[Michigan, November 6, 2023]:
With a heavy heart, I write this letter to convey my profound sadness and deep concern regarding the ongoing crisis in the holy land. The loss of innocent lives is a tragic event that demands unequivocal condemnation.
While recognizing the imperative to address acts of violence, it is essential to differentiate between acts of self-defense and those of revenge.
The response of the Israeli government to this crisis has raised concerns, particularly in its scale and impact. The current toll, with more than 10,000 Palestinian lives lost, mainly women and children, and greater than 25,000 people injured, represents a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions.
The actions unfolding before our eyes are profoundly alarming, and no words can capture the extent of suffering and anguish endured by the people of Gaza.
Hospitals, mosques, churches, and residential buildings have been destroyed due to the devastating air strikes.
The deprivation of basic necessities such as electricity, food, and water represent an alarming and distressing situation and is considered a war crime. This condition raises imminent concerns about the looming threat of a humanitarian catastrophe.
These actions are undeniably barbaric and stand in stark contrast to the values of civilization and democracy that we cherish.
Regrettably, the unwavering and unconditional support of the U.S. government for the state of Israel is adding fuel to the fire.
For decades, Palestinians have endured a painful reality marked by humiliation, illegal settlements, persistent conflict, and violence, particularly at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam. This has been coupled with the annexation of their land, forced removal from their homes, a blockade on Gaza, and the disturbing rise of hate speech, including expressions of “Death to Arabs.” These longstanding issues have played a significant role in the recent outcry.
People of conscience stand on the side of humanity. The world over is crying out for an immediate ceasefire. The violence must end, and dialogue must commence. Despite decades of unsuccessful attempts to establish peace in the region, the time has come to pave the way for lasting peace, provided that Israel embraces this idea and halts the bloodshed in exchange for peace. When Israel earnestly seeks peace, peace shall indeed prevail. Both, the Israelis, and the Palestinians deserve to live in peace. Arabs, and Palestinians genuinely want peace and stability but with justice and fairness. The possibility of two neighbors coexisting peacefully is within reach.
Human life is sacred, precious, and deserving of protection. Stones can be replaced. Human souls are irreplaceable. The value and sanctity of human life is immeasurable and cannot be restored once lost.
Instead of vowing to cripple Hamas, pledge to seek peaceful resolutions and restore harmony. Instead of deploying bombs, extend an olive branch. It is time for Netanyahu to tear down the walls of enmity.
I am reminded by the Quranic verse, “Evil and good are never equal, repel evil with that which is better lest those whom you have enmity with become your intimate friend.” (Quran, 41:34)
Let there be peace.
Imam Mustapha Elturk
Founding member of the American Human Rights Council (AHRC)
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