How many must die before peace prevails?

by Harris Zafar, Guest opinion

Monday January 05, 2009, 5:00 AM

Harris Zafar

When Palestinians and Israelis both pray to God for help in destroying the other, who does God choose to help? Which of the two are the “good guys”?

Well, based on the actions of both parties, I fail to see why God would help either of them. Both parties claim loyal adherence to God and his teachings, but sadly, both parties violate the law of their respective faith. Let’s look at the facts.

As a practicing Muslim, I’m critical of Muslims who don’t act according to the teachings of Islam. So let’s begin with Hamas. Sure, some may argue the case of Gaza residents having their food, water and medical equipment supply cut off by Israel. Others may cite the Nov. 5 Israeli attack under the Gaza fence. But how does it help to fire rockets in return? Each rocket has the possibility of taking an innocent life, which is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Do those who fire them not understand the Holy Quran when it repeatedly says “create not disorder in the earth” or even when it says that killing even one person is like killing all of mankind? Reverence for life is a part of Islam, but the very nature of rockets is to put lives at risk.

And what about the Israeli Defense Forces? How can its leaders justify their response when their actions are breaking the very law they claim to follow? The Mosaic law of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” teaches the principle of equitable retaliation. The purpose of this law was to limit the scope of a punishment and to discourage cruelty. Yet Israel has unleashed an all-out attack of warlike proportions, killing more than 400 Palestinians and wounding more than 2,000 more in merely seven days. Can we consider the death of 400 Palestinians in response to the death of four Israelis to be equitable retaliation?

Both Israelis and Palestinians are religious people, but when it comes to matters concerning one another, their respective leaders toss their religious beliefs to the side and act with raw emotion, with disregard for the value of life.

Israel and Palestine both consist of men, women and children who desire peace and security instead of violence and fear. Their respective faiths, as well as the principle of rationality, dictate that each must refrain from using violence to solve their problems. True peace can only be achieved by working together as children of God.

If both parties instilled humanity, mercy and forgiveness into themselves, perhaps God would find more value in their prayers. But how many must die before the God-given qualities of humanity and peace prevail?

Harris Zafar, a business analyst in the information technology industry, is the youth director of faith outreach within his mosque in Southwest Portland.

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COMMENTS (46)Post a comment
Posted by dmbones on 01/05/09 at 8:02AM

Greetings Harris,

Thank you for your comments. I couldn’t agree with you more. Moses and Muhammad are Messengers from the same God, although separated in history by thousands of years. Their essential message to humanity, as Messengers from all of the world’s major religions agree, is one of ethical reciprocity.

The central teaching of all of the religions is the same:

Bahá’í Faith:
“Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.” “Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.” Baha’u’llah

Brahmanism: “This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you”. Mahabharata, 5:151

Buddhism:
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18

Christianity:
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31, King James Version.

Confucianism:
“Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you” Analects 15:23

Ancient Egyptian:
“Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 – 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson. The original dates to 1970 to 1640 BCE and may be the earliest version ever written.

Hinduism:
This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:151

Humanism:
“Don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you, British Humanist Society.

Islam: “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths.”

Jainism:
“In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara

Judaism:
“…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”, Leviticus 19:18
“What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a.

Native American Spirituality:
“Respect for all life is the foundation.” The Great Law of Peace.
“All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One.” Black Elk

Roman Pagan Religion: “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”

Shinto:
“The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form”
“Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God.” Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga

Sikhism:
“Don’t create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone.” Guru Arjan Devji 259
“No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend.” Guru Arjan Dev : AG 1299

Sufism: “The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven’t the will to gladden someone’s heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone’s heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this.” Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

Taoism:
“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien.

Unitarian:
“The inherent worth and dignity of every person;”
“Justice, equity and compassion in human relations…. ”
“The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;”
“We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Unitarian principles.

Wicca: “An it harm no one, do what thou wilt” (i.e. do what ever you will, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself). One’s will is to be carefully thought out in advance of action. This is called the Wiccan Rede.

