“This AD was approved by HAMAS”….

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……”pictures of Bibi Aisha’s disfigurement should be displayed on billboards, along every highway from Route 66 to the Autobahn, to the Transarabian Highway. Her picture should be posted on every lobby wall from Tokyo to Stockholm to Rio. On every network, at every commercial break, Bibi Aisha’s face should appear with the caption – “Radical Islamic savages did this.” And underneath – “This AD was approved by HAMAS, by Hezbollah, by Taliban, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, by Islamic Jihad, by Fatah al Islam, by Magar Nodal Hassan, by Richard Reid, by Ahmanijad, by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, by Osama bin Laden, by Edward Said, by The Muslim Brotherhood, by Al Queda, by CAIR.”

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Written and delivered as a Sermon
by Atlanta Rabbi Schlomo Lewis
EHR KUMT, First Day of Rosh Hashanah 2010

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Many years ago a Chasid used to travel from shtetl to shtetl selling holy books. On one occasion he came to a wealthy land owner and asked if he would like to purchase a book of Torah teachings. The banker agreed and not only purchased the book, but paid for it with a hundred ruble note. He then began to chat with the Chassid and offered him a cigar, taking one also for himself. The Chassid noticed that the banker proceeded to rip a page from the holy book he had just bought and holding it to the open flame on the stove, used the page to light his cigar. The Chassid said not a word but simply drew out from his pocket the 100 ruble note he had just received from the banker, held it over the stove as well and used it to light his cigar.

This simple, little tale reflects a profound divergence of values. Our sympathy clearly and instinctively is not with the banker but with the pious Chassid. None of us would come to the defense of the banker. None of us would claim moral supremacy for the banker. None of us would justify his boorish deed. As the sages of the Talmud would say – “Pshita – It is so obvious.” Sadly though our planet is immersed in perversity where morality is not so manifest – where the book burner is a hero and the pious one, a villain.

I thought long and I thought hard on whether to deliver the sermon I am about to share. We all wish to bounce happily out of shul on the High Holidays, filled with warm fuzzies, ready to gobble up our brisket, our honey cakes and our kugel. We want to be shaken and stirred – but not too much. We want to be guilt-schlepped – but not too much. We want to be provoked but not too much. We want to be transformed but not too much.

I get it, but as a rabbi I have a compelling obligation, a responsibility to articulate what is in my heart and what I passionately believe must be said and must be heard. And so, I am guided not by what is easy to say but by what is painful to express. I am guided not by the frivolous but by the serious. I am guided not by delicacy but by urgency.

We are at war. We are at war with an enemy as savage, as voracious, as heartless as the Nazis but one wouldn’t know it from our behavior. During WWII we didn’t refer to storm troopers as freedom fighters. We didn’t call the Gestapo, militants. We didn’t see the attacks on our Merchant Marine as acts by rogue sailors. We did not justify the Nazis rise to power as our fault. We did not grovel before the Nazis, thumping our hearts and confessing to abusing and mistreating and humiliating the German people. We did not apologize for Dresden, nor for The Battle of the Bulge, nor for El Alamein, nor for D-Day.

Evil – ultimate, irreconcilable, evil threatened us and Roosevelt and Churchill had moral clarity and an exquisite understanding of what was at stake. It was not just the Sudetenland, not just Tubruk, not just Vienna, not just Casablanca. It was the entire planet. Read history and be shocked at how frighteningly close Hitler came to creating a Pax Germana on every continent.

Not all Germans were Nazis – most were decent, most were revolted by the Third Reich, most were good citizens hoisting a beer, earning a living and tucking in their children at night. But, too many looked away, too many cried out in lame defense – I didn’t know.” Too many were silent. Guilt absolutely falls upon those who committed the atrocities, but responsibility and guilt falls upon those who did nothing as well. Fault was not just with the goose steppers but with those who pulled the curtains shut, said and did nothing.

