Post Israeli blitzkrieg in Gaza, I feel heart rending pain and anguish seeing the Palestinian public helpless in front of barbaric aggression.
This time round though I have resorted to introspection in order to find solutions as opposed to the religious scholars and leaders across Muslim world who have aimlessly gone all guns blazing against Jews and jumped on the band wagon to annihilate the oppressor through public rhetoric rather than getting their houses in order first.
Praying and supplicating to God to alleviate Palestinian brethren miseries, my soul searching endeavour has exposed the failure of Muslim Ummah in finding logical remedies to the recurrent crisis.
Introspection phase 1: How helpful is the boycotting gimmick?
For starters, I am weary of conspiracy theory mongers who have given a farcical dimension to the crisis by luring indiscreet public to boycott products carrying the barcode 7 29. I reckon it is probably an attempt on their part to cleanse Muslims from sins during the holy month of Ramadan.
Throwing spanner in the work, how about boycotting Google and Facebook (both Jewish owned)?
I guess I would get an overwhelming “NAY” as an answer,since both Google & Facebook are part and parcel of our routine lives.
Boycott seems a valid option where perhaps the protesting entity is a cohesive unit and not a disparate crowd as in the case of Muslims today.
When the blacks boycotted public bus service in 1955 for 381 days in Montgomery after Rosa parks incident, not only did it hurt the revenue stream of the transportation company but the civil rights movement also gathered impetus from there on in. I attribute that success to the sincere focus of black people to end segregation in the US.
On previous occasions, Muslims remonstrating against Facebook or boycotting Danish products has lead to a zero sum game — attributing to the misplaced priorities of the Muslim fraternity in resolving issues.
Introspection phase 2: Are all Muslim countries tolerant?
A cursory look at recent past and current state of affairs in Muslim countries shows that they have blood on their hands.
It is commonplace in Pakistan for the radical mindsets to brazenly condemn Shiites and Ahmadis to death, while keeping mum when a Hindu girl is forced to convert.
Similarly, Malaysian court has barred Christians from using the word “Allah”, making it look as if Muslims in the country have patented that word. Even Somalia has passed a bizarre law, where converting to another faith from Islam is a crime punishable by death.
The Bangladeshi government for that matter has banned the Rohingya refugees from their fundamental right of getting married whereas paradoxically they shout hoarse in condemning the ongoing Rohingya genocide in Burma, next door.
From the perennial persecution of Bahai and Copt Christian minorities in Iran and Egypt respectively to the terror activities of radical Islamic groups like Alqaeda or Boko Haram, there is ample food for thought for all Muslim pacifists.
Moving on to the holier than thou Saudis, who are busy retailing yet another genocide with their accomplice by funding the war in Syria and unleashing the notorious ISIS in the Levant, after successfully orchestrating the Iran Iraq war, decades ago.
Allow me to say that an Israeli may argue that he has as much right to push for a separate state being the top dog, as Saudi family had in changing the name of country Hijaz to their tribe’s name, ascribing to their rise to power in 1930’s.
Hats off to Saudi royal family’s hypocrisy!
With the baggage of human rights violations, injustice and intolerance in tow, the million dollar question is whether Islamic countries be able to fight the cause of suppressed Palestinian brethren for sustainable peace in the region?
The plain answer is no.
Introspection phase 3: Will retaliation resolve problems?
Being the underdogs, Muslims nations must realize that retaliation will not simmer down the aggression. As hate only be-gets hate.
I reckon, the current aggravating crisis in Gaza would only fuel racial profiling by creating more fissures between Muslims and Jewish people, without us realizing that that it is not the people but the oppressive Israeli regime that is the sole culprit.
As recently in Tel Aviv, Jewish people carried out protest rallies against their own government’s trigger happy attitude towards Gaza.
Further alienation could have serious ramifications that could lead people into being hoaxed by the phony jihad campaign launched by the ISIS. Falling bait to which would take the world on the brink of catastrophe.
