Louis Bohte ofm
Every year there is the commemoration of the Shoa as the Jews call the Holocaust. Holocaust means actually sacrifice or slaughter, see the Italian word olocausto. The anti-Jewish sentiment is the main cause that triggered the Shoa (I use the word anti-Jewish sentiment because Arabs are Semitic people too. Therefore anti-Semitism is not correct.) It seems to me to be important to discover what the background of the Christian anti-Jewish sentiment is, because Israeli authorities are not interested in Christian opinion or in any kind of criticism, even from inside their own people. But there is more. A question is also, why it looks as if Israeli authorities don’t want to make comprises in order to realize peace. Moreover, the law that calls Israel a Jewish nation-state makes it worse by excluding Arabs as equal citizens as they feel it.
I start with Jesus Christ, who was a Jew and a strictly religious leader. He didn’t interfere with politics, but one quote became for Him deadly: “Give to the Caesar what belongs to the Caesar and to G’d what belongs to G’d.” (The Christian Bible St. Mathew 22,15 -22) The Caesar had the pretention to be a god. The Caesar needed this title, because in the ruling Greek culture a human being had no meaning, only who is god, can have authority.
With this statement, Jesus said: Caesar, you are not G’d. On this way he attacked the position the Caesar thought to have. Therefore Jesus got the death penalty and was crucified.
The Jews could kill Him. The secular leader had the power to behead Him like St. John the Baptist (The Christian Bible St. Mathew 14,1-12). The religious leaders could kill Him like Stephane was stoned (The Christian Bible The Acts 7,54-60). But Jesus was crucified by the Romans. The idea of the Romans was also, that by killing Him the movement around Jesus should disappear like it happened in the past with other rebellious movements. But they were wrong, just because He was an inspiring religious person for the ordinary people. In the end, rulers can’t control the minds of people.
In this way, there arose a situation, in which the followers of Jesus, the Christians, blamed the Caesar for the death of Jesus and the Caesar saw the Christians as a threat for his position. This can explain the persecution of Christians during the first centuries.
Then Constantine became smarter and became a Christian like his successors. No longer could the Christians blame the Caesar as responsible for the death of Jesus. Rereading the Christian Bible they read that the Jews called for the death of Jesus (The Christian Bible St. John 19,14-16). So now the Christians started to blame the Jews for the death of Jesus. But we have to read carefully what has been written. I discover it, when a friend of our parish in Bethlehem told me, that when he was young and went with other young people to Nazareth, they looked down on the people of Nazareth. The same I have heard some years ago, when a Dutch woman who was at a party with two children from Nazareth, told me that one said: can come any good from Nazareth? (St. John 1,46), She left the party.
So Jews from Judea didn’t like Jews from Galilee. It means that where has been written Jews, we have to read the people from Judea. The consequence is that the people of Judea shouted: crucify the man from Galilee (not our man from Judea).
Jews were excluded from Christian society. The impact is known: Jews couldn’t have an ordinary job, but only in the money business, which was forbidden for Christians. It put Jews in a powerful but also a very vulnerable position. If you can’t pay your debts, kick them out.
Exclusion of people has always a bad impact. An example of the special position of Jews in society told once an old Swiss sister to me. She was born on a small farm in West Switzerland. Every year her father had to sell one or two cows in order to make both ends meet. Always there were Jews who bought the cows and always there were problems with the money. Later on, there came also Jews who sold stuff for making clothes. It was always good stuff. Both examples are not typically Jewish. Who buys something, looks for his own profit. Who sells something, deliver good quality in order to keep customers. But it is strange that Jews had the monopoly in buying cows and selling stuff for clothes. You can’t blame them for this.
In the Middle Ages anti- Judaism got a new impulse by the silly story that Jews used the blood of young boys in order to make matzos, which Jews eat during Pesach. Two stories were used to “prove” that this happened, both in England, in 1144, when little William was found stabbed in Lincoln and in 1255 when little Hugh was found dead in a Jew’s pit. The poor Jew named Copin confessed, in exchange for his life, that the boy Hugh was crucified. His life was saved -- 18 other Jews were hanged for their "crime".
People in Morocco developed another, more civilized habit during Pesach: because during Pesach Jews don’t back bread, only matzos, the Moroccan Muslims bake bread for them. It is known as the Mimouna festival.