In WWII we won because we got it. We understood who the enemy was and we knew that the end had to be unconditional and absolute. We did not stumble around worrying about offending the Nazis. We did not measure every word so as not to upset our foe. We built planes and tanks and battleships and went to war to win….. to rid the world of malevolence.

We are at war… yet too many stubbornly and foolishly don’t put the pieces together and refuse to identify the evil doers. We are circumspect and disgracefully politically correct.

Let me mince no words in saying that from Fort Hood to Bali, from Times Square to London, from Madrid to Mumbai, from 9/11 to Gaza, the murderers, are radical Islamists.

To camouflage their identity is sedition. To excuse their deeds is contemptible. To mask their intentions is unconscionable.

A few years ago I visited Lithuania on a Jewish genealogical tour. It was a stunning journey and a very personal, spiritual pilgrimage. When we visited Kovno we davened Maariv at the only remaining shul in the city. Before the war there were thirty-seven shuls for 38,000 Jews. Now only one, a shrinking, gray congregation. We made minyon for the handful of aged worshippers in the Choral Synagogue, a once majestic, jewel in Kovno.

After my return home I visited Cherry Hill for Shabbos. At the oneg an elderly family friend, Joe Magun, came over to me.

“Shalom,” he said. “Your abba told me you just came back from Lithuania.” “Yes,” I replied. “It was quite a powerful experience.” “Did you visit the Choral Synagogue in Kovno? The one with the big arch in the courtyard?” “Yes, I did. In fact, we helped them make minyon.” His eyes opened wide in joy at our shared memory. For a moment he gazed into the distance and then, he returned. “Shalom, I grew up only a few feet away from the arch. The Choral Synagogue was where I davened as a child.”

He paused for a moment and once again was lost in the past. His smile faded. Pain filled his wrinkled face. “I remember one Shabbos in 1938 when Vladimir Jabotinsky came to the shul” (Jabotinsky was Menachim Begin’s mentor – he was a fiery orator, an unflinching Zionist radical, whose politics were to the far right.) Joe continued “When Jabotinsky came, he delivered the drash on Shabbos morning and I can still hear his words burning in my ears. He climbed up to the shtender, stared at us from the bima, glared at us with eyes full of fire and cried out. ‘EHR KUMT. YIDN FARLAWST AYER SHTETL – He’s coming. Jews abandon your city.’ ”

We thought we were safe in Lithuania from the Nazis, from Hitler. We had lived there, thrived for a thousand years but Jabotinsky was right — his warning prophetic. We got out but most did not.”

We are not in Lithuania. It is not the 1930s. There is no Luftwaffe overhead. No U-boats off the coast of long Island. No Panzer divisions on our borders. But make no mistake; we are under attack – our values, our tolerance, our freedom, our virtue, our land.

Now before some folks roll their eyes and glance at their watches let me state emphatically, unmistakably – I have no pathology of hate, nor am I a manic Paul Revere, galloping through the countryside. I am not a pessimist, nor prone to panic attacks. I am a lover of humanity, all humanity. Whether they worship in a synagogue, a church, a mosque, a temple or don’t worship at all. I have no bone of bigotry in my body, but what I do have is hatred for those who hate, intolerance for those who are intolerant, and a guiltless, unstoppable obsession to see evil eradicated.

Today the enemy is radical Islam but it must be said sadly and reluctantly that there are unwitting, co-conspirators who strengthen the hands of the evil doers. Let me state that the overwhelming number of Muslims are good Muslims, fine human beings who want nothing more than a Jeep Cherokee in their driveway, a flat screen TV on their wall and a good education for their children, but these good Muslims have an obligation to destiny, to decency that thus far for the most part they have avoided. The Kulturkampf is not only external but internal as well. The good Muslims must sponsor rallies in Times Square, in Trafalgar Square, in the UN Plaza, on the Champs Elysee, in Mecca condemning terrorism, denouncing unequivocally the slaughter of the innocent. Thus far, they have not. The good Muslims must place ads in the NY Times. They must buy time on network TV, on cable stations, in the Jerusalem Post, in Le Monde, in Al Watan, on Al Jazeena condemning terrorism, denouncing unequivocally the slaughter of the innocent – thus far, they have not. Their silence allows the vicious to tarnish Islam and define it.

Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.

I recall a conversation with my father shortly before he died that helped me understand how perilous and how broken is our world; that we are living on the narrow seam of civilization and moral oblivion. Knowing he had little time left he shared the following – “Shal. I am ready to leave this earth. Sure I’d like to live a little longer, see a few more sunrises, but truthfully, I’ve had it. I’m done. Finished. I hope the Good Lord takes me soon because I am unable to live in this world knowing what it has become.”

This startling admission of moral exhaustion from a man who witnessed and lived through the Depression, the Holocaust, WWII, Communist Triumphalism, McCarthyism, Strontium 90 and polio. – Yet his twilight observation was – “The worst is yet to come.” And he wanted out.

I share my father’s angst and fear that too many do not see the authentic, existential threat we face nor confront the source of our peril. We must wake up and smell the hookah.

“Lighten up, Lewis. Take a chill pill, some of you are quietly thinking. You’re sounding like Glen Beck. It’s not that bad. It’s not that real.” But I am here to tell you – “It is.” Ask the member of our shul whose sister was vaporized in the Twin Towers and identified finally by her charred teeth, if this is real or not. Ask the members of our shul who fled a bus in downtown Paris, fearing for their safety from a gang of Muslim thugs, if this is an exaggeration. Ask the member of our shul whose son tracks Arab terrorist infiltrators who target – pizza parlors, nursery schools, Pesach seders, city buses and play grounds, if this is dramatic, paranoid hyperbole.

Ask them, ask all of them – ask the American GI’s we sit next to on planes who are here for a brief respite while we fly off on our Delta vacation package. Ask them if it’s bad. Ask them if it’s real.

Did anyone imagine in the 1920’s what Europe would look like in the 1940’s. Did anyone presume to know in the coffee houses of Berlin or in the opera halls of Vienna that genocide would soon become the celebrated culture? Did anyone think that a goofy-looking painter named Shickelgruber would go from the beer halls of Munich and jail, to the Reichstag as Feuhrer in less than a decade? Did Jews pack their bags and leave Warsaw, Vilna, Athens, Paris, Bialystok, Minsk, knowing that soon their new address would be Treblinka, Sobibor, Dachau and Auschwitz?

The sages teach – “Aizehu chacham – haroeh et hanolad – Who is a wise person – he who sees into the future.” We dare not wallow in complacency, in a misguided tolerance and naïve sense of security.

We must be diligent students of history and not sit in ash cloth at the waters of Babylon weeping. We cannot be hypnotized by eloquent-sounding rhetoric that soothes our heart but endangers our soul. We cannot be lulled into inaction for fear of offending the offenders. Radical Islam is the scourge and this must be cried out from every mountain top. From sea to shining sea, we must stand tall, prideful of our stunning decency and moral resilience. Immediately after 9/11 how many mosques were destroyed in America? None. After 9/11, how many Muslims were killed in America? None. After 9/11, how many anti-Muslim rallies were held in America? None. And yet, we apologize. We grovel. We beg forgiveness.

The mystifying litany of our foolishness continues. Should there be a shul in Hebron on the site where Baruch Goldstein gunned down twenty-seven Arabs at noonday prayers? Should there be a museum praising the U.S. Calvary on the site of Wounded Knee? Should there be a German cultural center in Auschwitz? Should a church be built in the Syrian town of Ma’arra where Crusaders slaughtered over 100,000 Muslims? Should there be a thirteen story mosque and Islamic Center only a few steps from Ground Zero?

