Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why oppression is worse than slaughter; Commentary on Qur'an, chapter 2, verse 217

God says in the Qur’an, in chapter 2, verse 217, the following:

“They ask thee concerning fighting in the prohibited month say: “Fighting therein is a grave offense. But graver it is in the sight of God to prevent access to the path of God, to deny Him (God) , to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and to drive out its members. Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter.

Nor will they cease to fight you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. If any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the hereafter they will be companions of the fire and will abide therein.

The recent cease fire negotiated between Hamas and Israel is perhaps the most potentially important signed agreement between Israel and any group of Palestinians since the beginning of the Palestine/Israel conflict 60 years ago. Those who know the history of Israel’s founding know that Israel is an idea that took shape in blood. The Nakba or great catastrophe, along with the Dier Yasin massacre are examples of the brutal tactics that were employed against the Palestinian people from almost the first day of Israel’s so called independence. Whereas history has been revised to make it appear as though Israel came into being innocently and due to international altruism towards the Jewish people, the truth is that Israel, by necessity had as its original and founding intent, to displace the indigenous Palestinian people from Palestine by any means. It is apparent now that it was always the intent of the Western powers to assist Israel in that task.

It is not secret, nor is it difficult to understand why Israel has sought to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people from Palestine and to kill them. It was necessary to displace or to eliminate the Palestinian people because Israel was founded with dual objectives, both of which required ethnic cleansing in order to succeed. According to its ideological founder Theodore Hertzel, Israel was to be established as a safe haven for a Jewish people who for centuries had suffered from various types of humiliation and democide (murder by governments) in Europe. For the West, Israel’s founding represented another attempt at achieving Western hegemony over the Arab Muslim world, and control of its resources through colonization, a goal that was sought after long before the British mandate or the UN partition of historic Palestine. The occupation of South Africa by Dutch Boers was the template for occupation and displacement of Black and Arab peoples in Africa and the Middle East. The destruction of the Ottoman Caliphate and subsequent secularization and supposed democratization of Turkey, and some parts of the Arab Muslim world had already been accomplished before Israel’s founding, setting the stage for the implantation of European colonies in the Muslim world.

Of all of the attempts at establishing Western colonies in the Arab Muslim World and Africa, the South African project is eerily similar to project Israel, and more so than any other colonization of the Arab Muslim world, or other parts of Africa or Asia. Aside from the establishment of a Jewish state in the Muslim world, the aim of colonization generally seems to have been the secularization of the Arabs by removing Islam from power in the region through the destruction of the Ottoman Caliphate, and to seize control of the regions natural resources, all to be accomplished with the cooperation of the puppet Arab regimes and monarchies. This should put the Bush administration’s democratization project and New Middle East scheme into perspective for those not familiar with Europe’s century’s long history of migration and misadventures in the Arab Muslim world and Africa under the cover of democratization, secularization, and free markets. Theodore Hertzel who was a European Zionist, and a secular Jew, understood Europe’s appetite for the Middle East and Africa, and in his treatise on the Jewish State, he makes it clear that in exchange for Europe’s money and protection, the Jewish State would forever serve the West as a military outpost against the spread of Islam into Europe and the West. Hertzel said that Israel would accomplish through ethnic cleansing, what Europe had failed to accomplish in the Crusades. This should make it clear that Israel was created for the purpose of ethnic cleansing, and to symbolize Western Judeo/ Christian Zionist domination of the region, its people and natural resources, and ultimately the world.

Not surprisingly, neither Israel, nor South Africa represents the first destructive collaboration between the Zionist Church and the secular state resulting in another type of exploitation of African resources. The African slave trade which was a product of European religious dogma, racial supremacism and greed, was protected and facilitated by the same type of Zionist interpretation of the Old Testament of the Bible that is employed by people like John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Rod Parsley and other so called Evangelicals today. The literal and highly politicized ideas taught by the historic Zionist European Church included the idea that whites or Europeans were racially superior to non whites and that by virtue of Jesus’ shed blood, the European Christian had become the News Jews, chosen people and heirs to the throne of David, thereby the divinely decreed and rightful masters of the world. Africans were depicted as sub human, without souls, and cursed by God to forever serve the white master who had descended from Noah’s favored son, while Blacks were depicted as the descendants of Noah’s cursed son Cush. Cush was supposedly cursed to servitude, according to the Old Testament, because he had laughed at his drunken father’s nakedness. This is the very same type of false Biblical interpretation of non authenticate texts, namely the Old Testament, that provided moral cover for the apartheid regime established in South Africa by Dutch Boers who claimed to be Jews and heirs to a promised land, and the European Jews represented by Theodore Hertzel who made the same claim about Palestine, and who have established an apartheid regime in Palestine, and the historic American slave traders and owners of this country’s past.

