It’s hard to believe the Bush administration denied the author of the piece below entry into the United States. He is safely ensconced in the US’ main ally, the UK and writing pieces like this one:
Listening to the feelings expressed by Muslims around the world one gets a sentiment of anger and revolt mixed with a deep sense of helplessness. The current massacres are but a confirmation of the well-known: the “international community” does not really care about the Palestinians, and it is as if the state of Israel, with the support of the US and some European countries, has imposed a state of intellectual terror. Among the presidents and kings, nobody dares to speak out; nobody is ready to say the truth. All are paralysed by fear.
While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is sometimes perceived, and experienced, as critical to the relationship between the west and Islam, many Muslims no longer know how to react. Is it a pure political conflict? What does Islam have to do with it? Should we make it an Islamic concern to call upon the ummah?
Muslims around the world are facing three distinctive phenomena. First, in the Muslim-majority countries or in the west, they see they can expect no reaction from governments, especially from the Arab states. Theirs is the guilty silence of the accomplice, the hypocrisy, the contempt for Palestinian lives. Second, western media coverage is alarming, with the majority buying the Israeli story: two equally powerful belligerents, with the victim of aggression (Israel) acting in self-defence. What a distortion! Yet the third phenomenon is interesting: while 73% of Europeans were backing Israel in 1967, more than 67% are supporting the Palestinians today. With time, understanding and sensitivity have moved: populations are not blindly following the games and hypocritical stands of their political elites.
Considering these factors, Muslims around the world, and especially western Muslims, should clarify their position. While refusing to turn the Israeli-Palestinian war into a religious conflict, they should not deny its religious dimension, and thus formulate an explicit stand. From an Islamic viewpoint, it should be clear that their resistance is not against Jews (antisemitism is anti-Islamic); to target innocent civilians must be condemned on both sides; and the objective should be for Jews, Christians and Muslims (with people of other religions or no religion) to live together with equal rights and dignity.
The Palestinians are never going to give up; and Israel, for all its awesome firepower, has not won the conflict. Muslims around the world should be a driving force of remembrance and resistance. Not as Muslims against Israel, the west or the hypocritical Arab states, but more widely, and constructively, for justice with all (religious or not) who refuse to be brainwashed or reduced to powerless spectators. It is time to create broad alliances and synergies around clear political objectives.
If the Middle East is teaching Muslims anything, it is to stop acting in isolation and return to the universal values they share with their fellow citizens. They should realise they are in and with the majority. Demonstrations and articles are crucial but we need to go further. To launch a global movement of non-violent resistance to the violent and extremist policy of the state of Israel has become imperative. The violence inflicted, in front of us, upon a population of one and a half million humans makes our silence, our division and even our limited emotional reaction undignified, insane and inhumane. A true and dignified resistance requires commitment, patience and a long-term strategy of information, alliance and huge, non-violent democratic participation.