Another fact that stimulated anti-Jewish sentiment is the Pest in the Middle Ages with the culmination between 1347 and 1351, which killed at least 1/3 of the population in Europe. Jews were much less affected by this plague. Their death rate was much lower. This led to the accusation, that Jews poisoned the wells, by which people fell ill and died. The fact was that by the Jewish prescriptions for purification the level of hygiene was much higher. This was an important prevention to the Pest spread by a bacteria. Pope Clement VI tried to protect them by the July 6, 1348, papal bull and another 1348 bull, several months later, but 900 Jews were burnt in Strasbourg, where the plague hadn't yet affected the city thanks to the river Rhine that flows through the city. Clement VI condemned the violence and said those who blamed the plague on the Jews (among whom were the flagellants) had been "seduced by that liar, the Devil."
This reaction on the Pest related to Jews fits with the accusation from around the 12th through the 19th century by some Christians that Jews possessed magical powers; some believed that they had gained these magical powers from making a deal with the devil.
In the early 1890's the Tsarist Police produced a false document supposedly written by "The Elders of Zion" and titled "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" expressing the will of the Jews to dominate the world. This document fell in the fertile ground of existing anti-Jewish sentiment in Russia and other main countries in Europe. It was a further push for the Shoa. Who is not familiar with the Jewish community and doesn’t know how complicated the Jewish community is, falls easily into the trap produced by this document. The Jewish community is very difficult to organize because of tough different opinions and positions towards each other. Some Jewish groups don’t recognize some other Jewish groups as Jewish.
Carefully reading this document one thing is remarkable: for the most, it is written in plural, but at the end more and more in the single person. The suggestion is that the document was written by a group, but finally, it was one person, who was anyhow familiar with Jewry and Masonry. The suggestion of a conspiracy is a creation of the auteur. It is always difficult to prove the opposite and such a conspiracy theory creates, therefore, distrust between people, which we have to avoid. Distrust is creeping poison among people.
The Russian background is also interesting because there was a big Jewish community and a part of them were involved in the upcoming socialist and communist movement. They were a threat to the ruling Czars. Maybe, for this reason, Communism is also mentioned in this paper. It is also possible, that someone wanted to make him bigger than he is. (Anyhow, I suppose that the auteur was a man).
The impact of this document was a further growth of anti-Jewish sentiment and violence with the top during the Nazi regime.
How dealt the Church with this phenomenon of anti-Jewish sentiment during the Nazi-time? Pope Pius XI was clearly opposed to the Nazi regime. He wrote the encyclical “Mit Brennende Sorge” (With burning worry) against the Nazi regime, published on March 4 1937. It was written in the German language! The draft was written by Cardinal Pacelli (see https://www.britannica.com/
But I have to recognize that there was also the anti-Jewish sentiment in the Church, which was later on denied after the atrocities during the Nazi era. An example of this sympathy can still be seen in a church, which was built by us Franciscans in the south of the Netherlands in 1930. The Stations of the Cross in the church shows Jews, awful as I have seen on a poster in Auschwitz used for elections in Germany in 1919 with the slogan: choose your own government. A disciple of the artist, who designed and made the Stations of the Cross, told once that the persons, who referred to Jews, were taken from ordinary people in a nearby city as the example, obviously not according to the reality.
The question remains why Pope XII didn’t speak out against the extermination of Jews like Pope Clement VI tried to protect the Jews in 1348. Why didn’t he use his moral authority? The encyclical from Pope XI didn’t change anything. In a certain way, one can say that anti-Jewish West was in the war against anti-Jewish Germany. If the Pope knew about the killing of the Jews, the allies have to have known this too without an attempt to stop it by attacking the railroads to the extermination camps like Auschwitz. The late Clement Leibovitz figured out that there was a collusion between the British prime minister Chamberlain and Hitler during the thirties. He wrote a book about this issue.
Anti-Jewish sentiment doesn’t make from Jews saints. No one is a saint. A difficult issue is that Jews see themselves as Chosen People. Not every Jew is happy with this concept, because they see it as a burden. It is a matter of perception. I suppose that Jews developed this idea of Chosen People, when they looked back to their history in wonder, that they managed to escape from their slavery in Egypt, they survived the Babylonian exile, while other peoples disappeared as an entity and other events in their history. They concluded that they are obviously Chosen People based on their perception on their experiences as Jewish people. This is not a problem, but the point is how to interpret these experiences, and what means Chosen People. An interpretation as if they were saved because they are a better people, is a kind of self-overestimating and reduces God to a private god for only Jews, although He created the world for whole mankind. Another interpretation is, that G'd expects from them to show a way to Him by their example. For this reason, some Jews see to be Chosen People as a burden. It is more difficult to make a mistake.