Yoruba: (Nigeria): “One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.”

Zoroastrianism:
“Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.” Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
Humanity has been consistently informed throughout history on the path to peace and security, but we have failed thus far to live up to what we know is right. How long indeed…!

Passages taken from: http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm

Posted by portlandpoet on 01/05/09 at 9:07AM

Here’s a thought; how about if we just leave everyone’s God out of the scenerio? Why can’t everyone realize that the impetus behind these centuries of killing each other is “God”; whether it’s your God or the other guy’s.

In the Holy Bible for example; there were only 4 human beings on earth before the first murder occured. Cain killed his brother and 1/4th of the world’s population was wiped out. Later; God wiped out the entire population of the earth save Noah’s family and 2 of each animal species.

According to the same book; the end is no more promising than the beginning. The battle of Armageddon will take place here on earth and “the blood will be as high as the horse’s mouth”.

To many people in the Middle East are willing to strap explosives to their bodies and blow themselves and anyone in the vicinity up in the name of their God. Not only do they not consider this a bad thing; it is thee thing that will ensure that they get to the promise land.

How much blood has to seep into the sands of The Middle East land before their own Martin Luther King steps forward, condems the violence and convinces the warring factions that their sons and daughters will continue dying until someone steps up and says “enough”!

The Gaza Strip and the political and military battles that are fought in an attempt to claim it are both built on sand and will crumble and blow away with the winds. How can you look into your children’s eyes and not realize that no God would want them brutally killed; especially in his name.

All I am saying is give peace a chance.

Posted by dtroutma on 01/05/09 at 9:53AM

I just find it interesting that the bloodiest and most heartless “religions”(with their hundreds of warring sub-sects) on earth today all use the same baseline book of laws, the Old Testament. The only two real laws seem to be: “Do as I say, not as I do.”, and “Do unto others, before they can do it to you.”

It’s also interesting that the battles rage over one of the least valuable parcels of land on Earth, it doesn’t even have oil under it!

Posted by xlntzee56 on 01/05/09 at 10:05AM

Mr. Zafar,
Very thoughtful article. Well said!

Posted by goldfoot on 01/05/09 at 10:07AM

Shalom, Harris Zafar,
I was very impressed with your letter and am thankful to be able to have a dialogue with you. I appreciate your thoughtful outlook on today’s situation in Gaza.
May I point out some facts that were omitted. Israel has not closed the gate in Gaza for no reason. It’s only in response to the constant shelling that Hamas has done since 2001. Hamas shells; we close the gate. For 8 years Israel has been shelled. What would Arab countries do if this happened to them? What did Iran (not an Arab country) and Iraq do to each other? We didn’t go in and slaughter people in response. We tried every civilized method to get Hamas to stop, and it didn’t work. Finally, even with a peace party with Olmert, after 8 years, we have had enough. Weren’t you amazed that Hamas shot and destroyed electric sources from Israel whereby Israel was still giving Gaza electricity? They destroyed their own source of power and then cried foul. It’s like the child who kills his parents and then cries that he’s an orphan.
As to the difference in casualties, it is shocking that their casualties benefit them. They can cry to the international world how terrible we are. We have an army that is pinpointing targets of the source of rockets, missiles, and mortars. They shoot these into our southern population indiscriminately, hitting civilians. We’re not trying to kill civilians. They are. We protect our people with bomb shelters. They put their arms amid their women and children.
They are also terrorizing our people. After 8 years they have better and better missiles that are reaching far more of Israel. We are forced into this. When the “Palestinians” change their charter to accept Israel as being there and not try to wipe us out, and to live within the concept of the Muslim religion as you speak of it, we will have reached peace. It’s too bad that you’re not one of the leaders. You sound like a very wise person. Remember, Jews don’t want to take a life either. Our toast is “L’Chaim! To life. That’s all life.

