Attrocities in Gaza?

This is my 3rd post on the subject and hopefully the last.  I have been reflecting on my opinions about the crisis and I have to admit that they have largely remained the same.

What I wanted to let my readers know specifically the Muslims is that I am in 100% agreement with your anger, frustration, and sadness on the matter.

My solidarity with my community is there and ever present especially concerning the loss of innocent lives, however I cannot allow my emotions from seeing the dead women and children in Palestine overcome my reason and ability to discern the entire matter.

This is where I feel Muslims largely faulter on this and many other issues involving Muslims.  In the Bible the Book of Proverbs to be exact, my favorite one paraphrased is “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor be hasty and miss the way” as such, I feel we Muslims are often guilty of this.

We allow our zeal to overcome us and allow us to act in haste and miss the way.  As a Muslim I believe that the straight path must be walked with patience.  When you look at the example of the Prophet (saw) or our leaders like Salahudin, they never automatically reacted to the obvious things that do in fact invoke zealous emotions whether righteous or not.  Whether it was the Meccan Armies or the capture of one’s sister by the Christian armies, patience overrode zeal and as such these leaders and examples of who we should be showed that if you become still and think thoroughly with complete submission to God, you are able to plan and maneuver in a way that will bless and help all.

Muslims by definition are supposed to be the example of what is and could be right with mankind and society.  Yet, the world only sees us foaming at the mouth burning effigies and flags calling for the deaths of myriads of people.  What kind of example is that?

Are there atrocities in Gaza?  Certainly.  At this point, there are almost 1000 dead Palestinians, half of which are civilians, God only knows how many injured, etc. and the Israeli forces are using white phosphorous and the conflict is making humanitarian support very difficult at best.

However, my point all along is if I were to fall in line with the “general consensus” and public opinion of Muslims in general and others in the world, I could boldly assert that above statement completely oblivious to the 800 pound gorilla in the room that I believe goes largely ignored routinely by my fellow Muslims….

I only wish to be the guy in the crowd that points to that gorilla so that we may acknowledge the presence and do something about that as well.

That gorilla to me is summed up in my general down the line assessment of the tragedy.  No one seems to mention how many Israelis have died or were injured.   No one seems to mention that Hamas fired rockets into Israel indiscriminately from civilian bases and locations (and now Hezbollah has followed suit), no one seems to mention that Israel’s actions regardless of opinion, did not happen in a vacuum.  It’s not like Israel woke up one day and said “You know, lets go kill 1000 Palestinians”  but that’s how we react to this crisis.

Are Israel’s actions too aggressive?  Many can make an argument for that.  I personally believe the use of white phosphorous is just uncalled for and should cease.

Even still, if there are more atrocities and I’m certain there are, my overall point is that as Muslims if we truly want to end the madness in this region and resolve the issues that universally impact us, we have to be willing to manage our zeal and work toward lasting peace that includes the interests of all parties involved.

Muslims according to our texts, are supposed to be willing to live in harmony with our neighbors setting the example of what civilization and submission to God looks like.

That means we have to remember that all creation belongs to Him and as such we have to be willing to acknowledge the death of Israeli civilians just as much as our own.  We have to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil without prejudice to ethnicity, nationality, or religion even if we have to stand up to fellow Muslims.

No true Muslim can with a straight face state that its ever OK in Islam to use terror as a tactic against innocent civilians.  In fact, we are not even supposed to attack innocent civilians.

We have to be balanced.

If it’s wrong for Israel to kill civilians, then it’s equally wrong for Hamas or Hezbollah to do the same. Even though the obvious difference is that Hamas and Hezbollah do it on purpose and there is zero evidence that Israel does this. Which is another reason why I call on Muslims to use reason and restraint.  We know as a teaching in our faith that one’s intention is often just as important as one’s actual actions, which the perception of that latter could often be skewed in opinion based on the former.  Therefore, as it relates to the deaths of the Palestinians, when assessing the actions of Israel, what should we expect?  If attacked from a apartment building or school if you retaliate, is there really a way to avoid the deaths of innocents?  If you do nothing then you also risk the deaths of your innocents.  What makes it even worse and where I mostly condemn our silence is that this whole thing is by design.  Hamas knows this impossible position of Israel and exploits it using the bodies of our people as ammunition for greater political agenda, goals, and propaganda, but who do we fault?  The Israelis of course.  It’s almost as if we blame the fly for getting stuck in the web that the spider set up.

Last and certainly not least I am certain, overall I believe that if we truly want a lasting peace we have to be humble.  We have to face the reality that the terrorist, extremist, and radicals amongst us must go.  Any Muslim group, leader, society, etc. that does not have “salaam” on their lips and in their actions must be rejected, renounced, and taken from the public soapbox.

