At this writing, we are witnessing Israel’s carpet bombing of Gaza, Palestine in the aftermath of Hamas’s surprise invasion of Israel. So far about 3,000 people have lost their lives and 22,000 homes have been destroyed.
It is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, to maintain hope, even in the most dire of situations. It was his Sunnah to act in ways that are wise and beneficial to the Ummah.
About 6.8 million Jewish Israelis and 6.8 million Palestinians live today in occupied Palestine and Israel. We pray that both are granted an equal right to freedom, dignity, and prosperity.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, prohibited killing of civilians and non-combatants in war. That principle became a part of Islamic law which has never changed. This law is unilateral. It does not require the enemy abiding by it. God has told us and the Bani Israel that killing one person is like killing the whole humanity unless through due process of law (Quran 5:32). Based on these principles we believe Hamas killing civilians is an un-Islamic act. We hope Jewish religious scholars should also speak up that carpet bombing of Gaza is not acceptable in Jewish law.
- Tomorrow, on the blessed day of Friday, Khateebs should deliver a solidarity khutba. Here are some Khutba points.
- Justice For All has issued an action alert. Please implement, share widely, print and hand distribute after Juma.
Here are some talking and thinking points, as well as action items.
- With war comes propaganda and the dehumanization of Palestinians, with Israel’s Defense Minister starting by calling them “human beasts” on Monday.
- The Western media’s coverage of the violence has, as usual, skewed deeply pro-Israel. It has featured barely a handful of Palestinian commentators. This is nothing less than the dehumanization of Palestinians, as well as Islamophobia.
- Biased journalists are asking Palestinians to condemn themselves while no Israeli is being asked to condemn apartheid and occupation.
- There is tremendous misinformation being spread about crimes committed by Palestinians particularly the now debunked claim that Hamas has beheaded babies that was spread earlier. But there is little outcry by powerful figures about the war crimes Israel is openly committing against Palestinian children for the world to see.
- Dehumanization is a key component in this. It is easy to kill, torture, jail, bomb, and rape people when you do not see them as human beings worthy of the dignity that God has given to every human being (Quran 5:32). Dehumanization is also what allows hate to build between people.
- The worst possible propaganda spin being used right now is that the current war was “unprovoked.” Israel has been attacking and killing Palestinians on an almost daily basis for the last several years. Palestinians face occupation, daily humiliation, and an established system of apartheid. But none of that is reported by the U.S. media. The absence of Western media’s reporting on Israel’s occupation and abuses does not equate to these attacks being “unprovoked"
- The attack by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. It was preceded by several months of attacks by Israeli settlers and military living in illegal settlements who have kicked Palestinians out of their homes, and killed and assaulted them. This has all been done with the sanction of Israeli soldiers and police. There was little to no coverage of these crimes in the Western media.
- A New York Times letter to the editor states: “When you maim, occupy, oppress and humiliate people, you don’t get to tell them how to resist.”
- The only responsibility of the occupier is to stop the occupation and accept responsibility.
- Palestinians have the Islamic and human right to resist occupation and struggle for their freedom.
Muslims must not lose hope. We must turn to Dua, trust in Allah, and take action. God Almighty controls the world, we don’t. But it is critical for our personal salvation to take an action to correct a Dhulm or wrongdoing.
Action #1: Hold the Media Accountable
- We must challenge dehumanizing portrayals of Palestinians that are being widely spread to justify carpet bombings and denial of their freedom.
- If you hear anything like that or see one-sided coverage, write down the name of the media outlet, the time of the statement, and the name of the journalist/reporter. If there is a link, copy and paste it into a document you can name “Anti-Palestinian Media Portrayal 2023”.
- Then locate the contact information of the public editor, comment line, ombudsperson or a general number and call them to protest and demand equal treatment of the subject matter.
- Call, email, tweet, make a TikTok video, etc. to explain why the portrayal by a certain journalist and media outlet was racist and/or Islamophobic.
- Turn to alternative news sources to keep abreast of the latest coverage. Muslim Network TV is a great choice!
Action #2: Contact Elected Leaders
- We must contact our elected representatives and ask them to call for
- If your elected leader has used any dehumanizing words, challenge them by showing up at their offices. Ask them to recognize equal rights for Palestinians.
Action #3 Educate about Palestine and the Region
- We must challenge the dehumanization of Palestinians by developing cultural knowledge of Palestinian culture into the mainstream. One way to do this is for mosques and Islamic centers to hold “Palestine Open House” nights. These would focus on the cultural elements of Palestinian culture (e.g. food, dress).
- We also need to educate others, and even some Muslims, about the importance of Al-Aqsa mosque, as well as Palestine in general in Islam.
- Discuss the topic in full-time and weekend Islamic schools.
- Deliver the information in Friday sermons and lectures as well.
- Israel has facilitated 700,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living in 300 Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. The U.S. government and the United Nations consider these settlements to be illegal.
- Israel has displaced 5.9 million Palestinians while Palestinians have not displaced any Israelis.
- Israel is occupying Palestine not the other way around.
- Israel has literally imprisoned two million Palestinians in Gaza, an area a small fraction of the size of Rhode Island as an open air prison.
- At this writing, 338,000 Palestinians displaced by Israeli strikes
- UN human rights experts, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Israel’s own human rights organization B’tSelem call Israel an apartheid state.
- Israel has killed and injured 150,000 Palestinians including 33,000 children since 2008.