Posted by johnsonc20 on 01/05/09 at 10:53AM

Goldfoot,

Why respond so negatively to this heartfelt plea to both sides to follow the peaceful tenets contained within their own religions? Is it necessary for you to justify Israel’s actions?

I think that Mr. Zafar has made some interesting points and it would behoove you to reflect on what the “L’Chaim” toast means if it is given at the same time massive death from the sky is being dealt by those doing the toasting.

It is time for ALL of us to walk the talk. That includes Israel, who is in the stronger military position and therefore has the most need to show mercy.

May God bless us ALL.

Posted by dontsmoke on 01/05/09 at 11:29AM

I agree with johnsonc20. Mr. Zafar is not taking sides in this battle; he is simply pointing out that the violence must stop.

Even though you may be justified in your response Goldfoot; it’s time to stop the tit for tat about who is attacking whom and who owns what strip of land. Dialogue is the only way to stop the killing not continuing to prove that you and your people are right and someone else (your enemy), is wrong. Mr. Zafar’s article is a good start toward such dialogue.

I too would defend my home and protect my family with every means available to me but if I could sit down with those who wish me harm and come to an agreement so that we could live in peace forever; let’s talk.

The natural response to violence is to justify your own actions by saying you were attacked first. Unfortunately; in the Middle East that argument could go back to the days of Moses and will never be decided. Don’t argue about who’s ox was gored first, just stop goring the other guys ox and get along for the sake of your children.

Peace to all in the Middle East and around the world.

Posted by dell4100 on 01/05/09 at 11:41AM

Islam is a violent religion and you can dress it up any way you like, but it still comes down to the same thing. If it looks like a duck, it is most certainly a duck! Actions speak louder than words and Hamas has proven to the world that they are nothing but a bunch of rabid dogs!

Posted by dontsmoke on 01/05/09 at 12:03PM

dell4100 do you think you would be more inclined to sit down with your Mid Eastern brother if he started the conversation by calling you a rabid dog or if he approached you in an intelligent peaceful manner as Harris Zafar does in his article?

The State of Israel was born the same year as I, 1949. I have lived a peaceful and fruitful life here in the United States for those 60 years and my children have grown up knowing nothing but peace and love.

I spent a year in combat in the Viet Nam war and came to realize that war is not the solution to man’s problems; peace is.

Why don’t you stop calling names and join in the peace process so children in your part of the world can enjoy the next 60 years in peace as well.

We’re all brothers and that includes you dell4100.

Simply choose to stop the violence.

Posted by ozrms on 01/05/09 at 12:06PM

Palestine is an OCCUPIED territory. Blaming those who choose to fight the occupation with homemade rockets (that are wholly symbolic and highly ineffective) as responsible for the killing and maiming of thousands of civilians is like blaming Anne Frank for the murder of her family.

Moralizing notwithstanding, Palestine has endured 60 years of occupation, under a colonialist Israel-U.S. regime. Most of Palestine remains unarmed, impoverished, and weak. Attacking this population with white phosphorous, cluster bombs, navy shells and 33,000 troops is absolutely ridiculous.

Mark my words, this incursion will be as effective as the U.S. occupation of Iraq. It will galvanize more and more people to fight against occupying forces and continue a war that has already gone on for much too long.

Posted by patpilot on 01/05/09 at 12:22PM

The problem, as I see it, is that organized religions are organized by people. Despite all the good intents of their deity, messages of faith, love, and worship are suborned by those leaders who bend their religions to suit personal and political needs. When religions are organized inside of geo-political boundaries, that is, when the state becomes the religion becomes the state, religions gain the killing efficiency of modern weaponry and tactics. You can say “Not my religion” but you conveniently forget things like inquisitions, crusades, witch trials, and the destruction of much of the extant civilization of the New World. Mark Twain said the bible has an omission; “Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor’s religion is.” Until religions are ready to accept that concept, humanity will continue to suffer in the names of gods.

