Arab American support crashes due to anti-Palestinian president.
The other day I came across a long tweet ‘explaining’ why there are still refugee camps in Gaza and other Palestinian territories and neighbouring Arab countries years after the wars that made them refugees. The tweet is from one Einat Wilf (“Feminist. Zionist. Atheist. Yes.”) and alleges that the UN has incubated the violent strand of the Palestinian national cause by continuing to indulge the notion that the state of Israel is a temporary problem rather than being there to stay, and by inflating the number of refugees in ways that would not be applied to any group of ‘true’ refugees. The crux of her argument is that Palestinians, or rather ‘Arabs’, lost and should just get over it, but she displays ignorance about what an Arab is.
In her first paragraph, she reminds us that during the 20th century, a lot of populations were on the move as a result of the change from empires to ethno-states; some ‘lucky’ new states were based on popular self-determination and their peoples shared a common culture, language and connection to the land; other ‘unlucky’ states “were artificially created by receding empires drawing boundaries, forcing different peoples to share one state, leading almost always to civil war, dictatorship, or both”. The latter type of state was mostly found in Africa, where the imperial powers had divided up the land among themselves to better aid the extraction of Africa’s resources, and were succeeded by a political class which did not want to relinquish any power, hence they enshrined the colonial borders through OAU policy. She continues: “In the bloody process of empires receding and new states emerging to replace them, tens of millions of people were displaced, fleeing across newly created borders, typically to new countries with an ethnic makeup similar to their own. This was true of Hindus and Muslim, Ukrainians, Poles and Germans, Bulgarians, Greeks and Turks and Arabs and Jews. This was not unique”.
In fact, there were two major centres of population displacement: Europe, where borders were shifted by force first by the Nazis and the Soviets in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and then by the victorious allies, and India, where the departure of the British in favour of a Hindu-dominated democracy led Muslims to believe they were not safe, correctly as we now know, and needed a state of their own. These two situations did not need to have any bearing on any other part of the world, and did only because one of the major colonial powers which was on the allied side in World War II ruled Palestine at that time. Poles moved west because their eastern territories, in which they were a large minority among a majority of Ukrainians (and in the north, Lithuanians) were occupied by the USSR; they moved to better lands in the west, territories which had been seized from Germany as a punishment for its aggression and to ensure a natural border between it and Poland, the Oder-Neisse river. Germans were expelled from other lands because their presence had been a pretext for a German invasion, which most of them supported (as with Czechoslovakia). None of these issues are relevant to Palestine; there was no other mass migration of people in that region than the one forced on it by the influx of Jews from Europe.
In subsequent paragraphs she refers to the Palestinians as “the Arabs of the land” who lost the 1948 war. It’s odd that nobody questions the national identities of any other Arabs, despite those names being fairly new as national identities; people identified with Islam, the city they came from, their tribe, sometimes their region, but a person from Benghazi only became a Libyan when that parcel of land was taken by the Italians, much as the concept of a Palestinian national identity was forced on the people there by lines drawn on the map by outsiders after the First World War. People could and did move freely between regions in a way that is unthinkable now. But an Arab is only someone who speaks Arabic; just because there are “other Arab countries” does not mean that one whole group of Arabs is just like another and could just move. Outside of the Arabian peninsula, the majority of people are Arabised natives, not descendants of tribal Arabs who came out of the Arabian peninsula in the early years of Islam. (The exception is Iraq, where large numbers of tribal Arabs were settled in some regions.) Tribal Arabs have migrated to other regions and intermarried with the local population, some of whom spoke Arabic and some did not, but that does not change the fact that the people are Pakistanis, or Egyptians, or Indonesians, or whoever. Palestinians are not just a bunch of interchangeable Arabs. They are native to Palestine, descendants of peoples who have lived there over the centuries, including Jews. The seizure of Palestine is not just a minor loss to “the Arabs” but the loss of a whole country to its own people.
