When will Jerusalem know peace?

The numbers of Muslims and Jews who desire peace need to grow, and they must understand that living together must be based on love.

By
November 29, 2014 22:13
An aerial view of Jerusalem’s city center.

An aerial view of Jerusalem’s city center.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Not a single day passes in which talk of Jerusalem, sacred to the three great faiths, is not connected in the same breath to conflict, violence and bloodshed. These fine lands, erstwhile abode of peace and the prophets, have witnessed horrifying scenes in the last month in particular, of people being run over by cars, attacked with knives, cleavers, screwdrivers, guns, and of innocent people losing their lives.

Last week, Jews praying to God in the synagogue, with their heads bowed in submission, were targeted simply for being Jews. The Koran refers to mosques, synagogues and churches as places under the protection of God (Koran, 22:40), and all Muslims have an obligation to protect them. It’s a sin – murder – in the eyes of our faith to kill or harm innocent people. I regard mere condemnation of such ruthlessness to be a very weak statement. I believe that such actions are nothing but sheer wickedness, atrocity and cruelty.

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Committing such a sin and evil in the name of God, defending or glorifying it and rejoicing in the death of a Jew is the diametric opposite of the true spirit of Islam.

Of course our Palestinian brothers have gone through a lot of pain. Much innocent blood has been spilled and they have suffered because of certain policies of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but terrorism is never acceptable, and can never be portrayed as such, no matter what the cause. Protests must be made with words, not by killing and bombing. Knowingly and deliberately killing defenseless people who have come to worship God in a synagogue, ruthlessly butchering them, is the most contemptible cowardice.

Every Muslim has a responsibility to support truth and justice. In the Koran, God reveals, “You who have faith! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives” (Koran, 4:135), and “...do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness” (Koran, 5:8). Looking at events in a one-sided manner or being biased in favor of members of one’s own faith or people is incompatible with justice, reason and good conscience. One must therefore be honest and moral under all circumstances and evaluate matters reasonably.

No people or nation are without error, of course; the Israelis may make mistakes, but it is wrong to literally demonize an entire people, to make them targets or to use them as tools for incitement through the use of exaggeration, lies and calumnies. The Jews have suffered oppression for 3,000 years; there is enmity toward the Jews all over the world, and they have been wronged and chased away from wherever they went. It is incompatible with being a Muslim to inflict that fear on them in the land of their forefathers where they seek to live side by side with Muslims. There will be a State of Israel, and that state will survive until the Day of Reckoning; the Jews will live in that region as God has promised in both the Torah and the Koran.

In the same way, there is no religious justification for the attack on Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who has previously been my guest in Istanbul, or for subsequently lauding those responsible for that heinous act as “heroes.”



Deliberately attempting to murder an unarmed, innocent and devout man who believed in the oneness of God and spent all his time in remembrance of God is not heroism, but pure evil. There is nothing praiseworthy about it. One cannot celebrate immorality and rebellion against the Koran.

The unrealistic claims made by some people to the effect that the Israelis wish to destroy the Aksa Mosque or prevent Muslims worshiping there can turn into ugly attacks among people predisposed to violence and hatred, such as occurred in the attack on Rabbi Glick. It is unbecoming for part of the press and some public personalities to use al-Aksa Mosque for the purpose of religious provocation. This is a grave responsibility in the Sight of God.

First and foremost, what has been going on there is an unnecessary and artificial tension. This is the house of God, hence Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims, need to be able to come and pray there. Nobody has the right to tell anyone not to enter or pray there.

Even an atheist can enter places that God describes as holy, and can feel awe and love. It is true that a desire to rebuild the Temple of Solomon lies behind the Jews’ vision for the Temple of the Mount; and yes, the original will indeed be rebuilt in all its majesty and beauty in that broad expanse of land next to al-Aksa Mosque.

However, that will happen when we bring about the reign of peace and love together, and that will also be a source of joy for Muslims. What is not known by many Muslims is that Jews also hope and expect to pray together with Muslims according to the Torah: “I will bring them to My holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in My house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah, 56:7).

It is incompatible with the spirit of Islam to seek to preclude Jews from even entering the courtyard of the Aksa Mosque, to prevent them praying in silence there and to demonize even the Jewish children. Blind enmity toward the Jews is unbecoming and unfair. On the other hand, no Muslim should accept the Aksa Mosque being used for protests and fighting involving stones and fire bombs. That is a sin and disrespect for a place of worship. That is the house of God, a place of worship, and it should be peaceful and tranquil.

It is therefore very important for the press to avoid carrying news intended to incite and for leaders to avoid using inflammatory language that will stir up and enrage their peoples. Such incidents must be reported from a rational and objective point of view that encourages peace and that is capable of self-criticism. Everyone must strive to prevent division between the children of Ishmael and Jacob (Israel) and to thwart Satan’s scheming.

The numbers of Muslims and Jews who desire peace need to grow, and they must understand that living together must be based on love. Muslims should therefore rid themselves of the influence of fanaticism in their attitudes toward the Jews and must act in the light of the Koran. Furthermore, Jews should not confuse Islam with fanaticism, but should always seek peace and reconciliation with true Muslims of the Koran.

The writer is a Muslim author and TV commentator from Turkey.

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