Indirectly the survival of the Babylonian exile shows a previous form of anti-Jewish sentiment. At that time there were other people in exile who disappeared completely by their exile. It is a matter of maintaining their identity or losing it and as a consequence of disappearing as discerned people. Maintain their identity meant to show to be different. This can create inconvenient feelings: There are people unequal to me, which can create anti-feelings. The anti-Jewish sentiment was born. It is like nowadays. The massive transmigration of Muslims creates the anti-Muslim sentiment.
How to deal with this still existing anti-Jewish sentiment? This is a still actual problem because it is difficult to convince Jews that the time of anti-Jewish sentiment is over. Pope Clement VI showed that the position of the top of the Church wasn’t decisive for people on the grassroots level. We can’t underestimate the impact of 1600 years actually Christian anti-Jewish sentiment in almost all churches. I can understand that a number of Jews are not interested in any opinion from the Christian side. Seeing Israel as their final rescue against anti-Jewish sentiment, some say that any criticism shows still existing anti-Jewish sentiment anyhow. Nevertheless what we have to do is to show our own integrity and honesty in the way we deal with Jewish people, especially wherein the past anti-Jewish sentiment played a role. It is an investment for a more peaceful future.
A problem is the present influence of especially the American-Jewish organization AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. There could be a temptation to say the AIPAC proves that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are right. But AIPAC has been founded in the fifties as a reaction on the Shoa. It became more active after the six-day war in June 1967 and moreover after the Yom Kippur war in October 1973. From their point of view, I can understand that they try to control what is related to the safety of Israel. The point is if this approach from AIPAC is helpful for integration of Israel in the world society without assimilation, which means full protection as it is the guaranteed right for every other country or people. Nowadays Israeli politics shows a behavior as if it will say: in the past, the world didn’t care about us, so now we don’t care about the world. This is self-exclusion and therefore destructive. The result is the opposite of evaporation of anti-Jewish sentiment. AIPAC will not remain powerful forever.
AIPAC can also be understood as a reaction to the lack of resistance among Jews against the killing of themselves. The reaction is the opposite among members of AIPAC and its supporters and among Israeli´s. It blocks any agreement for a final peace solution. Any peace deal needs the willingness to solve problems. Any compromise can be seen as a weakness, which has to be avoided. But it can also be seen as a lack of self-confidence.
What is necessary and must be done step by step is the following: the Churches have to recognize their part of anti-Jewish sentiment and moreover why as above mentioned in order to show a change in the mind of the Churches, which is credible. A kind of education inside the churches is necessary. But more is necessary and lies on the societal and political level: I propose the development of a curriculum anti-Jewish sentiment for 15-year-old teenagers from countries with an anti-Jewish past and from the countries in the Middle East finalized with meetings between them spread over the participating countries.
Also, it is necessary that politicians change their way of dealing with Israel. Led by feelings of guilt because of the Shoa they don’t treat Israel in an adult way giving the opportunity to Israeli leaders to show a behavior of a spoiled child.
Moreover, they have to show credibility that ever human is save in the present world order like for instance the protection of Rohingya in Myanmar.
When we oversee the history of anti-Jewish sentiment, it is clear that a huge job has to be done in order to realize a world in which Jews are integrated instead of excluded without the condition of assimilation, and protected like every other human being has the right for. This is also an example for other peoples, who are a part of the world society with their own culture, convictions, and habits. Louis Bohte ofm
Shortly one after the other in England there were attacks on civilians, even on children by people, who called themselves Muslims. Horrible. But how to understand that these people make this link? How can they identify themselves with Islam, though the most Muslims see their religion as peaceful? I will try to give an answer as a sociologist of religion.
The Qur’an is seen as a book of Allah, that has to be accepted as it has been written. We can understand this rule as based on the Arab culture. If someone pretends he can explain the Qur’an, then is the mistrustful reaction: which advantage you are looking for?
But when I tell them that, when they read the Qur’an, they already interpret this Holy Book by their own experiences in life they agree. Experiences in life are the key to understand the subject of this article.
It is known that the Qur’an mainly exists from two parts. Partially it has been written in Medina and partially in Mecca. This means a big difference.
When prophet Mohammed lived in Medina in exile, he depended on the willingness of the people of Medina. He didn’t have the guarantee that his safety would remain. Which price he had to pay to be sure that he would have the support of the people in Medina? His position couldn’t make him peaceful. He had to be tough against potential threats, even merciless to please the people, who protect him and who have their own foes. This made the part of the Qur’an written in Medina so violent. It was for the prophet Mohammed a matter of surviving. He didn’t have the opportunity to show his spiritual side.
