.” The soldiers were nice enough to make light of the situation and go along with my grandmother’s antics as they are about to undertake a major assignment on the other side of the world.

This incident makes me realize how our planet has turned into a small village where with the help of technology everyone is somehow interconnected whether they like it or not, so why not make the best of it by getting along and learning from one another.

Who would have known, that sixty years ago when my grandmother was being raised in Kermanshah, with a very modest upbringing, she would one day be standing in Las Vegas airport cheering the soldier’s spirits as they are taking on a massive challenge on the other side of the world.

The father of the late 'Meet the Press' moderator Tim Russert often repeated the phrase: “What a country, what a country!”




by jose garcia (not verified) on

i guess to all middle easterners Saddam was a good guy....hopefully someone can answer two questions i is why when one travels to the middle east with a bible,it gets confiscated and you can get hit with a criminal sentence and go to jail...i thought that islam is a tolerant religion...also what about mass graves that keep being found in irag related to the Saddam one speaks foe those who got thrown headfirst into a plastic shredding machine....



by theresa (not verified) on


K Nassery

I tried to be fair.

by K Nassery on

I did try, but I see a cultural difference here.  I am just letting you know that even though no one cause her any pain, she probably did cause some pain to Americans. It's ok to insult and embarrass Americans, of course.  If it makes you happy that she did this to American soldiers, ok too.

BTW.... my husband and his classmates all served in the Iranian Army Medical Corps.  I am the wife of an Iranian Veteran.  So ..... I don't think badly of your soldiers. 

I think a lot is asked of Americans....and little is given back.




The Point Everyone Missed

by AnonymousLA (not verified) on

I read this article and it made me smile....then I read the comments below, and it reminded me why the world is as messed up as it is.....

There is a saying that little minds discuss little argue about the Bible and Koran and who shot what and who flushed what is excatly what the people in power in all countries want to see... By throwing religion and nationality into each other's face we will never be one...human race....

The entire point of this story is that there is an old lady who is concerned about young men and women going to war, and she is showing her concern in the only way she knows trying to protect them from harm...

I realize all the crimes done in wars, in both sides...but as someone who lived in Iran during the war, I still could not help but cry when I watched the first air attack's on Baghdad....We are all humans, and the mother's on each side hurt when a child is lost....

If this grandma was raised on this side of the world she would hold out her bible, but she was raised on the other side of the world and she held out her Koran....

The point is she cared and made a human contact...if all of us did that perhaps there would not be so many wars......


Prayers in Vegas

by Pacifist (not verified) on

Does your granny know how many men, women and children have perished because of he American intervention in Iraq and how many have become destitute, homeless refugees?

I think she did, she would curse them rather than pray for them.



Dear Nassery

by Abarmard on

You have forgotten Iran. If there is an old lady in the airport or anywhere and has a book from hell, the soldiers and the people would be sweet to her. Just be fair.

If you want to say that a bad incident could happen in Iran, it could have very well happened to this lady. She got lucky, believe me. In Iran, the majority of people based on our culture are respectful to the elderly. 

K Nassery

What happens to the Bibles taken away by the Saudis....?

by K Nassery on

I have read about these incidents  of taking Bibles away at airports in Saudi Arabia and I have no idea what thay do with the Bibles.  The fact that some soldiers used the Khoran for target practices is true.  There were apologies issued by the soldier himself and his officers.  Apparently, you don't accept that apology.  The soldier claimed that he didnt' know it was a Khoran, but I'm sure that no one here would believe him even if he was telling the absolute truth. You seem to have your minds made up about American soldiers.

 I do think it's an insult to Christians and I tried to make that clear. The grandmother's discussion and then holding the Khoran over their heads appears to be harassment to me. 

I told several people about this discussion this morning and my suspccion that this would be taken as an insult seems to be accepted.  I tried not to influence them with my opinion. 

Take this as you wish... Thirty years ago, I heard the horrible stories about the behavior of "rich" Americans at the oil facilities in Iran before the Revolution. Now, "rich" Iranians are doing the same here.  Tit for tat..... It seems.  Justify any behavior that you wish to justify.  I've learned to accept anything that comes .... 




K Nassery

by Anonymous-haha (not verified) on

how ironic you quote saudi arabia. last time i checked, i didn't hear iranians or saudis using the Holy Koran as a target practice.Owh wait, iranians and saudis have never attacked any other countries for many years.

and how do you know iranians would freak out at the very sight of Bible being held over their heads?Are you assuming that Iranians are some kind of wackos that blew themselves up for 72 virgins?

and I can assure you, Muslims do have great respect to the Bible. We will never use it as a target practice or flush it down the toilet.

And I remembered picking up my friend's Bible from the floor and putting it on the table instead,much to his confusion.

The words of God,if you believe in them, should be respected - whether it is the Holy Koran or the Holy Bible.


Do not believe the lies

by N3m 1s1s (not verified) on

Remember all US soldiers serving in Iraq can technically be charged for war crimes.

just following orders is no excuse under the precedents of Nuremburg.

K Nassery

I'm glad the soldiers were kind to her.

by K Nassery on

If it was a Bible in Saudi Arabia or Iran, I'm sure the soldiers would have arrested the sweet woman and take the Bible away.  That shows a huge difference in the way our soldiers think.

 I wouldn't have allowed my mother, who carries a rosary to embarass Iranians or Saudis in an airport, but I guess you think it was ok to do that to Americans. 

Please forgive me for telling you this, but your grandmother did this in a public area of the airport.  Her behavior borders on harassment of the soldiers.  Most Americans are againt the Iraq War at this time, but I'm sure they were watching the Khoran held over our soldiers' heads and remembering 9/11 and all of the threats from the Middle East.  No one said anything to your family, but I think I can guess what was in their minds.  I'm sure it's a cultural difference that you think this was acceptable, but I believe harm was done to the soldiers and to the Americans watching even though no one let it show.  I wish your mother had stopped her mother from doing this.  I want Americans to like Iranians. 

 I just mentioned this to my Iranian husband and he thought it was a nice gesture for the grandmother to do this.  Wow.....  there is a huge cultural divide here.  If the shoe was on the other foot and an American grandmother was holding a Bible over the head of a line of Iranians getting on an airplane, what would the response of the Iranians be?