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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Islamic terrorists’

In Jerusalem A Moment of Silence for Charlie Hebdo Victims

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The heartrending massacre of the 10 journalists and two police officers at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine on Wednesday morning during an editorial meeting sent shock waves reverberating across the world.

In Jerusalem, on a cold rainy night, nearly 100 people gathered together at the French consulate to pay homage to the victims of the deadly terror attack. Carrying ‘Je Suis Charlie’ signs and memorial candles, the demonstrators held a two minute silence.

“Unfortunately in Jerusalem, we know too well the very difficult tragedy that the French people are going through now,” said the event organizer, Danielle Kriegel in an interview with Tazpit News Agency.

“We are here today to show our unity and solidary with the people of France, with all those who make up the fabric of French society including Muslims, Jews and Christians.”

“As a proud French and Israeli citizen, I am very saddened and shocked by what happened,” said Kriegel, who made aliyah from France 45 years ago and has raised her family in Israel. “I felt that organizing this rally was something that I had to do – to show the people of France that we are all one and that Jerusalem is united with them,” she told Tazpit.

For Kriegel the tragedy was a personal one, having known Charlie Hebdo’s editor and chief cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier (Charb) on a personal level. “Charb was a good friend of my husband and once visited us here in Jerusalem. He was a very dedicated journalist with a wonderful smile and sense of humor,” Kriegel recalled.

“The tragedy is just as much professional as it is personal because as a fellow journalist, I know the power of the pen and all that comes with it,” continued Kriegel, who covers Israel as a correspondent for French and Belgian media. “Journalism is a tough profession and the journalists of Charlie Hebdo did their work splendidly – and with humor.”

For others, like Lea Curiel, 24, from Paris, who is spending the year in Israel, the Paris massacre was shocking. “It happened a few streets away from where my mom works,” she told Tazpit.  “Even though I didn’t personally know any of those killed, I think this tragedy touched everyone on a very personal level. Those people who died yesterday were respectable personalities whose work made France a country based on the pillars of freedom of speech and freedom of press.”

“This moment of silence in Jerusalem is for the victims and for all of France. We have the right to make fun of whatever we want” said Curiel, who grew up reading the Charlie Hebdo magazine at home. “I hope this is the last time we ever hear of such a tragedy.”

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Why They Hate Us

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Boy, do they hate America.

I’m on a flight in Tanzania, having left Rwanda where we made a second tour of the genocide sites with the impending twentieth anniversary of the slaughter, when I meet a very fine Pakistani family going on safari.

We exchange pleasantries. They have children studying in the UK, as do many upper-class Pakistani families. My wife and I lived in the UK. We find much to talk about. I relate to them all the Pakistani students I knew at Oxford who were regulars at our events. They tell me of their trip to see the mountain gorillas and how they are enjoying Africa.

Suddenly, the father says to me, “I was in Israel recently. I enjoyed it. But I was disgusted at the treatment of the Palestinians who cannot even go from Bethlehem into Jerusalem.”

I explain to him that the checkpoints are relatively new. “They did not exist when I was a student in Jerusalem. They were set up after a wave of terror bombings killed thousands of Israeli civilians. You can hardly blame Israel from trying to stop the slaughter.”

“The slaughter?” he says, “You mean the way Israel massacres Palestinians every day. And it’s all funded by America, who is the biggest murderer in the world. Just look at the 100 people every day being killed in Iraq.”

I raise my eyebrows, trying to remain calm and provoked. “But that’s being done by Islamic terrorists. What does it have to do with America? We Americans died to liberate the Iraqis. We spent more than a trillion dollars of our national treasure on complete strangers to stop them from being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein.”

He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe. “America is now slaughtering everyone in Afghanistan, just to destabilize the region, and blaming everything on Pakistan.”

“America is trying to save Afghanistan from the Taliban,” I counter, “monsters who brutalize women, fanatics that behead those who don’t conform to their religious extremes.”

“Nonsense,” he says, “the Taliban is infinitely more humane that the Americans and their agents in the Middle East, the Israelis.”

By now I’ve had enough and I go on the offensive.

“Why was Osama bin Laden living in Abbotabad, a mile from Pakistan’s West Point? Who was sheltering a man who killed 3000 innocent Americans?”

And here he makes my jaw drop. “Three thousand Americans dead is nothing, a drop in the ocean, compared to how many Muslims America has killed.”

You may wonder why I am relating this story. It’s an isolated incident, right? But it’s not. It’s a sentiment I encountered in so many parts of Africa where I traveled to Rwanda, to again see the genocide sites and meet with government officials, and then to Arusha in Tanzania, to see the criminal courts where the Rwandan genocidaires were tried.

Readers of my columns will know that I am one of Jewry’s foremost defenders of Islam. I remind Jewish audiences constantly that we dare not de-contexualize the current frictions between Jews and Muslims. Saladin welcomed the Jews back to Jerusalem in 1187 when he captured the holy city from the crusaders who massacred every last Jew. The Ottomans took in large numbers of Jews when we were expelled from Catholic Spain and Portugal. Jews flourished in many Islamic lands where the Koran said they would have to be treated as second-class citizens but should otherwise not suffer persecution. I took Dr. Oz, during our recent visit to Israel together, to see the tomb of Maimonides in Tiberius, explaining that the greatest Muslim ruler that ever lived made the great sage his personal physician. Whenever some of my Jewish colleagues speak of Islam as an inherently violent religion, citing verses in the Koran to prove it, I remind them that there are plenty of verses of our own Torah which can be taken out of context and sound pretty violent. It all comes down to how these passages are interpreted.

But with that being said, there is no question in my mind that Islam is undergoing a modern crisis which perhaps only its clerics and lay leaders can rescue it from. Here in Tanzania there was a terrible story just a week ago when two British female Jewish teenagers were attacked with acid by Islamic assailants.

It’s not that imams and are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.

Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres. We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/why-they-hate-us/2013/08/19/

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