Despite all the rhetoric, the essence of the matter can be distilled quite easily. The Muslim community has the absolute, constitutional right to build their building wherever they wish. I don’t buy the argument – “When we can build a church or a synagogue in Mecca they can build a mosque here.” America is greater than Saudi Arabia. And New York is greater than Mecca. Democracy and freedom must prevail.

Can they build? Certainly. May they build? Certainly. But should they build at that site? No — but that decision must come from them, not from us. Sensitivity, compassion cannot be measured in feet or yards or in blocks. One either feels the pain of others and cares, or does not.

If those behind this project are good, peace-loving, sincere, tolerant Muslims, as they claim, then they should know better, rip up the zoning permits and build elsewhere.

Believe it or not, I am a dues-paying, card carrying member of the ACLU, yet from start of finish, I find this sorry episode disturbing to say the least.

William Burroughs, the novelist and poet, in a wry moment wrote – “After one look at this planet, any visitor from outer space would say – “I want to see the manager.”

Let us understand that the radical Islamist assaults all over the globe are but skirmishes, fire fights, and vicious decoys. Christ and the anti-Christ. Gog U’Magog. The Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness; the bloody collision between civilization and depravity is on the border between Lebanon and Israel. It is on the Gaza Coast and in the Judean Hills of the West Bank. It is on the sandy beaches of Tel Aviv and on the cobblestoned mall of Ben Yehuda Street. It is in the underground schools of Sderot and on the bullet-proofed inner-city buses. It is in every school yard, hospital, nursery, classroom, park, theater – in every place of innocence and purity.

Israel is the laboratory – the test market. Every death, every explosion, every grisly encounter is not a random, bloody orgy. It is a calculated, strategic probe into the heart, guts and soul of the West.

In the Six Day War, Israel was the proxy of Western values and strategy while the Arab alliance was the proxy of Eastern, Soviet values and strategy. Today too, it is a confrontation of proxies, but the stakes are greater than East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel in her struggle represents the civilized world, while Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Queda, Iran, Islamic Jihad, represent the world of psychopathic, loathesome evil.

As Israel, imperfect as she is, resists the onslaught, many in the Western World have lost their way displaying not admiration, not sympathy, not understanding, for Israel’s galling plight, but downright hostility and contempt. Without moral clarity, we are doomed because Israel’s galling plight ultimately will be ours. Hanna Arendt in her classic Origins of Totalitarianism accurately portrays the first target of tyranny as the Jew. We are the trial balloon. The canary in the coal mine. If the Jew/Israel is permitted to bleed with nary a protest from “good guys” then tyranny snickers and pushes forward with its agenda.

Moral confusion is a deadly weakness and it has reached epic proportions in the West; from the Oval Office to the UN, from the BBC to Reuters to MSNBC, from the New York Times to Le Monde, from university campuses to British teachers unions, from the International Red Cross to Amnesty International, from Goldstone to Elvis Costello, from the Presbyterian Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

There is a message sent and consequences when our president visits Turkey and Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and not Israel.

There is a message sent and consequences when free speech on campus is only for those championing Palestinian rights.

There is a message sent and consequences when the media deliberately doctors and edits film clips to demonize Israel.

There is a message sent and consequences when the UN blasts Israel relentlessly, effectively ignoring Iran, Sudan, Venezuela, North Korea, China and other noxious states.

There is a message sent and consequences when liberal churches are motivated by Liberation Theology, not historical accuracy.

There is a message sent and consequences when murderers and terrorists are defended by the obscenely transparent “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

John Milton warned, “Hypocrisy is the only evil that walks invisible.”

A few days after the Gaza blockade incident in the spring, a congregant happened past my office, glanced in and asked in a friendly tone –

“Rabbi. How’re y’ doing?”

I looked up, sort of smiled and replied – “I’ve had better days.”

“What’s the matter? Is there anything I can do to cheer you up?” he inquired.

“Thank you for the offer but I’m just bummed out today and I showed him a newspaper article I was reading.

