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memri
August 14, 2017 No.
7052

Arab Journalists Condemn Al-Aqsa Attack: The Palestinians Must Abandon The Path Of Violence

Following the July 14, 2017 shooting at the Al-Aqsa mosque, several articles in the Arabic media came out against the attack, calling on the Palestinians to abandon the path of violence and religious fanaticism and exchange it for investment in education, science and technology. This, "in order to produce an enlightened generation that is not in the grip of the religious insanity" that has so far led the Islamic umma to nothing but perdition. Iraqi journalist 'Omar Al-Khatib called on Palestinians to cease the violence that has cost them numerous unnecessary casualties, unite around the PLO, and stick to peaceful measures, which will bring them what they have not been able to achieve with weapons. Saudi journalist Mujahid 'Abd Al-Muta'ali contended that "solidarity with the refugee camps in the diaspora takes precedence to solidarity with Al-Aqsa," since men are more important than stones, and, like Al-Khatib, suggested that investing in the education of the young generation will bring the Palestinians closer to their objective. Israeli Arab lawyer Jawad Boulos warned against the growing willingness of young Israeli Arabs to die and to kill in the name of religion and its holy symbols, first and foremost the Al-Aqsa mosque, and called on the leaders of the Israeli Arabs not to settle for blaming the occupation as the reason for attacks, but to fight the elements that influence the youth in this direction, among them "poisonous, fanatical sermons."

The following are excerpts from the three articles:

Iraqi Journalist: When The Prophet Muhammad Was In A Situation Similar To That Of The Palestinians Today, He Called For Restraint

Writing on the liberal Arab website Elaph,[1] 'Omar Al-Khatib, who was born in Baghdad and immigrated to Western Europe where he lectures about the Middle East, called on the Palestinians to behave with restraint, to abandon violence and religious fanaticism, and to invest in education to produce an enlightened generation that loves life. In this way, he argued, the countries of the world will be persuaded to support them in the pursuit of their goals.


'Omar Al-Khatib (image: twitter.com/omar_k_khatib)

Al-Khatib wrote: "Several days ago, a crisis and violence broke out on the holy soil of the Al-Aqsa compound... If the Islamists and jihadis, as they call themselves, think that the Arab umma still has the mentality it had in the 1960s and 1970s, they are deluding themselves. Today, we are smarter and better understand the situation, having acquired knowledge, which is the basis for any victory. Moreover, today's media and websites make it difficult for either the Israelis or the Palestinians to hide the details of the events...

"First there is the question... of who allowed three armed men into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and since when do mosques and holy sites serve as murder arenas? The only ones who carry out such acts are the Khawarij,[2]  the terrorists, regardless of their religion, for every religion has its Khawarij and its terrorists. The second important factor is the position of the jurisprudents and decision makers. Today the 'wearers of turbans' [i.e., the religious scholars] are not the only ones to make decisions, because any educated person who gained knowledge in some field can voice his opinion on various issues, including religious ones. I heard this once from the Saudi Mufti, and Al-Azhar thinks the same in this context.

"The educated people of the umma have an opinion on this issue, and [our opinion] carries weight, for we have studied and pondered the Quran and the Sunna and the [commentaries] on them, and have also studied and pondered biographies, history books, and last but not least the modern books of political science, economy, and engineering. This is how many of our forefathers...  became the educated [elite] of the 'Abbasid state in the era of Haroun Al-Rashid[3] – a unique leader who brought Baghdad to a level of scientific and military progress unmatched by any [other] capital, either in history or in the modern world, so that the Baghdad of that period was like Washington today.

"The Palestinians can be said to be in a situation similar to that of the Prophet Muhammad in the early stages of his mission, namely in the Meccan period, during which, despite all the harm done to the Prophet and his companions he called for one thing only: for restraint. But the thing is that today, if you call for restraint, the lunatics will pounce on you from every direction and accuse you of cowardice and submission. But being accused of submission seems a thousand times more honorable to me than casting the umma into perdition, as Saddam Hussein did to Iraq and [Mu'ammar] Qadhafi to Libya, and as the Iranian regime is now doing to its people...

"Here we come to the point and ask the Palestinians openly: What do you want? What do you aim to achieve, and are your goals attainable? How many sacrifices are the Palestinian people prepared to make? And if it makes these sacrifices will it [really] attain its goals, or is this an act of collective suicide that is totally unjustified? The Palestinians must answer all these questions, lest they find themselves one day completely devoid of [free] will and in the grip of an occupation even more despicable than the Israeli one, such as Hamas's occupation of the Gaza Strip. The suffering of the [Palestinian] people does not concern Hamas and its supporters, because all the Muslim Brotherhood cares about is coming to power, and then it does not care what happens to the people. That is what happened to the Iranians when the Islamists gained power and turned their lives into an insufferable hell.

"Finally, I call upon the Palestinian people to unite under the PLO leadership and try act so that [this organization] and its demands become reasonable both from Israel's perspective and from the perspective of the Palestinian people. The PLO must transform from a militant organization into a wise political front that can invest in [developing] the Palestinian people's science and culture, in order to raise an educated generation that is not dominated by religious insanity and hostile to everything in the world; a generation that loves life and knows how to live in honor and with moderate beliefs. Then [the Palestinians] will discover that the entire world supports them in attaining their legitimate demands. We too will stand beside such a people and support it – but we will never support those who fail to heed the voice of wisdom and reason, resort to violence, and kill women, children, and the elderly, regardless of their faith or nationality. This, first of all, because our religion forbids it, and also because times have changed. The time of barbarity is over and the time of compassion and human rights has arrived. You Palestinians must therefore use peaceful means, which will allow you to attain what weapons cannot."

