Thursday, April 07, 2011
The Holy Land Belongs to Everyone
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.