Mohammed Dajani Daoudi’s ancestors include custodians of King David’s tomb, two mayors of Jerusalem, and an assassinated peace activist. Dajani, a Palestinian professor of political science, non-violent activist, and founder of al-Wasatia, a moderate Islamic movement, is actively upholding this lineage.
Born in Jerusalem in 1946, Dajani experienced the ramifications of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war firsthand. As Israelis took over Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, his family fled to Egypt, only to return as refugees in 1949. After the 1967 war, during which Dajani was separated from his family, he joined the ranks of Fatah, which advocated for the liberation of Palestine through armed struggle, and trained as a guerilla.
In 1970, Dajani’s passport was revoked by Jordan during the so-called Black September civil war, and in 1975 he was deported from Lebanon to Syria. Disappointed by the corruption he observed within Fatah, he took the opportunity to “divorce” politics and “marry” academics. He then, on an Algerian passport he was granted, traveled to the United States to complete a series of advanced degrees, including a master’s in social science at Eastern Michigan University, a PhD in government from the University of South Carolina at Columbia, and a PhD in political economy from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1985, King Hussein of Jordan issued Dajani a pardon, allowing him to return to Amman, where he worked at the Applied Science University as chair of the political science and diplomacy department.
In 1993, after twenty-five years of exile from Israel because of his activities with Fatah, Dajani obtained a family reunion permit to return to Jerusalem, where his father, sick with cancer, was undergoing chemotherapy. Observing his father’s treatment by Israeli medical practitioners, and later his mother’s treatment for an asthma attack, Dajani saw what he had previously thought impossible: tolerance, respect, and care for Palestinian patients by Israelis.
During Ramadan in late 2006, Dajani witnessed a group of Palestinians on their way to pray at al-Aqsa mosque being blocked from crossing a checkpoint at Dahiet al-Barid by Israeli soldiers. Expecting the conflict to turn violent, he watched in surprise as the parties came to an agreement spontaneously and peacefully, with the soldiers providing busses to drive the Muslims to the mosque.
Inspired by these events, Dajani founded al-Wasatia in January 2007, a movement that calls for pluralism, non-violence, and reconciliation, with a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Old City of Jerusalem internationalized, and religious tolerance within a democratic Palestine. In March of 2014, the movement made international headlines when Dajani, then a professor at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, led the first ever group of students from the Palestinian territories to visit Holocaust sites at Krakow and Auschwitz.
The backlash to Dajani’s visit to Poland was swift in the West Bank. Protests erupted on Al-Quds University’s campus, he received death threats and was called a “traitor” and a “collaborator,” and the school released a statement distancing itself from its employee. In May, Dajani submitted a letter to the university resigning from his posts as rector of libraries and director of the American studies graduate program. He has said this was intended as a kind of litmus test to see if the university would reject his resignation and take a stance in support of academic freedom. Instead, the school accepted it.
Dajani talked to me via Skype from Washington, DC, where he is currently a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. A secular Muslim with a collection of many translations of the Quran, Dajani speaks calmly and deliberately. A year after his contentious trip to Auschwitz, he continues to receive threats to his safety—just a week prior to our interview, his car was set ablaze in front of his home in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Despite such devastating obstacles, he is firm in his commitment to working toward reconciliation and peace in his homeland. “They sent us a message to terrorize us,” Dajani explained. “And we sent them a message that we will not be terrorized.”
—Tiffanie Wen for Guernica
Guernica: Can you explain the ideology of Wasatia?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: The idea of Wasatia is to bring moderation to the forefront. There has been an escalation of radicalism and extremism, particularly in religion in recent years, which has affected politics. The most radical interpretations of religion are becoming more popular. I don’t know why, I don’t know what’s going on with the masses, that they enjoy radical rhetoric and extremist ideology more than a moderate approach. You talk to them rationally, logically, with objectivity, and you may only reach a few among them, the elite who have their eyes fixed on the future. The rest are intoxicated with the glories and fantasies of a past that would never come back. But to reach the masses, it’s important to make moderation more appealing by talking to them in a language they revere and respect, that of religion and not politics or philosophy. In Palestine and the Islamic world, the language of the Quran is the language that reaches people. So the goal of Wasatia is to promote moderation, and the way we do that is by studying the Quran and teaching its peaceful and humane message.
