Posts on the topic of "Islam"
I wrote here how the media reported that the controversial film, "Innocence of Muslims," was made "with Jewish money, by a Jewish filmmaker" – an Israeli, in fact, trying to "help his native land."
We now know that the filmmaker is really an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Yet Associated Press and others failed in this most basic obligation to fact-check.
Not surprisingly, the Muslim world has continued this theme, blaming the Jews for producing the inflammatory anti-Islam film.
This cartoon appeared in the newspapers Ar-Raya (Qatar) and Ash-Shuruq (Algeria).
The caption reads: "The Killing of the US Ambassador in Libya." Note the stars of David on the filmmaker's shirtsleeves.
Tragically, these lies are more than just factual inaccuracies or a PR issue. These myths remain firmly engraved in Arab lore, fomenting an atmosphere of mistrust that will linger for decades, and that ultimately undermine the possibility of peaceful coexistence.
HT: Tom Gross
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Sometimes the Jewish and Muslim perspectives appear to be an unbridgeable gap.
That's why I really love this video. It explains, calmly and rationally, the depth of the 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
What makes this video unique is that it comes from a native Arabic speaker. That gives it special credibility, as a direct appeal to Muslims for understanding and respect as the path to peace.
For more background, see Rabbi Ken Spiro's excellent article, "Jerusalem: Jewish and Muslim Claims to the Holy City."
At the bottom of the YouTube player is a 'CC' button – make sure that is clicked to see the subtitles.
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Israel gave up a lot when it signed the 1979 Camp David accords with Egypt: oil fields, a cutting-edge air force base, and a huge security buffer against its southern neighbor.
Israel did get something in return: A solemn promise by the Egyptian government to end its state of belligerence against Israel. This promise was backed up by the United States, and has held – albeit coldly – for three decades.
Now, with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, this all threatens to fall apart. A new survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project shows that 61 percent of Egyptians favor abandoning the Egypt-Israel peace treaty (up from 54 percent a year ago).
Egypt is now in the midst of presidential elections and the radical Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as the dominant political force. One leading candidate and former Muslim Brotherhood leader, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, declared: "I do not and will not recognize Israel." In a presidential debate last month, he said that the peace agreement with Israel was a threat to national security and vowed to amend the Camp David Accords: "Israel is an enemy... The majority of Egyptians are enemies of Israel. The agreement with Israel should be revised and the sections which are against our interests should be removed immediately."
This is not an exclusively "Israel problem." The Pew poll also finds that 61 percent of Egyptians believe that the billions of dollars of U.S. aid to Egypt has a "mostly negative" impact. Among the candidates, Aboul Fotouh denounced the assassination of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces as an act of "state terrorism."
Next week, the two top candidates will face a run-off vote in the presidential election. One of the contenders, Mohamed Morsy, is chairman of a political party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood after the 2011 Egyptian revolution. At the launch of Morsy's candidacy last month, Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi declared before a huge crowd that Morsy will "liberate Jerusalem" as the new capital of the "United States of the Arabs."
"Our capital shall not be Cairo… it shall be Jerusalem," Higazi declared. "Our cry shall be: Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem." (See video below.)
The world had hoped that the Arab Spring would usher in a new era of calm and civility in the Middle East. Yet Syria is still slaughtering its citizens, Iran is still hurtling toward the Bomb, and if the Egyptian election itself is any indication, we're in for some very stormy weather.
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With each passing year, as the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, the idea of a "new" Holocaust story becomes almost unimaginable.
Now, as reported by AFP, a woman who lives in an Arab town in northern Israel ― matriarch to a large clan of children and grandchildren ― has come clean.
In 1941, the Brashatsky family ― mother, father and two young boys ― was deported from Yugoslavia to the Auschwitz death camp. The parents were assigned as housekeepers for a Christian doctor at Auschwitz. To spare them, he hid the entire family under the floor of his house inside the camp.
A few months later, Mrs. Brashatsky gave birth to a baby girl, Helen.
The Auschwitz doctor hid the baby, too.
She was given a Hebrew name, Leah.
Three years later, the war ended. Auschwitz was liberated, and the Brashatsky family was free.
They moved to Israel in 1948, a few months prior to the declaration of statehood.
The family settled in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. When Helen was 17, she met an Arab man named Ahmed Jabarin. They married and she ran off to make a life in the northern Arab town of Umm al-Fahm.
Although Helen's husband and children knew she was Jewish, she never revealed any details of her past. Over the decades, she became known as Umm Raja, Arabic for "Raja's mother," after her first-born son. She adopted the traditional Muslim dress code of hijab and long robes.
Helen's true heritage got buried deeper when her oldest son became 18 and ― as the child of a Jewish Israeli ― was summoned into the Israeli Army. In order to avoid the draft, Helen "converted" to Islam.
"I hid my pain for 52 years and the truth about my past from my children and grandchildren," Helen told AFP. "I was just waiting for the right moment to tell them."
This week, as Holocaust Memorial Day came around once again, Helen finally told them.
The memories poured out: Of wearing striped pajamas. Of eating dry bread soaked in water. Of witnessing horrific beatings in the camp. Of gas chambers, crematoria and death all around.
"Mom used to cry on Holocaust Memorial Day watching all the ceremonies on Israeli television," her son Nader told AFP. "We never understood why. We all used to get out of the way and leave her alone in the house… We understand her a bit more now."
Maybe now "Umm Raja―Helen―Leah" will feel a bit more comfortable speaking not only Arabic and Hebrew, but some of the Yiddish she still remembers as a child.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia (the country’s supreme religious figure), has declared it "necessary to destroy all the churches” in the Arabian Peninsula. This ruling is based on Muhammad’s declaration that "there cannot to be two religions” in the region, which has long been understood that anything other than Islam is “illegal.”
Saudi Arabia openly practices religious apartheid, with special roads and even entire cities for "Muslims only." Non-Muslim religious activities carry the risk of arrest, imprisonment, lashing and deportation. In 2008, Saudi police arrested 40 Christians for the "crime" of praying in a private house. A notice on the Saudi Airlines website prohibited the possession of any non-Islamic religious symbols – Bibles, crucifixes and the Star of David – mentioning them in the same breath as narcotics, firearms and pornography.
Remember when President George H.W. Bush went to celebrate Thanksgiving with American troops? Saudi authorities protested his intention to say grace, and the celebration had to be moved to international waters aboard the U.S.S. Durham.
By contrast, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is steadily increasing. Similarly, Israel permits its one million Muslim residents to freely build minarets, wear burqas and pray in the streets – activities that are variously illegal in the "progressive" nations of Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and France.
Part of the difference, I believe, is that Judaism does not proselytize or demand that everyone become Jewish. The prophet Isaiah referred to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem as a "house for all nations." In fact Maimonides states that the popularity of Christianity and Islam are part of God’s plan to spread the ideals of monotheism throughout the world.
Think about this next time someone accuses Israel of “racism” or “apartheid.”