Be Consistent to Our Moral Ground, Manhattan City – 

As a man of faith, I do believe in humanity in the first place. I believe that our common humanity deserves dignity, freedom, justice and equality. I don’t care where I belong in terms of my racial, ethnic and religious affiliation. I am a human being and would forever consistently put humanity in the first place.

When I say putting humanity in the first place, it means I would treat every single human being with dignity, respect their basic rights including freedom, and deal with all with justice and genuine equality.

For this fundamental reason let me make it clear to the world that I do condemn “the killings of innocent civilians, whoever the perpetrators and the victims are. And I am deeply sympathetic to all victims, without distinction between those who have been victimized by the barbaric inhumane actions and the barbaric inhumane response. Human lives, regardless of who they are, are equally sacred and must be honored.

These days we are witnessing again the cycles of violence going on in the Middle East. Last Saturday the military wing of Hamas, Al-Qassam, entered into Israel and killed hundreds of Jews, many of those are civilians. Based on my stand on humanity and my commitment and consistency to my moral ground, I do condemn such evil acts.

On the other hand, I must also say that the disproportional response of the Israelis in Gaza by the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and even residential compounds, and the killings of thousands of civilians including over 700 children are also condemned.

Some people have always tried to justify these cycles of violence by each side as “fighting for rights” by the Palestinians, and “the right for self defense” by the Israelis. Whatever the justification may be, I still don’t accept it and I will always reject any justification used to kill innocent civilians, particularly children and women.

What Hamas did on Saturday, the 7th of October, is condemned. But what the Israelis have done in the West Bank, Janine, or even in Jerusalem and Masjid Al-Aqsa prior to the tragedy is also condemned. In the last year alone, it’s reported that more than 600 Palestinians, many of those are children who have been killed by the Israelis.

In a nutshell, I condemn the cycles of violence that’s been and continue to be perpetrated by both sides.

We can debate about who is right and wrong in this conflict. We can even go back as far as to the 1948 conflict and debate it. But for me, it’s just a waste of energy and resources. Both sides can claim to be right and that the other is wrong, but it will only bring us to continuous cycles of anger and animosity.

What I would like to see is advancing our common humanity, based on human dignity, freedom and justice (fair and equal treatment) as proclaimed by the Geneva Universal Human Rights Declaration in 1948. And for sure, guided by our religious teachings and values below.
” Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world”. (Mishna)

” That is why We ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever takes a life—unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land—it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity. ˹Although˺ Our messengers already came to them with clear proofs, many of them still transgressed afterwards through the land”. (Qur’an 5:32)
We must be able and need to learn to put our feet in another’s shoes. May we imagine for a moment and learn to feel the pain of those Israelis who lost their lives and loved ones last Saturday. But may we also learn to feel the pain and sufferings of the Palestinians who have for a long time and continue to suffer every day.

In conclusion, I just wanted to say that as we all want peace, harmony, and friendship between people, we must be consistent on our “moral ground” and uphold highly our shared “universal values” of human dignity, freedom and justice.

May God intervene and may peace and justice prevail in the world. Amen! [mc]

Manhattan, 16 October 2023.

*Imam Shamsi Ali, Presiden of Nusantara Foundation. 


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