O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice (bil-qis`ṭi), as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do. (Yusuf Ali translation)
On October 5th I had a friendly lunch with a very popular and highly respected Indianapolis Rabbi. Over the years he and I have met occasionally to keep in contact as friends and faith leaders. Within 48 hours of this cordial interfaith lunch, all hell broke loose. Reports of an attack by Hamas – an acronym for “Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya” (Islamic Resistance Movement) – had taken place upon innocent Jewish citizens who were celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a major festival in Judaism.
It must be emphatically stated that according to the Qur’an and the life example of Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, attacks upon innocent civilians is totally un-Islamic. Hamas, the charged aggressor, is totally wrong for committing the October 7th attacks. As Muslims we should be outspoken against anyone attacking unarmed civilians. There can be no ambiguity from Muslims in our public denunciation of such violations against any human lives. Allah has made it quite clear that we are to tell the whole truth even if bearing witness against our own selves, our parents or against the rich or the poor. Hamas has innocent Jewish blood on their guilty hands!
As my soul wrestled with the unfolding news of the attacks upon Israeli citizens, I sent a text to a total of four Indianapolis Rabbis. An excerpt reads, “…The protected sovereignty of Israel must be maintained. However, and I’m sure you can agree, before my mind can come to grips with the current pains of Israel my mind is flooded with the many, many decades of unjust suffering endured by Palestinians at the hands of Israel…” Israel too has innocent Palestinian blood their guilty hands!
The Qur’an is very clear, 5:8 “…let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice…” No Muslim can excuse their unjust mistreatment to others simply because they previously suffered injustice. According to this Qur’an injunction Muslims cannot say Hamas was justified in killing the innocent. So, where are the balanced sober-minded thinkers with the courage to confront and address gross injustices?
Too often, on both sides, we only hear divisive, one-sided rhetoric being broadcasted by bias news sources that radiates half-truths around the world; therefore, creating camps of “either you’re with us or against us.” To the dismay of many our president, Joe Biden, (an avowed “Christian Zionist”) unnecessarily exacerbated the tension by initially only acknowledging Israel’s pain while saying nothing about the loss of innocent Palestinian babies and the elderly by the hands of Israel. It was only after protest in support of Palestinians that President Biden finally – and seemingly with reluctance – began to acknowledge the loss of innocent Palestinians. Even most American media outlets seemed to stress less importance on Palestinian lives, comparative to Jewish lives. We need sober-minded, unbiased leaders who have the moral courage to address these grave injustices upon the innocent.
We can find no Islamic support for the atrocities committed upon the innocent Jewish community. Is there any Jewish religious support for the atrocities committed by Jews against the Palestinians? Since the 1948 creation of the State of Israel even the difficult Jewish law of an “eye for eye, tooth for tooth,” in Leviticus 24:20, is ignored by some Jews when they seek vengeance, thus resulting in innocent blood of Palestinians on their guilty hands.
Can Hamas use the Qur’an to defend the evil actions of October 7, 2023? NO! Can Israelis use the Torah to defend the seventy-five years of abusing and killing Palestinians? No! For centuries errant Christians intentionally misinterpreted the Bible to justify their killing and mistreatment of Native Americans and the evil enslavement Africans, not to mention the suppression of women rights. But none of these evils against humanity can be justified if we follow the best of our respective books of revelation. People of faith must lead the way by remaining true to the disciplines of revealed scripture even if our respective scriptures describe us as the guilty party.
Until the good people in all of our respective faith traditions have the courage to stand up tall and speak out loudly against the evils that their own people are committing– directly or indirectly – then we will continue to have innocent blood on our guilty hands.
Since the creation of the State of Israel over innocent Christian and Muslim Palestinians have been murdered and displaced. Acts of murder by “suicide-bombers” has resulted in innocent Jews being murdered, even though suicide in any form is forbidden in Islam.
Despite the imbalance of casualties, the Qur’an and the Old Testament Bible explicitly declares that every human life is special; The Qur’an says, “On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.
The killing of the innocent rages on daily as close to 10,000 Palestinians have been killed, often by indiscriminating Jewish bombing of Gaza. This is a terrible sin against humanity as was the killing of 1,400 innocent Jewish souls on October. Both sides have innocent blood on their guilty hands.