Where has it gotten us?

God does not change a condition of a people until they first help themselves right?  How are we helping ourselves?  Hamas kills 10, they kill 1000.  When this whole thing is over, Israeli’s will eat and sit in the comfort of their homes while Palestinians with have neither and when the media no longer promotes the region as a headline the world including Muslims will largely ignore this.

What will our protests, anger, and accusations truly get for the Palestinians?  Our posturing will amount to nothing and will actually do more harm to Muslims in general in the long run than help.  We will solidify world opinion and actions against us as a bunch of barbarians who only care about our own and hate all who are not like us.  We will still be watched and scrutinized, and Palestianians will still be hungry.

Now if we took the advice and guidance of our texts from God, we would sit down realize that we live in a world with other people and actually work for peace meaning we would negotiate for final terms on the matter and resist all who are against it, even if they are Muslims.  We would encourage standards in writing like innocent lives are to be protected regardless of place of origin and the free movement of people and ideas must be protected.  We would put feet on the ground to ensure that neither Hamas, Hezbollah, or Israel goes against these mutual standards and do any and everything to ensure it.  We would go build their infrastructure, support human rights, and fill the country will aid.

With all the wealth of Muslims in the world, it’s a tragedy that the best we can come up with is burning flags, protesting, and lofty speeches.

What the Palestinians and the world needs right now is for Muslims to step up and state uniformly that we don’t have to agree with the world, but since we share the planet with everyone else that at the very least we will disagree in peace and learn to live with you.  This is not a unique concept and is throughout the Qur’an and example of the Prophet (saw).

Our actions must reflect that.  Any Muslim who calls for the death of someone, the oppression of people especially women, who oppose education, free thought, and peace, we have to reject.  I’m not saying that we should be weak, but true strength comes not from how many you can threaten, cause to fear you, or kill, but only from God.

God wants us to show the world that true submission is Peace.

A Peace that states that fighting is wrong except in self defense in which all hostilities must cease when the opposing party inclines toward peace as well.

A Peace that recognizes that all life belongs to God Alone and that taking one innocent life is an affront to Him who gave it.

A Peace that recognizes that all people should benefit from our common humanity and that our differences truly reflect the glory of God and that our neighbors should not fear us but interact with us.

A Peace that sets the example in knowledge, civility, and moral clarity where the poor are taken care of, the orphans protected, and the slaves physical, mental, or otherwise oppressed freed.

This Peace is the beauty of our faith, it’s what drew millions like me to this Deen (religion) which today I sadly admit we take for a joke through our actions.

The true Muslim is not the one who releases tapes, gives speeches, or whose actions call for a Jihad against Israel, West, or other non-Muslims meaning kill them all men, women, and children.

The true Muslim is the one calling for the Jihad against the Jihad whose actions call for peace with all socities and people calling for us to struggle within and outside ourselves against the temptations of the Satan who wants to kill innocents, cause strife, and death.  A true Muslim knows that the example of our faith, Prophet Muhammad (saw) did more with a smile than with a sword.

Until we turn back to Islam and do what God enjoins upon us, nothing will change, we will be here again in the future and the Palestinians, Israelis, and the world will gain nothing by our angered reactions, examples, etc.

When someone offends us, we should show them how they offended us not in kind, but by higher standards and morals.  How many times did the Meccans insult the Prophet (saw)?  What were his reactions to such insults?  Did he call for their deaths?  Likewise, when a cartoon is drawn, instead of calling for the death of people, teach them about why we are insulted by showing them the value we place on all of God’s messengers and prophets.

When a Qur’an is defaced, maimed, etc. teach them about what is inside the book and the value we place on it.

When the Palestinians are oppressed show them we care by going to Palestine, supporting them with aid, and protecting them on both fronts by ensuring cross border movement the dissolving of checkpoints, and reigning in the enemies of peace by ensuring the safety of the Israelis.  Send Muslim armies if we must to guard a defined boarder and keep the peace.

I could go on and on and probably will in other posts, but I hope I have conveyed something of use.

Think about it…..

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6 Comments

  1. “If it’s wrong for Israel to kill civilians, then it’s equally wrong for Hamas or Hezbollah to do the same. Even though the obvious difference is that Hamas and Hezbollah do it on purpose and there is zero evidence that Israel does this.”

    I think some Muslims can have a clear head, can think through things rationally and logically, and still come to different conclusions than the ones you come to. I find the claim that Israel does not target civilians absolutely ridiculous. I won’t deny the crimes that Hamas engages in, but I cannot sit here with a straight face and say that when Israel bombs hospitals, cemetaries,relief agencies, when they deny humanitarian aid, etc, that their aim is not to kill and harm civilians. Yes Hamas engages in propaganda, and I will not sit here and excuse their crimes.

