February 15: Steps to peace on an Islamic rug

Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug-makers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs.

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February 14, 2008 18:03
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Pedophiles Sir, - To the question "Why the leniency for pedophiles?" (Editorial, February 13) there are many answers. First, many of these crimes are dealt with by plea bargains in order to avoid further pain and suffering for the victims by forcing them to testify in court. Thus the sentences imposed are usually relatively light. Secondly, many pedophiles are, sadly, relatives of their victims - many, indeed, their fathers. A lengthy term of incarceration for a family's breadwinner will not just punish the offender but also rather quickly financially destroy what remains of his family, compounding the tragedy. Finally, like far too many problems in our country, pedophiles and criminals in general are dealt with far too haphazardly and inconsistently by the justice and legal system. KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba Steps to peace on an Islamic rug Sir, - If I could meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, this is what I would tell him: In an interview with The Jerusalem Post this week, you spoke about peace with Israel, saying, "This is a small and rough neighborhood, and we have to do it right, and doing it right requires a new paradigm, a new thinking" ("Fayad tells 'Post': Israeli security needs must be met," February 13). The new paradigm you propose can be derived from Islamic art. It can provide that "new thinking" required to bring peace between Jews and Arabs in their shared neighborhood. This paradigm shift could end the Arab attitude of seeing Israel as an alien presence in the Middle East, and the 60-year war to wipe it off the map. In Islamic art, as you probably know, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern to demonstrate that human creation is less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug-makers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with Allah. Perhaps you see a continuous pattern, like a beautiful Islamic rug, running from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern borders of Iran. Shift your perception to see Israel, not as a blemish on that great Islamic rug, but as the small counter-pattern needed to realize Islamic values. The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Muhammad's prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): "And we said to the Children of Israel, 'Scatter and live all over the world… and when the end of the world is near, we will gather you again into the Promised Land.'" Switch your viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews in the Land of Israel as the will of Allah, as expressed in Sura 5:20-21: "Remember when Moses said to his people: 'O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.'" Recognize the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah's will. Shalom. Salaam. MEL ALEXENBERG Petah Tikva

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