People nowadays, who show merciless behaviour against any potential foe, use this part of the Qur’an to justify their behaviour.
The other part of the Qur’an had been written in Mecca, where the prophet Mohammed lived among his own people after they reconciled them. In the Arab culture reconciliation or Sulha guarantees safety. No longer there was a threat against the prophet Mohammed. Now he could elaborate his spiritual aim to promote faith of peaceful living together or Ummah. The most Muslims longing for this Ummah. They reject the violence by people like Daa’esh or IS.
An anecdote is the following: a Franciscan friar lived four years in El Qubeibeh near Ramallah. Once he met the imam from El Qubeibeh. This Imam told him: if Daa’esh comes here, they will kill you. But first they will kill me. This anecdote shows how people from Daa’esh are seen. They are merciless to anyone, who not fits with them, Christian and Muslim. Actually, they kill more Muslims than Christians.
These people reduce the Holy Qur’an to the Medina part and deny what the prophet Mohammed had written in Mecca, which is much more spiritual. This part inspires the most Muslims.
The question raises: how to tackle this one-sided perception on Islam?
At one side our world has to be a guaranteed safe place for every Muslim as it has to be for every other human being. At the other side, Sulha or reconciliation has to be realized between Daa’esh and the world community based on the recognition by people of Daa’esh their wrongdoings according to Muslim rule in a way that it is clear for the rest of mankind that justice is realized. They have to take their responsibility for what they have done, recognizing that only Allah has the right to be the final Judge.
A very challenging task for the white Western world is to recognize how they by their attitude of superiority over other people for centuries was a fertile ground for feelings of unsafety to other people. This is a complicated problem. The East admires the West for its achievements but rejects at the same time its attitude.
May real peace prevail. May Mecca prevail over Medina.
We first have to wonder about the reasons and motivations that motivate adolescent girls to enjoy talking to teenagers and getting involved with them in complex and difficult end situations, leaving too many tears, pain and remorse that do not work yet. It is too late:
1 - lack of access to adolescent rights at home, such as the lack of family understanding between mother and father in the first degree I mean the problems of the couple reflected directly on adolescents and their sense of insecurity at home Viljan to those who discuss with them safety without carelessness of what will happen and believe that proves them sweet talk The sweet to forget the adolescent some of her worries forgotten that this increases mud.
2 - lack of understanding and love between adolescence and those who are with her in the house as brothers and sisters and repeated humiliation and treatment and was a servant or a slave to hear and obey without hesitation ... The contempt suffered by adolescence by family members.
3 - Pressure on the freedom of adolescence and prevent it from some of its rights, such as going to a trip or visit one of her friends or practice one of her hobbies such as painting or hearing music or attend a particular television series ... or work in embroidery or wool fabric.
4_ companions bad Alawati decorates sit on the net and display pictures and exchange sweet speech and take the dead dates falling morally decomposed. Teenager test that all these actions evidence of the ruthlessness and courage, but in fact that these behaviors are extremely prejudicial and unjust without account of the consequences of devastating and the end of the loss of sure .
5 - deprive the adolescent of the expenses of the daily and the presence of the father is unemployed and does not care about the family and the things of the adolescents and adolescents in this case, the adolescent looking for those who demonstrate and give them money and oversees the responsibility .. And its awakening to the nightmare scary and scary black.
6 concern parents about the teenager to solve the problems of the family and not to question the teenager and sit with her and talk to her and discuss the problems and concerns and notice of their existence, forcing them to go out with a strange person away from them do not know anything except that he spoke Maha sweet sweet speech or threatened and rebelled by taking pictures of them either It was almost naked or semi-naked that these were the main reasons for the involvement of the adolescent and her entry into the whirlpool problems she had no solutions.
And most important of the previous reasons and the most painful and left a great impact is the strike of the Agency, which created a great vacancy in the students .. What teenagers should be taken into consideration.
Suggest some solutions:
1_ mother and father solve their problems away from boys and adolescents and reach a solution between them ends with understanding and compromise and love.
2 - Work on the fairness of the adolescents and their consideration in the family especially the girls by the older brothers and their standing and their sense of safety and support and care and attention by all members of the family, especially the mother and father ... Standing against all those who tried to persecute teenagers and work to build the affection between brothers and sisters until They become friends even if one of them is exposed to any problem outside the home can be presented to the family members and take advice and awareness and a cure without resorting to any person away from the family atmosphere.
