Oleh : Imam Shamsi Ali
President Nusantara Foundation & Pendiri Ponpes Pertama di USA
It is fortunate and painful to see what is taking place these days in the holy city, the city of many Prophets, the city of sacred houses of God, Jerusalem. We see another violent attacks on the Palestinians who are peacefully worshipping in and around masjid Al-Aqsa.
More than 170 Palestinians have been injured, many of them are severely injured, after the Israeli police stormed the mosque and some other areas around the City while they are performing their ritual tarawih prayer in Ramadan.
Earlier before the attacks took place some of the Palestinians, including some Christian Palestinians and other international activists, rallied in support of the Palestinian families under threat of forced displacement. Tens of families in the City of Sheikh Jarrah are forced to leave their homes.
What more concerns me is what took place in the sanctuary of Masjid Al-Aqsa and its surroundings. The fact that the Israeli police forcefully attacked the worshipers, broke the doors of the mosque and entered into the mosque with their shoes is deeply condemned.
I don’t care that much about the Palestinian homes in the City of Sheikh Jarrah. The issue can and must be settled by the Palestinians and their counterpart themselves. What hurts me as a Muslim is the attacks on the civilian worshippers and the desecration of the mosque. This can not be accepted by any reasonable and wise judgment.
Violent attacks on and by both Palestinians and Israelis have been historic. And nothing I can say much except reminding and praying that both sides should restrain from violence and resolve their issues through peaceful ways. I remind particularly those who are in leadership position, both political and religious, to do as much and as fast as possible to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.
But once again what I can not take it lightly and I can not bear to not voice my mind on the evilness of attacks on the worshippers and the desecration of the sanctified places of worship.
I often be reminded by the saying: “enough for evil to thrive when the good people say or do nothing”.
It is also said: “silence in front of an evil is complicit”.
Unfortunately what we see today is just another huge silence on behalf of the world. I am thankful and deeply appreciative to some members of the house and senate who expressed their concerns, including Senator Bernie Sanders who himself is a Jew, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Corry Bush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, and some others.
The US State Department itself had expressed its deep concern for what is happening in the holy city of Jerusalem. Certainly we are expecting from the Department not only words, but actions.
More importantly we are waiting from President Joe Biden himself to express his opinion and stand on what is going on in that part of the world. Many are still hopeful that President Joe Biden will be more open, wise and fair in his handling the conflict in the Middle East.
But what is unfortunate and saddens me more is the silence of some who often claim to be the ‘freedom and democracy or human right champions’. None so far we have heard expressing at least their concerns for what has been taking place the region.
Similarly the mainstream media, with an exception of a few, most of them are silent and taking the stand of “don’t care” for what has been taking place in that part of the world.
What is more painful is to see the Muslim world and its leaders, except as usual President of Turkey, Erdogan, who expressed his condemnation towards the incidents. Other leaders are apparently chose to find a safe haven for themselves and keep quite. I don’t really know why?
What appears to me is that some Muslim leaders don’t see Jerusalem and masjid Al-Aqsa as an important issue any more compare to their narrow worldly interests, be it political or economic. Or some apparently are fearful to express at least their concern, because of their worrisome to be considered radicals.
What ever it might be, I am just deeply disturbed by the ‘world silence’ in front of the undesirable and unjust treatment of the Palestinians. I am hoping that people become less ‘double standards’ in their stand on issues concerning our common interests and humanity.
Let reiterate once again that what is happening to anyone today might and can happen to someone else tomorrow. An unjust treatment to any is an injustice to all. An attack to any is an attack to all.
And remember, my fight today can be yours tomorrow. And so let us continue our commitment ‘honestly’ to fight for one another.
Who knows tomorrow you will expect me to fight along with you!
New York, 10 May 2021
- An Imam & Interfaith activist in New York City