Juni 2001 - Nachdem
sein Sohn durch die Kugel eines Westbanksiedlers getötet worden war,
spendete ein palästinensischer Vater dessen Organe zur Lebensrettung.
Die Empfänger waren vier jüdische Israelis, einer davon in so kritischem
Zustand, dass er ohne die durch die Spende ermöglichte
Herztransplantation bereits tot wäre.
The need for greater
by Mohamed El-Bendary
AS VIOLENCE continues in the Middle
East, an increasing number of Muslims and Jews are starting to come
together in the United States to call for peace.
In its annual meeting last month, the
American Jewish Committee released companion books on Judaism and Islam.
The book on Islam, "Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for
Jews," is written by Khalid Duran, a Muslim. The book on Judaism,
'Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, ' is
written by Rabbi Reuven Firestone.
While some Muslim scholars question
Duran's authorship because of his relationship with Muslim bashers and
previous conviction of defaming an Islamic center in Germany, the idea
of publishing companion books from each religion is indeed a genuine
one. Genuine, for the ways in which Jews and Muslims relate to each
other in the future could have great significance for relations between
Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East.
The two groups are Semites who have lived
together for centuries - from the Byzantine Empire across the Euphrates
River in the great empire of Sasanians to Moorish Spain. Or as Krister
Stendahl, the former dean of the Harvard Divinity School, said in a
recent AJC article: "Here two of Abraham's 'children' speak the mature
language of 'grown ups' who are secure in their convictions."
In a similar endeavor, Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak held a luncheon at the Egyptian embassy in Washington
attended by 200 Arab and Jewish Americans.
Calling Jews and Arabs "the great-grandchildren of Abraham," Mubarak
said: "Let us work for peace, not criticism."
He later invited an American Jewish-Arab delegation to visit Egypt and
help restart the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. As incidents
of racial disturbances in England and Palestinian-Israeli violence
mounts, teaching tolerance in the 21st century will be one of our
That's why it is incumbent up on the
world's Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders to call for more interfaith
dialogue, and make positive contributions to the cause of ethnic and
religious tolerance. Muslims and Jews can make genuine contributions to
America's diverse society by working together in areas such as social
and racial justice, defense of human rights, safeguarding religious
freedom and resolving Middle East conflict.
Conflicts are resolved more quickly where
there is grass-roots participation. A better Jewish-Islamic dialogue
will depend on whether Jews and Muslims can prevent the ups and downs of
Middle East politics from dividing them. It is important for Jews to
remember that when Palestinians hurl stones at Israelis, they are not
aiming them at the Jewish faith. Muslims, too, should not view Israeli
attacks on Palestinians as anti-Islamic. It is politics, not religion,
which is behind Palestinian-Israeli hostility.
Perhaps Muslims and Jews should ponder
the story of the father of a Palestinian man killed early this month.
The father donated his son's organs to save four Israelis, including a
critically wounded man who would have died without a heart transplant.
"Islam does not forbid donating organs to
save another's life," said 71year-old Lofti Joulani in a recent
interview. "So, I donated organs to save the lives of others, no matter
if they were Jews, Christians or Muslims, even though my son was killed
by a Jewish settler's bullet."
This symbolic act should help in the
process of bringing Palestinians and Israelis back to the peace talks.
It should help raise the spirit of dialogue between American Jews and
Muslims. The media is wrong to portray the three monolithic religions -
Christianity, Judaism and Islam - as different from one another. The
three religions are so intertwined to be almost one.
What Muhammad was after is a passion to
bring people back to the Abrahamic faith. The word "Islam," which means
peace and submission to God, carries the same meaning for the word
"salam" in the Bible and "shalom" in the Torah. The Koran says: "Among
his other signs are the creation of the heavens and the Earth and the
diversity of your tongues and colors. Surely there are signs in this for
There are two ways today to counter
religious hatred in any culture. First, we must raise the awareness of
our children that the greatness of any nation lies in its people. We
ought to teach them more to love and reach for one another without
regard to race, color or religious orientation. Finally, we must wipe
out negative stereotypes of the "other" from our human hearts and minds,
for harmful images lead to harassment, discrimination, intimation and
Mohamed El-Bendary writes on Middle
Eastern affairs from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This article is on the Web
haGalil onLine 14-06-2001