Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Holy Land Belongs to Everyone

I took this photograph in January of 2009, at a demonstration to protest the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. 

I've always loved these words, shalom and salam ... peace.

As ethnic groups, Arabs and Jews are practically the same people, cousins of sorts. 

And never has there been so much fighting and so much violence as there has been over the centuries from these two groups of people.  A real family feud.

If you are a first-time visitor to this site, I want you to know that I converted from Judaism to Islaam.  I changed my religion, but I did not change my ethnicity.  I still consider myself to be an ethnic Jew.  Some people insist that there is no such thing as an ethnic Jew.  I disagree. 

Even before I was a Muslim, I always had a deep love for the land known these days as Israel.  It's the same sort of love that every Muslim has for Mecca and Medina.  Even though some of us have never been to Mecca and Medina, we dream of going there one day, of making Hajj.  We make intention to go there, and wait for Allaah t'ala to extend an invitation to us.  Mecca and Medina are deep in the DNA of every Muslim.  There is no doubt in my mind that just about every pious Muslim in the world, if they had to, would fight to the death to defend Mecca and Medina.

It is the same feeling for Jews with Jerusalem and the Holy Land.  Jerusalem is in the DNA of every Jew, whether they are a Zionist or not.  In Jewish prayer books, we consistenly read, "next year in Jerusalem."  There is a longing to return.  And return some have.  Likewise, if they had to, every Zionist in the world would fight to the death to defend "Israel."  It's also important to be reminded that Judaism and Zionism aren't exactly the same thing.

But there is a problem.  Since the beginning, since the state of Israel was created by the Zionists, they have declared that it is a Jewish state.  For the Jewish people.

Because of my Palestinian activism, some people think that I hate Jews and that I hate "Israel."  Nothing can be further from the truth.

It is BECAUSE I love Jews and the Holy Land, and BECAUSE I love the Palestinians that I involve myself in a jihad for truth. 

I am against violence.  My jihad is a jihad of speaking out.  It is one of trying to get to truth.

Since meeting a wonderful group of Jews in a group called "Jihadi Jews," I learned that there are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes - on both sides.

Some people think that there is nothing worse than a person who "used to be," an "ex" or a "former."  An ex-smoker, a former drug addict, whatever ... And in my case, a former Zionist.

I think it is exactly because I used to follow the Jewish faith and was a Zionist that my perspective is unique.  My whole heart is rooted in that land.  Jewish, Muslim, Palestine, Israel, Palestians, Israeli ... I am so in.

And I also acknowledge the rights of the Christians to that land.

I believe that the Holy Land belongs to all of the people of the world.  I believe that whoever wants to live there should be able to do so in peace. 

I would love to see the Holy Land governed as an international zone. 

I'm so sad for all of the violence.  So many Israeli and Palestinian children are dying. 

I want it to stop. 

For my people.


Anonymous said...

I think so many people long for peace between the two, but it is nearly impossible with the ways politics are set up and military aid is secured for Israel via the US. There are a lot of factors playing in this conflict and God knows, I don't know everything.

It's truly unfortunate that I am hated by a lot of Jews simply for being Muslim. It is almost as if most Zionists associate Muslim with Palestinian or anti-Jew. I think it is sad; Jews and Muslims have more similarities than Christians and Jews do.

Allaahu Alim. I had a debate with a Jewish student in my communications class 2 or 3 weeks ago. We did speeches advocating a policy and I chose to advocate that the US stop funding Israel. He deemed my policy unwarranted and then we got into a huge debate...most of which I can't even remember now. But it was interesting, to say the least.

Your perspective is so refreshing and powerful. May Allah make you a means for peace for our brothers and sisters in Palestine and Israel. Ameen!!

Anonymous said...

Christians and Muslims do*

Anonymous said...

I pray your wish of Peace comes true. Very interesting and honest post.
Many lives have been destroyed, children and women killed as governments and politics can't find harmony and can't agree. Many people are looking forward the time the conflict will end.

The Holy Land, an International zone, I would agree. Every person whatever his religion is, should be able to walk freely and in Peace in the sacred city.
We often forget that we are all brothers, believing in One God and that God is the same for all.

The Black Jubah said...

Assalamaualaikum Sister... I have been following your blog and trying to comprehend all of it. I am still confused...I am glad you are a Muslim now, I have seen You Tube videos showing Jewish converting to Islam, my question is ...Jew a religion or a race? Sorry if I sound ignorant.

Anonymous said...

I was googling and found your blog. I do have a question. How can you reconcile loving the Jewish people, admitting that "it's the same sort of love that every Muslim has for Mecca and Medina," and yet advocate taking it away from the Jewish people to make into an international zone? Would you be all right with doing the same to Mecca and Medina, where non-Muslims are banned by law from stepping foot upon its soil? Making that an international city. It seems only fair.

It's fine to talk pipe dreams about making it an international zone, but even you admit every Zionist in the world would fight to the death to defend "Israel," which you won't even dignify as a real place, but put it in quotes in hypothetical. So why do you think we will allow anyone to take it from us, anymore than Muslims would allow anyone to take Mecca and Medina away from us?

You may claim to love your former Jewish brothers and sisters, but you would happily damn us to being eternal wanderers again, with no home.

So here is my offer. Israel is an international zone, if Mecca and Medina are as well, as is the Vatican.

Safiyyah said...

@ dungeon writer:

Do Jews and Christians have an interest/right in Mecca and Medina?

Do Muslims and Jews have an interest/right in the Vatican?

I think your "offer" does not make sense. Perhaps you should read more of my blog, and educate yourself from other sources on the Holy Land issue.

All three faith groups/people: Christians, Jews, and Muslims - have interest/right in the Holy Land.

It does not exclusively belong to the Jews.