Being just at all costs

One of the reasons why the Temple Mount has caused so much tension is that it has become common for provocateurs to exploit holy sites.

Palestinian men pray outside the Temple Mount after Israel removed the new security measures there, in Jerusalem's Old City July 25, 2017.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian men pray outside the Temple Mount after Israel removed the new security measures there, in Jerusalem's Old City July 25, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Every child is born with an instinct to love. A small child does not know how to hate. Hate is a complex emotion that is usually either learned through experience, as in when a person shows hate toward you, or is taught as one matures. The idea and essence of love are inspired by and communicated to people mainly via the divinely revealed holy books, usually via stories that contain wisdom.
For example, both the Torah and the Koran tell a very important story about a fight between two brothers: Cain and Abel. This is the first fraternal fight in history. When we read this story in the Torah, we come to realize that the fight occurs because the two brothers did not try to solve the issue by peaceful communication, and the result was murder. If they had tried to overcome the difficult situation by using peaceful means the problem would have been resolved.
Sadly, people have experienced similar occurrences throughout the history and nowadays they are falling into a similar trap as the tension between Palestinian Arabs and Jews rises once again. At the holy site of al-Aksa, the conflict between young Palestinian men and Israeli police has escalated to a much more serious level. Places of worship should never be chosen as sites of conflict, let alone armed attacks. Carrying out violent acts inside a house of prayer is morally wrong and unacceptable.
One of the reasons why this incident has caused so much tension is that it has become common for provocateurs to exploit holy sites. Some political and religious leaders, and public personalities, manipulate society’s sensitive points to advance a political agenda.
The unrealistic and provocative rhetoric used by these individuals – “such as Israelis will come to destroy the Aksa Mosque” – lead their followers into the streets to protest en masse. It is unreasonable and inappropriate to use the Aksa Mosque as an instrument for religious provocation. This is also a grave offense in the sight of God because these reckless and baseless claims sometimes result in the spilling of innocent blood.
The installation of metal detectors at the al-Aksa compound – that would protect both Muslims and Jews alike – was used as a pretext for protest and violence. In fact, it was merely a political manipulation, at the expense of the Palestinian and Israeli civilians. On top of that, there was a call for a third intifada, designed to increase the tension.
Up to this point, such inflammatory announcements have caused more trouble and loss rather than providing any solutions.
Regretfully, a handful of young Palestinians execute violent actions – stabbing innocent people to death, driving over bus stops or throwing stones at cars – out of rage. Such actions end up affecting all innocent Muslims and non-Muslims living in the area.
Consequently, as long as these agitators continue to use brutal methods, their neighborhoods will turn into a place no Muslim would want to inhabit.
The Muslim governments, religious and political leaders have a great responsibility to take serious precautions against the increase of this fanatic mindset, as such fanatics they tend to radicalize everyone they encounter.
Governments should guide and teach their youngsters behaviors that are affectionate, respectful and protective of our Jewish brothers.
Anti-Jewish material on the Internet and on television and other places should be stopped. Every Muslim has a responsibility to be just and fair at all cost as revealed in the Koran, where God calls on the believers: “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).
Another argument against these kinds of violent acts is the misleading press coverage that present the facts in a highly distorted way. The loveless people who are inclined to violence and hatred use this kind of biased information to justify their heinous actions.
As a matter of fact, God warns believers against this danger both in the Torah and the Koran in a similar way.
“You who believe! If a deviator [the media: newspapers, television, the Internet] brings you a report, scrutinize it carefully lest you attack people in ignorance and so come to greatly regret what you have done” (Koran, 49:6).
“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd” (Exodus, 23:1-2).
Therefore, Muslims should be on alert against falling into the trap of those who seek to incite a fight between Jews and Muslims – because the real motive of the provocateurs is to spill blood and to eliminate devout Muslims and Jews from the Holy Land. Recently, as per such inflammatory media coverage, Turkey faced unwanted disturbances. Two synagogue attacks occurred in Istanbul in the wake of clashes over al-Aksa; first at the Neve Shalom synagogue, then in Balat Ahrida Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Turkey. The provocateurs should know that it is not a heroic but rather an immoral act to attack the places of worship. Besides, resorting to violent attacks is prohibited by the Koran. According to the Koran, all places of worship – synagogues, churches, mosques – are sacred, untouchable and must be protected (Koran 22:40). Therefore, all places of worship of our Jewish brothers, such as Neve Shalom Synagogue, should be kept under protection.
In Islam, peace is the ultimate goal; it is essential to come to a resolution with the opposing sides. However, today some Muslims prefer aggressive methods which they claim are in the name of Islam. Some commit murder or use suicide bombing and justify it as “holy war.” They are committing a grave sin in the sight of God. Most of these Muslims are ignorant of the fact that their actions are against the Koran. These ignorant people are deceived in the name of religion, where hate replaces love, rage replaces compassion, enmity replaces brotherhood and ignorance replaces art, beauty and culture.
Therefore, it is easy to provoke these people by putting a gun or a knife in their hands to murder people of other faiths.
Thus denouncing the acts of these radicals does not have an impact on them. The real problem is that they are brainwashed by this faith of rage instead of the Koran. The solution is to counter these lies by reminding and educating them of what the Koran teaches.
Erroneous beliefs should be replaced with accurate ones, thereby eliminating the disastrous outcomes. Otherwise both sides end up suffering. People should understand their true purpose and know that they are responsible for all their actions. They should know that they will never be happy through fighting and oppression. Rather they must behave in a caring, loving and affectionate way, sacrificing for others and living out their true purpose. Only then will they achieve happiness.
The writer is a Turkish Muslim TV commentator who has authored more than 300 books in 73 languages on political, faith-related and scientific topics.