I agree with her about one thing: there shouldn’t be people living in “refugee camps” decades after the events of 1948. This is not just an issue in Gaza but also in Lebanon and Syria; in Lebanon in particular, Palestinians are denied democratic rights because that would upset the country’s demographic balance because they are mostly Sunni Muslims, which are only the third largest religious group in Lebanon. This is indefensible when they have been living in the country for more than 70 years and there is no other remaining democracy, apart from Israel, where subjects are denied democratic rights for this long because of where they came from. But the matter of refugees is only part of the Palestinian problem; not all Palestinians live in the refugee camps but all are facing persecution from Israel’s armed forces and the Jewish settlers. Not all those who are opposed to a negotiated peace are Palestinian; over the years extremist Israelis have fostered the growth of extremist groups among Palestinians, by both channeling money to them and by giving Palestinians no shortage of reasons to support them rather than the ‘moderate’ Palestinian politicians, giving the Israeli public the impression that they have no serious negotiating partner, and themselves licence to step up harassment, commit massacre after massacre, and now moving to outright destruction if not genocide.
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Conditions of detention were “extremely dire,” rights group says.
Although the title sounds like a clickbait one, I can assure the reader that it is rooted in the Qur’an itself. Permit me the indulgence to explain:I. The Victory
The Holy Qur’an says:
Truly Our word to Our servants, the Messengers, has gone forth: Indeed it is they who shall be victorious. [Surah As-Saffat – 37:171-2]
Ibn Taymiyyah reminds us that victory (nasr), or being victorious (mansurun), isn’t restricted to the usual sense of the term as in defeating one’s opponent or vanquishing them. He says that it is broader than that. Responding to the objection that how can Allah’s Messengers all be described as victorious when many of them were slain without them or their message of tawhid prevailing, he explains:
‘Being killed, if it is upon a manner wherein there is honour for Islam and its people, then this is from the perfection of victory. For death is inevitable. So if one dies pleased with [Allah and] the Afterlife, then one has achieved untainted victory … A case in point is the hadith of the young boy, as related by Muslim [no.3005], when he followed the religion of the monk, after following the religion of the magician, and they attempted to repeatedly kill him but were unable to do so, until he taught them how to kill him. This was by [telling] the king to say: “In the name of Allah, Lord of the young boy.” then they shot him [with an arrow]. When they killed him, all the people believed. Thus this was a victory for his religion.’1
Taking our queue from this Taymiyyan insight, we can look at what is now happening to the Palestinians in Gaza with a fresh perspective, to see that Allah has already given them and us victory. Let’s remind ourselves of some of these God-given victories:
Although the Muslim ummah continues to be woefully divided on a whole host of issues, the Palestinian cause is one around which the entire ummah unifies; and this time, like never before. When hearts are together, and voices resound with a common word, this is a clear victory. (Of course, more meaningful or lasting unity will only come about when we honour the ijma‘-ijtihad rule – i.e. unite upon issues of clear scholarly consensus, and not split over valid scholarly differences.)
The strength and courage with which false narratives undermining Palestinian resistance or the atrocities against them have been skilfully countered this time around, or how the whitewashing of the occupation or its war crimes has been so thoroughly and publicly debunked, is an undeniable victory.
Against the odds, alternative media voices have broken through in a huge way to expose the sheer scale of the double-standards of mainstream media outlets. This cannot be underestimated. Again, it’s a staggering victory. And while such alternative voices have always been there, this time, thanks to social media – in the main – the counter-narrative has gone viral!
From a purely Muslim perspective, there are victories yet greater:
We see how the Palestinian cause serves as a means by which many Muslims are becoming more mindful or tuned to the reality of what it truly means to be a ‘submitter’ to Allah ; a Muslim. And that is no small victory.
More and more Muslims are coming to realise that our socio-political affairs as an ummah are deeply intertwined with us actualisating taqwa in our own lives and turning our backs on sin and disobedience. This ever-growing recognition is one of the greatest victories we could ever be given.
