A Message to our Muslim Neighbours

رسالة لجيراننا المسلمين

یک پیام به همسایگان مسلمان ما

ہمارے مسلم پڑوسیوں کے لئے ایک پیغام

    by Alan Simons

Some years ago, Frank Luntz, the US-based political and business pollster stated in reference to Jews: “We have developed some very destructive communication habits that have seriously undermined our efforts and the causes we believe in. Our words lose their resonance and our style and tone offend… We push people away when we should pull them in.”

Religious hate is hate, irrespective of one’s religion. Sunni or Shia, Traditionalist or Secular. Regardless of what country you live in,  Frank Luntz’s words can apply to both Jews and Muslims. Antisemitism and Islamophobia are the curses of the earth that only the extremists prosper on.

The following video is further proof that moving aside politics, ordinary Jews and Muslims can share a common belief.

According to a hadith, Prophet Muhammed said, “Charity is a proof of faith” and “The best charity is that which is given in Ramadan.” 

In Judaism Tzedakah is the “Hebrew word for the acts that we call charity The word tzedakah is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness.”

Ramadan Kareem. Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair!

Through charity, may the future of your children’s lives find peace, happiness and a feeling of belonging amongst you.

Through charity may your children and ours share a common belief in living as neighbours in peace as Renee Rachel Black, a Jew and Sadiq Patel, a Muslim both have done.

Shalom!

>>>Click here to watch this video<<<

Video credit source: BBC Breakfast Television. No copyright infringement intended.

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“We Muslims have one word for Jews. Shalom.”

 

     by Alan Simons

Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS) is “a group of British Muslims who believe that there is a common cause for members of the faith communities and that is to ensure that all citizens who want to, can pray and practice in peace.” They state, “As British Muslims, we have therefore made our peaceful and non-violent struggle against Anti-Semitism our primary goal. In this goal we hope that others may come and help us when Islamophobia blights communities.

“In particular, we are deeply disappointed at the Anti-Semitism that is still present in society and we believe that Anti-Semitism was and is a pre-cursor towards the stereotyping of other migrant communities like the Muslim community.

“We will work with all groups and communities that believe that human and civil rights are important and that we all deserve the chance to live in peace!”

This Thursday, MAAS ran a full-page advertisement in the UK Daily Telegraph to which the Board of Deputies of British Jews responded, “The Board of Deputies of British Jews thanked signatories, saying it was an ‘Incredible solidarity – a full-page ad by Muslim sisters & brothers in today’s Telegraph. Thank you. Together we will defeat the twin evils of antisemitism & anti-Muslim hate.’”

In part the full-page advertisement, published below, states:

“As British Muslims, we believe that the time has come to speak out. For far too long anti-Semitism has gone unchecked. Sadly it has become entrenched across society. Its poison can be found in all political parties and among followers of all faiths, including Islam.

“To our Jewish sisters and brothers, we say the struggle against one of history’s oldest and most virulent hatred is not your fight alone but ours collectively.”

In Europe and in the USA, this advertisement is by no means unique and supplements a variety of examples of cooperation between Jews and Muslims.

  • “Thirty imams in France signed an open letter calling on their colleagues to help counter Muslim extremism. The letter, which appeared Tuesday in the daily LeMonde, expressed “compassion for all our fellow citizens who have been directly or indirectly affected by terrorism and by the anti-Semitic crimes that have blindly struck our country.”(April 24, 2018, The Times of Israel)
  • “German Muslim leader urges imams, rabbis to unite against school anti-Semitism.”- (March 28, 2018, The Times of Israel)
  • “Why these Muslims are fighting anti-Semitism.” (April 30, 2018, The Christian Science Monitor)
  • Eighteen months ago in the U.S., “Jewish-Muslim alliance formed against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia. The American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America Monday launched the new national group: The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. Though Jewish and Muslim groups have cooperated before, the size and influence of these two particular groups — and the prominence of the people who have joined the council — marks a milestone in Jewish-Muslim relations. ‘Our council is coming at the right time,’ said Eftakhar Alam, senior coordinator at ISNA’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances. (November 14, 2016, Religion News Service)

