As rockets continue to pound the south of Israel from Hamas controlled Gaza and the rest of the country attempts to recover from the two-week plus saga of the Gush Etzion kidnappings and murders, it feels as if the strings keeping the quiet are unraveling everywhere. In other regional news, more and more of Syria and Iraq are being taken over by the successors of Al-Qaeda, whose ideology we may soon be fighting on our doorstep, as well.
It also happens to be the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Tensions are high, particularly at highly sensitive religious places of worship like the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that religion is at the source of the conflict and will only exacerbate tensions.
Conventional wisdom is not only wrong, it is has it backwards.
It is religion and the love and fear of God/Allah that will ultimately be the only thing that will bring peace to the Holy Land and the broader region.
Our problems lie in the paradigms, ideologies and prisms through which we look at the conflict. All of us are making a fundamental error if we believe that Islam is simply going to disappear. Islam demands to be taken seriously.
Similarly, critics of “Zionism” also make a fundamental error when they mistake it for something along the lines of secular colonialism, rather than the the natural expression of the Jewish people to live freely in the homeland of their ancestors.
I believe that a bridge can be built between Islam and Zionism under the term “Abrahamism”, that would reflect the broader peaceful and spiritual, as well as political, goals of each group. The word Zionism was chosen a century ago, because the word Zion was familiar to Christian imperialists as being synonymous with Jerusalem. But the words Zion is completely foreign to the Qur’an and Middle Eastern ears.
The name Abraham/Ibraham, on the other hand, is like a magic word symbolizing brotherhood and friendship.
Arabs and Muslims recognize that Jews are a “Semitic” people and originally came from the Holy Land. The very reason “al-Aqsa” is holy is because it was the site of the two Jewish Temples. Islam recognizes David (Daoud) and Solomon (Suleiman) as Prophets and indeed sees Judaism and the Torah as the earliest “forms of Islam”. Abraham, and the religion of Abraham, are deeply respected.
For Jews, the term “Abrahamism” means the same as “Zionism”: Return to the Land of our Fathers. The political goals of Zionism were achieved in 1948 with the establishment of a Jewish State. However its spiritual goals have not yet been achieved and there is still much more work to be done.
Let us all recognize that we have much more in common than we have that divides us and may we link arms as children of God/Allah in pursuit of righteousness, justice and peace.
Abraham is the Solution.