The similarities between South Africa and Israel don’t end with this controversial claim of supremacism. The brutal ethnic cleansing, the apartheid system that aimed at separating the so called European Dutch Jews from the Africans, and the Bantustans that were created to form a new homeland for the displaced South Africans have been duplicated almost exactly by the Israeli’s in Palestine who also claim to be Jews. The Dutch Boer’s Promised Land was not surprisingly near the diamonds and minerals and other natural resources of Africa, while the promised land of the so called Israeli Jews is located in a region of the world that is rich in oil and natural gas.

These similarities and ironies might explain better than any historian could, that the Israel project had dual purposes and both required the ethnic cleansing of the coveted land. From the religious perspective Jewish Talmudic law prohibits the cohabitation of Jews and Gentiles, and prohibits equal rights or any type of equality between Jews and Gentiles since they consider themselves the chosen people of God, which is the basis of Jewish supremacism, which is what Jewish Zionism is. The Christian Zionist Church has adopted the Talmud as a legal authority over the Church, along with the Jewish Old Testament, since they believe that by virtue of the crucifixion, they are also Jews, or chosen people who are obliged to honor and obey the contemporary Pharisees of Judaism who preside over the 21st century synagogue with the laws of the Old Testament and also the guidance of the Talmud.

Western colonialism in the Arab Muslim world and Africa is a history of both oppression and slaughter, carried out for dual purposes that include the satisfaction of Judeo/Christian religious sensitivities, and the greed of the resource poor Western governments.

Hamas/Israeli cease fire as first step towards liberation of both Palestine and Israel

The Qur’an suggests to us in Chapter2, verse 217, that the oppression resulting from project Israel is worse than the slaughter. The present Israeli/Hamas cease fire addresses both the oppression, and the slaughter, yet has made the alleviation of the oppression a greater priority. This decade’s long oppression has reached its climax in the imposition of the siege on Gaza that has led to deaths from curable illness, starvation and also from Israeli military attacks. This oppression includes the psychological trauma, and mental illness that is being created in the populations of both peoples, through what is obviously collective punishment in Gaza, and worse, a form of mass torture being carried out against Palestinians with impunity right before the eyes of the UNSC, and also the international courts, and the supposedly civilized world, that has caused Israel to be among the most hated and distrusted places in the world, and its people most despised.

What is not so obvious is the fact that the occupation is also destroying Israel. Israel’s citizens, who include Arab Christians as well as Muslims, Africans, South Asians and others, separate from the militant European Jewish settler’s movement, are equally victims of the Judeo/Christian fanaticism and racism that is threatening the entire world. In a noted tradition that is accepted as authentic by many schools of Islamic jurisprudence, it is suggested that the Muslim believer must have as a goal, not only saving the innocent from wicked oppressors, but we must also seek to save the oppressor. The hadith explains this type of salvation as liberation from being an oppressor, saying we are to liberate oppressors from oppressing. The Qur’an seems to support this idea, saying in one verse that the believer must recognize, and oppose the serious danger of the oppression that inflicts suffering not only upon the innocent, but also on the oppressors and perpetrators of violence and crime.

What is at stake?

To understand this comparison between oppression and slaughter better we should examine closely God’s explanation in the Qur’an. The Qur’an says,” Graver” than slaughter is, “to prevent access to the path of God, to deny God, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and to drive out the people of the Mosque.” In all of these instances the oppressive power is denying access, and driving the people out of a place where they have a right to be. Also, we know from the hadith that the entire world can be considered a place of worship (honor of God) or mosque, including our homes and our homelands, but only when they are free of idols, secure, stable and freed from all types of gross impurity.

The noted verse says that to prevent access to the path of God is graver in the sight of God than slaughter. Such prevention of access can perhaps be explained as creating an environment that is not conducive to the study of religion, or the practice of faith. This could be something as simple as making it impossible for a person to survive without committing sins like stealing, selling drugs, or prostitution, etc. And /or it could be as complex as creating such material, psychological and spiritual hardships that a previously believing people begin to question God’s existence, His love for His creation, and His power to save and sustain us, which could be explained as tests beyond what the people can bear.

The verse 217 also makes it clear that the intent of the oppressor, whether obvious to any of the parties to the conflict, is to cause believers to abandon their belief in One God, in His sovereign right to govern what He created, and His unique ability to protect us when we are obedient and disobedient, and to guide us to salvation and liberation, and what is best in this life and the afterlife.

Even at a distance from Palestine, it is hard to read that everyday Israel is violating the cease fire with more killing, while refusing to abide by the other terms of the agreement that call for opening the crossings thereby ending the brutal and illegal economic siege that is being inflicted on Gaza. It seems that Israel is persistent in its killing and its oppression. Still, in my humble opinion, it is incumbent upon the Palestinian Christian, and Muslim believers to stick to the terms of the cease fire. The Qur’an says in such circumstances that we must put our trust in God, and that He is our witness, who stands as surety for our oaths, and who protects us from the cunning and violence of our adversaries if we are sincere in our intent and purpose.

May God help, protect and guide.

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