MENU: Home - Old Dubai Memories - Islam 1 - Islam 2 - Jesus In Islam - Understanding The Conflict - The Meaning Of Jihad - Beheadings

Understanding Hate in the
Middle East

(A retired Christian American's point of view)

Feelings of hate, most of the time from ignorance, can be deep and dangerous. The following is a simplified example, but it illustrates the problem in this region.

EXAMPLE: In Ramallah Israeli soldiers kill members of four Palestinian families. The families and friends of these families are indescribably sad and angry, and want revenge on Israelis - and not just the specific offenders - for years to come, because this has been going on and on for decades. The local Palestinian press cries out about the murders and more Palestinian people get angry. How can we ask these families to forgive the death of their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters? How can they forgive Israelis? It is almost superhuman to forgive under these circumstances and not wish for revenge.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE: In Haifa a Palestinian suicide bomber kills members of four Israeli families one night at a restaurant. The families and friends of these families are indescribably sad and angry, and want revenge on Palestinians - and not just the offenders - for years to come, because this has been going on and on for decades. The local Israeli press cries out about the murders and more Israeli people get angry. How can we ask these families to forgive the death of their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters? How can they forgive Palestinians? It is almost superhuman to forgive under these circumstances and not wish for revenge.

...and so the hatred, and desire to get even, spirals deeper and deeper on both sides for decades. Each side blames the other...after all, they are just getting even. It is a just cause each side believes - and even some religious leaders preach their support for such actions. With the support of such religious leaders on each side, people find reasons to kill in the name of God to justify the killings of the other.  Despite the fact that such an act is against their religion.

And some wealthy individuals and even countries provide money and weapons to help those who want to get even. Some even call it self defense.

What is the result of such conflict? A better life for our families and children?

All the shootings, bombs and killings make going anywhere less and less safe. Some of you were told the wrong things about the Qur'an. If you commit suicide and kill others when it is not self defence (in other words you are not in immediate mortal danger), you lose, and go straight to HELL according to the Qur'an. Not to Heaven as some told you. Better get a second and third opinion from Islamic Clerics, and a few Imams. Not from your Imam only. This is a very important difference. You may end up in Hell, but you thought you would go to Heaven. It is better to make sure first.

With all the bombs, shootings and killings, not just people, but businesses suffer and die as a result. When businesses die, jobs disappear but families must find food and shelter to live. Any way they can. Legal or not. Some may even do things that they know are wrong - for money. This is survival. Poverty is on the increase. Especially in a poorer Palestine. The governments/authorities on each side have less and less money to improve roads, schools, sanitation or hospitals. Life becomes harder and harder. Those of us who do not live in this environment have no idea how awful life can be for these people. And suffering people believe anyone who promises them something better for the future. When nothing better seems possible here on earth, the great promised life in Heaven becomes THE the only possible goal. And some people are willing to give money and explosives to help many impressionable young people, sons and daughters, to get to heaven much too early in their lives after brief training with weapons and explosives. That is so sad.  What an incredible waste of precious life. And it just creates more sadness and hate on both sides.

More and more groups of people preach hatred on both sides against the other, soliciting money in every corner of the world, to train young, impressionable people for the "just" cause. To kill. More and more innocent people get caught up in this storm and die. And soon it goes too far, hating outsiders and other countries, because they try to help one side or the other.

One thing is certain. There has never been, and there is no country on the face of the earth, whose majority is happy and prosperous, who support the killing of civilians, women and children or who do not stand up against such behavior and allow the killing of civilians, women and children without an internationally recognized legal system and public trials before any punishment.

Where is the end to all this killing, sadness, depression, poverty and resulting loss of personal freedoms?

Surely it would be better to have a better life here on earth, in addition to seeking Heaven when one becomes old after a reasonably happy life. The hatred spreads beyond the borders and beyond even continents, because no one stops the killing. No one points out the insanity of the situation. More and more people want to get even. And many are afraid to speak up for they may be killed if they speak up.

The only way to stop this terrible spiral is to stop the destruction of property and the killing of people. One MUST try forgive, and the law must punish those who do not forgive and kill, because all people cannot forgive. Therefore a legal system and a constitution must be in place. Without the legal infrastructure, the forgiveness that Islam, Christianity and other religions preach, things will not get better.

Actions speak. Not words.

Stepping back and thinking about what we should do to make life better for ourselves and our children may be too difficult for some. More difficult than continuing to hate, seek revenge by killing the other. And under these circumstances, it IS very difficult.

But shouldn't we think a lot harder about this on both sides? Shouldn't we be a little more selfish and think harder about what kind of life we would want for our family, children and grandchildren?

