“Oh you who believe, be upholders of justice – witnesses for Allah, even though against (the interest of) your selves or the parents, and the kinsmen. One may be rich or poor, Allah is better caretaker of both. So do not follow desires, lest you should swerve. If you twist or avoid (the evidence), then, Allah is all-aware of what you do.” Qur’an, 4:135
Islam is a religion of submitting to the will of God. It seeks to empower man to fulfil the purpose of his creation, and through a divine connection, raise his ability to display his finest features. It is always useful to reflect how God fashioned man by his own hand, and as such the creation, has a wonderful way to really excel and display some unprecedented and truly blessed traits.
In these times though its easy to forget this, as we see far too much of mankind displaying the worst of themselves. The assault on Palestine today is a crime on humanity, it is a shame on every living soul, that the world has watched a fully equipped military deploy heavy weaponry on a civilian population.
There are some people out there, that no matter what happens, they will arrive at a position of self-defence. From the bombing of the Associated Press HQ to the abuse of a disabled man caught on camera, there is a toxic blind love of the Israeli administration that one could argue is the greatest evil. By excusing literally everything, it feeds this untamed beast to push itself further into ever more savage behaviour. The accounts of ex-IDF personnel are a perfect testimony. Today we have countless former service men and women saying the hatred they were fed, ‘dehumanized’ them, and their instructions were barbarically clear, in the words of one serviceman,
“we were told that we should shoot to kill anyone over the age of 15. Whether they were armed or not.”
While such clear and increasingly loud voices cry about the crimes they committed in uniform, under the instruction of Israeli command, with weapons supplied from American, Canadian and European suppliers and government subsidies, how can they go ignored? How hard is it to call for human life and dignity to be protected? How difficult is it to ask military personnel to fear God in their attacks of women and children?
Today, good, honest, fair, Jewish and Israeli voices are filling their streets and shouting their government is murdering and violating Palestinians and they do not want it in their name.
With that, my message today is, be positive and look to better days.
Tomorrow belongs to a new generation who in all truth are not concerned by religious structures, a broken social contract and the tradition of hierarchies. They have faith in their heart and on their sleeves and want to see their spirituality bring peace to the world. I believe this generation needs to connect, and community faith leaders need to open their doors to one another and ensure a new generation of faithful emerge, that will put the tenants of their faith over hate. A generation that will use democratic privileges to challenge the structures that ensure violence and persecution prevail and are more comfortable than ever before to work together. In recent times I have had the privilege to engage Imams, Rabbis and an array of Christian clergy to explore how we can play some role in opening the doors of mercy that are at the very heart of our tradition. There are brave men and women in these traditions that work behind the scenes to challenge hate, and make calls to peace and submission to God, and that is something we should find solace in. Let not hate divide us and let us find strength in our scripture to bring honour and dignity to the Holy lands, as our Lord, Most Hight says in the final revelation;
“Repel that which is evil with that which is better”. (Qu’ran, 41:34)
I pray for a tomorrow in which the next generation of my faith fight an Abrahamic jihad against hatred. A braver people uniting with people of other religious traditions to kill hate and join ranks with their fellow man, to see a world in which everyone can live a life faithfully to their beliefs, building an exemplary society that benefits humanity.