Monday, September 29, 2008

Who blames who?

Ramadan is almost over, and with the end of the holy month of fasting and reflection for Muslims comes a day of celebration, Eid-ul-Fitr. Depending on the sighting on the moon, it can be September 30 or October 1. It's an important time for Muslims, and it is supposed to be peaceful, yet recent attacks in various locations seem to shatter this notion: the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the bombing of a market in Iraq, and now an attack on a mosque in Dayton, Ohio. Right here in the United States of America, a place supposedly "the land of the free" where freedom of religion is held sacrosanct, a congregation of Muslims praying was attacked by someone spraying a "chemical irritant" into a prayer hall where women and children were gathered.

Here is a link to the story:

Now this makes me wonder who the terrorists really are? Does this make whoever attacked these innocent women and children, many of whom are refugees from Iraq, better than the crazy Al-Qaedans? Are they really upholding national security and protecting us from another bombing by targeting little kids? On top of all this, it turns out that there is a propaganda DVD circling about entitled Obsessions: Radical Islam's War Against the West, which is being produced and distributed by an obscure organisation, Clarion, and is supposed to help Senator McCain's bid for the presidency. In addition, it is also endorsed by the chair of the counter-terrorism department of the US Naval War College. But that's not all; Clarion is also tied to a very pro-Israel organisation, Aish HaTorah (source:

All of this brings me to back to the numerous assertions that Iran should not be allowed to develop or acquire nuclear weapons because of Ahmedinijad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map." This point was also brought up by McCain during the debates last week, and he claimed that we need to avert a "second Holocaust." My concerns with these stances are threefold: 1) nuclear weapons should not be developed, acquired, provided, or sold AT ALL; 2) Iran really will not be so foolhardy to nuke Israel because it is home to the third holiest city to Muslims -- Jerusalem; and 3) there have been more holocausts since the one against the Jews in World War II.

People often forget or simply do not know that Jerusalem is as important to Muslims as it is to Christians and Jews. That is what the Crusades were fought over, after all, but the reason it is important is because it holds a high place in the development of Islam. It is where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ascended to heaven from a certain rock (now housed under the Dome of the Rock) and met all the previous prophets, including Moses and Jesus. Backing up from this point, many people do not realise that Islam is a progression of Judaism and Christianity...Judaism 3.0, if you will. (Yes, I know that's going to ruffle some feathers, but if one actually reads the Qur'an, the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, the Israelites in Egypt being lead out by Moses, Joseph, Jesus, etc., are all in there. In fact, there are numerous references to "bani Israelah" (nation/children of Israel) and what was decreed to them by God. Islam built upon the principles revealed to all of those prophets and was the last version, according to the teachings.) Going back one more point, since Islam is a progression of Judaism and Christianity, God is the same for all three religions, but He is just referred to with different names. Shakespeare had a point when he said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, whatever...all names for the same deity.

Fast forwarding to today, it does not make any sense to arm Israel to the teeth with nukes (no one bats an eyelash at that), fighter jets, missiles, tanks, and other state of the art equipment when their nearest opponents have rocks, dinky rocket launchers, or suicide bombers driven to despair. No other country in the region can match Israel for firepower, nor will the presence of American military forces allow those countries to attempt to match Israel's military capabilities. Iran is the rebel in this regard, and the only reason it's rubbing America the wrong way is because it's not acquiescing to the status quo. I don't agree with Ahmedinijad's statements because Israel is there, and it wouldn't be fair to the people living there either to destroy them. I have nothing against Jewish people because I've met quite a few, and most of them are pretty cool. However, where is the balance in this situation? Why are American officials so adamant in the protection of Israel against some bogeyman of potential threats? Why is it okay for Israel along with the US, Russia, France, England, and China to have nuclear weapons, but cries of alarm go up when anyone else tries to acquire or develop them? We already saw the destructive capabilities of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII. We should never, ever have to live with that threat.

The Holocaust was a horrible, horrible event marking a very dark period in human history, and no, it should never be forgotten. In that same spirit, though, current day holocausts should not be allowed to happen either -- Darfur, Rwanda, Uganda, Iraqi civillians, victims of HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, poverty, disease, etc. The difference here is that none of these areas are of "vital interest" to the United States. Millions have died and suffered in Africa, but unless there is some vital resource involved, i.e., oil, no American intervention takes place. As Bono said, $25 billion can send all of the world's children to school, yet here we are debating a $700 billion bail out for failed banks. That is an almost astronomical amount of money. Imagine if all that money was channeled into development programmes, medical care, education, infrastructure...the possibilities could've been endless.

This world...I try to keep hope alive, but recently it's been very, very difficult to believe that humans are not hellbent on destroying themselves. At least in this time of high holy days with the end of Ramadan, Rosh Hashannah, and Diwali, to name a few events, I hope that all of us reflect and pray for a better, more peaceful future. If not for ourselves, then for our children.

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