Dear Haroon,

It's been a long time since we were friends and colleagues back in NY.

I am grateful that you are leading American Muslims in your position - your voice and leadership are critical to promote the Muslim tradition you embody, which always impressed me with its dignity, pride, tolerance, love of peace and open-mindedness.

But I am honestly just sitting here and grieving, after reading your piece. After all your work in the area of Jewish-Muslim dialogue, this piece feels like a slap in the face. I want to try to explain why.

I have heard you speak in the past and read your work about how the post 9/11 moment was a defining moment for American Muslim communities. I have appreciated how your leadership was defined by that moment. I further appreciate the ways in which you are speaking to your community right now, in the piece, to remind them to tap into the resilience and strength of the American Muslim community at this difficult moment.

I understand that in your piece, you are speaking to a Muslim audience, but as I read your piece, I also see a huge wedge being placed between American Muslim and American Jewish communities. Placed by someone in whom I had great hope of being able to share in the work that I dream of, of bringing our communities closer together.

What defied comprehension, for me, especially after knowing you and being in conversation with you for so many years, was what you said and also what you didn’t say, as it relates to Israel and American Jews.

Islamophobia was a concern after 9/11 and it is a concern now. Your focus on it with your students and community is important. I was disheartened, though, that you do not teach your students as well about rising antisemitism (and how much of it is coming, right now, from Pro-Palestinian corners).

You very well know that most liberal Jewish leaders across the US- many of them you’ve worked with- continue to tirelessly advocate against islamophobia even as we face rising antisemitism. Is there no place in your education of your students for empathy for Jews grieving and afraid, even as your support them in their own grief and fear? Where do you teach your students to think about others? Where is the ability to hold complexity with compassion and wisdom that I saw in you when we were colleagues?

Speaking of complexity, the way you describe the current conflict in Israel/Palestine, and the history of it, how is this education? How is this leadership? How will this ever lead to more Muslim leaders who will work with Jewish leaders for co-existence and for a 2 state solution or whatever we can come up with that’s better than what currently exists?

Especially after all the time you have spent in the region, I am surprised that this is what you were left with, and that this is what you teach your students:

“Israel, I explained, was founded on Palestinian land, and realized by expelling Palestinians from their land.” And then writing “the indigenous were replaced to make way for people from elsewhere.” Don’t Jews have ancestral ties to Israel? Hasn’t there always been a Jewish community in Palestine? Were all Palestinians expelled from their land, really? And what about my people, Jews from the Middle East who had to flee because all the Muslim-majority countries across MENA became inhospitable/oppressive? and so much more..

You know the history. You know how messy it is. How can you flatten it so? It’s not only inaccurate, it’s destructive for any hopes for progress in the region..

And in terms of the current moment, you write "Israel began bombing Gaza" as if this is happening in a vacuum, as if there’s no terror organization ruling Gaza and terrorizing its own Muslim civilians, sworn to repeat its attacks of Oct 7 time and again. As if Hamas hasn’t continued to bomb Israel, as if Hamas isn’t holding 240 hostages. You name Hamas killing civilians. You call this killing repulsive, and I appreciate that (my new low bar for dialogue). But I wish you had written who these civilians are - Israeli civilians. This, of course, preceded Israel's attack on Gaza and explains it.

Reading this simplistic account of the past and present moment, reading that this is what the most promising American Muslim leaders are teaching their children, leaves me feeling little hope for the future. Especially knowing how much access you have had to a more complicated story. What hope can we have for everyone else?

Lastly, to see an insistence that all the fundamentalists acting violently in the name of Islam are just not authentic Muslims leads to the inability or unwillingness to call out fundamentalist violence on one’s own side. This is dangerous. . It’s as if I would say that I don’t need to take responsibility or deal with the radical Jews on my side because they are all just misinterpreting Jewish tradition and scripture.

We will never ever move forward unless all of us call out hate in our backyard and strive to counter their voices.. Hamas’s barbaric attacks on Israel were horrendous. And the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is itself awful and with plenty of blame to go everywhere. Nothing will ever ever ever be solved without acknowledging the narratives from the other side.

