THREE VERY BRAVE ARABS.
ROME, July 19, 1998,
I live in Rome and I am a clergyman (Imam) of the Italian Islamic Community. I consider myself a good friend of Israel and am trying my best to help Moslems free themselves from anti-Zionism and to develop a positive attitude toward Jews in general and towards Israelis in particular.
I believe that Israeli Arabs live in a privileged position: they are the only Arabs in the Middle East who live in a democratic State. The comparison between the positive way that Israel treats them and the terrible way that refugees from "Palestine" were treated by their so-called Arab "brothers" is incredible.
I believe that "Palestinian identity" is something completely artificial: it was forged as a propagandistic tool against Israel. The strange fact is that, at least here in Europe, I have never heard an Arab from the Land of Israel ("Palestine") say: "I am Palestinian."
Maybe this reflects the fact that here in Italy these Arab brothers live in a democracy, while in the Moslem Middle East every word that comes out of ones' mouth is monitored by dictatorial Arab authorities. Almost all of the Arabs here in Europe say "I am Jordanian, and, thank God, I have nothing to do with Arafat [Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini] and his gang."
Please remember that the so-called hero of "Palestinian independence," the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of British Mandate Palestine, Haj Amin al-Husseini, never claimed that "Palestinians" are to be an independent people: all of his official declarations state that "Palestine must be recognized as a integral part of Syria."
The real "Palestinian State" is Jordan, and from a linguistic, ethnic, religious and cultural point of view there is nothing that can be identified as "typically Palestinian" and "non-Jordanian."
You asked me if I "know that the dictatorial Jordanian regime is more corrupt than what we now have in in 'Palestine.'" You further state that the "Palestinian Authority is the best of all Arab governments."
Frankly speaking, this makes me really wonder which world you are living in. I doubt that there is in today's world a more corrupt and criminal organization than the "Palestinian Authority." Arafat [Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini ] and his mob travel around the world asking for money to "help the Palestinian people." They hide this money in Swiss and Kuwaiti banks, while Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and Gaza go hungry.
Did you forget that the leader of the Palestinian Authority is a bloodthirsty and moneythirsty criminal who murdered thousands of innocent persons? Don't you know that thousands of Arabs who regarded themselves as friend of the Jews, or only dared to criticize "the boss" were mercilessly butchered? Are you really unaware of the fact that, after signing a declaration against terrorism, Arafatians are still working hand-in-hand with Hamas terrorists?
Look at recent newspapers: you will learn that Feisal Husseini, a representative of your alleged "best of all Arab governments," took part in Gaza in ceremonies celebrating an arch-terrorist. By signing the so-called Oslo Agreement, Israel made the worst of mistakes:
it legitimized a gang of killers in the eyes of worldwide public opinion. I believe that the Israeli government should have dealt with Arafat [Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini] in the same way that it dealt with Adolf Eichmann.
A Palestinian State will be a disaster for both Israelis and Arabs. The Israelis will lose their security and the Arabs will lose their freedom of speech under a criminal government. Since I love Israel, I ask God to protect it, and to help its leaders to understand that the only way to survive is to declare the Oslo Agreement null and void.
Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
“On March 28, Israelis will elect a new Prime Minister to replace the ailing Ariel Sharon. But I'd bet my last shekel that I'll continue to hear the phrase "Ariel Sharon's apartheid wall." It's a phrase spoken — make that spewed — on almost every university campus I visit in North America and Europe.
Among a new generation of Muslims, this is what Mr. Sharon will be known for long after he leaves office: unilaterally erecting a barrier, most of it a fence, some of it a wall, that cuts Arab villages in half, chokes the movement of ordinary Palestinians, cripples local economies and, ultimately, separates human beings.
The critics have a point — up to a point.
They're right that Palestinians are virtually wailing at "the wall." When I went to see its towering cement slabs in the West Bank town of Abu Dis last year, an Arab man approached me to unload his sadness. "It's no good," he said. "It's hard."
"Why do you think they built it?" I asked.
The man shook his head and repeated, "It's hard." After some silence, he added, "We are not two people. We are one."
"How do you explain that to suicide bombers?" I wondered aloud.