Posted by kzvezda on 01/05/09 at 1:38PM

Posted by ozrms on 01/05/09 at 12:06PM
Blaming those who choose to fight the occupation with homemade rockets (that are wholly symbolic and highly ineffective)
——-
Those “symbolic” rockets you speak of have killed people and disrupted the lives of many more. It’s easy for you to say “symbolic” from halfway around the world. If someone targeted you with those “symbolic” rockets, you’d be singing another tune.

Posted by kzvezda on 01/05/09 at 1:41PM

If both parties instilled humanity, mercy and forgiveness into themselves, perhaps God would find more value in their prayers. But how many must die before the God-given qualities of humanity and peace prevail?
—————
Unfortunately, when dealing with fanatics like Hamas (whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel), the answer is that many must die.

Israel’s spokesman said today that if Israel was guaranteed that the rocket fire would stop permanently, they’d pull out of Gaza immediately. But the likelihood of that approaches zero.

Posted by dmbones on 01/05/09 at 1:59PM

Hi Pat,

Instead of Twain’s call for tolerance, I prefer to think that all of the world’s religions are essentially the same. They come from the same source and they tell us essentially the same thing at their core, differing only in the transient realities of the time their founders appeared on earth. For example, eating pork is forbidden in the Jewish Talmud, not because pork is unclean, but because people didn’t know then how to avoid trichinosis. Religious truth is relative to the time in which it appeared. If we could just see this for what it is, then much of the so-called culture wars and clash of civilizations would be moot.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the good intentions of the Prophets is waylaid by the clergy for their own small vested institutional interests. It’s a matter of historical record. The clergy are by far the ones most responsible for the regress of civilization, including the wars we are involved in today.
But, as for democracy and religion, Twain is right: our neighbors religion or lack of it is subsumed in being an American.

Posted by dmbones on 01/05/09 at 2:10PM

Harris,

In earlier online blogs I’ve had exchanges with self-proclaimed Muslim scholars. One that troubled me was with a man honest enough to admit that telling the truth to a non-Muslim was not necessary as apostates are undeserving. Could you comment on this, please?

I would really like to have more Muslim voices online here. I applaud your courage in standing up for Muhammad’s teaching, Peace be upon Him. If more of your co-religionists were as brave, we could make real progress in seeing one another as sharing common interests.

Thanks again for your calming voice. It’s a rare and timely input.

Posted by lennyp on 01/05/09 at 3:37PM

Shalom

The god the Palestinians pray to and the god the Jews pray to are one and the same, the god of Abraham. If either one or both are god’s chosen, I, for one, would rather not be god’s choice.

As an American Jew, thank you. When the Muslims ruled the “world” it was a time of great enlightenment, learning and tolerance for those that lived under their rule including Jews. I believe, left to their own devices the Palestinians and Jews have the ability to create a wonderful society for themselves and their children. Both the Palestinians and Jew have much more in common then divides them. There are far more reasons for them to be friends than enemies.

Both allow their fundamentalist leaders to use them for their leaders own aims. These leaders display an utter disregard for well-being of their peoples under the guise of what they want their god to be. Funny how their leader’s god always agrees with them rather than they agree with god.

Here is an excellent piece written by a Jewish writer that I suggest everyone read:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kaplan/eyeless-in-gaza_b_155204.html

From what you have written, I would be proud to call you a friend.

as-salaamu ‘alaykum

Posted by zidar on 01/05/09 at 4:13PM

Which side has God chosen? With the score running 5 dead Jews and 500 dead Arabs, looks to me like he’s taken the side of the Jews.

Posted by portlandpoet on 01/05/09 at 4:34PM

Not necessarily zidar. If the ultimate goal is to die and meet your God, then more Arab’s prayers are being answered. See how rediculous the issue is regarding who’s side God is on?

How about we stop killing each other and let “God” decide when it’s our time to go and meet him ?