I am so, so sad. I so want peace for our peoples. I so want partners to work together to combat all kinds of hatred. I loved our work fighting for co-existence and communal bonds in the US. I dream of Israeli and Palestinian children growing up with hope and dignity. I used to think of you as such a partner.

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Jan 2·edited Jan 2

Thank you for writing this rebuttal Mr. Bitton. Unlike you, I have no history with Mr Moghul, and so evaluate him strictly based on his words. Those words seem to be coming from a man who is an apologist for savagery and mass-murder, with a shallow and dishonest description of the history and of the conflict. He will have to do some soul-searching before he can contribute positively to either dialogue or solution.

I am waiting for American Muslims to unequivocally condemn Hamas and their actions. Even my colleague in Gaza is able to say out loud that Hamas is evil (now that he is safely in Egypt). Why cannot smart and educated Muslims in the US??

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"And in terms of the current moment, you write "Israel began bombing Gaza" as if this is happening in a vacuum, as if there’s no terror organization ruling Gaza and terrorizing its own Muslim civilians, sworn to repeat its attacks of Oct 7 time and again."

The IDF was formed from terrorist Jewish militias and has not changed its fundamental nature in 75 years which is murder for land.

"As if Hamas hasn’t continued to bomb Israel"

Occupied peoples have the right to fight their occupier, the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank are one people, ergo Gazans have the right to fight Israel.

"as if Hamas isn’t holding 240 hostages."

Israelis are helpfully bombing plenty of those to death, even after Hamas offered a deal for hostages.

"You name Hamas killing civilians. You call this killing repulsive, and I appreciate that (my new low bar for dialogue). But I wish you had written who these civilians are - Israeli civilians."

It appears that the IDF blasted away plenty of their own civilians which is unsurprising. Looking at the pictures of residential damage, burnt up bodies and cars its clear Hamas soldiers would dream of having that tech. There is also no proof of mass rapes or the beheaded babies or the burning babies unless we're counting the IDF mass burning their own civilians.

"This, of course, preceded Israel's attack on Gaza and explains it. "

No, what explains Israel's attack is revenge over humiliation and the desire to pummel Gaza into submission by slaughtering civilians. Spare me the silly lie about them being able to kill more civilians if they could. The killing of civilians is on purpose, for the sake of intimidation and they're trying to get away with as much as they can without the world restraining them.

"I used to think of you as such a partner."

What you should do is stop lying to yourself, recognize that Israel has failed in its fundamental purpose, recognize that Palestinians are never going to back down from seeking their own land back, recognize that the possible repercussions of antisemitism provoked by Israelis may reverberate massively across the world and the generations to come, outstripping the duration of the Israeli client state.

And it is a client state because for all the boasting about being sovereign and independent it took a handful of Hamas fighters to bring the nation to its knees quitely begging big brother for welfare. Consider making this country a better place for Israeli jews where they can thrive without murder or theft.

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Hamas is a terrorist group, not the government of Palestine. Deciding to savagely attack civilians and then scurry back into holes underground in Gaza using hapless Gaza civilians as shields is despicable. Any religion that supports such actions shares in the shame. "An eye for an eye..." There is nothing holy or pious about this from either side.

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"Deciding to savagely attack civilians "

Yes, this does describe the IDF and the people of Israel. Hamas does not use human shields.

But Israelis do.


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Many would beg to differ on Hamas strategies...

"Consider: Hamas launched an attack with a wantonness like what the Nazis showed at Babyn Yar or ISIS at Sinjar. It did so knowing that it would provoke the most furious Israeli response possible. Why put millions of Palestinians at risk? Because Hamas has learned that it profits at least as much from Palestinian deaths as it does from Israeli ones — the more of each, the better." https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/15/opinion/columnists/hamas-war-israel-gaza.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR0SWVchTnHJ6LZUqfgkdPe3ptQXaBwNCFO2zdav9VlnrocTWSaaqUyPeH0

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Israeli savages slaughtered their own.

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Very well written. Agree. Context and understanding of others. It is scary because he has a lot of influence over youth.

