I am committed to open people’s hearts and minds towards each other and dedicated to building cohesive societies where every human feels secure about his race, ethnicity, culture, and religion.
My concern is the future generations of the Israelis and Palestinians. Would they be normal human beings or individuals loaded with hate for each other? Would they have the capacity to live with each other and live securely?
Over the years, I have watched the MEF put out videos depicting how the Palestinians teach their children to hate the Israelis. Even their cartoons for kids carry that message. It was depressing to see parents pass on the hate to their children instead of giving them a secure life.
Do we have the responsibility to raise our kids with the ability to be civilized people? Are we criminals to dump our problems onto the next generation? Are we raising men and women who are loaded with hate for each other?
The Israelis and the Palestinians need to rise against any leader who cannot look into the eyes of each other’s children and tell them. “Dear Sons and Daughters, I am not your villain, but I am the leader who will bring peace and security to you guys when you grow up; you can live without tensions. Judge us the politicians, not by inciting against each other that would be your eternal loss, but by how we bring long-term peace and security to you.”
However, it is sad to see the Israelis do the same. I add my own experience in Israel; they have institutionalized hate in Israel.
I am taking you on a bus trip to Jerusalem. There were forty of us, most Americans and a few Europeans, on a Middle East peace initiative by the Universal Peace Foundation.
As the bus started moving, the tour guide came to the public address and said, “Today, I am going to share about Islam. Islam has six pillars, and they are jihad, pledge….”
I let her finish the spill partially, then got up and said, “I am a Muslim, and there are only five pillars in Islam, and jihad is not one of them. Can I explain that to my fellow passengers?” There was a dead pause for a few seconds, and it appeared like an eternity.
The passengers shouted in unison, “Let him.” I explained, and the two Dutch Imams also joined me. She protested, but we insisted that we are Muslims, and we knew the faith and produced her a printout upon return to the hotel. She promised to pass it on to the tourism ministry as they were the ones who approved the script.
Israel grossly misrepresents Islam to its detriment. Of course, the Palestinians do the same. As responsible members of society, we have to learn about one another as we are—the good, bad, and ugly among us.
It was Ramadan, and we were fasting. The passengers asked us to follow the rituals. One of the Imams did call for the prayers (adhan) in the moving bus on the public address system. I translated the adhan, and the bus pulled over for the four of us to pray.
The Palestinian Christian bus driver produced dates and water for us to break the fast. He was the happiest guy on the bus when he proffered the dates to us. It is considered a good deed to offer items for breaking the fast.
We have to stop teaching hate if we want our future generation to be raised as ordinary people. I may take this up with the United Nations.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a speaker and pluralist committed to building cohesive societies and offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the policy makers