Unfortunately, Islam has been hijacked by radicals through misinterpretation and misrepresentation. That’s what inspired me to embark on my Wasatia initiative in January 2007. It’s not the first of its kind. There have been others in different times and places, people who wrote about the concept of Wasatia in Islam and urged Muslims to adhere to that middle-ground path. But what is different between us and them is that we are not only advocating moderation within Islam but rather moderation as a common value within all religions, so that all religions can work for moderation and humanity.
So we want Wasatia to do two things: first, to bring people together within the one community in love, harmony, and cooperation; and, second, to bridge the gap between different cultures and civilizations. Moderation is a value that all religions call for and all religions believe it, and so we should all practice it. And in practicing it, actually, we can have peace within us and between us rather than conflict. I believe that moderation in this way will usher in reconciliation. And then it will not be understood as a clash of civilizations, but rather a dialogue of civilizations, which would lead us to a life of cooperation and prosperity.
If God wished, He would’ve made all humanity one nation. But that was not His intention.
Guernica: What does the word “Wasatia” mean? What are its roots in the Quran?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: The word “Wasatia” comes from the Arabic root wasat. Linguistically, the word means “center”—like the center of a circle or middle of a road. However, religiously speaking, wasat is justice, tolerance, temperance, middle ground, and centrism. The term itself, wasat, is mentioned in the Quran more than once.
In the second chapter, or surah, it is in verse 143. It says, “We have created you ummatan wasata [a moderate nation].” It is interesting that this verse is number 143, while the whole chapter is composed of 286 verses. So it comes right in the middle and it symbolizes the concept of moderation, centrism, and middle ground. We believe this embodies the true spirit of Islam.
We refer to the Quran to support the notion of moderation. And from there we show that the Quran teaches us that Muslims are not in collision with other religions. Islam is not here to replace Christianity, or Judaism, or any other religion, but to complement them. Because the Quran instructs that God will guide whomever He desires and that if God wished, He would’ve made all humanity one nation or had everyone speak one language or have one religion. But that was not His intention. He created us as different tribes, different languages, different people, different faiths. So that we would get acquainted and cooperate with each other.
Guernica: I understand you joined Fatah in the late 1960s. Can you tell me about that time?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: My experience of joining and working for Fatah was most fulfilling and enriching. During those years, from 1967 to 1975, I was living most of the time in Beirut, which at the time enjoyed an educational, artistic, and cultural renaissance. It was an enlightening experience for me.
The American University of Beirut was the Harvard of the Middle East. It was the most advanced, academically and intellectually, in the region at the time. It had one of the best libraries; it had a highly intellectual selection of professors teaching, and a very high quality of students from the wider region. You had students from all over—Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and even Europe. It was a cauldron for ideas. You could be a Maoist, a communist, or a capitalist.
There were also writers from all over the Arab World who were publishing books at a high volume and they would come to Lebanon and share their cultural, political, philosophical, or artistic experiences. Artists were coming to work there, freely, until the civil war in 1975. There were hundreds of restaurants, dozens of daily newspapers and magazines being published reflecting a spectrum of views. It was a cultured society and living there was an awakening experience. I was exposed to so many views and new ideas.
My motivation to join Fatah was idealism. However, when idealism clashed with real politics, I opted out.
Guernica: What attracted you to Fatah, specifically?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: Before 1967, I considered myself an Arab nationalist and believed in the liberation of Palestine through the unity of all the Arab regimes. The Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 filled me with hatred, rage, and anger against Israel, making me feel, “It is us or them.” But after the 1967 war with Israel proved that the Arab regimes were inferior to the Israeli army, many Palestinians at the time, including myself, shifted from Arab nationalism to a primary Palestinian identity. I joined Fatah because it reflected the idea that no one would liberate Palestine except the Palestinians. We believed it was to be a revolutionary war and Palestine would be liberated from the inside.