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I'm hard pressed to take seriously articles and opinion pieces that mention the Nakba, without mentioning that the Arab states that started that war expelled hundreds of thousands of Jews at the same time.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

Oh, there’s a lot our author skipped over.

I wonder how many of these kids know that Israel completely withdrew from Gaza taking all their settlers with them. Then, of course, the people of Gaza voted for fundamental barbaric Hamas who began firing rockets into Israel. This meant that Egypt and Israel would secure their borders, Gaza would be very poor for generations, the Israelis left would be greatly weakened, a two state solution would be discredited and the worst forces in Israel would be emboldened and empowered in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The other (non-Hamas) option, of course, would have been to have a prosperous growing country.

Also, no mention of the Israelis who supported peace and were gang raped, tortured, killed and paraded around. No mention of the slaughtered pregnant woman. Or the babies. Or how Hamas filmed it all.

Seems kind of a glaring omission, doesn’t it?

And, of course, they didn’t discuss Hamas hiding behind civilians insuring the deaths of children. Or the fact that Hamas built roughly 300 miles of tunnels and not a single bomb shelter. Not one. Why? Because they wanted to get innocents killed.

We could go on and on … the hundreds of thousands of Muslims recently slaughtered by Muslims in Syria and the hundreds of thousands of Muslims recently slaughtered by Muslims in Yemen and how there were no worldwide protests by Muslims. Why was that?

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Judging by your name, I am not surprised at all. But it was Zionists who sought to ethnically cleanse Arabs from the land first. I understand being a Zionist requires you to be dishonest so I'm commenting for someone reading this.

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You are saying what i'm saying, you just think that expelling native jewish communities from Arab countries as a reaction to the UN legitimized founding of the state of Israel is appropriate. Not sure that's a good look, but you do you.

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I am new to Wisdom of Crowds so please forgive my naiveté in advance. I only know of Shadi from podcasts with Coleman and Sam Harris so I may be missing a lot here but Im hoping to learn. A few things in the piece caught my notice and perhaps someone could explain things to me further regarding these points:

-"Our years of building our own institutions—because nobody else would (welcome to secular and plural democracy) compelled us to become resourceful, resilient, and engaged." -- Who else should have built institutions for Muslims? The building led to positive outcomes so why the disdain for having to build them yourself? This is a pillar of American understanding; if you want something done, you have to do it yourself and this process is likely to be rewarding. Maybe I am misinterpreting the point.

-"Our model for our actions is certainly not how other people treat us. Not even how some Muslims act. Even many Muslims. It begins with our Prophet, peace be upon him, who embodies the scripture he passed on to us." -- I am not Islamic so I may be totally and completely wrong but didn't The Prophet take sex slaves, underage brides, and murder people himself? Isn't that why fundamentalists are often able to point to the text itself and claim they are actually practicing in the same way he did? We don't see large swaths of the Muslim world wanting to criticize the ideas that come from within. There seems to be an "us vs them" attitude and a desire to fight against that, and less fight against the bad ideas the exist within the doctrines of the religion- that exist in ALL monotheistic religions.

-"Solidarity with Palestine, shared by so many Muslims, had become dangerous to express. Powerful Americans declared that debating why October 7 had happened (or, say, how to prevent it from happening again) was all but treasonous." -- 100,000 people marched in London. 300,000 in DC. 15,000 in Sydney were the crowd chanted "gas the Jews". The idea that speaking out is dangerous for pro-Palestinians is bordering on delusion. The rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes has always been orders of magnitude higher than anti-Islamic crimes; even after 9/11 (not that ANY crimes are a good thing). Given the second point in this post, The Muslim community at large seemingly does not want to discuss religious doctrines that make the murder of Jews in horrific, painful, and tortuous ways a justifiable endeavor. As evidenced by the lack of condemnation from the leaders of Muslim world of the actions by Hamas on 10/7. The UN cant agree to condemn the acts. The political talking heads on popular news shows cant do it in any convincing fashion. Thats a real problem. What progress can be made if large numbers of important and visible leaders cant find it within themselves to condemn atrocities that took place under the banner of Islam on 10/7? Israeli's will continue to do whatever they feel is necessary to protect themselves against regimes and people's who would push them into the sea if given the chance. Why is it the Israeli's responsibility to recognize a people's legitimate claim to a land when the other will not return the favor in any convincing fashion?

