November 24, 2012

To: My Fellow Muslims
From: Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

My Fellow Muslims,

As-Salaam Alay-Kum

“Truth never fell dead in the streets; it has such affinity with the soul of man, the seed however broadcast will catch somewhere and produce its hundred fold,” so wrote Theodore Parker, an American Transcendentalist in “A Discourse of Matters Pertaining to Religion.” The question is, “How can we as Muslims broadcast “The Truth” to the citizens of the world in an organized and civilized way about the “Occupations & Settlements” in Palestine?

BEFORE THE NEXT BABY DIES, wrote Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu Al-Aish, a former physician at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv who lost three daughters and a niece to an Israel Defense Force tank shell during Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009) in the Jabaliya camp in northern Gaza Strip. In his recent article, he appealed to humankind, “I ask everyone to keep their hearts free of hatred and take the necessary steps in order to stop this terrible insanity immediately. How on earth can we stop this “Tit for Tat” game of warfare between Israelis and Palestinians? I firmly believe that only by following the commandment of the Holy Quran, we, the Muslims, can promote peace in the Holy Land. Surah: The Family of Imran – Chapter 3 – Verse 104 reads as follows:

Let there be a group among you who call others to good, and enjoin what
is right, and forbid what is wrong: those who do this shall be successful.

Maulana Wahiddudin Khan, a renowned Islamic scholar, further elaborated this verse by saying that “this command pertains, on the one hand, to the common man and on the other to the intellectuals and the educated class. The educated should be strenuous in their efforts to enjoin goodness and forbid wrong in the community.” The western world routinely questions us about “The Silence of Moderate Muslims” and rightly so. We, as the educated ones, have with our own timidity passed on the torch to represent our great religion of Islam to the “Uneducated Brutes” in our midst. Hamas, Hezbollah or any other organizations that embraces “Terror” to achieve “Peace” will never be successful. Firing rockets into Israel by targeting the innocent civilians is nothing but “A Barbaric Act. With the same token, Israel must also come to terms with the harsh reality that it cannot continue to occupy Palestinian land by suppressing their inherent rights to live in the land of their ancestors. Enough is enough.

Three near perfect examples of those who dared to speak “The Truth” are: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Laureate and a South African social activist, Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu Al-Aish, founder of Daughters for Life and Gideon Levy, a prominent Israeli journalist. All three are the followers of “The Abrahamic Faith,” and they stand out as outstanding personalities, who have chosen wise words to wake the conscience of the citizens of Israel.

Honorable Desmond Tutu spoke “The Truth. In his article published in New Internationalist issue of January/February 2003 titledIsrael: Time To Divest” he wrote:

“Almost instinctively, the Jewish people have always been on the side of
voiceless. In their history, there is a painful memory of massive roundups,
house demolitions and collective punishment. In their scripture, there is
acute empathy for the disfranchised. The occupation represents a
dangerous and selective amnesia of the persecutions from which these
traditions were born.”

I Shall Not Hate. That’s one powerful message which the Muslims should make sure that the misguided preachers in our midst listen to. Sermons in the mosques should never utter the word “Hate” nor entice and encourage the young Muslims to harm our fellow humans, be they Christians or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists. By emphasizing on two key words, “Wisdom” and “Good Words, from which to attain “Success, Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu Al-Aish stands out as a living example of a sincere educated Muslim who faithfully follows the commandment of the Holy Quran. Listen attentively to his words of wisdom as follows:

“Hate is a fire that weighs and eats the ones who carries it. Hate for me
is a chronic disease, you will never be cured. Hate is a poison, once we
are injected with that you will never recover from it. Don’t allow.”

“Israel society is in a situation of coma for at least ten years … You don’t see any kind of collective activity except of ‘The Settlers. They are the ones active in the society” said Mr. Gideon Levy. Think about it. Haven’t we the Muslims have long been in a state of coma too? We selectively read emails that pertains to Muslims’ interests, we do not care at all to take into consideration what others are saying about us, majority of us have a real difficult time acknowledging email messages let alone saying “Thank You. The art of expressing gratitude is something we have completely lost as it is much more easier to reply with “Unsubscribe” in order to run away from facing “The Truth.

We Muslims lack “Moral Courage” and do not care to recognize that there are “A Few Good Men & Women” in this world, who dare to speak “The Truth. One among them is Mr. Levy, who continues to make us all ponder over the harsh reality facing the nation of Israel. In his article Settlers, tell us what do you think will happen? which was published in Haaretz on January 3, 2010, Mr. Levy opined his observations of “The Settlers” as follows:

“Whether motivated by ideology or real estate, he is convinced that he will
remain there forever. Now we must ask him in what direction (which is
also our direction) is he headed? After years of hearing them say no – no
to evacuation, no to a construction freeze, no to the High Court of Justice,
no to international law, no to negotiations, no to America, no to the world –
they must finally be made to answer the simple, cutting question: To what
do you say yes? They will remain in the territories forever, there will be
no negotiations, and of course there will be no peace, no to two states and
no to civil rights for the Palestinians. Fine. Then what will there be, for
heaven’s sake?”