Saudi Journalist: The Road to Jerusalem Is Not Via Jihad And The Militarization Of Palestinian Children

 Saudi journalist Mujahid 'Abd Al-Muta'ali likewise exhorted the Palestinians to put their trust in the education of their children as a means to support their struggle to realize their goals.


Mujahid Abd Al-Muta'ali (Image: alwatan.com.sa, July 31, 2017)

 

Mujahid 'Abd Al-Muta'ali wrote:[4] "As far as I'm concerned, solidarity with the refugee camps in the diaspora takes precedence to solidarity with Al-Aqsa, since for me a person is more important than a stone. This is how I see the world, and this is the way to regain Al-Aqsa: people [will liberate] Al-Aqsa, not the other way around…

  "The sane people are tired of explaining to the simple people that the road to [regaining] Jerusalem does not pass through the jihad [against] the Soviets in Kabul, or through the invasion of Kuwait, the destruction of Baghdad, the conquering of Beirut with partisan weapons, the uprising against Damascus by means of the ISIS coyotes, the deception of Qatar, the false wisdom of Istanbul, or the Iranian [Shi'ites'] self-flagellation with swords and chains until blood flows.[5]

  "The road to Jerusalem starts with shaking the dust off the feet of the [Palestinian] children in the refugee camps of the diaspora, so that they receive better education and then set out in study delegations to the best universities in the world. Then, allow those pioneers of knowledge to fight by themselves for the [Palestinian] cause, and you will see the difference between enlightening these children and militarizing them."

Israeli Arab Lawyer: We Must Counter The Growing Willingness Of Young Israeli Arabs To Perpetrate Terror Attacks In Israel

Attorney Jawad Boulos, a legal advisor to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, wrote that while it is convenient for Israeli Arab leaders to present the attacks (which were perpetrated by Israeli Arabs) as resulting from the occupation, poverty, and unemployment, these are surely not the only reasons, and Israeli Arab leaders must fight this phenomenon to ensure peace within their own society and to protect the lives of their youth.


Jawad Boulos (image: elhmra.com, July 1, 2017)

He wrote: "Everyone who took a position on this event [the Al-Aqsa terror attack] connected it directly to the crime of the Israeli occupation, [claiming that] this is what motivated these young people to do what they did. Accepting this as the sole [explanation] is worrying, and the automatic and demagogic linking [of  the attack to the occupation] – even if it is essentially or partly valid – reflects a somewhat unsatisfactory and superficial approach. It proves that the leadership chose the safest and most convenient option, while essentially avoiding the honest reckoning with the phenomenon that their position and natural responsibility obligate them to undertake for the sake of the lives of their population, in particular the weaker sectors within it.

"The occupation is no doubt the source of the evil and the greatest crime of all – that is an axiom. There is also no doubt that the accumulating actions and crimes of the occupation fuel the feelings of opposition, the oppression, and the impulsivity in the hearts of everyone who witnesses these [crimes] or is victimized by them. Yet I have no doubt that these agitating deeds of the occupation alone are not enough to bring people to the point where they are willing to die or to kill, as was the case with the three Muhammads.[6]

  "It is natural and only human that anyone who witnesses the oppression of the occupiers and their servants would be filled with rage and prepared to act against the occupier and his oppression. But it is neither natural nor obvious that such a person, bitter though he may be, should reach the emotional state where he is ready to take action and kill himself and others. In addition to what the occupation and its soldiers cause, there are [surely] internal social factors as well, and it is they that ultimately lead these young people to perpetrate their 'operations.'

  "The leadership should investigate precisely this point and try to examine its essence and dismantle its infrastructure, in an effort to fight this phenomenon that is starting to spread quickly through our societies. I doubt they will find it difficult to expose the factors that are influencing these people... especially since these leaders have already mentioned some of these influences, among them poverty, unemployment, ignorance, and the repeated dissemination of poisonous, fanatical sermons, mainly calling for revenge in the name of religion and its holy symbols, first and foremost the Al-Aqsa mosque, for example.

  "We must acknowledge that the number [of young people] who are prepared to die as martyrs is very large, and the leaders must fight this phenomenon for the sake of peace within our society and in order to protect the lives of the young people – who fall victims to the occupation, but not to  it alone."[7]

 

[1] Elaph.com, July 30, 2017.

[2] Khawarij/Kharijites (literally, "those who come out") – an early Islamic sect that advocated excommunicating Muslims for even minor sins and was proclaimed heretical by the mainstream Sunna. Today, the term is used to brand Muslim groups as extremist, and is often applied to ISIS and to other Salafi-jihadi groups by their critics in the Muslim world.

[3] The fifth 'Abbasid caliph, whose reign (786-809) is considered a time of cultural, scientific, and religious flowering, referred to as the Abbasid golden age.

[4] Alwatan.com, July 31, 2017.

[5] The reference is to the custom of self-flagellation in Twelver Shi'ism.

[6] The three perpetrators of the Al-Aqsa attack were all named Muhammad.

[7] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), July 29, 2017. It should be noted that this article was also published in other papers and on news websites, such as the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi and on Israeli Arab websites Haifa.net.co.il, July 27, 2017, and Akkenet.net, July 28.2017.