-Again, Im new here and hoping to learn with great sincerity.

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There is a lot here, of course, and much to respond to, but I must point out that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not take sex slaves, did not take underage brides, and did not murder people himself. While fundamentalists do "point to the text" and claim they're following the Prophet, it is quite common for religious believers (or claimed believers) to carry a tradition in unusual directions, hence the overlap between Christianity and white supremacism in the US (whereas, of course, Jesus was not white nor likely would have even recognized the category.) There's much there to engage, but I thought it necessary to clarify at least this much. I'd hate to be the person who argues "read my book" for more on this, but here's an example for more on this (in addition to the book) https://religiondispatches.org/why-it-still-makes-little-sense-to-call-isis-islamic/

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It appears fewer than 30 people killed on 10/7 were minors, there is scant evidence of mass rapes and growing though probably suppressable evidence that Israelis mass slaughtered their own.

I don't think the antisemitic hate crimes are reliable, anything from a murder to a bad comment can be reported as a hate crime. The Jewish community needs to have a deep conversation with itself over its shocking, undeniable aspects of religious and political ideology which have led to Jews online and in Israel openly lusting for the slaughter of Palestinians. Please stop killing yourselves, and stop killing Palestinians.

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Its a special kind of illness to cast doubt on the atrocities even occurring, and if they did it was "only" a few instances, and even if it did, it was perpetrated by Jews themselves. There are some job openings at Cornell and Harvard in the Humanities; this twisted morality is more than welcome there.

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Your entire Essay reminded me basically Muslims are for Muslims. No realization of Islamic terrorism. I will remember your essay.

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If you truly want to reach across the aisle:

- Don’t chant “From The River To The Sea”

- When you make the comparison to American Indians, don’t leave out that the “settlers” were there 1,500 years before the “indigenous” population

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Beautiful but I also hope you had the opportunity to explain to your students that Islam is not what hamas, hezbollah or the iranian regime profess. That political islamism (as with political Judaism or political Christianism btw) leads to disaster, suffering, extremism and death. That human rights are universal and no book, whatever prophet or god it follows, can make one violate them. That religion, like any other belief system, is never dogmatic and is only valid until the point it starts disrespecting the others' fundamental rights. That one's religion, whatever it is, will never be more important that one's life, whoever one is. That the religious leaders, the ones listen by millions of faithful people, should take brave stances for all the above and against others so-called leaders that manipulate people's faith for power, death, destruction, oppression. And give those young students and future leaders clear examples of the biggotts that exist now in the world that use their faith to do harm (not just Islam, of course).

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Thanks so much for the comment, Alexandre. I think there's some frames people sometimes apply to American Muslim communities that come more from the immediate post-9/11 environment than actually apply to the lived realities of many American Muslims today (and I'm just keen on writing them here although they are not specific to your comment, which I really appreciated)

But what I mean to say is, take the kids I'm teaching, who are a very small sample of American Muslim life in the Midwest. Many of them are now at least two generations removed from their immigrant heritage, which is incredibly abstract--as it would be for most Americans--and so it's not a question of addressing bias and bigotry so much as the context for it

To these kids, in other words, Hezbollah or the Islamic Republic of Iran are about as directly linked to their lived reality or part of their conceptual universe as, I don't know, the Chinese Communist Party would be to a child of Chinese ancestry whose family has been in the US for 40, 50, 60 years (and remember 1/3 of these kids are 11- and 12-y/os)

The reason I point that out is because what I'm teaching them focuses more on where they are, and who they are, and how Islam plays out in their very American contexts... for the younger boys, I focus on Islam and masculinity. One of the challenges I see in American society more broadly is the failure of many boys to thrive.