Introspection phase 4: Has Muslim Ummah utilized international diplomatic forums?
The following image from a recent gathering in Jeddah held to discuss Gaza crisis, paints a picture of indifference and misplaced priorities of Muslim fraternity at the current point in time.
To better analyse past performances, in hindsight we find only one figure in the Muslim Ummah in the form of Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, who stood tall for the Palestinian cause. Many international observers maintain that his speech at the UN security council on the Palestine issue on 7th October,1947 was the most vociferous case in favour of Palestine till date. The Statesman, Delhi editorially paid homage to his unrelenting service to the cause:
“For the first time the voice of Pakistan was heard in the counsels of the United Nations on a burning topic of world-wide significance when leader of this country’s delegation, Chaudhry Zafarullah Khan, addressed the United Nations Palestine Committee at Lake Success on Tuesday. It was a telling speech which tore into shreds the specious pleas put forward by the advocates of the partition of Palestine. Chaudhry Zafarullah did not merely indulge in rhetoric when he described the partition plan as `physically and geographically a monstrosity’, he proceeded to prove this by unassailable arguments. Answering the contention that the migration of more Jews into Palestine should be permitted because the Jewish displaced persons desired to go to that country, Pakistan’s spokesman asked whether the Americans would consent to relax or abrogate their own immigration laws if displaced persons of various other nationalities desired to enter the United States and settle there? Would America, he further asked, agree to take in the five million displaced persons of the Punjab if they desired to leave the scene of their suffering and cross over to the United States. We have little doubt that the Arabs will rejoice to find the voice of Pakistan so powerfully raised in the United Nations in defence of their cause. The addition of the independent sovereign state of Pakistan to the comity of free Muslim peoples of the World is already beginning to have its effect on international affairs,”
Furthermore King Faisal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia also appreciated Sir Zafarullah Khan’s effort for the Palestinian cause in his letter to the satalwart.
Despite being the lone ranger, Sir Zafarullah Khan’s struggle for the Palestinian was cut short when his home country Pakistan disowned him for his religious affiliation as an Ahmadi – which sums up the vested interests and myopic vision prevalent amidst the Muslim world.
THE WAY FORWARD:
1. BETTER ADVOCACY
The only way forward for the Muslim Ummah is to leverage international diplomatic and peace forums through better advocacy.
I reckon the OIC forum should be utilized by all Muslim nations to come on the same wavelength and bridge gaps between each other. It can be achieved by framing a charter of tolerance, peace and justice in all Muslim countries across the broad spectrum.
At the United Nations, Muslim fraternity should try to find a powerful voice to raise their grievances to the international world. The paradigm of bold and influential personality like Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, who fought tooth and nail for their rights should be emulated.
Shouting expletives and heaping anathema upon the barbaric Israeli regime would not resolve issues as it has never done before, only dialogue and discourse would help develop a constructive narrative for long term and sustainable peace in Palestine.
There is a dire need of an invigorated PR campaign that could help Muslims rebuild their image in order to lobby effectively with countries holding sway in deciding the fate of Palestinians on international peace forums.
The Holy Koran has set the basis of the best public relations campaign for all nations across the broad spectrum and that is called “coexistence”, an ingredient missing in most Muslims nations at the current point in time. The Koran says:
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion” (Sura Baqra Verse 256)
Even a closer look at the life of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), makes us realise how he championed the art of coexistence when he allowed a Christian tribe from Najran, that had come to meet him, to offer their prayer in the Nabwi mosque.
We must realise that today Muslims stand divided, which has led the oppressor to kill innocent children in Palestine with utter impunity. Following Islamic values and scruples, Muslim ummah can help find peaceful solutions to the Palestinian issue.
The current crisis is a wake up call for all Muslims nations that they immediately end trust deficit by fostering attributes like tolerance, harmony and coexistence to pave a way for a brighter future for the Palestinian generations to come or else it will be too late.