In my piece published yesterday in the jewishinfoNews titled, “My personal message to the Palestinian people in honour of the month of Ramadan, I concluded by saying:

“As Ramadan approaches, wherever you live, be gracious and reach out to non-Muslims. Your concept of hospitality, charity, spirituality and community can be shared by all, irrespective of one’s religion, race and nationality. During Ramadan extend your hand out to non-Muslims by inviting them into your home for Iftar.

“According to a hadith, Prophet Muhammed said, ‘Charity is a proof of faith’ and ‘The best charity is that which is given in Ramadan.’ Make it so.

“Ramadan Kareem. Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair! May the future of your children’s lives find peace, happiness and a feeling of belonging amongst you.”

To all my Muslim sisters and brothers, I wish peace would hasten between us.

Salaam.

 

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For the Love of God!

Opinion

Entrenched apathy and helplessness at its worst

by Alan Simons

Hisham Melhem is Washington DC bureau chief for Al-Arabiya. Last year he wrote an opinion piece titled, “Middle Eastern Christians; death, exodus, betrayal and silence.” 

He wrote: “Those of us who have been sounding the alarm about the death of cosmopolitanism, pluralism, inclusiveness and the imperative of maintaining what is left of the once rich human mosaic that was at the heart of what made some of the great cities of the region beacons of culture, are stunned at the general silence, and yes the betrayal of Western societies – particularly the United States – of these communities.”

Last week in an article published on line by Canada’s CBC. “Ramadan attacks leave Muslims wondering: Where is the public outpouring of grief and solidarity?” The article referred to the evil murderers and terrorists who have committed sickening and unspeakable acts of violence and hate towards children and adults this month alone. These include attacks in Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen.

“We tend to pay a lot closer attention to atrocities that happen in Europe or the U.S.,” Qasim Rashid, visiting fellow at Harvard University’s School of Islamic Studies and spokesman for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, told CBC News. Rashid and many other Muslims have taken to social media to express dismay at this seeming indifference.”

The article goes on to quote Anne Barnard writing in the New York Times, “… desensitisation to turbulence in Iraq does not explain the relative indifference to attacks in Istanbul, Saudi Arabia or Bangladesh.”

Both Christian and Muslim communities it would seem, are actually stunned by the apathy and indifference towards each other’s horrors.

Indifference? Well, we can look no further than in Israel. Where is the international outpouring of grief for the wave of terror happening there? Palestinian violence and terrorism, since September 2015, has targeted Israelis in 156 stabbings, 96 shootings, 46 vehicular attacks, 1 vehicular bombings, including 40 killed and 517 wounded? (Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).

For the Muslim, Christian or Jew, the apathy and helplessness we share for each other’s lives has reached a level that is having a resounding affect on our daily life.   

With 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims, together with a mere 16 million Jews in this world, for the love of god surely one would think there might be enough people on all sides willing to come together in solidarity, a solidarity to fight the evils perpetrating amongst us. Yet, for the most part, we watch with careful restraint, avoiding the need to cross that fine line which will bring us in close proximity to each other.

Perhaps this Jewish proverb sums it all up: “Kal yoter lishmor al sak parosheem me’asher al bat m’uhever. It’s easier to watch over a sack of fleas than over a daughter in love.”

Is it too simplistic to say we all have to find a common denominator in which to to quell the passionate dislike we have for each other? Egged on by both right-wing and left-wing political misfits and their minions in Europe and in North America, Islamophobia, Judaeophobia, and hatred towards Christianity, are all finding new breeding grounds with societies that have a loathing for anything that is unlike their own.

The late Elie Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Let us all rise up to this indifference. Surely, it would be a befitting memorial to the life of Elie Wiesel.

(Feature image credit: Pinterest)

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”