    But what I find unbelievable is that there are many who buy into Israel’s claims 100%, like it’s impossible for Israel to lie about the intent of their activities (because they say they don’t mean to kill civilians. or that every civilian target is because Hamas shoots first..really? that’s all it takes? they say it, so it must be true?). There are many individuals, many non-Muslims and humanitarian agencies, who disagree with Israel’s explanations and account of events. I agree with your overall points, about the necessity of being better than your enemy, about not letting anger rule you, etc. I agree that we, as Muslims, let our anger and frustration too often lead us into doing the absolute wrong thing.

    So I agree with you on those points. I cannot agree that if we all just thought through things a little bit more, we would all come to the same conclusion about Israel’s intentions. It’s important, also, to speak the truth absolutely. And that includes the truth about our own, like Hamas, and the truth about the crimes of others, like Israel.

    I share your prayer for peace, and for Palestinian leadership who have their best interests at heart, insha’Allah.

    Reply

  2. As Salaam Alaikum Safia,

    I rarely respond to comments I normally approve them and let the readers come to their own conclusions, however I wanted to clarify my point that I made about Israel’s intentions as based on your comments I apparently did not communicate clearly enough.

    What I meant and you quoted was that there is isn’t the same amount of evidence against Israel as it relates to civilians as there is with Hamas. We know without a shadow of a doubt and groups like Hamas even matter of fact state that they intentionally attack civilians. Israel denies this and evidence on the matter can change based on what side of the propaganda fence one stands on. My overall point is that there isn’t without question evidence against Israel.

    I’m not denying that it doesn’t happen, but it’s not official policy. As a veteran, I know that in conflicts that civilians often get killed while completing a mission. We don’t target civilians as a matter of policy and go through great lengths to avoid civilian casualties such as dropping leaflets, sending warning messages, and using weaponry that does not destroy huge areas, which btw technologically is much easier and would end conflicts much sooner. Even still, sometimes you can’t help that situation as terrorists tend to use civilians for cover and civilian structures for bases. There’s also the unfortunate reality that sometimes the individual troops do in fact commit crimes against civilians even though it’s not part of their orders or the mission goals.

    So comparing the deliberate targeting of civilians between the two sides seems to be grossly imbalanced on the side of Hamas because even though Israel has killed way more civilians, there is no hard core unquestionable proof that it’s in their mission plan or state policy to do so.

    One could easily make the argument as I have that the civilian casualties are so high because that’s the way Hamas intended it to be. They know that if they fire from a school or mosque if Israel targets two of them with a missile, dozens of innocent bystanders will also get killed. If this were not the case, then Hamas and others would face Israel on the battle field soldier to soldier as our faith dictates.

    As far as denying humanitarian aid and other atrocities, well that is another debate and I would agree with you that Israel doesn’t have ground to stand on for that.

    Reply

  3. I have read in amnesty international and on BBC that isreal was the first ones to break the ceasefire.

    Certainly hamas isn’t a benevolent organization. But too much fault is placed at their feet.

    http://bbsnews.net/article.php/20090101212318310

    Hamas is stupid, they need to acknowledge Isreal’s existence. But hey,the media needs to report all the facts.

    Reply

  4. ASA,

    I just wanted to say that the IDF, Hareetz News, and CNN as well as others have openly said that Israel broke the cease fire on nov. 4th. During the 6 month cease fire hamas didn’t fire one rocket at IsraeL. However, Israel didnt uphold one agreement on there side. They were suppose to keep the boarder open at pre intifada levels but they only had the boarder open around 20% of the time. During the renegociation of the truce Hamas told egypt that they didnt see the point in sticking with the truce as it is today because israel wasnt letting any aid in and the people were starving. Israel’s reply was that they would open the boarder 15% of the time since hamas had the nerve to complain. This is all in Pres. Carters op-ed in the New York times last week. You read the israeli papers and you will see that the IDF said they had every intention of attacking 6 months ago and made plans for the attack all this time while at the same time felt they had the right to blow up hamas tunnels because they claim they were using them to ship in weapons. Which is reasonable if you’r a nut case i guess.. i still dont see why it would be ok for Israel to make plans for war but not hamas. However, gaza was in such straights because of the boarder issues that they had to dig tunnels and most of the time it was used just to get food and water into the strip. now if hamas sent rockets into israel claiming israel is amassing weapons to perpare for an attack the world would go ape crap crazy but when Israel does it and breaks the truce.. then hamas shouldnt say a word? that’s insane! If you look back as far as the thaba agreements you will see that hamas has kept its side of agreements 80% of the time and Israel has a very poor record at keeping the peace. They have a right to defend themselves sure but it seems to me that unless we seriously choke them up and force them to open the boarder things will never get better in Palestine and it will continue to breed resentment. Not 1 blockaid/checkpoint has been removed under the Fatah regeme and they didnt even give Hamas a chance to govern. Israel Kidnaped Hamas duly elected officials not long after the election for peaks sake. Could you imagine if another country did that to us because they didnt like that we reelected Bush?