So we work on the habits, manners, and commitments of Muslim men within the American context, but most of all these kids want to go outside and play football, because they're far more invested in the Bengals than anything happening on the other side of the world (it's amazing to see how American cultures transform identities so quickly)

For the older kids, who of course know and get a lot more, I focus a lot on the concept of moral agency in Islam, which we are exploring through the first text we're reading together, the Autobiography of Malcolm X--that book has far, far, far more to do with their lives than the Middle East (broadly speaking)

I'm by no means denigrating the need for a broader awareness of the world, but ... I guess what I'm trying to say is, the clear and present danger to democracy in their lives isn't a far-away threat connected to velayat-e-faqih, but the Trump juggernaut. That's the most ominous reality (as I see it) confronting America politically, and I want them to build a sense of civic and spiritual selfhood that can stand up for what is better.

But at the same time, I'm also very mindful of how religion can be abused (and often is), as well as the ways in American contexts that--and this is more of an insider Muslim convo, but applicable beyond Muslimness--race, tribe, ethnicity and class undermine deep community and religious consciousness. Not only that, all the same!

One of the most fascinating conversations that comes out of our reading Malcolm X together is the fact that this man struggled with evidences of abuse in his own faith community, which I often pose to them as follows: Can we distinguish our values from our people? What happens when we (or they) fall short?

At *no point* am I okay with them indulging anti-Semitism, or racism, or believing that "if Muslims do X, it is therefore good." But I want to keep the frame where and how they live, which is in the American Midwest as a minority, and how these urgent topics show up in their lives and how we address them (alongside religion as a ritual, theology, and morality)

Finally, and this has nothing to do with your comment, but just underscores where I'm coming from pedagogically: Growing up, a lot of religious mentors focused so much on the world they came from and not the world their kids were going to grow up in. I couldn't care less about Jamaat-e-Islami, for example, even if some older folks wanted to discuss.

When we stop to talk about Gaza, about Palestine, and about the war there, I try to get them to think (in the context of a Muslim after school class) about how their faith commitments and civic obligations intersect, and how to translate these into their lives going forward, in the ways that are most urgent and relevant, God willing

Hope this helps!

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Interesting read. Not sure how I feel about it. It felt like a one sided victim narrative... and that doesn’t get us anywhere. I am married to a person from a liberal Muslim sect and I understand some of the sentiments... but it’s clear the US social justice narrative and oppressor/ oppressed thing is a part of this. The whole- we had to build our own community and institutions thing really hit me... because all the stories I’m told from ancestors is they did the same with pride and no complaints. They never mentioned despite many times being treated poorly that someone else was responsible for taking care of them. They worked hard and wanted to make a better life and knew it wouldn’t be easy. They wanted to assimilate... I guess it’s just really hard to understand this narrative from so many people these days. How does it unify. Maybe be grateful you could form these institutions and communities because this country allows that for all of us.

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Since Wisdom of Crowds is devoted to addressing first principles, and in that spirit, I'd invite a reflection on how we define "victim" and when that definition is laudatory or its opposite.

I hope I was clear in noting that the true victims of the conflict are the civilians and the innocent who are dying, especially children (I also pointed out the murder of a child in Illinois who, by definition, cannot be guilty of anything). Claiming the victim is unfortunate when one actually possesses agency and power and capacity--when, on the other hand, one lives in a free-fire zone, and cannot even leave, then I think "victim narrative" is about as faithful to reality as one can get.

I'm also not quite sure where we're getting the idea that in order to be productively American, one "does not complain." My parents were also immigrants who worked hard and built institutions, but they hardly would have worked hard or built anything at all if they were deeply content with the ways of the world (contrarily to your experience, my parents were invested in my professional success but religious rigor too; "assimilation" would have disquieted them).

More broadly, I should note, Americans complain a lot. While that can be bad, it is also a source of innovation, progressive, and dynamism. If we contentedly accepted our lot--"you have this awful disease, but just accept it and move on"--probably we would not be the country we are. More to the point, we would not have a democracy, civil society, or plural reality if we did not jostle and argue with each other.

Since I was very keen on noting that in fact American Muslims are discovering strengths, and renewing American society as we re-engage, push back, and challenge frames, and that this cacophonous pluralism can be a source of American vitality, there's no point at which I disparagingly dismiss America as a concept (even if particular American leaders or realities might feel incredibly disappointing).