3 - Giving teenagers freedom in their actions, but limits and adolescents under constant observation without notice, but keep teenagers always under the auspices of the eye to make them practice their hobbies drawing and music and listening to the radio and watching television and are under surveillance without any neglect to accompany teenagers in family trips, Outside the family.
4_One of the visit of girlfriends, especially girls, by persuasion and understanding, not cruelty and intimidation and giving them the alternative atmosphere in the house so that the girl understands that the friend is in school or work or university and not for the unnecessary visit ... Give the girl a sermon and the lesson of what happened to girls wrong in themselves and talk About their tragic fate sad ... and put them in the best ways of the owners of bad persuasion and explain the negative of these adolescents to the family members, especially mother and father notification of the existence of the father and his special supervision to give the teenager the necessary expenses of its own. Financial mow and deprived teen expenses even special because it leaves a tent, difficult and painful results.
5_ Watching adolescence and all the cautious while sitting on the computer and especially the net from time to time and follow up what you read or write or see it even if forced parents or brothers and sisters who hate to sit with them until the end of the Internet session and shut down the computer ... Because the net double-edged sword like his money Of the benefits and culture, but it is abused by the killer and lethal, as it should inform teenagers the seriousness of talking online with unknown people without knowing the truth of knowledge and detailed explanation of what will happen after the anonymous conversations and involvement with them and the inability to withdraw ... To advise our children to eat our slaves and deliver them to safety And Dha who violates the intentional violation remains intentional and humiliating themselves first and then their captivity on this concern is the most severe punishment without mercy and without humanity and without compassion and excuse from warning.
The growing number of people, who are visiting our website, shows that many people are longing for a direction in the present situation to realize peace, a better world for all the people. You want an end of the ruling elite and get a government chosen by you in your way.
First of all I have to tell you something about Arab generation of peace. I am the manager of this organization, which started with the Hip Hopper Hajj. The texts of his first album you can find them on this website. I am a Dutch Franciscan friar living in a monastery beside the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, safe behind the wall unless the Israeli army enters Bethlehem since September 2003. A year before I was already in Bethlehem during the time of curfews.
I realize that I have not direct experience which what it is going in the Arab world now, especially in Egypt beside Yemen and Tunisia and other countries, though I was several times in Egypt. It means that what I write has a limited value. Nevertheless I have to write something.
We have to think on two levels: first what makes sense now in this situation and second what to do for the long run. For the first level, there is the problem that people are already moving because of expensive food, unemployment and lack of perspectives on a better future. This movement can’t be stopped. It is even difficult to steer people in whatever direction. People are fed up. There are organizations which do their job of mobilizing people against the present rulers. They are important, because they have worked for a long time for a change. Now they feel that they have the chance to realize their dream for a change. The most difficult point is that it is hard to oversee what is the best for tomorrow and translate the feelings and experiences of ordinary people into meaningful actions. But it could be powerful and helpful to take time for common prayers as it is the habit in Islam. It can help to attract allies among citizens and army, because it shows that the resistance against the rulers is peaceful. Maybe you need people who can protect the people, who are praying. But remain alert on violence against peaceful people.
Here there is a core notion: how to deal with violence. Violence provokes easily violence. Violence is in favor of the ruling party, because they use it as an excuse to continue their power. It is like the choice between me or the chaos. The threat of chaos means that it is important to organize yourself. I think that the best way is to organize you from local level upwards, starting at the level of neighborhoods. Representatives on the level of neighborhoods can organize them on a level which with you can reach a larger group of people like a village, town or a suburb of a city. The main approach is non-violent and protection against violence. For this you have to oversee from which points in the city or town it is difficult to protect you against violence. With a number of people you can try to control these points. From there on you can demonstrate more safely.
Organize leaders who can take over the power. Then the present rulers have no excuse as if chaos is threatening. Organize protection of the leaders. In this way leaders have always contact with ordinary people in order to avoid the trap ton think they know what is necessary, separated from the people. Main issue is to build up a network of people who you can trust; this is not easy at all.
Soon I will write more about the second level.
Louis Bohte, Bethlehem
How to understand the present situation of lack of income to pay the costs for food and the lack of employment? According to my opinion, the main problem is the lack of morality among people who have power. This regards not only the present rulers in Arab countries. They have to go, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
The lack of morality began to be visible on the 21st of August 1968. The Soviet Union killed communism with a human face, as the Prague spring was called, on that day. From that day on it was waiting until the wall should fall down.
