All posts tagged religion

Violent protests are the true insult to Islam

Selected prayers Prophet Muhammad and great Muslim saints / rstml, Flickr

Aziz Abu Sarah, +972 - The real challenge facing the Muslim world today is how to stop violent protesters from becoming the face of the religion. In order to do that, we need more Muslims to get rid of their indifference and speak against the misrepresentation of Islam.

Research shows that the people behind “Innocence of Muslims,” the film which disrespects Islam and the Prophet Muhammad and set off riots across the Middle East after it was uploaded to YouTube, are nothing more than a few Islalmophobic individuals. They produced a very a low cost, low quality film which aims to mock the Prophet Muhammad, and present Islam as a violent and irrational religion.

The producers of the film were able to achieve more than what they desired or expected. It was not the film itself that had an impact on those watching, but rather the violent response of Muslims protesting the film in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan and other countries. These violent protests gave power to the producers. Without them, it is probably fair to guess that the film would not have gotten any attention or almost any views.

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The Methodist conference: Let’s call this victory what it is

Congregants gather outside the Church of Saint Porphyrius, Gaza, Palestine (Photo: Joe Catron)

“Step by step the longest march can be won …”

A song I remember from my United Methodist Sunday school

 

It says a lot about Israel’s declining status, and the rising influence of Palestinian-led civil society efforts to demand accountability for its crimes, that a boycott measure like the one United Methodists adopted  at their General Conference 2012 this week could pass a major church body in the United States with minimal notice.

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Ending the Muslim-Jewish Blame Game

Catholic Church (England and Wales), Flickr

Joseph Hanania - The murder of four at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, the worst act of anti-Semitic violence since 1982, was a tragedy. And yet, there was also an aspect of this killing which, up to now, has been largely overlooked.

As the New York Times reported, French President Nicolas Sarkozy “has sent gendarmes and riot police officers to guard all Jewish and Muslim schools and places of worship until the killer is stopped.” Other media, pointing to the same gun being used in other murders over the past week or so, have speculated that the killer may be a serial killer – one whose victims also include French Muslim soldiers headed to Afghanistan.

So here is the puzzle.

French Jews and Muslims have made common cause against this extremist, even as Middle Eastern Jews and Muslims are at each others’ throats. So whether Jews and Muslims are allies or enemies seemingly depends on the quirks of geography. The same Muslim with whom I, a Jew, am allied in France becomes my fearsome enemy in the Middle East. This makes sense?

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When Good People Have Wrong Ideas

Palestinian refugees fleeing the Galilee in 1948

Palestinian refugees fleeing the Galilee in 1948 / Wikimedia Commons

So much of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is caused by the misconceptions held by good people.  I was reminded of this today by a story called the “The First Symptom” by Michael Devolin, which arrived in an e-mail from Jerry Sobel, “Israeli advocate in defense of Israel’s just cause”.

Devolin, a Canadian writer, tells us what Middle Eastern Muslims supposedly believe, “their intended genocide of every living Jew residing in the Middle East,” “Islamic-incited, anti-Jewish hatred and genocide,” and “to wipe out the nation of Israel and all its Jewish inhabitants.”  Is that what Muslims want?  Jews, Christians and Muslims used to live peacefully together in Palestine; they do today in the United States.  Devolin claims that Iranians are seeking genocide of Jews, yet there isn’t even a genocide of the many Jews who live in Iran today.  Even the Hamas Charter says that Muslims, Christians and Jews can live peacefully together.  I wonder what Muslims Devolin and Sobel are talking to; not a single Muslim I have talked to expressed any desire for the extermination of Jewish people.  It leaves me wondering, is a Canadian wrier or an “Israeli advocate”—as opposed to an advocate for all people—a good source of information on what Iranians, Arabs or Muslims believe?

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What does it mean when Rick Perry says, “As an American and a Christian…I stand with Israel”?

Rick Perry

Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Perry probably echoes the sentiments of many Americans when he says, “I also as a Christian have a clear directive to support Israel, so from my perspective it’s pretty easy… Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.”

Given some of the past Christian discrimination against Jews, I greatly appreciate Perry’s sentiments and those of other Christians who want to stand with us Jews.  But as an American Jew, all discrimination strikes me as horribly wrong; while standing with Israel is great—really truly wonderful, thank you very much!— we should also stand with the Christian and Muslim families of Palestine, speaking out for equality and justice.  As Americans—whether of Jewish, Christian or Muslim faith—it is anathema for us to stand with people of one religion at the expense of people of another.

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