The man smiled. "No understand," he replied. "No English. Thank you. Goodbye."
Was it something I said? Maybe my impolite mention of Palestinian martyrs? Then again, how could I not mention them?
After all, this barrier, although built by Mr. Sharon, was birthed by "shaheeds," suicide bombers whom Palestinian leaders have glorified as martyrs. Qassam missiles can kill two or three people at a time. Suicide bombers lay waste to many more. Since the barrier went up, suicide attacks have plunged, which means innocent Arab lives have been spared along with Jewish ones. Does a concrete effort to save civilian lives justify the hardship posed by this structure? The humanitarian in me bristles, but ultimately answers yes.
That's not to deny or even diminish Arab pain. I had to twist myself like an amateur gymnast when I helped a Palestinian woman carry her grocery bags through a gap in the wall (such gaps, closely watched by Israeli soldiers, do exist). It made me wonder how much more difficult the obstacle course must be for people twice my age, who must travel to one of the wider official checkpoints nearby.
I appreciate that Israel's intent is not to keep Palestinians "in" so much as to keep suicide bombers "out." But in the minds of many Palestinians, Ariel Sharon never adequately acknowledged the humiliation felt by a 60-year-old Arab whose family has harvested the Holy Land for generations when she has to show her identity card to an 18-year-old Ethiopian immigrant in an Israeli Army uniform who's been in the country for eight months. In that context, fences and walls come off as cruelly gratuitous.
For all the closings, however, Israel is open enough to tolerate lawsuits by civil society groups who despise every mile of the barrier. Mr. Sharon himself agreed to re-route sections of it when the Israel High Court ruled in favor of the complainants. Where else in the Middle East can Arabs and Jews work together so visibly to contest, and change, state policies?
I reflected on this question as I observed an Israeli Army jeep patrol the gap in Abu Dis. The vehicle was crammed with soldiers who, in turn, observed me filming the anti-Israel graffiti scrawled by Western activists — "Scotland hates the blood-sucking Zionists!" I turned my video camera on the soldiers. Nobody ordered me to shut it off or show the tape. My Arab taxi driver stood by, unprotected by a diplomatic license plate or press banner.
Like all Muslims, I look forward to the day when neither the jeep nor the wall is in Abu Dis. So will we tell the self-appointed martyrs of Islam that the people — not just Arabs, but Arabs and Jews — "are one"? That before the barrier, there was the bomber? And that the barrier can be dismantled, but the bomber's victims are gone forever?
Young Muslims, especially those privileged with a good education, cannot walk away from these questions as my interlocutor in Abu Dis did. If we follow in his footsteps, we are only conspiring against ourselves. After all, once the election is over, we won't have Ariel Sharon to kick around anymore.
Irshad Manji, a fellow at Yale, is the author of "The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith." March 18, 2006, New Haven
Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations.
It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras.
It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century.
It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality.
It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship.
It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand.
It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.
Host: I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?
Wafa Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.
Host: Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind...
Wafa Sultan: The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger."
When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must re-examine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.
My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you that they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?
I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Are you a heretic?
Wafa Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural...
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran...
Wafa Sultan: These are personal matters that do not concern you.
Wafa Sultan: Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs.
Wafa Sultan: The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge.
We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant.
We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church.
We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people.
The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.
Arab-American Psychiatrist Wafa Sultan, Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006
IS ISLAM A RELIGION OF PEACE?
IS ISLAM A PEACEFUL FAITH?
WHO STARTED THE WAR IN 1947?
WHY DID THE ARABS LEAVE ISRAEL?
HOW MANY ARABS FLED?
ARAB HELP FOR THEIR REFUGEES.
Let’s put things into context
A comparison with refugees worldwide
WHAT IF THE JEWS LOST ANY WAR?
Dear Prime Minister
TO THE BRITISH PEOPLE
Three very brave Arabs
A Palestinian speaks out
Joseph Farah speaks
We must stop blaming Israel
Do Palestinians really want peace?
What do the Palestinians really think about Israel?
TO THE MOSLEM ARABS
Israel’s best defence
TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN ISRAEL
HOW WILL IT ALL END?