An open letter to my Muslim friends

Why do many of you have such hatred for others?

by Alan Simons

OAs Eid al-Fitr is celebrated marking the fitting end of the fast of Ramadan, I say to my Muslim friends, “Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair!” (“May every year find you in good health!”)

I say this to you with all the sincerity I can muster. Yet, at this time I can’t help thinking of the famous quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction… The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars—must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

As a Jew I sometimes shake my head in bewilderment at the reluctance of moderate, hard working and decent Muslims to stand up and be counted against hate, against intolerance against your own people, against terrorism, against racism and for good measure while I’m at it, against the vile cesspool of antisemitism.  I ask myself what does it take for you, as ordinary Muslims, to vigorously express yourselves against these concerns. 

Why do many of you find it so much easier to demonstrate against Jews, yet turn a blind eye and have no courage to demonstrate for your fellow Muslims who are being killed through sectarian violence and through bombings and other despicable acts of violence, 

JIN Toronto August 3 2013 Al Quds

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Two days ago in Afghanistan, an explosion at a graveyard killed 14 women and children.

In Syria, the UN reports 5,000 people are being killed every month. UN statistics also showed that in the past 12 months at least 6,561 children were among the dead, Of those, 1,729 were reported to be under the age of 10.

This past July, the U.N. human rights chief for Iraq, Francesco Motta, said, “Iraq’s conflict was becoming more viciously sectarian than ever. Already this year, violent attacks — many with sectarian overtones — have killed some 3,000 Iraqi civilians, more than 100 in the first few days of July alone.”

Recently, Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch wrote on his blog, “In Cairo last month, then-President Morsi attended a rally at which Sunni preachers denounced Shiite Islam. Two weeks later, he failed to condemn the openly sectarian killings of four Egyptian Shiites in a village on the edge of Cairo.”

In Sunni-dominated Pakistan, in the northwestern city of Parachinar, 60 people were killed and about 200 people were injured last month, in two separate bomb explosions.  According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), in 2012 “the country recorded a total of at least 6,211 terrorism-related fatalities, including 3,007 civilians, 2,472 militants and 732 Security Forces (SF) personnel.” The carnage continues today. In Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, it’s been reported that, “thirty-eight people, including 21 police officials, were killed and 40 others were injured in a suicide blast at a funeral.”

Clashes involving Shias and Sunnis are rampant throughout the Middle East.  Women and children are being killed, maimed and raped.  Sectarian violence is on the increase.  Yet, as moderate Muslims living in North America and Europe, you remain uninvolved and passively quiet. 

To quote Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, the Islamic spiritual scholar: “Not all Muslims become involved in acts of violence. Yet all might be held culpable. This is because that section of Muslim–in fact, the majority–who are not personally involved, neither disown those members of their community who are engaged in violence, nor even condemn them. In such a case, according to the Islamic Shariah itself, if the involved Muslims are directly responsible, the uninvolved Muslims are also indirectly responsible.”

And so it is.

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