However, once we began our work, in reality, I realized that it was not about achieving this model state, because within the structure of the movement itself, there was no democracy. Instead, there were abuses of power and corruption. So my idealism started to collapse and I began to understand my reality. The reality is that in order to survive in a movement like [Fatah], you either have to become like them, or you opt out—if you can, because they might not allow you to leave.
When I joined Fatah, I viewed politics and ethics as distinct but complementary spheres. However, my revolutionary experience with Fatah taught me ethics and politics are incompatible and that there is a wide gap between them. When I reached that conclusion, the only thing that was left for me to do was to leave politics and move on in the sphere of education. Justice and ethics could be compatible but politics and ethics are far from being compatible, as I had discovered during these revolutionary years in Beirut.
If you have a revolutionary mentor, you will be a revolutionary; if you have intellectual mentors, like I did, you will be an intellectual.
Guernica: What came next for you?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: I was lucky to have the opportunity to travel to the United States, where I studied and lived for ten years. It was a sobering experience, where education and the democratic-liberal culture facilitated my transition to non-violent, pluralistic work. It was refreshing to be in the United States and away from the charged politics of the region, and to see the democratic system working in the United States.
I also had two great intellectual mentors: professors Carl Leiden and James Bill, who had a great influence on me and guided my American experience. I think mentors are very important and influential. If you have a revolutionary mentor, you will be a revolutionary; if you have intellectual mentors, like I did, you will be an intellectual.
It is also important to note that, in the 1960s, the dominant intellectualism and flourishing nationalism in Beirut were directed against the United States, as the imperialist power usurping Arab resources and wealth, and supporting Arab dictatorships and reactionary regimes. Israel was an implant in the heart of the Arab nation to be a base for Western powers to colonize the Arab world. So to be pro-American or to accept the idea of negotiations, reconciliation, or peace with Israel was considered treason to the Arab cause. In 1966, I was a student at the American University of Beirut when the founder and editor of the Lebanese daily Al-Hayat, Kamel Mrowa, a Lebanese Shia Muslim, was assassinated by a Nasserite who walked into his office and shot him in cold blood. The image of his crying daughter, Hayat, after whom the newspaper was named, is still vivid in my mind. The assassination was linked to the newspaper’s criticism of Egyptian President Nasser and the Arab nationalist movement. There were more than ten bombing attempts to close the newspaper.
Guernica: You were banned from Jerusalem for more than two decades because of your work with Fatah. What was it like to return? And how did it influence the shift in your ideology?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: Being banned from Jerusalem for twenty-five years made me feel like the wandering traveler moving from one country to another without the roots to settle down. I lived in wonderful places but never felt I belonged. It even affected my attitude toward marriage. I was worried that a foreign wife and a family might become an obstacle preventing me from returning to my homeland.
I went back to my homeland in 1993, on a family reunion permit issued by Israel, because my father was suffering from cancer. I started to accompany my father to his chemotherapy at Ein Kerem Israeli hospital, to find that other Palestinian patients along with my father were receiving medical treatment on an equal level as the Israelis. A similar episode helped open my eyes to the human side of the other, wherein Israeli medics struggled to save the life of my mother.
I believe that, prior to 1967, the evil in the other had opened the gates of my heart and ushered out the evil in me: “It is us or them.” But through these experiences, the good in the other opened the gates of my heart and ushered out the good in me, making me feel, “It is us and them.”
Guernica: You’ve said that radicals have misinterpreted the Quran in numerous ways. Can you give some examples?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: Radicals have taken the Quran and used it to advance their political platform by changing the terminologies within the Quran. To Muslims, the Quran is considered the word of God. You can’t add, modify, or take away anything from it, so radicals play with the interpretation, tafseer.
As one example, the Quran says that the religion to God is Islam, so extremists are teaching our children that Islam came to replace all other religions, and God has preference for one faith over the two other heavenly religions. But if you read the Quran carefully, it says that Abraham was hanif, which, in a way, means a Muslim; that Moses spoke to his people and his people said they were Muslimun; and that Jesus spoke to his disciples and they said they were Muslimun, in that they were believers of God.
