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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mitzvah Day in the Detroit News

How long has the Jewish community been promoting and engaging in Mitzvah Day? I'm asking because I don't know. And since it's already taken me more than two mouse clicks to try and find that information on the Internet, my patience is at its end. But I do know that we've been at it a long time, around 20 years. And I like the concept. Jewish volunteers filling in for Christians on Christmas day; great idea.

But some things, no matter how nice they sound, and no matter how much people think it will bring caring people of different faiths together, just will not work. It is a bad idea to team up with the Muslim community on Mitzvah Day. If the local Islamic community wants to reach out, they have the ability to do so. We Jews are so worried that people who hate us won't like us that it causes us to engage in activities that are ultimately harmful to us. The proof is in this final paragraph of the Detroit News article linked above.
Dr. Muzammil Ahmed, chairman of the Michigan Muslim Community Council, . . . "said he hopes Mitzvah Day reminds people some of the tensions between Jews and Muslims are "relatively new," having occurred only in the past 100 years or so. He added that the two groups lived in harmony for more than a century.
But seriously folks, "the tensions are relatively new"? And this bit of anti-historical tripe was printed without any examination to its veracity because it makes us feel good. We can rewrite history so that we can all get along. Or can we? First, let's go further back than 100 years. Let's try 1400 years when the armies of Mohammed began their fight against the Jews. Read an Islamic account of the Battle of Khyber here. And notice what Islamic scripture has to say about the Jews:
After having been driven away from Madina, the Jews settled at Khyber. The Jews were a cunning and crafty people, and they involved themselves in intrigues against the Muslims.
Here is another interpretation. We know that Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Saudi peninsula in the early days of Islam. We also know that until recently Jews were allowed to live in Islamic conquered nations as along as they knew their place as dhimmis. They were only subject to assaults, rapes, pogroms, and forced conversions sometimes. There were, of course, times when Jews were allowed to live in peace and become a part of the greater community. I believe these episodes are given the name, "Golden Age" and we are supposed to accept these periods in history as proof that Jews and Muslims were able to live in peace until . . .  well, you know. But what's never acknowledged in these instances is the fact that Jews were still dhimmis, second class citizens, subject to the whims of their Islamic superiors. Freedom and the pursuit of happiness could never be taken for granted. It could (and often did) end at any time for any reason, good or bad.

So why are we expected to ignore 1400 years of history in order to concentrate on the previous hundred years? And if were supposed to ignore all, should we also ignore the remarks of CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid?
"Who are those who incurred the wrath of Allah?" CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid asked in a May 25 sermon at the Islamic Organization of North America mosque in Warren, Mich. "They are the Jews, they are the Jews," he answered himself in Arabic.
The "pro-Israeli occupation lobby that is connected to the Islamophobia network" is the reason why America experiences "more problems, more Islamophobia, more hate crimes, more desecration of mosques, more anti-Muslim activity" than other countries in North and South America, Walid said. This Zionist lobby is also the biggest obstacle to Muslims "liberating" Palestine, Jerusalem, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the heat of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he said.
And do recall this article from the Arab American News. Don't ignore the reaction of Dearborn's Muslim community to the 2006 Lebanon War.
Daily protests occur in Dearborn. At one recent demonstration, organized by the Congress of Arab-Americans, about 1,000 people attended. College-age men asked, in call and response fashion, "Who is your army?" Protestors responded: "Hezbollah." "Who is your leader?" they were asked. "Nasrallah," the chanters responded. Many carried placards of the Hezbollah leader. A few days earlier at an even larger demonstration, more than 15,000 turned out, about half of Dearborn's Arab community. Those who regularly attend the demonstrations tend to be the most strident. "Oh, Jews, remember Khaibar," the marchers chant. "The army of the Prophet will return." The line is a reference to Khaibar, a Jewish town north of Medina that, according to Islamic tradition, was overtaken by the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. Once defeated, the surviving Jews of Khaibar were forced into serfdom. Two decades later, they were expelled from the Arabian peninsula.
Reach out all you want, but don't expect reciprocal feelings from any but a tiny minority. Do expect further twistings of history and excuses for bad behavior, the blame for this bad behavior falling on you-know-who, who always seems to get the blame.

Finally, when it comes to charity and reaching out to all of humanity in the best possible manner, here is a non-Jew who sees it like it is.