“Madrid gay pride parade bans Israeli group over Gaza Ship Raid.” I explained to my visitor – “The Israeli gay pride contingent from Tel Aviv was not allowed to participate in the Spanish gay pride parade because the mayor of Tel Aviv did not apologize for the raid by the Israeli military.”

The only country in the entire Middle East where gay rights exist, is Israel. The only country in the entire Middle East where there is a gay pride parade, is Israel. The only country in the Middle East that has gay neighborhoods and gay bars, is Israel.

Gays in the Gaza would be strung up, executed by Hamas if they came out and yet Israel is vilified and ostracized. Disinvited to the parade.

Looking for logic?

Looking for reason?

Looking for sanity?

Kafka on his darkest, gloomiest day could not keep up with this bizarre spectacle and we “useful idiots” pander and fawn over cutthroats, sinking deeper and deeper into moral decay, as the enemy laughs all the way to the West Bank and beyond.

It is exhausting and dispiriting. We live in an age that is redefining righteousness where those with moral clarity are an endangered, beleaguered specie.

Isaiah warned us thousands of years ago – “Oye Lehem Sheh-Korim Layome, Laila v’Laila, yome – Woe to them who call the day, night and the night, day.” We live on a planet that is both Chelm and Sodom. It is a frightening and maddening place to be.

How do we convince the world and many of our own, that this is not just anti-Semitism, that this is not just anti-Zionism but a full throttled attack by unholy, radical Islamists on everything that is morally precious to us?

How do we convince the world and many of our own that conciliation is not an option, that compromise is not a choice?

Everything we are. Everything we believe. Everything we treasure, is at risk.

The threat is so unbelievably clear and the enemy so unbelievably ruthless how anyone in their right mind doesn’t get it is baffling. Let’s try an analogy. If someone contracted a life-threatening infection and we not only scolded them for using antibiotics but insisted that the bacteria had a right to infect their body and that perhaps, if we gave the invading infection an arm and a few toes, the bacteria would be satisfied and stop spreading

Anyone buy that medical advice? Well, folks, that’s our approach to the radical Islamist bacteria. It is amoral, has no conscience and will spread unless it is eradicated. – There is no negotiating. Appeasement is death.

I was no great fan of George Bush – didn’t vote for him. (By the way, I’m still a registered Democrat.) I disagreed with many of his policies but one thing he had right. His moral clarity was flawless when it came to the War on Terror, the War on Radical Islamist Terror. There was no middle ground – either you were friend or foe. There was no place in Bush’s world for a Switzerland. He knew that this competition was not Toyota against G.M., not the Iphone against the Droid, not the Braves against the Phillies, but a deadly serious war, winner take all. Blink and you lose. Underestimate, and you get crushed.

I know that there are those sitting here today who have turned me off. But I also know that many turned off their rabbis seventy five years ago in Warsaw, Riga, Berlin, Amsterdam, Cracow, Vilna. I get no satisfaction from that knowledge, only a bitter sense that there is nothing new under the sun.

Enough rhetoric – how about a little “show and tell?” A few weeks ago on the cover of Time magazine was a horrific picture with a horrific story. The photo was of an eighteen year old Afghani woman, Bibi Aisha, who fled her abusive husband and his abusive family. Days later the Taliban found her and dragged her to a mountain clearing where she was found guilty of violating Sharia Law. Her punishment was immediate. She was pinned to the ground by four men while her husband sliced off her ears, and then he cut off her nose.

That is the enemy (show enlarged copy of magazine cover.)

