Monday, August 11, 2014

The Ramadan Holocaust

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The Ramadan Holocaust

This past Ramadan, the world near silently witnessed yet another holocaust in occupied Palestine. The Palestinians have lived with such painful reality since they were uprooted from their homes and hearth to compensate for Hitler’s crimes. And they may continue to pay this price but only till the world discovers its conscience. It is Living Holocaust for them.

Undoubtedly what was and has been inflicted upon the Palestinians writes new chapters in a certain people’s inhumanity.

The latest atrocities brought contrasting reactions from Muslims in many parts of the world. Despite the oft repeated boasting of being more than a billion, the global Muslim leadership largely remained a timid observer. The biggest protests however were held by Muslim masses particularly in countries where they live as minorities, even as insignificant minorities.

Some social activists relied heavily on the images of dead and mangled bodies. Perhaps, this was their attempt to awaken the slumbering Muslim rulers and as well the masses. Certainly, they may have done so in good conscience in their own understanding. However, one may wonder if using the images of the mangled bodies (for the purposes of mobilizing masses) undermines the sanctity of human body while raising other ethical questions.

The British Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, who resigned in protest after failing to persuade her prime minister to change his morally indefensible policy, took one of the most telling actions. Ostensibly free of conscience, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, instead went on vacation. However, Warsi’s timely tweet to her 60,000 followers (and imagine the re-tweets) made Cameron’s vacation went awry as his own Conservative Party, coalition partner Liberals Democrats, and other opinion makers condemned Cameron and praised Warsi. As expected the hate lobby is trying to defame Warsi but she stands tall.

Regrettably, no such principled action was seen either by Muslim rulers, leaders or scholars except the French-born-British-based Dr. Tariq Ramadan, who decided to boycott the popular annual exhibitions by ISNA & by RIS.

It is up to the Muslims of North America to realize the role that their institutions must play and the responsibility that their leaders must honor. Borrowing the sage words of the martyred Martin Luther King, Jr. that “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

For now and until next Ramadan, various Muslim and non-Muslim aid agencies - each with their own agendas – will be asking for funds to feed the starving, clothe the naked and provide shelter to the bombed people of Gaza only if they are allowed to do so by the Apartheid Israel.

In the interim, the questions must Muslims ask themselves are: who will wipe the tears of orphans, who will restore the smiles of widows and who will heal a people so deeply bruised and battered for more than half a century and that will the next holocaust be inflicted next Ramadan or the one after?