So here, in Arabic, Islam means two things: one is a noun—Islam the faith—and the other is a verb meaning to surrender yourself to God, to believe in God, to have peace in God, and to worship God. If you use Islam as a noun, then it is exclusive. It excludes Christianity and Judaism. If you are using it as a verb, then it is inclusive.
Wasatia comes in order to help people see such misinterpretations of the Quran and to show them the true values of Islam. The values of Islam are similar to the values of other religions. If you take the Ten Commandments, for example, you will tend to find it embodies all there is in any other religion—don’t kill, don’t lie, don’t steal. There isn’t any religion that instructs the followers to kill or to lie or to steal.
There are nearly 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. I believe that the extremists who are terrorizing people would account for no more than 50,000.
Guernica: How does Wasatia fit into the broader political and social landscape of Palestine?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: In Palestine you find that there are three broad segments within society on the political and religious levels. On the right end of the spectrum, you will find twelve to fifteen religious Islamic parties—Salafists advocating a clash of civilizations. They focus on the precedence of Islam over the other two heavenly religions and focus on the ascendency of the Prophet over the other prophets God has sent, in disharmony with the text of the Quran. And they constitute 5 to 10 percent of the Palestinian community. The second segment of society lies on the left. There are more than forty secular parties in Palestine. They call for secular ideologies such as democracy or socialism, or communism. They make a strict separation between religion and state. They don’t have a place for religion within their ideology. And they constitute 35 to 40 percent of the Palestinian community. The rest in the middle are the oscillating silent majority, more than 50 percent of the people—they are Muslims and moderate. They’re not extremists, they’re centrist.
There are nearly 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. I believe that the extremists who are terrorizing people would account for no more than 50,000. However, because the media gives them so much attention, they’re being equated with the other more than billion people and are viewed as the representatives of the Muslim umma [community]. Perhaps 90 percent of Muslims around the world don’t pray five times a day, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not religious. It is a private matter between them and God. It means their style of life or the way they behave or express their faith is their concern and not that of others. They are believers and Muslims and when Islam is under attack they would stand up to defend it. Radicals are denying them their Muslim identity because they don’t grow beards or follow their path.
Guernica: Do you see Wasatia eventually becoming a political entity?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: This is our goal: to make Wasatia a political entity where the state won’t be secular like the United States, or a religious state like Iran, but rather a middle-of-the-road state, in the sense that the state will embody ethical and moral religious values, but not be ruled by clerics or the Sharia Islamic laws.
At the same time, the state is hands off religion. People should have full freedom to worship and exercise their right to express themselves freely. For instance, there are Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the state of Palestine, so we should allow people to observe the holy days for the three religions. They should also have the right to build their own holy shrines, mosques, synagogues, or churches where they can exercise prayers freely. That’s the model we are advocating.
Guernica: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party recently received a surprise victory in the March elections in Israel. Days before the election, Netanyahu publicly reversed his support for a two-state solution when he told an Israeli reporter there would be no Palestinian state under his leadership. As Netanyahu attempts to build a coalition, how do you see Palestinians responding?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: On the political level, the Israeli elections brought a right-wing government with no interest in making peace. On the economic level, Israel’s control of the borders, its withholding the taxes it collects every month on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and the decrease in donor funding, have resulted in a deteriorating economy and rise of unemployment. The building of Jewish settlements on confiscated Palestinian lands continues and more Palestinian prisoners are being detained.
We need an Israeli leader with an embracing mentality, which views Israel as best defended by making peace, embracing its neighbors, and giving them a helping hand to move on with their daily lives as people and as human beings—not one with a masada [fortress] mentality, which views Israel as best defended by isolating itself in a bunker then committing suicide when the odds are too much to overcome. Preserving the status quo while waiting for the storm to pass is not a prudent strategic option and reflects a myopic vision.
The Palestinians were pinning their hope on an election victory by the Israeli moderates [that] would rejuvenate the peace process. However, the election results made them lose their hope in having a viable peace partner in Israel, particularly with Netanyahu one day accepting the two-state solution, and the next rejecting it. He also openly rejects the sharing of Jerusalem as the joint capital of the two states.