I felt compelled to write as much because I felt as if you'd read a piece I'd not written.

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Thank you. I actually do genuinely appreciate your kind response. I am a person who loves debate and getting to know someone else’s experience. I think it is the best thing about America and I don’t disagree that this is what pushes us forward and allows for actual progress.

I think my initial concern in reading your essay was that it seemed to follow this narrative in America that everything can be seen along this certain academic theory of oppressor and oppressed. The oppressed always being the victim and never at fault (although you did discuss some things Muslim communities around the world could work on); And the “oppressors” always the villain and always advantaged.

Along these lines- I am reading a lot about the dramatic rise in antisemitism around the world (why?- most aren’t even Israeli). At the same time every Muslim seems to be a Palestinian these days. I believe if we are truly all supposed to be a community then why do we always divide down these ambiguous lines? There is way too much context to what we seem to dumb down to skin color, gender, religion and politics, etc . I would suggest reading the esteemed, African American, economist Thomas Sowell’s “Social Justice Fallacies”.- he recently wrote this at age 93. While you may disagree on some of opinions, I would imagine you wouldn’t disagree that a plethora of contextual details and the history of the world beyond 100-200 years is important.

Also- not sure where from my few words you came to your conclusion on my family’s value system and priorities. I came from a very Christian family. This was a top priority to my family and a guide for our life course. Education is a privilege. My distant ancestors didn’t have that right in their country of origin. And when they came to America the social system was not at the capacity it is today to allow for that immediate privilege. They were mostly farmers who worked hard so their kids could go to school. My grandfather did attend college because of this and became very successful and now has 2 sons running major American businesses. So - again not sure why I needed to explain that but that’s our story. Midwest farmers to successful American entrepreneurs. Maybe try to understand other peoples history too. Their life wasn’t easy either. Just a different batch of immigrants.

Anyway- I can understand some of your points but I will be honest that your tone is defensive and reads a little like a closed book.

Thanks again for the response. This is in good faith and I was happy to read your essay to understand more about someone different than myself.

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My background is in the psychology of terrorism and I am curious as to how the author reconciles Hamas which is a bonafide terrorist group to a viable Palestine state or even Islam in general. Much mention is made in the article of the tenents of Islam but little of how to differentiate radical Islamist zealots from inclusive Muslims. Why won't Jordan, Egypt, and other Muslim nations accept Gaza's refugees? What is fueling the isolation and zealotry at the core of radical Islamism? Why do Muslims throughout the world tolerate radical Islamists such as Hamas using peaceful fellow Muslims as human shields both physically and figuratively?

Islam is a religion, a personal intimate connection to God/Allah not a political statement. What will American Muslims do in the future? I sincerely hope they will simply be good Americans and not be defined by their personal choice of religion. There is a reason for separation of church and state and perhaps Israel/Palestine could become modern secular governments rather than remaining enmeshed in ancient holy wars? This is not an American problem and we are not the solution.

The Middle East is littered with failed or failing Muslim states. Palestine can either be part of the solution or continue to be part of the problem. Afghanistan and Iraq have convinced the U.S. of the futility of getting involved in nation-building in Muslim cultures. As we say in psychology, you can't help someone until they are ready to be helped. Let the rest of the world know when you are ready.

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"Why won't Jordan, Egypt, and other Muslim nations accept Gaza's refugees? "

Why should they assist Jews in ethnically cleansing Palestine?

"What is fueling the isolation and zealotry at the core of radical Islamism? "

What is fueling the isolation and zealotry at the core of Zionism?

"Why do Muslims throughout the world tolerate radical Islamists such as Hamas using peaceful fellow Muslims as human shields both physically and figuratively? "

Hamas doesn't use human shields, but Israelis absolutely do.



"This is not an American problem and we are not the solution."

It is because you are propping up a jewish terrorist dictatorship over Palestinians.

"The Middle East is littered with failed or failing Muslim states. "

It has plenty of successful ones.

"Let the rest of the world know when you are ready."

Really we just want you to go away.