The Palestinian commitment to iman, in the face of all the obstacles, and their courage and optimism in the face of a goliath of persecution, is an inspiration to all who struggle with their faith in these challenging times to also patiently persevere and press on for Allah’s sake. How can this not be a victory?
As for them being slain, shot or bombed in this resistance for Allah , then their martyrdom – for that is our hope and prayer for them – is the envy of every true believer in whose heart the light of tawhid and the flames of striving still burn ever bright. For only the Muslim can say: “Our dead are in jannah!” If that is not being victorious, then what is?II. The Awakening
There is an awakening among Muslims, and I find this to be so especially in the younger generation, that we Muslims must be responsive, but not reactionary. In other words, we must duly respond to calamities and tragedies as best as we can, without losing sight of growing our own communities in moral beauty and economic well-being, developing higher institutions of learning, as well as not sacrificing the call to Allah at the alter of political activism. Such intuition, or understanding, when it comes from middle-aged minds is one thing. But when it comes from younger minds, this is nothing short of a breathtaking victory in wisdom and foresight.
Likewise, there is now a far godlier awakening in the ummah that we cannot be attending demonstrations (leaving the scholarly difference about its legality, or its efficacy) and yet not attend to our five daily prayers, and our other personal religious obligations (fara’id). That would be to lose the plot.
There is even an awakening, long in the coming, that our tongues cannot chant protest slogans for Palestinian freedom, more than they invoke the Holy Name of Allah and His remembrance. Again, that would be to shoot oneself in the foot.
There is an awakening that it is not enough just to expose political hypocrisy or media bias and double standards, or get caught up in a tit-for-tat information war. Instead, there is du‘a, prayer, humanitarian aid, deepening our convictions in the Quranic worldview rather than in secular liberalism’s and, of course, da‘wah – our primary objective here, and what validates our living here.
Then there is an awakening about the reality of the conflict, and how it is not about the Jews, per se; nor is it primarily about the actual land being blessed, nor al-Aqsa. Instead, it is about a principle. Imagine, for a moment, if we were to replace the Jews with atheists or Buddhists, and they did exactly the same thing, in exactly the same way. Our duty and response would be exactly the same. Why? Because it isn’t about who the people are. It’s about what they have done and are doing. In other words, the resistance against occupation is based on a principle, not on personalities or peoples. Likewise, if this happened in Mauritania, for instance, and the people were occupied, we would be duty-bound to resist – despite the land not being ‘blessed’ nor having al-Aqsa. That the holy land is blessed, and that it has the third most Sacred Mosque, makes the situation worse. But the principle still stands.
What we might now need is an awakening about boycotting. Again, leaving aside the nuanced scholarly discussion around the validity or not of boycotting (not as a personal act, but as part of a national or transnational coordinated act by those living in Muslim-majority countries with Muslim heads of state) we need to ask: Is it right that I strategically boycott a multinational corporation and get all strict about it, yet not make any serious effort to boycott the clear haram in my own life in terms of what I do, what I say, or what I watch?
The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘The Muslim is one from whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and hands, and the one who migrates (Ar, muhajir – boycott, shun, flee from, migrate from) is one who boycotts [shuns] what Allah has made haram.’2
Overall, however, there is a godly awakening and a slow, but evolving political maturity; and they too are decisive victories.III. The Action
Like in other calamities, conflicts or trials of this nature, the plan of action is threefold. There is the immediate or short-term action, the medium-term, and the long term.
