‘Endeavour Peace’ Through Dialogue, Even if Agree to Disagree
A friendly interfaith dialogue in the form of views by Dr. Asher Eder, a Jewish Scholar and comments by Abujak [AftabKhan]. The views of Dr. Asher Eder are in normal font while comments by Abujak is in bold letters.
Accusing Zionism of racism is not only a false precept – it is outright hypocrisy and willful distortion of facts:
1) The Jewish people (and Israel) are composed of many types of “races” White Europeans; dark skinned Orientals; black Cochin Indians and black Ethiopians; and many converts from all kind of backgrounds.
Comments By Abujak:
Basically they are all having Jewish origin, during 2000 years of Diaspora they adapted to the local culture of their residence, hence through intermarriages and conversion they now appear in different complexions but they have one thing common, their Jewish roots. Despite all being Jews, the people with dark skin are treated with contempt as reported in the press.
2) “My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all peoples” says Prophet Isaiah, and so it is for every one who wants to adhere to the words of the Prophets. None would be excluded or rejected because of race or nationality.
3) Going beyond this prophetic concept, every visitor of Jerusalem – Jew, Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, whatever – can at any time approach freely the “Western Wall” (often spoken of as “Wailing Wall”) and offer there his/her personal prayer. The only “restrictions” are that he/she is dressed properly; does not disturb others; and does not bring in idols for worshipping them; and that man and women would go each to his / her section.
The Temple does not exist, since its destruction in 70 C.E, still around ‘Wailing Wall’ the restrictions have been mentioned above. Similarly every place of worship or sacred to any religion has its own sanctity and restrictions which has to be observed by the visitors, there is nothing wrong with it. The Jewish temple had different area marked for Gentiles, between outer wall and the court of Israel, an obvious discrimination. [Illustration below, reference; The Bible, Page.888, John 10, RSV,2nd edition, 1971, published by WM Collins Sons & Co Ltd for the British & Foreign Bible Society Great Britain, ISBN 0546001015].
4) Compare this with the practices in Mecca and on the Temple Mount:
The condition to enter the restricted area (Haram) is to declare Shahada (be a Muslim), this is ordained by Allah, can not be changed by any one. The Temple of Solomon does not exist since its destruction by Romans 2000 years back; the Muslims cleaned the area and built the mosque to worship Allah which stands there form last fourteen centuries. It is one of the three holiest sites of Islam, its sanctity, security and status has to be maintained from usurpers. There have been many attempts by Zionists to damage it.
5) In the State of Israel, there are Arab political parties; Arab members of Parliament; high ranking Arabs in governmental services. There is no Arab / Muslim country which would even come near to this practice.
No Muslim country has worthwhile population of Jews comparable to the large population of Arabs in Israel. If it was the case the Jews would have got the minority seats. In Pakistan, all the minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Zoroastrians etc have representation in the parliament through minority seats. Jews enjoyed very high status under Muslim rule for centuries, in Muslim Spain, in Ottoman Turkey they held high political and administrative positions.
Mr. Aba Eban, Israeli scholar, historian and former foreign secretary, in his book ‘My People’ (also produced as a TV series), stated the Jews in two episodes during their history were treated justly, once in Muslim Spain and the second, currently, in the United States of America. The great Maimonides (Arabic name was Abu ‘Imran Musa Ibn Maymun Ibn ‘Ubayd Allah (born, 1135, Córdoba, died 1204, Egypt) also called RAMBAM, the author of 13 principles of faith in Judaism. He was a Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician, the foremost intellectual figure of medieval Judaism. He was the student of the Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroës) at Cordova, He also served as the court physician to the sultan Saladin, the famous Muslim military leader, and to his son al-Afdal.] Revival of this era of mutual peace and cooperation can again be mutually beneficial.
Except Spain and the Middle East, Muslims had little contact with Jews, because few Jews lived in their areas, but even this little number was never a problem. Christian Europe has religious reason to hate Jews (though hatred on basis of race, religions or faith should be avoided) because the person of Jesus which Christians consider as their Lord and Son of God, is not even considered as a messenger of God by the Jews. The miracles he performed and miraculous birth is not accepted by Jews. According to Talmud; “Jesus was an illegitimate child, of Mary & Roman Soldier named ‘Pandeira’, through rape or willing sexual union. They consider him a heretic who dabbled in sorcery and lead the people astray (into idolatry). He was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin for his crimes, and in accordance with the procedure for heretics, his dead body was hung in a tree until nightfall after his death”.