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"What is fueling the isolation and zealotry at the core of Zionism?" There have been multiple attempts to form a two-state solution that have been rejected by Palestinian leaders clinging to the myth of eliminating the presence of Israel. Simply survival is the core motivator for Zionist zealotry. Palestine region throughout history has always been a multicultural society and Islamist attempts to deny that will fail and Arabs in the region will continue to suffer.

Yes, Israel and the Palestine region is surrounded by failed and failing Muslim states (Palestine included). "Putting Egypt aside, which remains an exception due to its ancient history and the presence of a deep state there, it is unlikely that there will be a future for countries in the region which are experiencing growing turmoil today. Among those that have become failed states are Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. There are two countries that are close to failure and are still going through a transitional phase: Lebanon and Tunisia." https://thearabweekly.com/failed-arab-states

Being a petroleum-rich, medieval, autocratic, tribal nation is probably not a good definition for longterm success in the 21st century. If you think you just want the rest of the world to go away, I can assure you that the sentiment is returned by the modern world. Enjoy the 12th century...

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"There have been multiple attempts to form a two-state solution that have been rejected by Palestinian leaders clinging to the myth of eliminating the presence of Israel. "

That's a Zionist myth


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Respectfully, this is appallingly short sighted, and accepts wholesale the false ideal of American Exceptionalism.

For context of my statement; I'm a holder of a congressional award and a son of the American revolution. 'NUFF SAID!

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I stated that America is NOT the solution and we are fatigued with getting involved in shoring up Muslim states who resent our involvement. Currently there are over 100 million displaced refugees in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) according to the UN. I will wager most of these are the result of Muslim on Muslim violence in the region. I do not have solutions only questions. I am asking some tough questions. Do you have any insights?


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I would simply say that while Muslim societies undoubtedly have their problems, currently as well as historically, for the West to pretend it doesn't bear some responsibility for that is disingenuous to say the least.

Additionally, I'm not asking America or the West for anything. Two reasons for that: one, you can't even save yourselves; two, and most importantly, we (true believers) rely only on Allaah.

He is sufficient for us, and the best disposer of our affairs!

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"I would simply say that while Muslim societies undoubtedly have their problems, currently as well as historically..." Now that is the understatement of the century!

[W]e (true believers) rely only on Allaah... for the West to pretend it doesn't bear some responsibility for that is disingenuous to say the least." OK, pick one. If Allah is all you need, then why is the West 'responsible' for your fate. Do you realize how crazy-making that pretzel logic is? Radical, conservative Islam is at the core of the problem not Zionism which is contained only to Israel. Stop playing the victim and take responsibility for your own plight.

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Also, Zionism is only contained in Israel?

Really, you clearly know nothing of its history or the state of affairs in your own backyard.

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I never said what you claim, you apparently are so convinced of American Exceptionalism that you can't see or hear another point of view. You've made your bias very clear.

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I copied and pasted your words exactly. You are obviously convinced of "Muslim Exceptionalism" and your bias too is very clear.

Yes, Zionism is all about re-establishing a Jewish state in the Levant. I am aware the term has been hijacked for anti-Semite purposes.

"Zionist activism continued into the 20th century. The word Zionist became so closely associated with Jewish politics that anti-Semites weaponized up the term. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, for instance, was a hateful hoax starting in the early 1900s that notoriously fear-mongered a Jewish state in Palestine as just the first step toward a “masterplan of world domination.”

World War II and the Holocaust galvanized the Zionist movement, and in 1948, Zionism succeeded in the creation of Israel by the United Nations, who partitioned Palestine and created a Jewish state." https://www.dictionary.com/e/politics/zionist/

Now the question is when will Palestinian Arabs quit fighting amongst themselves and with Israel and form a functioning government for their own state? The Jewish Zionists at the time of the UN partition has a government ready immediately. Now, 75 years later Palestinian Arabs still do not have a single government capable of partnering with Israel. Yes, neither Israel nor "Palestine" have capable leaders, but Israel has a system in place to remedy its problem after Hamas is eliminated. What is the future of the Palestinian Authority? Who can lead the Arab population after this devastating fiasco? I am only two years older than the UN Partition Resolution and I will likely die with the status quo in the region.