Immediate action is, of course, humanitarian aid to the victims and refugees. Money, medical supplies, doctors or other skilled personnel are the types of services and aid the situation needs, as well as contributing to the efforts of relief agencies and humanitarian convoys. Along with this, we must not ignore the power of invoking Allah with du‘a. We feel the anguish that the oppressed do, and should pray like they do:
“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors! And give us from Your presence a protecting friend; give us from Your presence a defender!’” [Surah An-Nisa – 4:75]
Mid-term action has got to be to work for an immediate ceasefire (the global demonstrations, along with voicing righteous anger, are chiefly about this), so that aid and humanitarian relief can get through and some semblance of peace and security is established. Mid-term does not mean that one works for it only after the humanitarian aid is delivered. A ceasefire or cessation of bombing and killing must be brokered now.
As to the long-term action, this is about finding a resolution to the conflict and occupation. For Muslims, that involves being wisely guided by the light of sound religious instruction and realpolitik. For while the fire in some hearts is seasoned, and in others yet young, believers must be steered – even in their politics – by sacred knowledge. For however they move, and in whatever they do, the believer seeks the glory of God and must intend to conform to His Will and ways.
Two sacred principles must be kept in mind here; both are backed up by a classical scholarly consensus. The first is that women, children and all other non-combatants cannot be intentionally targeted and killed in any war or resistance.3
The second is that affairs of war or peace (and whatever is in between) are the decision of those in whose hand is the executive political authority4 – in this case, the political leaders of the West Bank and, separately, the Gaza Strip. The former accepts the premise of a two-state solution; the Palestinian state being on that of the 1967 borders. The latter has changed its original 1988 position, and as of 2017, also accepts a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. For, while all Palestinians dream of liberating historic Palestine, today, those at the helm of Palestinian governance are working on a realistic solution. They are focused on what they can achieve, as opposed to what they dream for.
Both authorities expect such a state to be fully sovereign and autonomous, and with the right of return. And despite the skewered propaganda about this too, such a state and with the right of return is – with all its multifaceted concerns and complexities – theoretically doable.
Of course, this will depend on the occupiers, the heads of which still voice a number of positions. These range from a suggestive genocide of Palestinians, to driving them out to neighbouring states, all the way to a two-state, toothless tiger solution.
The hope is that the resistance, whatever it does, takes the moral high ground and does not eclipse the long-term call to tawhid for short-term political gains. For as long as we continue wearing the uniform of iman and humility, Allah will honour us with further victories over those who wear the uniform of genocidal brutality.
That is our conviction!
[This article was first published here]
Statement from Dr. Abdul Nasser Al-Zayoud, representative of the Hashemite Charitable Organization, after his recent visit to Gaza:
We’ve safely left Gaza and are en route to Egypt via the Jordanian Field Hospital. Our next stop is Egyptian Rafah, bordering Palestinian Rafah, before heading to Arish Airport for our journey back to Jordan.
Our time in Gaza spanned about 23 hours, from 10 PM Saturday to 2 PM Sunday, on 29/10/2023.
A summary of the most important points:
Gaza has indeed faced significant physical devastation. However, the undeterred spirit of its people soars to the skies.
Most of our time was spent inside the Jordanian Field Hospital among the wounded and injured. Notably, the morale and strength of the wounded and injured were far higher than our own.
For our safety, we were restricted from moving around alone. We were always accompanied by the young staff of the Jordanian Field Hospital and the Palestinian Red Crescent. We managed to roam freely in Gaza for a total of 3 hours, wishing they would have let us explore on our own, so we could possibly earn the honour of martyrdom alongside these formidable people.
Those 23 hours made us feel the pride, vigour, and masculinity present in this part of the land, despite all the hardships the people here have endured.
The Jordanian Field Hospital in Gaza is, by the grace of Allah, in excellent condition. It’s equipped with all essential medical supplies, even generators and its own communication networks. Our team at the hospital are truly men in every sense of the word. May Allah bless them.
Though the Zionist forces have tried to stifle communications in Gaza, the resilient locals find ways around it, using even adjacent Egyptian and Israeli networks. This indomitable nation finds solutions to every challenge they face.
