It was 30th of March, 2016, when I was invited by the Zionist Federation of UK and it was the day when I acquired honorary membership in the Zionist Federation. I received mixed responses from different social circles and schools of thought, especially from the South Asian community.
My own Pakistani community was surprised and mortified when I proclaimed my adherence to Zionism
I received various texts and social media messages from Muslim communities across the globe. Most of them welcomed my brave and courageous step to grasp the truth and some people asked queer questions regarding any anti-religious elements in Zionism especially for the religion of Islam. In response to their contrasting questions, I adopted the following way of discourse:
1) Why did I join the Zionist Movement being a Muslim?
First of all, I need to ask a very exclusive question before an answer to the above question, which is what is Zionism? In fact, Zionism is a political reclamation movement to establish a separate, safe and inviolable state for the world Jewish community in Palestine. This movement was extremely crucial for the Jewish people, to settle them down in a secure place from the worst persecution of the European and the Middle Eastern peoples. Before the Zionist Movement, there was still persecutions, pogroms, genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people all around the world. Before the establishing of the Zionist Movement, the Jewish community was abandoned and helpless and the Zionist Movement gave them an aspiration, provided them a political platform to increment their lawful voice and a social support. The Zionist Movement was the national liberation movement of the Jewish people and its main goal was to the return the Jews to Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel). The world history shows us the huge religious, cultural and social persecution of the Jewish people before the creation of the Zionist Movement in 1896 by Theodor Herzl.
The Zionist Movement is an authentic national movement of the Jewish people in the world. There are many people of various religions who joined a political branch of Zionism in solidarity with the Jewish people and in support of Israel. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was an enormous figure from the history who was pro-Israel and pro-Zionism because he has seen great persecution against the black community in the US and all around the world. He experienced racism first hand. Every person who suffered racially and religiously would understand better what the objectives of Zionism are. The Zionist Movement is as a supportive liberation movement such as Martin Luther’s African-American civil rights movement and Nelson Mandela’s Anti-Apartheid Revolutionary Movement and like many other revolutionary or solvation movements for their nation. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr always supported Israel and Zionism throughout his life:
When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism.
I was not the sole Muslim who joined the Zionist Movement; there are numerous Muslims in history that also joined this movement in consensus with the Jewish community and in support of Israel. I joined the Zionist Federation in the UK because I believe that the Jewish community needs more support for their cause, they need someone, who campaigns for peace between the Muslim and the Jewish community, someone who can descant with the Pakistani community for them and someone who can educate their people about the reality of Israel and Jewish people. I then decided to become a part of the Zionist Federation, which is a great honour for me.
2) “Zionism is against Islam and Muslims!”
There are many conspiracies against Zionism and Zionists in the world. So many people blame Zionism for every wrong that happens in the world and one of their claims is that Zionism is against Islam and the Muslims. These accusations are totally baseless and flimsy because those who accused Zionism are heedless of Zionism and its history. The history of Zionism started from 1896 and it was principally focused on the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people. There is no such agenda in Zionism against any religion, particularly Islam or Muslims. The Zionist Federation has never provided any shelter for religious haters or supported any anti-religion movement.
20% of the Israeli population consists of non-Jews and most of them are Arab Muslims. Muslims are living in peace and harmony under Israeli law and there are about 400 Mosques in Israel, which are protected by the Jewish state. This is the beauty of Zionism. Zionism has never encouraged religious violence. There is no any example of the Zionist Federation providing a platform against Islam or Muslims. The Zionist Federation always denounced terrorism, whether it is a political or a religious terrorism.
There is freedom of speech and freedom of religion for Muslims in the state of Israel. Muslims live in the only democratic country in the Middle East without fear and persecution. We cannot find any religious discrimination against Arab Israelis in the Jewish state. Muslims have more rights than any other Islamic country in the Middle East. One of the foundations of Zionism is, settling the country of Israel as an expression of practical Zionism.
Very well-known Muslim political figures not only supported Israel but provided assistance in recognition of the Jewish state of Israel
3) “Islam and the Quran is against Zionism!”
One very essential thing people need to understand is that Zionism is the latest political nationalist movement of the Jewish people and it has nothing to do with Islam, the Holy Quran or Muslims. It was a political movement for the creation of Israel and in support of the Jewish people. After establishing the Jewish state of Israel, it became an advocacy movement for Israel and for the Jewish people. If people are refereeing this phenomenon to Israel and the Quran or Jews and Islam, then I can give you many examples that Israel belongs to the Jewish people and Jews belong to Israel only. Furthermore, the Quran itself defended Jews and their land of Israel.
According to British-based Imam Muhammad Al-Hussaini, traditional commentators from the 8th and 9th century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Qur’an to say explicitly that the Land of Israel has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual covenant. Hussaini bases his argument upon the Qur’an in which Moses declares:
O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has prescribed for you, and turn not back in your traces, to turn about losers. Quran 5:21
This is a concrete proof that this land was never been a historical land for Muslims ONLY and the Jewish community has a divine right on this consecrated land according to the Holy Qur’an. I fully concede with the statement of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, a pupil of the Grand Mufti of Cairo, in which he stated:
The Qur’an itself grants the whole Land of Israel to the Jews, so that any opposition to the Jewish state is an offense against Allah
According to the Islamic point of view, this land belonged to the people of Israel (Bani Isarel) and Muslims must follow the Qur’anic teaching by accepting the truth and embracing the Jewish community especially the Jews of Israel. People must do a comprehensive research about the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement, in which Emir Faisal, who later became the king of Syria and then Iraq supported the Jewish state. King Faisal made an agreement on the 13th of January, 1919 with Chaim Weizmann, the Chairman of the World Zionist Organisation in which he stated:
“We Arabs… look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our delegation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home… I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilised peoples of the world.”
Emir Faisal, a son of the King of Hejaz, conditionally accepted the Balfour Declaration based on the fulfilment of British wartime promises of development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
The Zionist Federation is not a secret society or a hidden organisation but an open advocacy platform for the Jewish people and the Jewish land of Israel
The Zionist Federation’s mission, objectives and projects are open and bright for the world. The Zionist Federation is a political organisation that educates people of the world about the lifestyle of the Jewish people, which is no different from the rest of the world and they support those who have affected by the wave of terror.
My main objective in joining the Zionist Federation is to unconditionally support my Jewish brothers and sisters. Through this political and advocacy platform, I will educate my Muslim, particularly my Pakistani community to stand firm with the Jewish community who have endured for thousands of years. I need to raise awareness within my community for what they examine through western or Arab media is not accurate and they must research in order to find out the actuality which is hidden under Arab politics against the Jewish community.
We must raise our voice in solidarity with Israelis who are the most peaceful and intelligent nation in the world. They have very great skills in every educational field especially in science and the latest technology. We Pakistanis are suffering from terrorism and from violent extremism for decades and the only option to defeat this monstrous ideology is to make good ties and relations with those whom we considered our enemy. Israel has never remained our enemy and always seeks good relations with Pakistan. Every Pakistani who visited Israel changed his/her view about Israel.
It is not against our religion or culture to support our Jewish cousins and we must open our arms to embrace our cousins and the nation of the Prophet Moses (PBUH).