Given the strong monotheism and the anti-iconic attitude of Islam, many of the questions that arose between Judaism and Trinitarian and iconic Christianity was not an issue between Judaism and Islam.
Muslims hold the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) in high esteem; and they honor Moses and Jesus as their own prophets. This is in accordance with the teachings of the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet(pbuh). “There are some among the people of the Book who truly believe in Allah and what has been revealed to you, (Muhammad), and what has been revealed to them before you. They humble themselves before Allah and do not sell the revelations of Allah for a petty price. For them, there will be a reward from their God. Surely Allah is very swift in settling the accounts.(Qur’an;3:199).
The Qur’anic passages (as well as those in the Hadith) that criticize the People of the Book do not apply to all Jews and Christians. They apply only to the transgressors among them. Similarly indictment applies to the Muslims as well, when they commit excesses; this is evident to any reader of the Qur’an.
Rebelliousness of Jews has also been mentioned in Bible: “And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff necked people: (Exodus;32:9)”, “Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people. Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD. Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.” (Deuteronomy;9:6-8), “Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.” (Deuteronomy;9:24), “Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin”: (Deuteronomy; 9:27).“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”(Exodus;19:5), “And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”(Deuteronomy;8:19-20). They became unfaithful to covenant engagements (Jeremiah; 3:6-8, 31:32; Ezekiel; 16:59), became rebellious against God (Deuteronomy; 32:15;9:7; Isaiah; 1:2,Exodus; 32:9); often displeased God by their sins (Numbers;25:3; Deutreronomy;32:16; 1Kings;16:2; Isaiah;1:4; 5:24-25). They were punished by God for; Idolatry (Psalms; 78:58-64; Isaiah; 65:3-7), Unbelief (Romans;11:20), Breaking covenant (Isaiah;24:5; Jeremiah; 11:10), Transgressing the law (Isaiah;1:4; 24:5-6), Changing the ordinances (Isaiah;24:5), Killing the prophets (Mathew;23:37-38, 27:25). They were scattered among the nations (Deuteronomy; 28:64; Ezekiel; 6:8; 36:19), Despised by the nations (Ezekiel;36:3), their country trodden under foot by the Gentiles (Deuteronomy;28:49-52; Luke;21:24).Their house left desolate (Mathew;24:38) and were deprived of civil and religious privileges (Hosea;3:4). Finally God sent Jesus: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”(Acts;2:22), “But he (Jesus) answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.(Matthew;15:24), “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew;4:17).“These twelve (disciples) Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matthew;10:5-7). Jews rejected Jesus and arranged to kill him (Luke 22:63-71, 23:1-56, John;19-42), though his innocence was also acknowledged by Pilate, the Roman ruler (John;19:4).
Thus the Children of Israel as a community did not adhere to the Covenant in totality, though there were some exception.
“There are some among the people of the Book who truly believe in Allah and what has been revealed to you, (Muhammad), and what has been revealed to them before you. They humble themselves before Allah and do not sell the revelations of Allah for a petty price. For them, there will be a reward from their God. Surely Allah is very swift in settling the accounts.(Qur’an;3:199).
“Rest assured that the believers (Muslims), the Jews, the Sabians and the Christians – whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous deeds – will have nothing to fear or to regret”.(Qur’an;5:69).
“If they would have believed (in Islam) and kept themselves away from evil, there would have been a better reward from Allah, if they could understand it!”(Qur’an;2:103).
“…Though there are some among them on the moderate course; but most of them do nothing but evil”.(Qur’an;5:66).
And these proud, haughty Muslim nations have the cheek, even audacity, to accuse Judaism/Israel of racism! In their countries it is perfectly alright to publicly write and shout “Kill the Jews (note: Jews; not merely Israelis or Zionists) wherever you find them, this is pleasing to Allah; and would hasten the redemption”. (This battle cry of theirs is nothing new, it was invented by the then Grandmufti of Palestine, Amin el-Husseini, in his alliance with Nazi-Germany during WWII), outright anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic; yea racist in the most basic and base meaning of that word! And the nations, including the UNO, instead of castigating and reproaching these hypocritical accusers of Israel, bow before them (or before their crude oil), and let Israel down:
The outrage by people in many Muslim countries is not against the faith of Judaism; it is due to the oppressive policies being followed by Zionist against the original inhabitants of Palestine, majority of them being Muslims. Common Muslims are not aware of the difference in terminologies ‘Jews’, and ‘Zionists’. Since each Zionist is a Jew, while every Jew may not be a Zionist. They express their anger against Jews in ignorance; in fact it is against Zionists and oppressors not the normal Jews or Judaism. Killing of innocent people (of any religion or faith) is not permissible (Qur’an:5:32). The political slogans in the processions are just the display of their feeling and anger against oppressive policies and to show solidarity with their brothers in faith. Once the blasphemous caricatures appeared in Denmark, Muslims turned to agitation and slogans; they did not kill any one but burnt their own public and damaged the public properties. It is common observation that the terrorists of any faith or race do not take out procession or announce killings, they just do it.