People here share every bite of bread, sip of water, and even their cash. They show a kind of compassion and solidarity for one another that I’ve never witnessed before. I observed this while distributing food and cash aid. I’ve visited and entered Gaza numerous times before, but what I witnessed this time was unlike any other time or year. The unity and bond that now exists in Gaza is profound. Everyone says this kind of unity hasn’t been seen for the past 40 years. Truly, this is what we felt and observed, and it’s all by the grace of Allah.
Upon our entry last night through the Rafah crossing, and our departure today just before dusk, when they were inspecting the trucks, I swear by Allah, fear was apparent in their eyes and movements. The trembling and terror were visible, even when they spoke. As they walked, they would constantly look left and right, as if expecting a threat from any direction.
Had I not represented an international relief organisation, the Royal Hashemite Charitable Organisation of Jordan, and were it not for any actions contrary to UN instructions potentially causing embarrassment and harm to our organisation, I would never have left Gaza. I would have stayed there with them, hoping that Allah might honour us even a bit as He has honoured them.
I assure you, things in Gaza are excellent. We won’t just say that victory is near; what we witnessed confirms they have already triumphed by the grace and generosity of Allah. What remains to be seen are mere details.
There’s so much more to say, and we will return many times to our people in proud Gaza. I pray that liberation comes soon and that we return to see it freed, as will all the lands of Palestine, inshaa’Allah.
Farewell, Gaza, the land of honour, dignity, and a manhood which is absent in so many in our current times. We’ll be back, proud Gaza, by the will of Allah, the Almighty.
NOTE: Per more recent updates, the Jordan Field Hospital has also suffered severely due to the relentless attacks on Gaza and the ongoing genocide perpetuated by the Zionist State.
Qassam Brigades combat videos have destroyed myth of invincible IDF.
Since the genocide in Gaza began in the aftermath of the 7th October attacks, politicians on both sides of the house in both the US and UK — Tories, Labour, Republicans and Democrats — have mostly been competing for who can be the most slavish in support of Israel’s right to “defend itself”, even weeks later when it has become obvious that Israel’s interest is in exacting revenge rather than defending itself or even rescuing its own hostages. Both here and there, there has been a great deal of distress and anger among the Muslim population at their elected representatives’ obvious indifference or outright contempt for the lives of the hundreds of Palestinians who are being killed in missile or air strikes daily. There has been much talk of Muslims not voting, or voting for third-party candidates, or at least tactically to ensure that legislators who have gone along with the pro-Israel line or not spoken out against the mass murder or supported calls for a ceasefire lose their seats at the next general or congressional election. This has been responded to by the leadership with a half-hearted campaign against Islamophobia and by activists with sneers such as “don’t you want a Labour government?”.
The people who are resigning are not, at least not all, extremists; they are all people who remained in the party after Jeremy Corbyn lost the leadership and who were not expelled in the antisemitism dragnet. They include people like Shaista Aziz in Oxford, who has been at the forefront of a campaign to make football safe for Muslim women and encourage their participation. The reason for the dissent is that a population of mainly Muslims in a part of the world we care deeply about is being slaughtered and Labour’s leadership are refusing to condemn it. When Keir Starmer was asked a simple question recently about what his “red lines” were as regards Israel’s behaviour, he gave a halting response, reminding us of the “worst terrorist attack on Israel since the Holocaust” and a “humanitarian crisis that was already in existence”, which it certainly was not if you compare the situation in Gaza before 7th October to the situation now, when the territory has not had access to fresh water for nearly a month and the hospitals that are still standing are running out of power. He then told us that it was not correct to tell “a sovereign country, when 200 of its civilians are being held hostage, that they must give up their right to self-defence”, as if it was self-defence to massacre thousands of civilians (potentially including several of the hostages) before making any attempt to take on the people holding the hostages. His response clearly indicates that he does not care about Gaza’s civilians, and we do.
