This hotly debated question looms large over much of the discussion, activism, and awareness regarding the Israel-Palestine issue, but all it does is shift attention away from the main cause of concern, that the occupation breeds injustice. No matter which angle of understanding is chosen, the issue ultimately deals with humanity. It is thus a Muslim issue. And a Christian issue, and a Jewish issue, and a Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, agnostic, atheist, and everything-in-between issue. The occupation poses a humanitarian challenge, so it inevitably concerns all of humanity.
A Muslim cause
There is no question that the Israel-Palestine conflict should lie central to the Muslim faith.
An estimated 85 to 90 percent of Palestinians living within the occupied territories, outside as refugees, and around the world as second or third generation displacees follow the religion of Islam. The religion’s third holiest site, the Al Aqsa Mosque, lies in Jerusalem surrounded by military installations. Hundreds of mosques dot Palestinian lands, some lavishly decorated, others modest in appearance, and many experiencing dwindling participation as a result of checkpoints and roadblocks preventing worshipers from reaching the prayer rows.
The occupation is an immediate and direct assault on the Muslim faith and even if only one Muslim faced the injustice of siege and brutality, this is a matter of grave concern within the folds of Islam. Muslims traditionally refer to each other as brothers and sisters and recognize themselves as a small but important component in a greater Ummah or worldwide community. It is natural then to expect Muslims to take issue if one component is threatened, if one religious obligation is made impossible to fulfill, or if the sanctity of the religion is violated.
Similarly, the occupation creates and then instigates prejudice, corruption, theft, torture, harassment, murder, and various other human rights violations. Islam condemns these abuses to the fullest extent, regardless of whether the injustices fall on Muslims or non-Muslims. Islam highlights the importance of discrediting and defeating wrong with right, dark with light, and one way to fulfill this particular tenet is to shed light on the unjust reality of Israel’s occupation. [Read more...]