Posted by imoksoami on 01/05/09 at 4:53PM

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/06/gaza-israel-hamas

LOL, a letter to gullible idiots from a leader of Hamas. Now Arafat was poisened by Israel and no bombs have been delivered by Hamas, LOL.

Posted by dell4100 on 01/05/09 at 5:39PM

dontsmoke, should I try to talk to them before or after they cut my head off? Wake up fool, terrorists don’t want peace. They want to impose their religious views on others!

Posted by dell4100 on 01/05/09 at 5:44PM

People under attack have two choices, either defend themselves or lay down and die. I choose the former rather than the latter. I do not impose my beliefs on others and wish to be afforded that same courtesy. However, I am not naive nor was I born yesterday. Terrorists do not want peace, they want to cut off your head, because you are not one of them. So each individual needs to decide whether they want to stand up and fight or be a doormat! Your choice.

Posted by Laetitia on 01/05/09 at 5:58PM

The day man created god our fate was sealed. Too bad we still haven’t figured that out in the 21st century. Long live superstition; come to think of it that is all that is going to survive.

Posted by BishopDave on 01/05/09 at 6:03PM

Dear Harris,

I’ve read your article in the Newark airport on my way from Portland to Tel Aviv. I and 40 some other bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are on our way to Israel right now – primarily to visit friends in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. This community includes both Palestinian Christians and Israeli Christians who paint for us a picture similar to yours. I wish more people had your heart and insight. Thank you for writing.

Anyone interested in our trip can read more at

Dave

Posted by BishopDave on 01/05/09 at 6:05PM

So much for my html coding! Try http://blogs.elca.org/09cobacademy/

Dave

Posted by xlntzee56 on 01/05/09 at 6:17PM

dell4100 says: “Wake up fool, terrorists don’t want peace. They want to impose their religious views on others!”
So, by your definition, that includes the religious right-wing Christians you so often align yourself with dell.

Posted by bloggod on 01/05/09 at 8:09PM

Zafar says:

“Both Israelis and Palestinians are religious people, but when it comes to matters concerning one another, their respective leaders toss their religious beliefs to the side and act with raw emotion, with disregard for the value of life.”
_____________

those ordering the killing on both sides aren’t “leaders;” they are following ignorance.

the citizens of these nations are NOT all of the same cloth. just like the USA:
(hello world, we here in Oregon ain’t Bush.)
Olmert is a convicted criminal.

Bush is sliding out the back door as bloody as can be, shredders deleting history 24-7.

i think the Gaza war is what Biden meant about Obama being tested right off with a crisis. an extra crisis that is.

Posted by sameric on 01/05/09 at 8:49PM

At the core, is this really about religion at all? From what I’ve read Islam and Judaism have more in common than differences – especially when each is compared to Christianity. Just maybe this continuing mess is all about keeping control of the masses through the provision of a common enemy.

Posted by jaybug45 on 01/05/09 at 9:56PM

This is about OIL! When the price did not increase after OPEC cut production, then the rockets started launching around the clock. Thank you Ahmedinijhad.

Eye for an eye? So Isreal is supposed to launch cheesy rockets into Gaza, and it’s according to the law? Okay. Sounds stupid to me, but I didn’t write the law.

What I fear is that genocide is going to happen someday. And that until then we will have no peace. Perhaps when America is not dependent upon foreign oil for our energy, we will let the Middle East go Rwanda itself. Nothing else has worked. And I fear nothing else will.

Maybe they need a little M.A.D.ness to figure things out. Worked for us anyway, ask Russia, they still exist to be able to ask.

Posted by amalfi01 on 01/06/09 at 9:43AM

The facts of life: Islam allows only three ways in which the true believer can confront the infidel: Conversion, submission or death. There is no option for peaceful coexistence. The infidel ignores this at his peril.

Posted by dell4100 on 01/06/09 at 11:58AM

xlntzee56, I must take issue with your assertion that I am aligned with the right wing religious zealots. I am an agnostic and if you don’t know what that means, then look it up. Since you are always making excuses for Hamas, does that mean I can assume you are also a terrorist?