If their original status of local Arabs is restored and their genuine grievances are addressed, no one will hate Jews. There has been hardly any Anti-Semitism in the Muslims societies, it was in the Christian Europe that Jews were maltreated and humiliated for centuries. It is well known fact that Hitler was not a Muslim. Leave the Jews aside, any one form far off or even neighboring place occupying the area is not acceptable to the people on any race or countries. Why did Jews revolted against Roman at the cost of destruction of 2nd Temple and expulsion? Because they did not accept the foreigners to rule them. Palestinians are natives, how can they accept their expulsion form their land? Historically many people migrated from one place to an other and settled there becoming part of the local culture and population. They are not treated as outsiders. Initially The Hebrews were also outsiders at the land of Palestine. Had they continue to live there; they could be treated as locals in the historic process. But they migrated to other places including Europe, assimilated in to their culture. Now they are completely European in their outlook. They are foreigner to the land of Palestine; trying to force their way is simple colonization. The Aryans came to Inida form north got absorbed in the local culture and now they are Indian, no one ever ask them to go away. It is not acceptable for some group of people to get settled among other people and after 2000 years say that we belong to this area, so push out the locals. One can’t sail in two boats simultaneously.
Some recorded historic statements by the Zionist, Israeli leaders are appended below, which are self explanatory.
Some Self Explanatory Statements of Zionist & Israeli Leaders:
10. “We must do everything to insure they (the Palestinians) never do return.” Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes. “The old will die and the young will forget.” David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948, quoted in Michael Bar Zohar’s Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet, Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 157.
11. “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.” Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, tells students at Bar Ilan University, From the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.
12. “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours… Everything we don’t grab will go to them.” Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.
The colonialism have been resisted with full force by people of any faith, race or culture, be it Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, African, Red Indians in Americas or Aborigines in Australia. If Europeans wanted to compensate Jews for atrocities committed by Europeans they should have been accommodated in Europe. The Jewish contention of ‘Promised Land’ is not accepted by local Arabs and Muslims, the world over, because they (Arabs) also consider themselves to be children of Abraham, through his first born Ishmael, entitled for the ‘Promised Land’. One group can not force its own faith or concept upon others by force, if done in unjust way; it will not last long, no one will be at peace. History is witness that any unjust decision imposed through force is bound to fail in the long run, though it may succeed temporarily.
A temporary success does not necessarily imply the truthfulness of the cause of victor or aggressor. At times God punishes His people for their disobedience, lack of preparation, slackness or for the purpose of trial to test their faith and patience. If Nebuchadnezzar, succeeded in enslaving the Hebrews and destroying Solomon’s Temple, it did not imply that he was on the right side. The Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple and dispersed the Jews; Hitler killed millions of Jews in holocaust. Haulage Khan ruined Baghdad, killed thousands of Muslims; it was divine punishment of God for the sinful and disobedient Muslims. Though ultimately they (Mongols) converted and strengthened Islam. The Muslim empires collapsed, they were colonized by Europeans. Finally they got political freedom few decades back, not economic freedom. It appears they have not learnt the lessons from history; they appear to follow the footsteps of Children of Israel. They continue to live sinful life of disobedience to Allah, hence their sufferings continue, other nations are dividing their lands and resources like cake in a feast (a prediction of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him).
Allah says: “We shall surely test your steadfastness with fear and famine, with loss of property, life and produce. Give good news to those who endure with patience;”(Qur’an;2:155). “Every soul is bound to have the taste of death. We are putting all of you to a test by passing you through bad and good conditions, and finally you shall return to Us.”(21:35). “Do the people think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe,” and that they will not be tested? We did test those who have gone before them. Allah has to see (for the purpose of reward and punishment) who are the truthful and who are the liars.”(Qur’an;29:2-3).