We are also painfully aware that there was a witch-hunt in the Labour party that lasted several years, where many members, including many Muslims, were accused of antisemitism on the basis of false interpretations of politically motivated definitions of that term. When we attempted to raise the matter of Islamophobia then, we were accused of “whataboutery” or told the two prejudices were different, that antisemitism was not normal racism, or that Islamophobia had been invented by Islamists and was just a trick to cover the Muslim community’s shortcomings. At the same time as Israeli abuses in Palestine were getting worse and worse, it became more and more difficult and more costly to even talk about these things; you had to gauge your words carefully lest you be accused of invoking an “antisemitic trope”. The people telling us “don’t be silly!” had only sympathy and understanding for Jews who refused to vote Labour while Corbyn was leader, including Labour members. And let’s not forget: this was not about actual harm coming to Jews, or being advocated or threatened by Corbyn or anyone who supported him; the issue was that no British government could be countenanced that did not maintain a policy of 100% indulgence of Israel, however extreme and violent it became.
While some British Muslims are Arabs and Somalis, the mainstay consists of South Asians, and South Asian Muslims are not only concerned about Palestine but about Kashmir and the worsening situation of Muslims in India itself. Kashmir is also under a brutal military occupation which has worsened since the BJP, led by the infamous Narendra Modi who presided over the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, came to power, although his abuses have been cheered on by so-called liberals in the Indian and international media as well. Methods used against Palestinians also tend to be copied by Hindu fascists; we have seen the house demolitions used to punish the families of Palestinian ‘terrorists’ (this doesn’t have to mean actual terrorists, just anyone who attacks soldiers or settlers) being used against Indian Muslims who are not even terrorists, just people who protested against discrimination or violence by the Hindu extremists. What response can we expect from our politicians next time there is a pogrom, or if the next real or imagined provocation from Muslims leads to a full-blown genocide by Hindus emboldened by the spectacle of a genocide in Gaza with no reaction from world leaders except excuses? There are nearly 1.5 billion people in India, including more than 170 million Muslims; the numbers could dwarf any prior genocide depending on how widespread the violence is. We have seen Labour politicians boast of their connections to the BJP, including the infamous Keith Vaz (who has now left Parliament because of a sex scandal) who boasted of using his bonus to help fund Modi’s appearance at Wembley stadium.
In short, Muslims want to work with a party which holds that their lives are at least as important as anyone’s feelings, and we do not want our votes to count towards putting a man in power who is a coward, has no obvious moral compass, and cannot condemn mass murder even when genocidal intent is made clear without consulting his focus groups and handlers. They can promise all they like, and remind us of what the last Labour government did for us (when we remember control orders and a government that fought to extend detention without charge), but Sure Start centres and improved bus services are just not that important when our people are being massacred with weapons supplied partly from this country and with the tacit approval of Tory and Labour politicians. And no, as the opposition leader, Starmer could not have done anything about it directly, but he could have spoken out, could have stood up for a long-persecuted people now facing death and degradation on a daily basis, but made political calculations and chose instead to side with the murderers. As they never tired of reminding us when Corbyn was leader, Labour is meant to be an anti-racist and anti-fascist party; a party that considers genocide to be any nation’s right, whatever the provocation, is neither, and is worth nobody’s effort to campaign for.
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Activists applauded Palestinian freedom fighters.
Frick Pittsburgh staff said exhibit would be ‘insensitive’ to Jewish community, but decision angered both Muslims and Jewish people
Officials at a Pittsburgh museum have promised to “repair our relationships with the Muslim community” amid criticism of its decision to postpone an Islamic art exhibition because of the Israel-Hamas war.
Staff at Frick Pittsburgh believed pressing ahead with its Treasured Ornament: 10 Centuries of Islamic Art exhibition, which had been scheduled to open Saturday, would be “insensitive” to the Jewish community and others, according to the museum’s director and internal emails reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.Continue reading...
“If I go back to Gaza, what is left?”