    Read more Juan Cole brother and check out the young turks. com where they talk about policy in detail without all the anti muslim or anti jew rants and agendas. This policy as it stands today is very costly and not in the interest of America. When the OM of Israel (omert) can brag opnely to Israeli press last week that he called Bush and demanded his aids stop him in the middle of a speech because he wants to talk to him right now and they really cow down and run to fetch him its a problem. When Pres Bush Stoped HIS SPEECH For real to run to the run and listen to Omert Demand he call Condi Rice minutes before they voted ona UN resolution for a cease fire and make her vote agaisnt her own resolution because he wants to keep pounding Gaza and Bush runs to call Condi and makes he abstain form voting on her own resolution causing her major embarassment on the world stage is rediculos and shows how much power they have over us. Thats the real issue.. that fact that Omert is arrogant enought to brag about it…

    Reply

    1. WAS,

      Good information and I will not say I disagree. I have heard similar from many people since I posted my “arguments” on the Gaza situation. While all these facts have merit and are most likely true, I think you and others are not understanding where I’m coming from.

      For me it’s not about who started what or why, but the tactics that are used and the overall strategy employed. Whether Israel really did start this or not, to me has no bearing on whether or not Hamas should be condemned for their continued purposeful attacks on Israeli civilians and their continued strategy of using civilian buildings and densely populated areas from which to attack looking from the maximum collateral damage when Israel does retaliate.

      My issue with my brothers and sisters in the Muslim community is that we never use our platforms to speak against that and while our grief and cries for justice for the Palestinians is rightfully warranted, our lack of condemnation from Hamas is seen as a sort of approval of them.

      It is perfectly possible to support the Palestinians but also make it known that we not only condemn Israeli actions but also Hamas’ actions as well.

      Reply

  5. Man, another issue all together is arab apathy.

    (i)The so-called Arabs/Muslims have launched in Egypt demonstrations that have counted not more than mere thousands while during the demise of their beloved singer “Umm- Kalthoum” “MILLIONS” yes “ MILLIONS” marched the streets of Cairo in mourning . Let me add that when their other heart- throbbing singer “ Abdul halleem hafez” died “MILLIONS” again marched the streets and yes some silly women committed suicide !!!!

    (ii) A group of Egyptian lawyers, who are loyal to the Egyptian regime, have actually filed a lawsuit against Hezbollah General Secretary Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah . They filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice because of his speech on the first night of the commemoration of Ashura when he called on the Egyptian leadership to open the Rafah border crossing and called on the Egyptian people and the Egyptian army to pressure the Egyptian regime to take a positive step. They considered what he said as unjust and as a call for a revolution and the toppling of the Egyptian regime.

    (iii) The Rafah border crossing was kept closed throughout the hideous and horrid war in the face of the Palestinians in the fear that they might smuggle in food and medical aid impovrished and injured children !!!

    (iv) Demonstrators in KSA were gunned down ….

    (v) The Wahabi Regime “the Kernel of Evil” had its grand Mufti issue a creed/ Fatwa prohibiting Muslims from engaging in demonstrations to express their solidarity with the Gazans as such actions hinder them from performing their religious duty …Little did this ignorant and insignificant man know that the whole rational for example of Haj is not just a mere circumambulation of the Kaaba but also a cry out for the truth and equality ….

    (vi) In the UAE, the Kufieya (a scarf worn by Palestinians) was not allowed and taken away from feeble staged demonstrations by the CID…our “Big Brothers”….

    (vii) The Shopping Festival in the Emirate of Dubai has started with alluring deals and few tents were pinned up symbolizing solidarity with the Gazan victims …Bear with me please ….The tents have in them a bundle of worn out clothes and broken toys to be sent to the poor Palestinians ….

    (viii) A very prominent and respected Egyptian TV and Radio personality called Hamdy Kandeel was ‘sacked’ from Dubai TV for expressing his views freely and openly about the situation in Lebanon and in Palestine ….

    (ix) In Bahrain, hundreds of demonstrators were jailed and interrogated because of their involvement in expressing their solidarity with Gaza …

    (x) Qatar’s proposed summit failed to garner the support of 15 Arab League members, a quorum needed for official endorsement. Monumenting the rivalry between KSA and Qatar and even more widening the rift between the “Moderate Arabs” and ‘Non-moderate Arabs” …

    Reply

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