To move ahead, Palestinians need to adopt a positive strategy for winning over the Israeli public to their cause and convincing the Israeli public that they genuinely want peace in order for them to vote for a party with a peace agenda. They ought not opt for taking the unproductive path of prosecuting Israel in international courts just to please the masses, since such a course would only solidify the feelings of enmity and hatred among Israelis, prolonging the occupation and delaying the prospect of declaring the independent state of Palestine.
The media is just like any other thing. Like dynamite, it can be used for peace or it can cause havoc and destruction.
Guernica: What would Palestine look like according to the principles of Wasatia?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: Palestine would be a democratic state where people from different religions can live in peace and harmony, with equal rights and the same responsibilities. While secular parties separate between religion and state, the more orthodox Salafist Islamic parties want the state to be khilafa, dominated by religion. One is total separation, the other is total amalgamation. That’s why Wasatia stands in the middle, building bridges between the state and religion, where the state is not dominated by religion, but is guided by the moral teaching of religion toward good governance of integrity, transparency, and accountability.
Guernica: How has the media attention following your controversial trip to Auschwitz last year affected your work?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: The media is just like any other thing: it can be useful and it can be harmful. Like dynamite, it can be used for peace or it can cause havoc and destruction. Similarly, a gun can be used to protect people from evil, or can be used to kill people. That’s why in the United States you say, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” It’s the same with the media. When it informs and enlightens, it is positive, but when it fabricates, distorts, and incites, it has a negative influence.
During the last day of our visit to Auschwitz, Haaretz published an informative article about the trip, and other media picked it up. However, when the Palestinian online media picked it up, it misrepresented the facts in order to incite people against the trip and its organizers. For instance, Haaretz reported that two Holocaust survivors accompanied the students. The Palestinian news article said the trip was funded by two Zionist organizations, which is not true—Haaretz mentioned that the trip was funded by a German research foundation. Also, the Palestinian news article said that the Israeli universities organized the trip, while Haaretz explained that the trip was sponsored by the Freidrich Schiller University in Jena. Nothing was mentioned about Israeli students visiting 1948 refugee camps in the West Bank to show balance.
The Palestinian newspaper didn’t have the professional courtesy to interview me to check their facts before publishing the article. They just published it as the translator forwarded it. When we tried to correct the facts, it was too late. On the Internet, the article received so many negative comments—to the extent that it became life-threatening to both me and the students who went on the trip—that the paper finally took it offline. It seems that the translator wanted to incite, so he translated the text incorrectly. Once the paper published it and realized the mistake, they found it hard to go back and apologize.
However, the bottom line is that [the coverage] did more good than bad. We were able to explain to our people the aim of this educational experience and I believe that generally speaking the Palestinians supported us. We asked on the Wasatia website who would go if we organized a second trip, and 95 percent of respondents said they would.
Guernica: You, personally, though, are now unable to travel in the West Bank and speak and work as freely as you did before. You were forced to resign your job from Al-Quds University. And I understand you were recently the victim of an arson attack.
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: These developments affected my family, friends, and students. When my car was torched, it was around midnight, so the whole family and neighbors were shocked at what happened. The danger was the threat to the security of my family.
That day, my brother, with his son and daughter, picked me up from the Tel Aviv airport at Ben Gurion around 3:30 p.m., and we didn’t realize that the perpetrators had poured chemicals into the motor of the car a few days before. They had poured this very strong wood glue on the motor of the car, to cause it to burn while driving. When you put it on the separation of the hood of the car, the chemicals seep into the wires, so when the car gets hot, it explodes. We were extremely lucky that, when we were driving, the car didn’t get hot enough to explode.
We parked outside the house at around 7:30 p.m. and the perpetrators came around 11:30 p.m. and threw Molotov cocktails on [the car]. It took the firefighters four and a half hours to put the fire out. It was interesting, though, that a copy of the Quran that was in the car didn’t burn, though the entire car was demolished.
This incident affected the whole family and the work we do. But it is not frightening us to stop doing what we are doing. It is a warning sign. They sent us a message to terrorize us. And we sent them a message that we will not be terrorized. That’s basically the bottom line. We will continue the work we do because it is something we believe in and we will not remain bystanders. On the contrary, we want to have bystanders stop being bystanders and become more vocal and expressive.