If nothing else stirs us. If nothing else convinces us, let Bibi Aisha’s mutilated face be the face of Islamic radicalism. Let her face shake up even the most complacent and naïve among us. In the holy crusade against this ultimate evil, pictures of Bibi Aisha’s disfigurement should be displayed on billboards, along every highway from Route 66 to the Autobahn, to the Transarabian Highway. Her picture should be posted on every lobby wall from Tokyo to Stockholm to Rio. On every network, at every commercial break, Bibi Aisha’s face should appear with the caption – “Radical Islamic savages did this.” And underneath – “This ad was approved by Hamas, by Hezbollah, by Taliban, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, by Islamic Jihad, by Fatah al Islam, by Magar Nodal Hassan, by Richard Reid, by Ahmanijad, by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, by Osama bin Laden, by Edward Said, by The Muslim Brotherhood, by Al Queda, by CAIR.”

“The moral sentiment is the drop that balances the sea” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Today, my friends, the sea is woefully out of balance and we could easily drown in our moral myopia and worship of political correctness.

We peer up into the heavens sending probes to distant galaxies. We peer down into quarks discovering particles that would astonish Einstein. We create computers that rival the mind, technologies that surpass science fiction. What we imagine, with astounding rapidity, becomes real. If we dream it, it does, indeed, come. And yet, we are at a critical point in the history of this planet that could send us back into the cave, to a culture that would make the Neanderthal blush with shame.

Our parents and grandparents saw the swastika and recoiled, understood the threat and destroyed the Nazis. We see the banner of Radical Islam and can do no less.

A rabbi was once asked by his students….
“Rebbi. Why are your sermons so stern?” Replied the rabbi, “If a house is on fire and we chose not to wake up our children, for fear of disturbing their sleep, would that be love? Kinderlach, ‘di hoyz brent.’ Children our house is on fire and I must arouse you from your slumber.”

During WWII and the Holocaust was it business as usual for priests, ministers, rabbis? Did they deliver benign homilies and lovely sermons as Europe fell, as the Pacific fell, as North Africa fell, as the Mideast and South America tottered, as England bled? Did they ignore the demonic juggernaut and the foul breath of evil? They did not. There was clarity, courage, vision, determination, sacrifice, and we were victorious. Today it must be our finest hour as well. We dare not retreat into the banality of our routines, glance at headlines and presume that the good guys will prevail.

Democracies don’t always win.
Tyrannies don’t always lose.

My friends – the world is on fire and we must awake from our slumber. “EHR KUMT.”

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Who is Atlanta Rabbi Schlomo Lewis?

He is the rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim, 1190 Indian Hills Parkway, Marietta, GA 30068 Phone: 770-973-0137 Rabbi Shalom J. Lewis demonstrates his commitment to the idea of the Rabbi as a teacher and friend. He believes that inspiration comes through personal enthusiasm and involvement. From the gentle way he encourages each member to learn and to grow, he has touched many. Rabbi Lewis’ religious services are a stimulating, uplifting blend of the past and present. Whether on the bima or in his office, he generates a caring warmth. A graduate of Temple University, Rabbi Lewis was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He also holds graduate degrees in education and Judaica. His warmth and enthusiasm are contagious! Email Rabbi Lewis – ravlewis@mindspring.com

7 Responses to “This AD was approved by HAMAS”….

  1. Sally Barker says:

    Your sermon is stunning! I only wish there were more Rabbis and Pastors saying the same thing. I am not Jewish but I have wondered over the past many months “Where are the Jews?” “Why are they not standing up, why are they not protesting?” You have so much power nationally! We are protesting islam – protesting the mosque – the so-called Cordoba House – we do not want shari’a law anywhere near our country. You are right – we cannot presume that everything will work out in our favor. Many Christians share your concerns and pray for our country and for Israel. God Bless You.

  2. his name is shalom lewis, and he is the rabbi at etz chaim congregation in marietta georgia.

  3. Richard Sutz says:

    Thanks for publishing this marvelous address

  4. Sean says:

    My esteemed Rabbi Scholomo Lewis,

    Life is way more complex than your rather black and white judgment and while it’s true hate and intolerance beget more hate and more intolerance it goes both ways too. However, to compare today’s turmoil and armed conflicts in the middle east, the Balkans, etc with WWII is like leveling up to the same historical stature and significance two social phenomena that have different geopolitical, cultural and religious contexts and roots to be taken into consideration.

