Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Birth of the Palestinian Tragedy

A French army Captain Alfred Deyfrus, an Alsatian Jew origin, was accused of handing secret documents to the German military, was sentenced to prison for life for treason by a secret and closed trial. It was only in 1906 that his innocence was officially recognized through a decision without recourse by the Supreme Court. He was then rehabilitated and reinstated as a Major in the army.

The implications of this Dreyfus Affair were numerous and affected all aspects of French public life. The affair engendered numerous antisemitic demonstrations, which in turn affected the emotions within the Jewish communities of Central and Western Europe. These led to an international movement of Zionism that supports the need for the Jews must find their own state.

British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour issued a letter to a prominent British Jew, Lord Rothschild, promising Britain’s support for a Jewish home in Palestine in return for the Jewish support against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria, Hungary and Ottoman Empires). 

Known as the Balfour Declaration, the letter calls for the "establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people . . . it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine...”

1920 - 1939
While Jewish immigration to Palestine in the 1920’s caused little alarm, the situation escalated markedly with the rise of Nazi persecution in Europe. Large numbers of European Jews flocked to Palestine, inflaming nationalist passions among all Arabs, who feared the creation of a Jewish state in which they would be the losers. Palestinian resistance erupted into a full-scale revolt which lasted from 1936-39.

The crisis of Palestine reached a boiling point in the years immediately after the war. With international sympathy firmly behind the Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, Zionist leaders pressured the British to admit thousands of displaced Jews.

At the same time, underground Jewish groups initiated a campaign of terrorism against the British. Washing its hands of the whole imbroglio, Britain declared in February 1947 that its mandate over Palestine would end on May 14, 1948. The matter was then addressed by the United Nations, which, after rejecting various plans, voted for the partition of Palestine in November 1947. The plan called for the partition of Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state, with al-Quds (Jerusalem) to be placed under UN trusteeship. More than half the territory, including the valuable coastal strip, had been allotted to the Jews, who only owned about 6% of the land. The Arabs were shocked, and conflict was inevitable.

On May 14, the British terminated their mandate over Palestine, and the Jews immediately proclaimed the independence of the state of Israel. The tragedy of Palestine was born.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

GOD? ALLAH? What's The Difference?

In Malaysia right now there has been a lot of controversies on the issue of the translated bible using the word Allah to mean God. 

In my recent meeting with a non-Muslim friend, I was asked of my opinion on this issue. I can only speak based on the little knowledge of Islam that I have and what it means to me and this is no way an attack to those who think or know otherwise. So, of course any intellectual discussion or correction from those in the know are most welcome. 

We all know that the word Allah comes from the Arabic word 'Ilah" (means deity, god, divine being) combines with the definite article "al" (means the). This make al-illah which was then brought together as "Allah", The God. Loosely, it is probably safe to say that the word Allah and God can be used interchangeably because of what it means. 

However in my opinion, language is really a side issue to this question. What is far more important is actually the concept of God which in my opinion differ significantly for the Muslims and the Christians. What I mean by this is that in Islam, we believe in the Unity of God, the monotheism and that there is no other God but Allah, which befits the definition of Allah, THE God, the one and only. 

In the case of the Christians whereby the word "God" insinuates belief in the Trinity, the word Allah may be improperly defined and create confusion. We therefore should defend the use of the word Allah unless it carries the same meaning conceptually, in order to avoid misconception of Islam. 

And Allah knows best.