Posted by dell4100 on 01/06/09 at 12:00PM

amalfi01 hit the nail on the head. Common sense seems to elude most of these other posters. They won’t realize their error in judgement, until they are looking at their bodies from their severed heads!

Posted by rwnobles on 01/06/09 at 1:20PM

I think the point of “symbolic” is that the Hamas rockets are not very effective.

When you have two equally wrong poeple, the one with the more effective weaponry is more dangerous.

Israel has killed 100 Innocent lives for every single Israeli that is killed. Talk about “actions speak louder than words” dell4100!

Irael has the more accurate weaponry but they are killing 100 times the civilians. It is hard for me to imagine that that is not an intentional attempt at genocide.

Posted by harriszafar on 01/06/09 at 1:49PM

dmbones: Thank you for your question. It is rather easy for someone to proclaim themselves a scholar online. The example you cite is quite disturbing because this so-called scholar is making a claim that has no basis in Islam. In all my readings of Islamic scripture, I have seen countless references calling for honesty and truthfulness. The Prophet Muhammad even said that dishonesty leads to vice and vice leads to hell. And he never said “except when you lie to a non-Muslim.” That sounds ridiculous, and I am sorry that a Muslim told you this. It is not true.

BishopDave: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will certainly keep an eye on your blog to see how things are going for you. Please convey my greetings and message of Peace to those you will be working with.

I do not find meaningless abuse of anyone’s faith to be beneficial nor genuine, which is why I will not address the comments by some posters who only want to defame a group or a religion. All I can do is pray that someday their sense of tolerance and cooperation will awaken so that more of us can respectfully coexist and solve real issues with meaningful discussion. This way, we can put our words into action. Thank you all once again.

Posted by amalfi01 on 01/06/09 at 3:05PM

rwnobles

Hamas broke the ceasefire. So the best thing to tell them is not to bring a knife to a gunfight. The Israelis have a right to live in peace. When the Palestinians allow Israel the right to exist, and exist in peace there will be peace.

Posted by rwnobles on 01/06/09 at 3:14PM

amalfio1: So a few militants tossing glorified rocks justifies Israel’s killing of thousands of innocent civilians?

I agree with Mr. Harris, both sides of this fight are wrong. I just have sympathy for the innocent lives that are being taken. So few innocent Israelis have been hurt, so I have little sympathy on that side in comparison to mounting innocent deaths on the Palestinian side.

I wish they would both stop. I wish they both were inneffective at killing innocence. Israel is just very effective in killing innocent people. The death tollspeaks for itself, 100:01

Posted by Abdulameer on 01/06/09 at 3:49PM

Harris Zafar is a business analyst in the information technology industry. What are his credentials for teaching us the truth about Islam? He writes: “As a practicing Muslim, I’m critical of Muslims who don’t act according to the teachings of Islam.” AND “Do those who fire them not understand the Holy Quran when it repeatedly says “create not disorder in the earth” or even when it says that killing even one person is like killing all of mankind? Reverence for life is a part of Islam,..” But, what, exactly, are the teachings of the Koran? They are NOT what Zafar thinks they are. One wonders whether he has even bothered to read the Koran. Please see next post.

Posted by Abdulameer on 01/06/09 at 3:58PM

Here are some “troublesome” passages from the Koran. Any reader can verify on the Internet that the Koran really does say these things.

–Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve. (8.55)

— The unbelievers are your inveterate enemy. (4:101)

— Mohammed is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. (48:29).

— It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer, accidents excepted. (4:92)

— Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. (5:51)

— Make war on them (non-Moslems)until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme. (8:40)

— Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme. (2:193)

— The true believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against the friends of Satan. (4:76)

— We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. (3:151)

— I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers. (8:12)

Muhammad, who all religious Moslems are required to consider the perfect model to follow, said this:
“You (i.e. Muslims) will fight with the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, ‘O ‘Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’ ”

“I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,..”

“Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.” Vol. 9:57

“No Muslim should be killed for killing a Kafir”

There are many more quotations like these from the Koran and the sayings of Muhammad (Hadith). What will Zahar tell us about these verses which are considered sacrosanct by all believing Moslems — even if they have never read the Koran.

Posted by Abdulameer on 01/06/09 at 4:07PM

DMBONES writes above: “The central teaching of all of the religions is the same:…” This is totally absurd. This makes as much sense as to say that all philosophies are the same, or that all political ideologies are the same. In fact, Islam is totally unique because, in addition to a set of rituals, it also contains an ideology, that is, a plan for organizing all of society and then imposing this plan on the entire world, willingly or by force. No other religion has such an ideology built into it. Here is what a Moslem religious scholar says about Islam:

Dr. Muhammad al Alkhuli writes:
Islam is a religion, but not in the western meaning of religion. The western connotation of the term “religion” is something between the believer and God. Islam as a religion organizes all aspects of life on both the individual and national levels.
Islam organizes your relations with God, with yourself, with your children, with your relatives, with your neighbor, with your guest, and with other brethren. Islam clearly establishes your duties and rights in all those relationships.
Islam establishes a clear system of worship, civil rights, laws of marriage and divorce, laws of inheritance, code of behavior, what not to drink, what to wear, and what not to wear, how to worship God, how to govern, the laws of war and peace, when to go to war, when to make peace, the law of economics, and the laws of buying and selling. Islam is a complete code of life.
Islam is not for the mosque only, it is for daily life, a guide to life in all its aspects: socially, economically, and politically.
Islam is [a] complete constitution”

Here is what one of the most respected and widely read Islamic writers of the 20th century said, Abul Maududi:

“The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power that gets in the way of that goal, Islam will fight and destroy.”

Does business analyst Zahar pretend to know more about Islam than the respected Islamic religious authorities and scholars? More than Muhammad? More than Allah (the Koran)????

Posted by rwnobles on 01/06/09 at 4:13PM

Hope I don’t double post due to “error on page”

Wow! News flash! Believers lives are more valuable than non-belivers lives in the Muslim religion!

Nearly every religion teaches that.

Julia Sweeney has documented a lot of equally objectionable quotes from the Bible.

Can we agree that religion is a big part of problems in this world?

Posted by Abdulameer on 01/06/09 at 4:20PM

Dmbones write this fatally misleading comment: “Islam: “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths.”

This is fatally misleading because it looks something like the Golden Rule. In fact, it is no such thing. Notice that the quotation uses the word “brother”, not “others”, not “fellow man”, not “all creatures”, like the other religions say. Everything depends here on the meaning of “brother”. Non-Moslems need to know that in Islam “brother” refers ONLY to another Moslem, NOT to non-Moslems. How do we know? Muhammad himself said that believers (i.e. Moslems) are brothers to one another.
And, remember the injunction from the Koran cited above:
“Mohammed is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” (48:29).
This sure doesn’t sound like the Golden Rule to me!

Posted by Abdulameer on 01/06/09 at 4:37PM

rwnobles errs when he wants us to believe that all religions are equally bad or that the Bible has verses that are equally objectionable compared to the Koran. If you look at the specific verses of the Bible and the specific verses of the Koran, you will see that they are not equivalent. Of course, there are plenty of cruelties in the Bible. However, they are limited to those ancient times, places and peoples. Christians and Jews do not follow those precepts today. The verses of the Koran apply generally to non-Moslems. Furthermore, all Moslems are required to believe that the Koran is Allah’s literal word — perfect, complete, immutable and valid for all of eternity. This is different from the Bible. We speak of the “Five Books of Moses”. Nobody refers to them as the “Five Books of God”. We speak of the Gospels of Mark, Luke, Matthew and John. Only metaphorically do we refer to the Gospels as the “Word of God”. In Islam, it would be considered blasphemy (punishable by death according to Islamic law!) to call the Koran “the Book of Muhammad”. To sum up:
1) The specific passages of cruelty in the Bible are fundamentally different from the specific passages of cruelty/bigotry/violence in the Koran;
2) Christians and Jews do not view the Bible in the same way that Moslems view the Koran.
These differences are crucial.

