Two wrong moves that will hurt Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects

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As an Ahmadiyya Muslim American, I’m appalled at President Trump’s announcement  of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The first wrong move — President Trump said: “I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

This statement reminds me of Jesus’ warning to beware of wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

The second wrong move was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In an inflammatory remark, President Trump said it was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality… it is also the right thing to do.”

Was it really? Only if you want a civil war to erupt, again, and that’s exactly what happened. Sacred lives were lost and countless more injured because of what President Trump said and did. The President has blood on his hands and knew very well he was provoking violence in a politically and religiously sensitive land.

To Palestinians and all Muslims, I humbly remind you of how Allah taught and showed us, through the example Prophet Muhammad, to respond; “And let not the enmity of a people, that they hindered you from the Sacred Mosque, incite you to transgress. And help one another in righteousness and piety, but help not one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah alone; surely, Allah is severe in punishment” (Holy Quran 5:3).

Remember, false statements don’t change the truth, this is a trial from Allah and His undeniable help is nigh for those who bear tribulation with “prayer and patience.” Speak truth to power but, for God’s sake, don’t overstep the limits of justice.

To everyone else, here’s a little history lesson for you. You may already know that Jerusalem is a sacred site to the Abrahamic Faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike. In fact, it’s the third holiest site in Islam. It’s where Abraham’s faith was tested by God and where the holy Israelite Prophets and Messengers worshiped, preached, and lived including Jesus, peace be upon them all. The Holy Quran is filled with the inspiring truths and veneration of the Israelite Prophets and Messengers.

What you may not know is that Prophet Muhammad and the earliest Muslims first faced Jerusalem during worship for over 13 years. That Prophet Muhammad was brought by Allah to Jerusalem; “Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Distant (Aqsa interpreted as Jerusalem) Mosque, the environs of which We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our Signs. Surely, He alone is the Hearing, the Seeing” (Holy Quran, Chapter on Children of Israel, 17:2).

Did you know that Caliph Umar’s rule brought Jews back to Jerusalem after 500 years of banishment and oppressive Roman rule? The second Rightly Guided Caliph Umar gave rights to and protected the Jews as well as those of Christians and all other faiths as the Holy Quran commands in Ch 22 verse 41. He also cleansed and restored the remains of the Temple of Solomon which had previously been defaced and re-established congregational worship of the One same God in its vicinity.

Interestingly, over 2,500 years ago, after the first demolition of the first Temple of Solomon by Nebuchadnezzar, it was the Zoroastrian Persian King Cyrus the Great, called Dhul Qarnain in the Holy Quran (18:84), who re-established the Holy city of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of Solomon’s Holy Temple. For this reason God Himself called him “Messiach” or Messiah in Isaiah 45 making him the only Gentile (Non-Jew) to be called so in the Bible.

It’s no coincidence then that Prophet Muhammad revealed that the latter-day reformer, also called Mahdi and Messiah, would be of Farsi or Persian descent. This is how Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community fulfilled that prediction and is himself connected to at least the second Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Messiah Ahmad notably appeared in British India, just as Jesus appeared in Roman Jerusalem, and was of Persian descent.

Announcing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel broke the relative peace the interfaith community enjoyed there for a while. It pretty much did anything but “pursue peace between Israel and Palestine” as alleged by the U.S. President. Alas, this seems just another schism to vilify Islam and broaden the divide between Muslims and everyone else. But we don’t have to give in to this divisiveness, we have the choice to transcend it and send a message to our President and his supporters.

I invite my fellow Americans, and beyond, to be a bridge in chaotic times, a light amid darkness and a healing when wounds are fresh. Unify with us in education and understanding at our Ahmadiyya Baitul Aman “House of Peace”, 410 Main St, Meriden on Fridays at 7 p.m. for coffee, cake and conversation on True Islam. In this perilous time, we need to work tirelessly for justice, kindness, and kinship by leading through example to make love overcome hate before the world descends into another devastating world war.

Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan is a Chaplain for the Meriden Police Department and Director of Outreach, Holy Quran Education, National Youth Spokesperson for the Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque in Meriden.

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