If people do not prepare themselves well for the war, they may be losers, this is the system of nature: “Muster against them all the military strength and cavalry that you can afford so that you may strike terror into the hearts of the enemy of Allah and of your, and others besides them who are unknown to you but known to Allah. Remember that whatever you will spend in the cause of Allah, shall be paid back to you in full and you shall not be treated unjustly.”(Qur’an;8:60). “.. Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). But when (once) Allah willeth a people’s punishment there can be no turning it back nor will they find besides Him any to protect.”(Qur’an;13:11)
The reality is that Holy Site at Jerusalem is no more sacred to Jews only, now it is also sacred to the Muslims, the other claimants of legacy and heritage of Abraham. It has been their prayer direction for some time. Later it also became venue of Prophet’s special journey, (Mara’j) hence highly revered by Muslims:
“Glory to (God) Who transported His Servant (Muhammad) by night from the inviolable House of Worship (at Makka) to the Remote House of Worship (at Jerusalem) the environs of which we had Blessed..”.(Qur’an;17:1)
Muhammad Asad [Leopold Weiss (1900-1992),a Jewish convert to Islam and scholar] writes: “It should be noted that the Prophet’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, immediately preceding his Ascension was apparently meant to show that Islam is not a new doctrine but a continuation of the same divine message which was preached by the prophets of old, who had Jerusalem as their spiritual home, This view is supported by Traditions (quoted in Fath al-Bari VII, 158), according to which the Prophet, during his Night Journey, also offered prayers at Yathrib, Sinai, Bethlehem, etc. His encounters with other prophets, mentioned in this connection, symbolize the same idea. The well-known Traditions to the effect that on the occasion of his Night Journey the Prophet led a prayer in the site Temple of Jerusalem, in which all other prophets ranged themselves behind him, expresses in a figurative manner the doctrine that Islam, as preached by the Prophet Muhammad, is the fulfillment and perfection of mankind’s religious development, and that Muhammad (pbuh)was the last and the greatest of God’s message-bearers”.
History has proved that the Muslims became the world leader with in short span of time. They were given the control on the holy land, rebuilt the house of worship near the original site of Solomon’s House of worship of God, the site sacred to Muslims as well. In 637, Jerusalem came under Muslim control; the sacred area was full of garbage, cleaned by Caliph Omar with his own hands. In 750 the author of book ‘Miracles of Rabi Shamoun Bin Youhai’ call the Dome of The Rock as beginning of messianic age, while praising the Muslim Caliph, he says; ‘This Jew loving ruler has ended the disrespect to Zion and Temple. The Caliph has restored the Moriah and built the mosque at the rock of Temple.’ Muslims, Jews and Christians enjoyed hundreds years of peaceful coexistence only to be broken by the Crusaders, resulting in to massacre of Muslims and Jews. Now an equitable, mutually acceptable solution has to be found through peaceful means, by the children of Abraham. The use of extreme phraseology should be avoided.
Many UNO resolutions and decisions could be quoted in that line – from the accusation that Israel was responsible for the arson of the El-Aqsa Mosque in 1970; via Israel’s expulsion from the UNESCO in 1973 based upon the accusation that Israel’s archaeologists are undermining the El-Aqsa Mosque in order to bring it to a collapse; the UNO resolution in 1984 which equated Zionism with racism; etc etc; down to the present judging of Israel for the “massacre” in Jenin. How could Israel trust their biased inquiry commissions?
Why are they so willing to listen to the willful lies of Arab propaganda? Why are these lies so soothing in their ears? Is that so because they have perhaps not yet overcome their own anti-Semitic heritage? In any case, what a shame, what hypocrisy! What crime!
Why should the whole world be against Zionists? The answer is well known to them, they may like to control their ambitions and address the problem!
It is wrongly perceived that Qur’an encourages violence against non believers, this is nothing but far from truth:
“It may be that God will ordain love between you and those of them with whom you are at enmity. God is Mighty, and God is Forgiving, Merciful. God does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who had neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes. In fact Allah loves the equitable. God only forbids you to make friendship with those who fought you on account of your faith and drove you out of your homes and backed up others in your expulsion. Those who will take them for friends are indeed the wrongdoers.”(Qur’an;60:7-9)
Every one should be realize that the world of 21st century is much different to the world of 10th Century BCE, or 7th Century C.E. One can’t continue to live in the past by ignoring the realities of present; it’s an ever changing world.
|Dr. Asher Eder,
‘Endeavour Peace’ Through Dialogue, Even if you Agree to Disagree