When the wall felt in fall 1989, it was waiting until the free market system should fall. The lack of morality of the free market system became visible, when the bosses of banks and big companies started the get bonuses for millions of dollars, based on blackmail: if you don’t give me extra bonuses, I will go to another company, which is willing to pay me good bonuses. They show that water streams upwards and money upwards.
Then we got the financial crisis which became visible in September 2008. No longer, the banks trusted each other. Billions of dollars were used to restore the trust. But who pay these billions of dollars? The loss of jobs made visible that ordinary people pay the price.
But this is not all. The lack of morality went further.
The ‘holy’ free market made it for people, who are addicted to collect money as much as possible, started to speculate in rising food prices. This was possible by the almost zero percent interest of the yen. Borrow millions of yens for almost nothing of costs, convert the yens in another currency, where you get some interest and after one year you have a profit by the difference in interest.
The speculation in food pushes the food prices upwards and ordinary people pay the profit for the speculators.
The bosses with their bonuses expect profit from their millions of dollars. This is a way to get their profit. They see it as their natural right to have profit from their money.
In this way, communism and free market system show their moral bankrupt.
Which way we have to discover in order to realize a righteous world, a righteous society? This is the main question. The three monotheistic traditions have in common two righteous men: Ibrahim/Abraham and Melchizedek, a Jew and a non-Jew. They are an example for every human being.
So, the first question is: how to realize that just righteous people are in charge?
The second question is: how to get back the stolen money by speculation and the so-called bonuses?
The core issue is to restore moral authority. We are not perfect people, but we need a general board existing from righteous women and men headed by a person like Aung San Suu Kyi. Such a board needs to have the authority to change the world system in order to prevent further abuse of power, to get back the stolen money and to realize that ordinary people get the basics rights of employment, food and drinkable water, medical care and housing.
Louis Bohte, Bethlehem
A new year has begun. I wish everyone a hopeful 2012.
Since the uprising started in December 2010 in Tunisia, many things happened. The hope on a peaceful change in Arab countries shifted into growing violence against ordinary people. What can be done?
I think it is time to build up structures of trust. We have to realize that there are people who have to lose a lot of by the wished change you want. I look at the army leaders in Egypt, Assad in Syria, Saleh in Yemen. They use all kind of tricks to maintain their position.
Another problem is that leaders in the West are afraid of upcoming of Islam oriented groups. This makes the situation more complicated. As a Christian I am not afraid for Muslim groups. We all go back to Ibrahim, who was a righteous man. We all have to be righteous. Violence against people is the opposite of being righteous. We have to learn more about the roots of Islam. That is in my opinion the best way to deal with everyone.
Meanwhile we have to deal with ongoing violence. I am not a military strategist. So I can’t give advice. It seems to me realistic to expect more people killed. The only thing what can be done is at one side support the families who lost a relative, especially who lost a child like Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb in Syria.
At the other side: try to reach families who have a relative in the army to convince the soldiers to continue violence against civilians from whatever tribe. Therefore it is necessary to realize shelters for deserters. Absorbing deserters makes army empty.
Another job that has to be done is to study the Qur’an and Hadith to humanize society and to become strong towards the Western world in terms of spirituality or making life meaningful.
Louis Bohte ofm
For Allah Muslims and Christians are sisters and brothers
In the developing situation in the Arab world it seems that the position of Christians is more and more at a stake. I suppose that some people see Christians as a part of the West and they see the West as economical occupier as it did in the past by colonization of the Arab world. This mutual tension creates mistrust and kicked Christians out of the Arab world, though they are Arabs too.
The next step is that politicians in the West see Muslims as a threat for them. This affects the position of Muslims in the West. This is a negative spiral, which affects also the meaning of Islam as a peaceful religion.
What also is happening is that there are tensions between groups of Muslims. They see other groups in the Islam as an enemy, especially between Sunni and Shia Muslims. We see this is Iraq and Indonesia for instance. Violence grows and everyone becomes a looser.
How to overcome this negativity? Islam means Peace. How to maintain peace, if you feel suppressed or threatened by some people? How to maintain your dignity? It is a temptation to call for a jihad, the fight against an enemy. It looks like a justification for my anger in myself.
But then I ask you: when do you start the big Jihad: the fight against the enemy in yourself? For this, you have to know yourself.
