Friday, March 7, 2008

In Palestine, Murder Will Bring Neither Freedom Nor Justice

From the Desk of Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey
MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director


WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) March 7, 2008 — On March 6, 2008, the world received news of yet another tragedy in the ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. In an apparent act of revenge, armed Palestinians infiltrated a Rabbinical school in Jerusalem and attacked a group of teenage Jewish students, leaving eight of them dead. They were not combatants, and the act did not take place in self-defense or in the heat of combat.

Most of the world, especially in Israel, was stunned and horrified by the killings. But in Gaza, at least according to news reports, people were jubilant in their celebration of the deaths.

Should Muslims in the United States also feel a sense of joy and vindication? No. We must recognize the attack for what it was: an act of murder. And we must now ask ourselves the difficult question of how we, as activists in support of the people of Gaza and Palestine, can go forward in the wake of an act of senseless brutality that could threaten to derail some significant support for the cause of ending the occupation and respecting the human rights of the people in Gaza and the West Bank.

Sadly, acts of deliberate murder are hardly rare in the context of this part of the world. I remember, a few years ago, the act of murder in a mosque in the West Bank that left nearly 30 Muslim worshippers murdered by a fanatic named Baruch Goldstein. The Muslim world, and most people of conscience, were enraged. Yet some extremists in Israel not only celebrated the killings, but actually made Goldstein (who was killed after the attack), a cult hero among some ultra-Zionists.

But murder, by whomever, is simply a crime against humanity and against the Almighty. And the killing of Jewish students in Jerusalem was exactly that kind of abomination.

The pursuit of liberation is a human response to oppression, and one that is common to all oppressed people, in all periods of history. But there is a moral and practical, distinction between legitimate political struggle on one hand, and acts of criminal revenge on the other.

As Muslims, we believe that struggle against oppression, and self-defense, are not only legitimate, but also required. The killing of innocent people, on the other hand, is morally repugnant—and Haram.

I hope that the Palestinian leadership, and especially Hamas, will recognize that the celebration of these murders will only serve to further isolate them, and make it more difficult for them to claim some moral high-ground in the eyes of world opinion. I also hope that they will consider that activists throughout the world, who support the rights of the people of Gaza, must now labor under yet another burden of suspicion, and even outright rejection, by opponents who are all too anxious to equate the Palestinian cause with savagery and terrorism. Further, it obliterates, in the consciousness of many, the nonviolent responses to the occupation that would ultimately be more effective as instruments of liberation vs. sensational and counter-productive acts of killing and mayhem.

As I have said in a previous essay, it's long past time to end the violence, and the killing, in Israel and Palestine. We mourn the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, especially in Gaza.

But now, we should also mourn the killing of the Jewish students in Jerusalem, and call for the respect for human life as a core value for both sides of this conflict. I, as a Muslim in America, offer my condolences to the families and communities of the young people who were killed in this act of violence.

The struggle for freedom has no room for the murder of innocent people. It is not acceptable in the modern world.

An eye-for-an-eye, as Dr. King reminded us, will simply make both Palestinians and Israelis blind.

1 comment:

Tamer El Nashar said...

First of all i deeply respect all your views, and share most of them. However i beg to disagree on this one. So i have a couple of questions for you Mr. Ibrahim, which i hope you will generously answer.
1. Have you ever talked with anyone from INSIDE Palestine, that supports or assumes or believes, that the Islamic-Zionist crisis, can ever be resolved through peaceful or Diplomatic measures?
2. What proof, or insights in History do you have that makes you able to see a peaceful solution to someone stealing your land and refusing to give it back?
3. Does Israel have the right to exist?
4. What are you we to do with the verse in the Quran that says: "And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly." (8:60) If this doesn't apply to the Palestinians inside Palestine, fighting the Israelis, the who does it apply to, if anyone?!!

4. With all due respect to the great Mr. Martin Luther King, again what are we do with this verse of our noble Quran: "And We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the Zalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers - of a lesser degree)." (5:45)

Finally, I am an advocate of peace, and if there were any 100% peaceful means to resolve this issue, i would be a 100% supporter. More importantly, i think so would the great leaders of Hamas, starting with the Mr Khaled Meshel. At least this is my humble opinion.

Gazakom Allah khayran in advance.