    Let me say this straight away, my heart hosts neither sympathy nor warm for the Taliban because no good cause can be good enough to justify what they did to this poor 19yo girl and other women of that country. Sad enough and more often than not we read in the news about equally abhorrent crimes taking places all over the planet. It would seem Humanity has decided to go on a crash course of self destruction. I remember a story a read not so long ago about barbariian act committed by some The Israeli soldiers to a family of Palestinian refugees. According to the story two soldiers held a young couple and force them to watch as other soldier grabbed their 2yo son by the ankle, span him around and splashed his brains out against a wall. (Btw, Similar Nazi’s MO was reported in Russia during WWII)

    This may look irrelevant to Miss Aisha’s story but if you’d just bear with me I’ll try to get to my point presently. Allow me to ask you this: how do you think those Palestinian parents would feel after witnessing his 2yo son meeting such a horrible death? Do you think they will hate the perpetrators of this murder? Is this feeling justified and understandable? I believe your answer is yes to both questions. Now, do you think that in their justified and understandable hate they will make any distinction between the soldiers that murdered their son and the rest of the other soldiers in the Israel’s military? Would Israeli civilians be spared by their wrath and recent and yet non-violent hatred? Would they, given the chance, begin at some point to actively and violently oppose Israel’s army? Many factors get to play here, but even if they don’t, how do you think they would term others that do, Freedom Fighters or Islamic Extremists? So you see, hate begets hate and in so doing it becomes irrational because somewhere down the road, after enough generations have passed, it’ll get embedded in the nation’s culture as a stereotype of hate and the day would come when people or most people won’t have any recollection of the tragedy told above but they will certainly have inherited that cultural stereotype of hate and they will certainly pass it on onto their descendants in what can be termed a vicious circle of hate, and the longer the generational path the less irrational this hate is.(If in doubt, take two people – preferable educated and of senior age – from different countries or different cultural or racial backgrounds renowned for their long standing “animosity” – the remoteness in time exposure of the perceived feud is a sine-qua-non condition for this – and then ask them for their feeling about each other. Then in those cases where the answer has a less-than neutral or a negative stance, ask why and you’ll see how little historical and concrete supporting evidence you’ll get. In other words, how irrational the answer will be.

    It is in this light that may example is to be relevant to Miss Aisha’s story. This savage act is not an isolated one. In fact, it’s a recurrent one. We have seen it happen before it’s just that places are different but the cruelty and disregard for human beings’ suffering remains the same. All you need to do is open any book of history – any epoch, any society, and any country – and read. But if you really want to get into the details of the spoils be warned: you should be ready for EXTREME gore and sadistic cruelty and therefore discretion is advised. I don’t know the stats, but wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the death count of innocent people or non-combatants outnumbers that of soldiers and other directly involved personnel throughout Human’s history. Our history has been and still is an endless account of wars and conflicts that have contributed with their own share of human hardship and suffering along with the extremists in turn. Comes to mind, just to name two, The Inquisition and the Crusades that back in their times were supposed to stand for what was perceived as the most pious and altruistic deeds in nature. My point here is that if Humanity is to understand where it is today and why so that it can be able to alter this violent and self-destructive path, it must look back into the past and it must understand that we are the accumulative result of our predecessors’ actions – bad and good – we need to take responsibility for them. Everything is interrelated and unless we are cautious enough to bear that in mind we may be at risk of missing the larger scheme. So yes, I do believe that, to some extent, those two afore-said events have had an impact in the present condition of the world as well as in our mindset, which is not to say of course that I blame Godofredo de Bouillon or Torquemada for Miss Raisha’s blight.

    This past event’s impact on our present reality is especially true in the way our different perceptions of modern days’ events and other cultures and associated stereotypes have been shaped along the centuries.

