Violence ignores world history and religion

I have long been fascinated by Islamic culture. The Koran and Hadith, Jalaluddin Rumi, Mulla Nasrudin and Omar Khayyam have often been sources of inspiration and guidance for me. But now I wish to express an opinion, perhaps a strong opinion, about something I find disturbing – the generalized hatred of Israel by so many people in Islam.

I have heard, “The Jews took our land. We just want it back.” But is it that simple? Didn’t the English have a hand in this? They promised Palestine to the Jews as a homeland during World War I in return for some chemical wizardry for the war effort by Chaim Weizmann. I guess the first real alarm was in the 1930s when Jews by the thousands began to arrive, escaping Nazi Germany.

Naturally the Palestinians were very upset and rioted against the English. As a result, the idea of “homeland” was reconsidered and a quota put on Jewish immigration. But the
horrors of Nazi Germany were too much and the Jews kept coming.

What other people have been forced to undergo such terrible things? Not even slavery came close to such cruelty on so vast a scale. The survivors knew Hitler had the tacit approval of many groups and countries besides Germany. Could such a survivor ever feel at ease again except in a Jewish state?

I understand the question “does the end justify the means?” is answered decisively in the Koran. The answer is no. Even if you hate your enemy with good reason, there are limits to what you can do in war. You can’t kill women and children intentionally. This is one of the things that makes Islam great to me.

But when Arafat started his terrorism against Israel in the 1960s, right from the beginning, he paid no attention to this. The terrorism continued, killing men, women and children with no distinction, eventually forcing a stronger and stronger response from the Jews. And now I see Mullahs, in the name of Allah and the Koran, exhorting more and more hatred.

I always thought the Koran and Islam were to be a bridge between man and Allah, not an instrument of hatred. Am I wrong to feel this is blasphemy, and the continued hate and madness is creating a nation of psychotics? Wouldn’t anyone who still has a spark of the true spirit of Allah, El Rahim, consider the idea of forgiveness?

And would forgiveness be such a terrible thing for the Palestinian people? They would have the West Bank. I heard President Clinton offered Arafat 30 billion dollars to get Arafat’s economy moving if he accepted peace. That’s about 10 thousand dollars for every man, woman and child of the original three million refugees.

When the Jews lost their homes in Europe, they were marched to camps where they were worked, starved and tortured almost to death. Then they were marched naked to gas chambers where even their skin and body fat were ripped out and used for lamp shades and soap. After the war, the survivors who made Israel offered the Palestinians a choice: They could take an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state or leave. About 500,000 took the oath and still live in Israel.

And there are those who say the Israelis are the Nazis and are treating the Palestinians as they were treated. Please think a little about this. Hasn’t the just Palestinian anger become psychotic hate and madness? And how many, using the name of Allah and Islam, are willing to exterminate the Israelis, claiming such is the will of El Rahim?


Don Charpentier is a Minneapolis resident.
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