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January 25, 2016 6:36 am

A Message to My Muslim Friends: You Are Your Brother’s Keeper

avatar by Marek Halter

Email a copy of "A Message to My Muslim Friends: You Are Your Brother’s Keeper" to a friend
A rally against antisemitism in France. Photo: CRIF

A rally against antisemitism in France. Photo: CRIF

In Marseilles, a teacher — Benjamin Amsellem — is attacked by a young Muslim who, in the name of the Islamic State, slashes him with a machete because he’s a Jew.

Emotions are running high. It’s the fourth antisemitic attack in a month in a city where Jews have lived since Roman times, 2,000 years ago. Immediately, the president of the Marseille Israelite Consistory, Zvi Ammar, advised the 70,000 members of his community to remove their yarmulkes in order not to expose themselves to antisemitic violence. Unheard of: Under the threat of jihad, one of the most glorious Jewish communities in the world sneaks away on tiptoes.

And he, the nice young Muslim of Turkish origin, what was he seeking in attacking a yarmulke-wearing stranger? An adventure. An adventure that no one but he proposed, except ISIS. A totalitarian ideology that is omnipresent on social media and that brought him closer to God — like thousands of other young people in the eyes of whom he became a hero.

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They all have an example: Salah Abdeslam, whose face fills our screens, the young man who planned, in the name of Allah, the murder of innocents and who still taunts the European police.

So here we are, caught in a trap. Trapped by the freedom of expression and information. Should France attempt to control the spread of this or that religion because some people use it to impose their laws? Should it bar the media from showing the faces of fanatics who, in the name of their God, threaten our lives, out of fear of making them popular?

Must we oppose terror with terror, fear with fear? In this game, we risk becoming losers. These murderers have no fear of dying; their paradise awaits them. We must therefore not merely appeal to the state to protect us. As secular as we are, we should not fear appealing to religion in our struggle. Because Allah is with us, and these murderers know it.

“He who kills a person, it is as though he has killed all mankind,” says the Koran. “And he who saves a life, it is as though he saved all mankind.”

“Why do we have to justify ourselves?”

Those who save lives are thus also examples. Why not place them in opposition to those who kill? Why not profile, in the media, cases devoted to good adventures? For example, the people who rushed to protect the Jewish teacher in Marseilles also lived an adventure. “Those who pillage or usurp or incite pillaging,” said the Prophet, “are not considered like the others.” Quoting the founder of Islam is not a hindrance to our secularism, it’s a response to those who believe that killing is carrying out his word.

How I would love to have come across an Internet site called “Muslims Talk to Muslims.” Writers and religious Muslims able to combat the Islamists do exist. Artists of Muslim origin can, in Arabic and with the extraordinary humor for which they are known, respond to jihadist propaganda. It is easy to show that Allah is not with the killers but with those who advocate reconciliation. The revealed text attests to as much.

How I would have loved to be able to join a march of Muslims against ISIS, a demonstration like the 1983 March for Equality and against Racism, greeted by applause at the Place de la Republique in Paris.

“Why do we have to justify ourselves?” ask my Muslim friends. “Are we not French, like you?” Because in killing in the name of Islam, ISIS involves all of us in its murders. When, in 1994, in the name of his faith, a certain Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians next to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, he involved all Jews, myself included. And I scream in rage. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” asked Cain after killing Abel. Yes, my Muslim friends, yes. A thousand times yes.

Translated by Barbara Karni.

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  • MAYVEN

    ISIS…is a virus…saddled with an eternal inferiority complex. They draw their share of perverted sickies…from bottom of barrel.

  • D Cripps

    “He who kills a person, it is as though he has killed all mankind…And he who saves a life, it is as though he saved all mankind.” (Q: 5, 32) This Quranic quote is often cited out of context, and unwittingly repeated in good faith to show that Islam teaches murder is wrong and that saving lives is the prescribed action for all people, but is not the philanthropic statement that people may hope.

    The full verse is: “On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” Here, ’Allah’ first alludes to a Talmudic passage on Jewish courts (Babylonian Talmud, Mishnah Sanhedrin 37a), that one needs to read in full to get a sense of context, before remarking that “many of” “the Children of Israel” “continued to commit excesses in the land” historically despite prophets coming to them.

    The next Quranic verse (5, 33) is “The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.” “His Apostle” here refers to Muhammad.

    If anyone want to read Sura 5, here’s a link: http://quran.com/5

  • stevenl

    Moderate Muslims are nowhere to be found. Most are scared to DEATH.

  • stevenl

    His/her brother/sister in death only!

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