Posted by jaybug45 on 01/06/09 at 5:37PM

It’s only a horror when you shoot at someone hiding in a school? Not when you shoot from a school?

All you Gahndi-ists remember that his non-violence worked on the United Kingdom, it didn’t do squat for the 5 wars India had with Pakistan after independence. Reasonableness only works with reasonable people. This is why cops have guns, for the unreasonable people.

Israel has had to end being reasonable regarding their enemies. The only other choice is to allow rockets to rain down on Israel ad infinitum.

Posted by amalfi01 on 01/06/09 at 5:41PM

rwnobles

Your ignorance of religions in general is really astounding!

You said this: “Wow! News flash! Believers lives are more valuable than non-belivers lives in the Muslim religion!

Nearly every religion teaches that.”

You need to start doing some reading.

Posted by thebigjim on 01/06/09 at 7:38PM

How did the media scrub the blood out of the coverage of 9/11?
bloody pictures of broken and dead Arab children are all over the place.
I guess no one is paying attention. Too busy? you got other worries?

Posted by Love4all on 01/06/09 at 8:52PM

AbdulAmeer

Peace be upon you.

1.) There is no punishment for blasphamy in Islam. None what so ever. This is fact. Search http://www.alislam.org if you would like further evidence.

2.) ANY religious book can be taken out of context if the intent is impure. The Qur’an says it is a “guidance for the righteous” – meaning also that those who have a twisted heart will find twisted meanings to verses. Every verse from the Qur’an you cited as “violent” was taken out of context and refers to particular situations, many of which the very laws of the US agree with whole heartedly.

Your logic that the Bible refers to “ancient laws and people” is pathetic and immature. Would a Christian ever admit they follow a book that is ancient and outdated? Would they admit that their book has flaws? Thus, if they follow they book, they must accept what is in the book.

The Bible clearly gives advice of violence and compulsion. For example, the following verses are from Deuteronomy. As you can see, in this case I’m not picking one random verse, but 8 verses to show that those who follow the Bible are commanded to kill those who are not with them, i.e. disbelievers.

20:10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

20:11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

20:12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

20:13 And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

20:14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

20:15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.

20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

***********************************************
Now, only a fool would think that followers of the Bible are bent on killing non followers of the Bible – despite what these verses say.

Likewise, only a fool would think that Islam (the very word which means Peace) would teach Muslims to kill non Muslims.

If you want a living example of Islam practiced peacefully, search the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the news around the world. You will find that this community comprises of 10’s of millions of Muslims in 200 countries of the world – all dedicated to peace. In their 120 year history, there has been NOT A SINGLE incident of violence. They have been martyred, exiled, beaten, and tortured, but have always responded with love and peace. They have opened schools for children of all back grounds to become educated in. They have opened hospitals for all people to get free medicine from. They feed over 50,000 families in America alone every year, with their own financial donations.

And they do this because the Qur’an and Muhammad (sa) teach peace and love for mankind.

So don’t believe me, but believe the actions of tens of millions of Muslims over the past 120 years. Actions speak louder than words my friend, and the pristine record of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community speaks for itself.

And just for the record, don’t bother pointing out I’m not a Muslim scholar – I never claimed to be one anyway. For that matter, neither did Mr. Zafar. It wasn’t his scholarship talking anyway, it was his righteousness.

Posted by amalfi01 on 01/06/09 at 10:57PM

Love4all

The examples you quote are from the Old Testament. When Christ was born and died on the cross, the Old Testament became just history. Nowhere in the New Testament can you find Christ or his apostles advocating anything but love and forgiveness.

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