In school in
Gaza, I learned hate, vengeance and retaliation. Peace was never an
option, as it was considered a sign of defeat and weakness. At
school we sang songs with verses calling Jews "dogs" (in Arab
culture, dogs are considered unclean).
questioning were forbidden. When I did either of these, I was told:
"Muslims cannot love the enemies of God, and those who do will get
no mercy in hell." As a young woman, I visited a Christian friend in
Cairo during Friday prayers, and we both heard the verbal attacks on
Christians and Jews from the loudspeakers outside the mosque. They
said: "May God destroy the infidels and the Jews, the enemies of
God. We are not to befriend them or make treaties with them." We
heard worshippers respond "Amen".
looked scared; I was ashamed. That was when I first realised that
something was very wrong in the way my religion was taught and
practised. Sadly, the way I was raised was not unique. Hundreds of
millions of other Muslims also have been raised with the same hatred
of the West and Israel as a way to distract from the failings of
their leaders. Things have not changed since I was a little girl in
television extols terrorists, and textbooks still deny the existence
of Israel. More than 300 Palestinians schools are named after
shaheeds, including my father. Roads in both Egypt and Gaza still
bear his name - as they do of other "martyrs". What sort of message
does that send about the role of terrorists? That they are heroes.
Leaders who signed peace treaties, such as President Anwar Sadat,
have been assassinated. Today, the Islamo-fascist president of Iran
uses nuclear dreams, Holocaust denials and threats to "wipe Israel
off the map" as a way to maintain control of his divided country.
Denmark set to assume the rotating presidency of the UN Security
Council, the flames of the cartoon controversy have been fanned by
Iran and Syria. This is critical since the International Atomic
Energy Agency is expected to refer Iran to the Security Council and
demand sanctions. At the same time, Syria is under scrutiny for its
actions in Lebanon. Both Iran and Syria cynically want to embarrass
the Danes to achieve their dangerous goals.
rallies and riots come from a public ripe with rage. From my
childhood in Gaza until today, blaming Israel and the West has been
an industry in the Muslim world. Whenever peace seemed attainable,
Palestinian leaders found groups who would do everything to sabotage
it. They allowed their people to be used as the front line of Arab
jihad. Dictators in countries surrounding the Palestinians were only
too happy to exploit the Palestinians as a diversion from problems
in their own backyards. The only voice outside of government control
in these areas has been the mosques, and these places of worship
have been filled with talk of jihad.
Is it any
surprise that after decades of indoctrination in a culture of hate,
that people actually do hate? Arab society has created a system of
relying on fear of a common enemy. It's a system that has brought
them much-needed unity, cohesion and compliance in a region ravaged
by tribal feuds, instability, violence, and selfish corruption. So
Arab leaders blame Jews and Christians rather than provide good
schools, roads, hospitals, housing, jobs, or hope to their people.
For 30 years
I lived inside this war zone of oppressive dictatorships and police
states. Citizens competed to appease
and glorify their dictators, but they looked the other way when
Muslims tortured and terrorized other
Muslims. I witnessed honour killings
of girls, oppression of women, female genital mutilation, polygamy
and its devastating effect on family relations. All of this is
destroying the Muslim faith from within.
It's time for
Arabs and Muslims to stand up for their families. We must stop
allowing our leaders to use the West and Israel as an excuse to
distract from their own failed leadership and their citizens' lack
of freedoms. It's time to stop allowing Arab leaders to complain
about cartoons while turning a blind eye to people who defame Islam
by holding Korans in one hand while murdering innocent people with
jobs - not jihad. Apologies about cartoons will not solve the
problems. What is needed is hope and not hate. Unless we recognize
that the culture of hate is the true root of the riots surrounding
this cartoon controversy, this violent overreaction will only be the
start of a clash of civilizations that the world cannot bear.
Darwish is a freelance writer and public speaker.
Peace for all.
n the light
of the recent events, we the Achenese in Denmark
and Europe are worried of the impact of the conflict between
Denmark (and Europe) and the Islamic world on the peace process
and reconstruction in Acheh.
We are political refugees who has
come to Denmark, during the last few years. We were forced to
leave Acheh because we were persecuted by the Indonesian
government because of our work for peace, human rights,
democracy and social justice and now we intend to continue this
work from Denmark.
As Muslims we, the Achenese in Denmark and Europe view the cartoons of the prophet Mohammad in Jyllandsposten
as creative art that have very poor taste,
but as democrats we understand that press and political
leadership are separated in Denmark and we do not support
violence, threats or destruction of property.
We are concerned that this conflict will be used by the
authorities in Jakarta to obstruct the peace process in Acheh.
We have been informed that there have been anti-Danish
demonstrations in Acheh and these demonstrations were probably
arranged by people who do not want peace in Acheh.
We know that Danes are stationed in Acheh as humanitarian
workers or as peace keeping forces (AMM). We are concerned that
if they and other Europeans in Acheh are forced to leave Acheh
for security reasons the peace process and reconstruction of
Acheh will be impeded. The losers will be the victims of the
tsunami and the conflict in Acheh, who w ere recently given the
hope of a brighter future when the memorandum of understanding
between GAM and the Indonesian government was signed in
Helsinki, Finland on the 15th. August, last year.
We hope that there will be a solution to the conflict between
the Islamic world and Europe and as Achenese we hope that the
humanitarian workers and peace keeping forces will not be
withdrawn from Acheh but will continue their mission for peace
Finally, we wish to thank for the contribution of the Danish,
European and international societies in Acheh.
Denmark 18 February
On behalf of Achenese
people in Denmark
For more information on this press release,
please contact: Adnan Beuransah (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Achehniske Samfund Foretning i Danmark, Adnan Daud (adanan_daudy@yahoo,com);
KMPD Europopean representative, Tarmizi Age (email@example.com)
Formand for KMPD Europæiske Afdeling Mølleparken 20 9690
Fjerrritslev Denmark, Phone: 0045 24897172.