I have some experience. I organized ten times a vigil in front of ITEC arms fair in Europe. From the beginning I realized that it is easy to become angry with the people who sell weapons. But for me Mahatma Gandhi is an example for how to deal with aggression. I fasted during the ITEC arms fair in order to deal with aggression in myself. I experienced that this was helpful and the visitors realized why we were standing in front of the arms fair without attacking them personally. Some of them got inconvenient feelings and showed them. It was just a drop in an ocean of a destructive fair. But it pushed people to think about what they were doing.
Very important in Islam is the Ramadan. It is a possibility to deal with the enemy in my. In a certain way it is already a challenge to stop smoking during daytime, not drinking water during the hot summer days: you have to deal with yourself, how to maintain peace with yourself. How to avoid bothering your relatives because of Ramadan?
The big Jihad is much more difficult than the small jihad, but also more important to remove bad things in myself.
Moreover, when you read from the Qur’an shura 60 verses 7, you see how strong Islam directs to peace: It may be that Allah will establish friendship between you and those of them who were your enemies. Allah is All-Powerful. And Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.
I became friend with one American, who had a consultancy and attended the ITEC arms fair. Colleagues asked him if he went over to the other side.
Following this path, you can maintain your dignity. Peace upon you. Then we can realize that we, Muslims and Christians, are sister and brothers.
The Arab uprising shows especially in Egypt that women are in a vulnerable position. Sometimes they are reduced into a sexual object to satisfy sexual feelings and lust. The terrible inquiry if a woman is still a virgin in Egyptian prisons shows this. A change is necessary. Also the horrible position of especially widows in Iraq is just the same or even worse.
There are men who can’t control themselves, when they are confronted with active women or women in need. The problem is not that women are active or in need, but that men don’t know how to deal with their own feelings. These men blame women for their own problem. It is an old problem in the culture. I refer to the Christian tradition, in which has been written that men brought a woman to Jesus, who was caught in adultery. According to the law of Rashul Moses, such persons have to be stoned. A strange situation: if I am well informed, you need for adultery at least two persons. Jesus caught the men and said: who of you never committed adultery, throw the first stone. All the men disappeared, the oldest first. Jesus didn’t condemn her too, but said simply: Also I don’t condemn you, but don’t do it again.
Such an act by men is blaming women for their own shortcomings.
Also the Qur’an is sensitive for this issue. Only by four witnesses for someone who committed adultery, these people can be condemned. It seems to me hard to find four witnesses for such a thing. But easily in the Arab culture people believe a bad rumor. That is more a problem.
Another point is that woman has to cover her hair with a veil. Why? Read the Qur’an about this and especially the context. By reading the context you will see that the Prophet already knew very well what the problem is. Covering the hair means an admonition to women: don’t make it more difficult for men and cover your hair (not the face!)
It is time that men become honest and start a big Jihad against their own shortcomings.
Look at the way prophet Mohammed dealt with women: he showed respect to them. He knew the vulnerable position of widows. Therefore he allowed men to marry more women, but no more than four. Also he knew that some men need more than one woman for his sexual need. This was another reason to allow men to marry more than one woman. But the maximum of four women show also that there is limit. More women is not in favor of women. And also the first wife has to agree with the marriage of the second wife and so on.
Another example of respect for women in the Islam is that men carry their aged mother, if they can’t go by feet around the Qaaba. You can see this on a movie on YouTube.
Conclusion: if we respect women according to the Muslim tradition, we have to stop the violence against women. Every woman could be your mother.
Louis Bohte ofm
The recent attempt to kill the 14 year old girl Malala Yusafzai by two members of the Taliban in Pakistan needs a further analysis of the background of this crime.
- What is the background of Malala?
- What is the background of the Taliban?
- What was the reason that the Taliban wants to kill her?
- How to stop this violence?
Malala Yusafzai is a Pashtun girl, who lives in the Swat valley, Pakistan. In 2009 the Taliban was ruling the Swat valley and forbid girls to get education and closed the schools using cruel violence.
To get an impression of the reality in the Swat valley in 2009 look at the following movie (9 minutes): http://youtu.be/Ekn7cbWPgfI.
This movie shows Malala as an 11 year old girl in the beginning of 2009, who tries to fight against the rule of the Taliban who wanted to stop the education of girls. It shows also how her father is supporting her.
Reading Wikipedia about her you can discover that her father is a poet and head of private schools. He is well-educated and he wants the same for his daughter.
Does the Taliban that their daughters become well-educated? Obviously they don’t like this idea.