If you believe in moderation, you believe in peace and reconciliation.
Guernica: One of the biggest criticisms leveled against you is that you are in favor of normalizing relations with Israel. How do you respond to that, and what is your position on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: One thing my critics often say is that they are not against Wasatia and the concept of moderation, but they are against normalization of relations with Israel and the Israelis. But you cannot disconnect one from the other. If you believe in moderation, you believe in peace and reconciliation, and this would lead you to normalization, particularly on the human level. You can’t make peace with the other without dialogue with the other.
If they want to boycott Israel economically, politically, socially, and academically, because in their view this would end the occupation and protest its expansionist settlement policies, they can exercise their right to do so. But why deny me my right to choose a different path for the same goal of ending the occupation and restoring Palestinian rights? If you boycott all Jews and all Israelis, those who are with you and those who are against you, this is anti-Semitism. But if you want to boycott the products of those settlements that are built on Palestinian occupied territories, you will find many people to support you.
The problem is that anti-normalizers want to boycott everything, even academic joint ventures. But joint academic ventures are actually meant to get Israelis and Palestinians working together in peace, to make academic research a part of building trust. What’s wrong with that? Let us do more of that. Maybe in doing so, we can bring people together and they can start to know each other better and to have trust in one another.
[Wasatia’s] response to the anti-normalization boycott movement is that we should learn from the South African experience, not copy it. We do not believe in the dominant paradigm that reconciliation comes post-conflict resolution. We believe that reconciliation begins in the midst of conflict, paving the way for conflict settlement. When Nelson Mandela was elected president in South Africa, still there was not yet conflict resolution. He made a televised speech in which he urged his countryfolk to throw their weapons and hate and anger into the sea. “I’m your elected president and you need to let me lead you,” he told them. Even his wife, Winnie Mandela, was advocating for violence at the time. And then, South Africa moved toward reconciliation and conflict resolution.
I believe in the idea that reconciliation should begin today, regardless of the conflict. If I sit with you at a table and I perceive you as my enemy and I perceive you as the devil and I don’t trust you, then everything you say, even if you say, “Look, I want to withdraw,” I will be suspicious [of], because there is no trust. We need to end the incitement against each other, the demonization of one another. They are obstacles to peace.
Guernica: You’re in Washington, DC, for the next few months as a visiting fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. What are you currently working on?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: I will be working on explaining the Wasatia vision and perspective. I feel it’s so important that our message reaches the West. Since we started, we have tried to explain how radical teaching of Islam may hit home because the younger generations of Muslims are being brought up on the extremist teaching of religion, which would eventually become a threat to national security and general welfare of people. That’s why it’s so important to promote Wasatia in Europe and the US and wherever Islam lives. We want young Muslims to be brought up without this notion that jihad means to kill and to terrorize. We want young Muslims to understand that, on the contrary, jihad is meant as the struggle within.
Guernica: What are your plans after your stint in DC?
Mohammed Dajani Daoudi: I have signed a memorandum of understanding with Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, by which the Wasatia Academic Institute, which we are establishing in Jerusalem, will offer a PhD program in reconciliation, ethics, conflict resolution, and comparative religion. It will be a three-year program—for the first two years, students will be hosted by the Wasatia Academic Institute. In the third year, they will go to Jena to defend their thesis and, if successful, get a PhD from the Friedrich Schiller University.
We are hoping that our graduates will go back to Palestine or Israel and teach reconciliation, so we will have professors who are specialists in peace and reconciliation research and education. It’s not necessarily related to the Arab-Israeli conflict exclusively, but to conflict globally. We will teach about genocide, for example; how all genocides are crimes against humanity. For instance, the Holocaust was a crime against humanity, not just against Jews.
We are also hoping that the mayor of Jena will help us establish Wasatia House as a center for interfaith dialogue, advocating political and religious reconciliation and moderation based on ethics and morality. The goal is to focus on what brings us together and leave what separates us outside the door.