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Peace (Salam) & Greetings!

The recent pause in violence in Gaza is a welcome respite for the people, especially the innocent and the children who suffered the brunt of this mindless assault, a revenge killing that has exceeded all bounds of proportionality to the crime committed on October 7th. We hope that this pause gives time for people of all background – the military, the politicians, the policy makers, the public and individuals who are blinded by power, arrogance, and hatred – to reflect, assess the consequences of our actions, individual as well as collective, and be mindful that God watches over all and is a witness to all our conduct. It is indeed strange that the main religious groups in this conflict – Jews, Christians, and Muslims – all claim to affiliate themselves with Abraham, a true servant of God who was devoted to God, righteous and humble, care for those who even disagreed with him and prayed that his children (generations that claims to follow his creed) will be bound by the covenant that he had made with God.  God accepted his prayer but with a cautionary note – “but not those who taint their faith with evils”.

As Mark Twain said history does not repeat itself but it does rhyme and here we are, after numerous Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, large scale colonization of the world, including our own country, the slavery of African Americans, the systemic destruction and dehumanization of indigenous people, the Holocaust, the Vietnam war, and the large scale persecution of Palestinian Muslims, Christians and Jews since 1948, the post 9/11 misguided responses and policies – we witness yet another episode of killings of innocent human beings while the whole world looks on paralyzed, unable to heal its own trauma, caused by its own hand. When truth is denied, injustice will follow!

The world today is bleeding – physically, mentally, and spiritually. We are aroused by physical bleeding as it forces us to confront what the eyes can see but our mind told us many times over that when persecutions and hatred are not only allowed to fester but become a social and political norm, bloodletting is inevitable as human soul can only hold so much pain and indignity. The human spirit (‘ruh’ – God’s breathe) cannot be contaminated but can be handicapped when we look the other way and don’t pay heed to its constant reminder of our daily persecutions, stereotypes, bullying, false narratives, moralizing the immoral, denying pain of others while using a bull horn to proclaim our own. Our spiritual crisis is the root cause to the pandemics that we ourselves create time and again, while fighting COVID-19 pandemic we don’t find equally divisive. How shortsighted and pitiful have we become!

Unless each one of us look at our individual self and our human spirit and increase our affinity for truth and justice, the man-made crisis will continue to bleed our world.  God will judge us in this life through trials we undergo each day – what to do in the face of injustice, how to reconcile our moral dilemma, how to reverse social, economic, political, and religious norms that harm rather than enhance human life? There will be no such escape in the life to come and no more denial of our culpability – “ When they will come to face the Day of Judgement, their ears, eyes and skins will testify against them as to what they did. They will ask their own skins, ‘Why do you testify against us?’ Their skins will reply, ‘God Who created speech for everything has enable us to speak.  God created you first and now made to come back to God.  You did not conceal yourself thinking that your ears, eyes, and skins could not testify against yourself, because you thought God did not know much of what you did!’” (Q41:20-22)