If we care to listen to Mr. Levy’s explanation about “The Settlers” being active in their fierce pursuit of building more “Settlements, then we should also be equally honest in reflecting upon the state of affairs in the Islamic world. Just like the “Israeli Settlers” our “Islamic Jihadists,” call the shots and are relentlessly active in threatening the balance and harmony of our civilization by disrespecting the true teachings of our Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) who taught us, “Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, alms and prayers? Making peace between one another; enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots.”

Hundreds of thousands of articles, essays, books and documentaries have been written and filmed about “Israel/Palestine.” I can safely claim that this is perhaps the longest documented dispute recorded in the history of mankind between two Semite groups of people who remain stubborn and unwilling to negotiate with good spirits. It is truly shocking that the sense of awareness on both sides have been deafened by their uncompromising attitude. Bloodshed is continuing up until this day. It is truly very painful to witness the cycle of despicable violence and brutal suppression for more than half a century between Israelis and Palestinians. One cannot help but agree with Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu Al-Aish’s humane appeal that this terrible insanity must be stopped immediately.

Ten years ago, New Internationalist magazine (August 2002) cover page depicted a picture of a Palestinian boy with a handful of stones in his hand. The cover story was Israeli & Palestinian – The Occupation Is Killing Us All. One article explicitly points out that 300 miles of U.S. financed Israeli by-pass roads splits the Palestinian territory into some 22 separate “Bantustans;” whereas, in another article Silence & Security by Dr. Samah Jabr points out that, “Over the last 54 years of occupation Israel has been trying to control, exhaust, and terrify the Palestinians in the name of ‘Security.” She claims that the Israeli Government has chopped Palestinian towns and villages into 69 Bantustans and cantons with their 264 permanent checkpoints. Keep in mind that these numbers were counted back a decade ago. Surely today, the numbers of settlements and checkpoints must have increased by large numbers. Tragically, Dr. Jabr says that, “Israel has waged several wars and perpetuated many massacres to end ‘Palestinian Terrorism. But have they really gained security?” Now, that is a million dollar question which every citizen of Israel must ask their very own government by keeping abreast of all the facts on the ground regardless of how the U.S. Mainstream Media and Israeli Media portrays the routine persecution of the Palestinians.

My fellow Muslims, we are the ones who remain bereft about how to voice our concerns in a concerted manner. “Islamophobia” has nothing to do with the struggle of Palestinians. It is a “Humanitarian” crisis that begs not only our attention but our dedicated action. Only with the use of “Intellectual Power, we can act together and convince the world that the lasting peace in the Holy land is the need of the hour. We need to collectively gather our respective intellectual resources in order to wage a campaign to demonstrate about all the wrongdoings against the Palestinians before it is too late. How many of us have read an article To Save Israel, Boycott the Settlements by Peter Beinart, a professor at the City University of New York which was published in The New York Times on March 18, 2012? How many of us know Jeff Halper, an American Jew from Minnesota living in Jerusalem, co-founder and coordinator of the “Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions” ( ICAHD)? How many of us can openly say “I am a Muslim, yet against ‘Muslim Terrorists’” or “To Save Islam, Blacklist the Terrorists?” Well, Mr. Halper has no problem claiming, I am Israeli, yet against Israel’s racism. Read his interview and listen to his YouTube as follows:

By the grace of Almighty Allah, I, Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia, have raised my concerns whenever I had an opportunity to do so. On September 30, 2011, in my letter to Jewish friends with subject title Ethics From Sinai, I made it clear that the intent of the Israeli government to build more “Settlements” is absolutely unwise. One small voice from this humble writer broadcasting “The Truth will one day be likely to get across to many of our fellow humans out yonder. Edward W. Said, a Palestinian American political activist and a charismatic public intellectual who once rightly stated, “Thank God for the Internet. There are so many sources of information now. So that nobody can say, I didn’t know. So I think the first duty is to inform yourself, mobilize, and pressure your representatives to end the injustice and the inequality.”

“Thank God” for the ceasefire in Gaza and “Thank Heavens” that Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense has finally ended. Let us now pray that Hamas stop their vicious rocket attacks on the Israeli soil and comes forth with all the good intentions to display an earnest desire to seek peace and shed their long tradition of “Violence” to achieve their peaceful goals. There is no two ways about i. Hamas and Hezbollah must recognize Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign nation and not seek to destroy it.  On the other hand, Israeli’s disgraceful “Policy of Hafradah,which has humiliated Palestinians for decades must be abolished forever. Israeli government and Israel Defense Force must remind itself of the idiom, “There’s more than meets the eye. In short, it cannot and should not continue to “Insult the Intelligence” of those who are well aware of the persecution inflicted upon the Palestinians on a daily basis. Simply put, neither “Terror” nor “Hafradah” is a way to achieve “Peace.”  “Intellectual Honesty” coupled with “The Truth” along with an extremely large dose of “Political Courage” on part of the Israeli government will be the ultimate factor in bringing peace to the Holy Land.

Last but not least, BEFORE THE NEXT BABY DIES in the Holy Land, which is dear to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, we have a whole lot of hard work to do to bring a permanent peace. Every single voice of every single learned Muslim will count. It is time to “Speak Up” and support the international as well as regional institutions who are busy and at the forefront in struggling to find the common ground to negotiate “Peace With Justice” between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Let “The Truth” and “Conscience” be our guide. To put it in Theodore Parker’s words:

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one,
my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete
the figure by the experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And
from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

Very respectfully yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia









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