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Again, the psychologist in me will note your phrase "true believer" and question whether those who believe otherwise are somehow "infidels" or "kafirs." I suspect "Muslim exceptionalism" may be at the core of the problem.

Oh yes, the West bears some responsibility but the choice to remain a victim is yours alone. You inadvertently answered many of my questions. Salam...

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Muslims have always believed in salvistic exclusivity. Someone setting up other gods or denying revelation is obviously not going to be considered among the faithful although we believe true believers existed from Adam to before Muhammad. That doesn't support dehumanization or denigration of nonbelievers any more than Jews believing they are God's chosen necessitates denigrating non-Jews or Evangelicals believing only they are saved requires denigrating those who aren't. However they certainly can lead to that and it's something to watch out for.

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For a Muslim to merely lose their faith can mean losing their life. I am not buying your compassionate Muslim thing... "Under the Wahhabi interpretation of Sharia Islamic law, apostasy demands the death penalty, as do some other religious offenses like sorcery, while blasphemy and criticism of senior Muslim clerics have incurred jail terms and corporal punishment." https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-execution-apostasy/saudi-court-gives-death-penalty-to-man-who-renounced-his-muslim-faith-idUSKBN0LS0S620150224

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Ah okay very sad and tragic or whatever. Stop imposing murderous migrant Jews on our lands and feel free to deport us Muslim browns, a fair trade my good man.

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Both Arabs and Jews are genetically related. "Semite - A member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs. The name comes via Latin from Greek Sēm ‘Shem’, son of Noah in the Bible, from whom these people were traditionally supposed to be descended." https://www.oxfordreference.com/display/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100454199

Yes, after the diaspora during the Roman occupation, Jews were scattered throughout Western and Eastern Europe and adopted some Western cultural norms, but they were always considered non-European by the West and almost exterminated along with other 'non-Aryans' during the Holocaust during WWII. Palestinian Arabs got "deported" because they refused the UN Mandate for the creation of a two-state Palestine and attacked Israel.

From the beginning Israel immediately formed a government while Palestinian Arabs remained divided and now 75 years later still do not have a government to partner with Israel as a state. The PA is a pit of corruption and ineptitude and Hamas is a bonafide terrorist group that holds Gaza citizens as well as Israeli citizens hostage. All my life I have waited for Palestine Arabs to form a viable state government and it is becoming obvious that I will be long dead before that occurs.

Don't be pulling the race-victim card because you are all cousins. Yes, Israel is aligned with the Western-led 21st century and the Palestinian Arabs seem stuck in the Muslim 12th century. You are there by choice, not by force. Allah helps those who help themselves.

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Thanks Haroon. Like all other human beings on planet earth, Palestinians want to live without occupation, apartheid and constant oppression and humiliation.

Hope your readers will find this discussion informative. https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-chris-hedges-report-with-professor#details

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Well, I may be the only one, but I appreciated your reflection, Haroon. Especially how pouring into others helped you move from inaction to action. It's hard to prepare for the future in the midst of grief and despair and I applaud you for working in your community to do just that.

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Rehnay dein innkay bk bk ku in the comment section. I really enjoyed this piece and missed reading your articulate thoughts in writing. I think it’s time to get my hands on your book “2 billion caliphs” Thanks once again!

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While I applaud the reflection, I'm dismayed by the glaring lack of perspective about one crucial thing; something I've talked about for decades, but apparently no one has listened.

Our continued fear has stopped us from taking a path to truly meaningful change. And, I would argue, has prevented us from truly growing up.

We have to stop falling for the existing, broken, system of party politics. For so long I've been trying to advocate for one simple thing - start our own political party!

There's much more to say about this, but here is not the place. Contact me if you're interested in having a real conversation about lasting change. Allaah knows best.

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We are not simply discussing "party politics" here but radical Islamist violence against the West and modernity. The problem with "Allah knows best" is those who interpret what Allah knows. Currently the ultra-conservatives and Islamo-facists like Hamas are doing much of the "interpreting." How can Muslims reclaim the core of their religion and join the rest of the secular world?

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There's nothing in what you've said, now or previously, that's deserving of any further response. We're done here.

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