So, what a kind of people are these men? Are they educated? It seems they aren’t. But they realize that by education you can get a more important position in society. They can be overruled by women as they were overruled by the West (England) in the past. They are afraid to be a loser and lack hope on a better future for themselves. This possibility hits their self-esteem. They have a kind of pride that overrules their self-respect. Self-respect has been based on awareness of own talents, respected by other people. Their kind of pride is a hidden fear not to be respected.
Two points play here a role:
1. Everyone has the right on education to develop his/her talents, serving the community. This right has to be implemented anyhow. Was this right implemented in the past?
2. Where competition plays an important role, there is only one winner in a specific field. The others are losers, who have to fight back. The stress on winners is a hidden form of violence and will block cooperation between people. This can explain why the Taliban acts so violently. They don’t want to be a loser, losing their self esteem.
A small story makes this clear. There was a test among children from an Indian tribe in America.
They must make a sum on a board. Who finished, must turn around. But every time everyone turned at the same time. The reason was that the tribe could only live and survive, if everyone cooperated. Everyone is needed. It meant that everyone waited, until the last finished the sum. The West fails this attitude. This makes understandable why the Taliban is so opposed to what they see as Western influence. They use the Islam as an alibi for the violence, but this is opposed to it. Read Sûra 60,7: It may be that Allah will establish friendship between you and those of them who were your enemies. This excludes anyhow violence towards anyone else.
Observing the behaviour of the Taliban I wonder if they ever made the Hajj to Mecca, where Muslims experience that everyone is equal for Allah. They cover their face as if they like to wear a Burka. They are afraid of being recognized
They use a machinegun as if they don’t trust on Allah. The Taliban show a behaviour, which doesn’t fit with Islam.
Islam has to inspire politicians to be righteous like Ibrahim and is not an alibi for a destructive policy.
How to find a way out? For the long run it seems to me important that local people become more aware of their own culture and its values in order to develop their self-respect and self-consciousness. Then they learn to appreciate education based on their own values, which are respectful. They can learn their history, culture and historic values and those of their neighbouring people like Pashtun, Pathans and Balochi. They can learn what Islam really means and the meaning for their culture. They can experience and learn to appreciate that for Allah men and women are equal.
The world changed drastically after the attacks on the Twin Towers on the eleventh of September 2001. Soon came in the publicity that four planes were hijacked by 19 young men, the most from Saudi Arabia. Al Qaida should have been the organization behind the attacks, led by Osama bin Laden.
Many people in the West believed the story as told in the mainstream media, but step by step doubts rose. It is time to collect facts, which show that the story is different.
First: there collapsed also a third building at 5.21 pm. It was building 7 of WTC.
To see the collapse in seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuJ5-tr0C1M
Conclusion: for the collapse as it happened there have been used explosives for the rapid collapse.
For further technical information, see: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-mysterious-collapse-of-wtc-seven/15201
Second: within a few hours it was announced who committed this crime: Arabs. One name was told: Mohammed Atta, inclusive a picture of him. How is it possible to have this information so fast? Especially the name of one with picture was remarkable, while nothing could be recovered from the rubble after the second plane crashing in the second of the Twin Towers. Later on it figured out that was shown excited children, because they got sweets while a camera team was there in Gaza, this happened before the attacks.
Fourth: some years later a journalist asked Bush about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. His answer was that it was not important. In fact this was true, because he didn’t plan this horrible crime.
Fifth: after the attacks, the BBC figured out that seven of the nineteen hijackers were still alive.
Sixth: before the collapse of the Twin Towers, firemen asked for the help of two teams. This means that it was not real hot.
Seventh: an experienced pilot can’t manage to steer a plane into a specific building on the ground from more than 10 km high. It means that in fact the planes were taken over by remote control, a technique developed in the seventies because of the many hijacks, especially directed to Cuba.
Eigth: remains of the crashed plane were found over a distance of 13 km, which means that it exploded in the air.
Ninth: on the list of passengers of the four planes, there were no Arab names.
Tenth: the cameras of the four airports didn’t show the hijackers.
See for more details http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWOye_smWyY
This is in the German language, lasts 80 minutes. The speaker is the former German politician Von Bulow.
There is also other, indirect evidence. During the days before the attacks there was for instance speculation on the stock market, that two airliners should lose a part of its value: American Airlines and United Airlines. Both companies lost two planes by the attacks. You can read it in an article by a German investigation journalist Lars Schall. See: http://www.larsschall.com/2012/03/20/insider-trading-911-the-facts-laid-bare/
All in all, the question raises: who has profit from this terroristic disaster? It looks as if some people, well organized, wanted to have a new enemy instead of the collapsed Soviet Union for their own benefit.