Every sane individual prefers and wants peace of mind, a peaceful life, the opportunity for a good education, good jobs, good health, prosperity, friends, and freedom - instead of more killing, more sadness, more hate, more restrictions about what normal things one may do in daily life, increasing poverty, hunger and hopelessness, -- and most of all, a desperate feeling that peace could come only in Heaven. I do not know what the specific solution is. But what has been happening for many decades now does not appear to be the right solution for either side. Only the two sides in a conflict can figure out what needs to be done, after they start talking to each other and continue talking to each other, to find even small agreements to make in the right direction together.

Hating each other without speaking to each other, and without at least trying to understand the other person's fears does not lead to a solution. People have to get together and talk to each other on opposing sides.  Not through others, and not through newspapers, but face-to-face.

A lot of hateful things and murder have been done in the name of religion for centuries.

Christians! Look at what was done during the Crusades to innocent people who were not Christians in the Middle East. They were slaughtered in the name of Christianity. Look at what was done not too long ago in Northern Ireland where people of one Christian faith were killing the other senselessly. Or look at the recent history of Bosnia where thousands of Muslims were brutally killed and put into mass graves by the "Christian" Slobodan Milosevic regime. Such people can always tell you what the just reasons are for their actions to kill others. Would it be fair to hate all Christians for those deeds? I hope that you don't feel that way.

Muslims! Look at what was done in the name of Islam to the people of Afghanistan under the Taliban, Iraq under Saddam Hussein for decades, in New York on 9/11/01, in the Philippines or in Indonesia just to name a few! Thousands of innocent people were killed in the name of Islam. People with hate in their hearts can always tell you what the "just" reasons are for their actions to kill others. They will even quote the Koran (although the Qur'an does not condone such acts). Would it be fair to hate all Muslims and Arabs for those deeds? I hope that you don't feel that way.

The Qur'an or the Bible does not condone that kind of behavior that destroys the property of others and kills innocent men, women and children.  Islam and Christianity are religions of peace (see the enclosed document with detailed references and the links below). Just because one calls God "God", and the other calls Him "Allah", is NOT a good reason for hate, let alone murder. But some, even some religious leaders, have hijacked Islam as well as Christianity to use some of its isolated words for despising and hating those whose belief or skin color is different.

Forgive us for oversimplifying the situation on either side. Clearly life in a wealthier Israel is better for the people than in Palestinian areas where infrastructure is much more devastated and more poverty rules. We are trying to show that a very similar thing is happening on both sides to feed the ever spiraling hate creating an unacceptable life for the people. There are some people on all sides who want to feed the flames of hate, continue these awful and sad events, destroy the quality of life, because that's easier for them than finding a peaceful solution or because that gives them more power, money and recognition personally. Such people obviously do not care about the life of the majority of their people - they just say that they do for political reasons. Should we as individuals be smarter and do something about that?

What can we do about this terrible situation?

Learn about Islam and the Qur'an if you are a Christian or Jewish.  Learn about Judaism, Christianity and the Bible if you are a Muslim.  Learn the truth for yourself, instead of listening to hateful propaganda.  Everybody can do that with the Internet today.  The great majority of people in all religions are good.

One of the most important things that the more prosperous countries can do to help eradicate poverty, is to train and assist local people to help themselves better. Assist building better schools, train better teachers, build better industry, train people how to use better tools and to manage their business better. If money, food or medical aid is provided, don't just send it but have trained people in place to make sure that all such aid gets to the people who need it, and not into the pocket of private individuals - which happened all too often in the past. The UN could have a significant role in this perhaps, if they can ensure that funds do not get diverted to power seeking individuals, in programs like the "oil for food program for Iraq". The solution is therefore not only in the hands of the "provider country", but the recipient must contribute by achieving specific goals also. Most importantly, get the next generation educated and trained so that they can get better jobs when they grow up by creating a healthier nation economically. The "provider country" is responsible to make sure that these things happen.

We did this Web site to make its readers think about this sad and important situation. The question for each of us is: What are we going to do about it?

Today and not tomorrow. Don't just send money and forget. Get involved. Talk to your friends. Talk to your leaders. Shouldn't we all take a few minutes to better understand the people on the other side of an important argument?

Are we going to make an effort to further peace even if some of the killings continue? They will continue, but with a lesser frequency as progress is made. Let's face it, a government or authority cannot control all people. A government or authority cannot eliminate all murders and vengeful thinking overnight. That will take a long period of education. Many years. Maybe decades.

Will either side just use each murder by the other as the excuse to stop the effort to make peace and show that they really care about our children's future? Such a side does not want peace. They just say they want peace. That is the test of real intentions.

If you consider yourself a good Christian, a good Jew or good Muslim, what are you willing to do today?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing!"
Edmund Burke 1729-1797
Irish philosopher and statesman

Please email me if you have any comments.