    Saying or implying that the Islamic extremists are The Enemy to blame for the evils of this world is just a half truth at best and a very simplistic at that. A half truth can be more pernicious and bring about more suffering and blight than an all-out lie for that resemblance of truth tends to confuse people’s minds more effectively and thus hampers an objective take on the causes of the our modern problems. (“A confused mind is like a helmless vessel at the mercy of the gales of passion and bias”)

    I truly can’t bring myself to believe that the only ‘real’ enemy is the Islamic Radicalism. I’ve come to be of the idea that our real enemy is also our reluctance to accept the fact that we have erred and wronged when tackling the issue. Our approach has been one-sided and superfluous. Our efforts have been driven more than sectarism than humanism. We have been swift to throw the stone without regard to our sins. One thousand years ago the most advanced and civilized societies on this planet were in the East. While Europe was consumed by the Plague, The Orient and the Middle East were thriving in every aspect of social and economic progress. When entire communities refused to observe the most basic hygienic practices in the most important European cities, the people in Baghdad relished in hot and scented baths. While in London the knowledge of healing herbs and potions were deemed as witchcraft and the practitioner’s soul was ‘cleansed’ by the flames in the stake. In Baghdad, herbalists, apothecaries and doctors were providing effective remedies to diseases. And they were Islamic… even more so than today… And they were not called radicals or extremists but infidels, but so were the Christians in the eastern’ view… in their truth.

    In any case those eastern societies can hardly be termed radicals. So what happened to those civilizations? What caused their decline? How, why and when did Islamic Radicalism come about?

    My point Sir is that each party has its own truth, its own motivation and justification for their deeds and it won’t be until we begin to understand the need to reconcile those truths out there that we’ll be able to discern a way to put an end to the ongoing slaughter, which is the best term to describe the kind of world we’re all living in today. I believe Sir that that’s the main challenge Humankind faces today. One that calls for the willingness to be just and mercilessly objective and historically accurate when reflecting on matters of such a paramount significance so that we can turn those opposing truths into, finally, one and only one encompassing true for all Humanity, that we are all sons of God, no matter the name we give Him and as such we all have the right to be treated with respect and equality. Failing to meet that challenge may entail appalling consequences, even more appalling than the havoc and aftermath of WWII, including the Diaspora and the Warsaw’s Ghetto for it may lead to the end of the world as we know it and the extinction of the human race.

    For the aforementioned reasons and others that I consider irrelevant and hence frivolous in the light of Miss Aisha’s ordeal, I refuse to accept your sermon as the right path to follow for a better world. Islamic Radicalism is a symptom not a disease. It is an effect not a cause. Rallying against and demonizing it may alleviate the former but never eradicate the latter. Your prescribed cure will do nothing but exacerbate the illness in so much that it may confuse and mislead. The best scenario is the Islamic Radicalism gets wiped out but then – and again this is one of the most vital and most ignored lessons of History – another will raise and claim its place.

    I’m with you 100% in the need to stand up and fight terror, my sole humble observation here would be all kind of terror: the Taliban’s and Israel’s Army’s as well along with any other manifestation of it around the world regardless of country, creed and race. And while we are at it, let’s find the time and the will to delve into the issue and peel it off of any sectarian bias and seek for the underlying causes; otherwise we might end up fighting a Medusa.

    Finally – I realize I should end here lest I convey the impression of using this sad story as a pretext for my own personal agenda, which I’d not dare – this is the kind of message I’d expect from a responsible spiritual leader in grasp of the grave challenges we face and the vision required to cope with them:

    Allow me then to rephrase your anecdote and provide it with a more suitable ending:

    “Children of the world our planet House is on fire and our Race is in danger of extinction and I must arouse you from your slumber:

    • Barzel_18 says:

      Moral Equivalence and Political Correctness will kill us.

      YOu Lewis, need to watch more films… start with this…

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