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Friends of Al-Aqsa
KEP PARTICIPATED IN LONDON CONFERENCE ON JERUSALEM
Autor: Dr. Mustafa Cerić, reisu-l-ulema (1993 - 2012)
Objavljeno: 31. Jan 2018. 14:01:30


KEP participate in LONDON CONFERENCE ON JERUSALEM on Friday, 26 January, 2018 organized by Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) Dr. Mustafa Ceric member of KEP gave the following speech:

Let me begin by thanking the Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) in the United Kingdom for inviting me to this Conference on Jerusalem. I must confess that when I first received the invitation to speak at this conference, I was somewhat hesitant to accept. I was hesitant not because I have nothing to say on the topic, but because no matter what I say, nay, no matter whatever we all might say in London the situation concerning Jerusalem won’t change a bit. Everything will remain the same! Everyone knows why, but no one knows until when the Jerusalem puzzle will remain unsolved.

The topic of this conference, Importance of Jerusalem, is in itself very significant and self-evidently a reason for our gathering here in London today, and not in Jerusalem to speak about Jerusalem. But at the same time, we are as if we are in Jerusalem, speaking about Jerusalem. Indeed, we all feel we are all part of Jerusalem wherever we are, and Jerusalem is part of all of us no matter who we are. Indeed, “the view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more; it is the history of heaven”, as Benjamin Disraeli put it. Furthermore, it is stated in Midrash Tanhuma, “the Land of Israel is the center of the world; Jerusalem is the center of the Land; the Holy Temple is the center of Jerusalem; the Holy of the Holies is the center of the Holy Temple; the Holy Ark is the center of the Holy of the Holies and the Foundation Stone from which the world was established is before the Holy Ark.”

With no less zeal Thaur ibn Yazid spoke about Jerusalem in his own way: “the sanctity of the earth is Syria; the sanctity of Syria is Palestine; the sanctity of Palestine is Jerusalem; the sanctity of Jerusalem is the Mount; the sanctity of the Mount is the place of worship; the sanctity of the place of worship is the Dome of the Rock.” Indeed, we know it now for sure that “nothing makes a place holier than the competition of another religion.” It is perhaps this fact of the competition about the Holy Jerusalem that the Muslim geographer Muqaddasi described Jerusalem as “the most illustrious of cities. Still Jerusalem has some disadvantages. Thus it is reported, “Jerusalem is a golden goblet full of scorpions.”

I assume that fellow scholars and leaders from across the world at this conference will speak about the importance of Jerusalem with more competence than me. Therefore, I would like to read you my Bosnian Letter that I wrote recently aimed at the Jewish people in Israel. I thought it is time that we Muslims start speaking to our friends who are, we are told in the Holy Qur’an, the People of the Book. We have to speak to them in a different, fresh and friendly way, expecting from them that they start speaking to us in a different, unwilted, unfaded and peaceful way as well, and that means that the occupation is ceased and normal life is resumed, that means that a holy competition about the Holy Jerusalem is being stopped and that the holy war with an unholy blood must come to an end once for all.

Here is my letter to the People of the Book in Israel:

Dear friends,
This letter may surprise you, or you may not be surprised. Maybe this letter means nothing to you, or it might mean something. It is up to you, and it is also up to me. If you’re ready to hear what I’m about to tell you, this letter will be important to you. And if I’m ready to tell you what I think of you, this letter will be important to me as well because I can say I did what I could for the Holy Peace in the Holy Land. There are many Jews, especially Rabbis, outside of Israel, whom I know and who are, I can say, my friends. They have been always ready to harken to me, and I have been always ready to express to them my thoughts. I have defended before them the basic human rights of the Palestinians: their right to life (“nafs”); their right to faith (“dīn”); their right to freedom (“‘aql”); their right to property (“māl”) and their right to dignity (“‘ird”). But, I have also carefully gone to their defense of Israel’s right to existence and safety as well. Apart from the meeting with the Israeli ambassador in my cabinet of the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and my acquaintance with Rabbi Alone, I have not had the chance to socialize with Jews from Israel. I have not visited Tell Aviv, Ramallah, Gaza or Jerusalem – or Masjid al-Aqsa, not even when I was so close in Amma. I could not bear the Israeli police looking at me and my skin entering the Holy Place of Al-Aqsa, where the last Prophet of God, Muhammad, ‘Alayhissalam, led the prayer with the previous Prophets of God: Abraham, Moses and Jesus and where he was raised to the Malakūt to see all what Abraham had seen before him and even more up to the very Sidratu-l-Muntahā, meaning the line that separates this earthly from that heavenly world.



Dear friends,
I admit, I had not been aware of the extent of the atrocities of the Holocaust against the Jewish people until I, and my Bosniak people, have been subjected to Genocide in Bosnia. Only then did I realize how important it was to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust that I be aware of their suffering when I visited Auschwitz in 2011 in the capacity of the Grand Mufti of Bosnia. Yes, I did not know how important it was for me to have the other to be aware of the Genocide in my country until New York City Rabbi Arthur Schneier gave an important speech at the collective annual funeral (Sālat al-janāzah) before the victims of Genocide in Potočari (Srebrenica) in 2012. He was with his wife Elizabeth when he said: “I grieve with you, I hear your cries and your pain. I want you to know that you are not alone… and I know the pain you feel because I survived the Holocaust”. Of course, the “Sarajevo Haggadah” has been the most convincing proof of the mutual respect between the Jewish Sephardi and the Muslim Bosniaki since 1492. It was an honor for me in September 2012 that I presented a copy of the “Sarajevo Haggadah” to Odedu Wiener, the General Director of the Israel Rabbinate.

Dear friends,
Of course, there is much more that we know and that we do not know in our historical Muslim-Jewish humanly good and culturally prosperous relations. This fact makes me feel free, nay, obligated to say to the occupying forces in Israel that what you are doing to the Palestinians in the Holy Land of Abraham is not humane, it is not moral, it is not right. Indeed, it is inhumane, it is immoral, it is wrong! The Muslims, especially your relatives by your common grand-grand-father Abraham, Palestinians, are not and cannot be anti-Semites because they are Semites themselves. Also, the Muslims in the widest sense are not in any way responsible for the Holocaust. Those who eventually collaborated with Hitler and Nazi regime are to be condemned. But, by the same token, the occupying Israeli forces are to be condemned for the brutality, oppression and pain inflicted on the Palestinians today, especially around Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Dear friends,
You will be all too aware the outrage felt by Muslims around the globe at your actions and incursions on Al-Aqsa Mosque. You know very well that the Muslims will never give up on Masjid Al-Aqsa, as it is the Holy of the Holiest of the first Qiblah for the Muslims and the third Holy of the Holiest of Mecca and Medina. I really cannot understand why you are doing all this to the Muslims, who, according to your own testimony and historical fact affirm the Golden Age in Islamic Andalusia where the People of the Book, especially the Jewish People, were protected and afforded basic human rights. You should know taht the Muslims do not hate Jews, but they condemn the Israeli’s unfair treatment of the Palestinians, who deserve the respect of the whole world because of their long superhuman resolve and determination to restore their lost rights to life (“nafs”); faith (“dīn”); freedom (“‘aql”); property (“māl”) and dignity (“‘ird”).

Dear friends,
I am in my soul and body against anti-Semitism. I believe that any outburst of anti-Semitism is an outburst against my peace of mind. I bear witness of your solidarity with us against Islamophobia, especially in Europe. Also, I testify here that you, the Jewish people, were among the first to recognize the danger of Serbian Genocide against us Muslims in Bosnia just because we were Muslims. You were among the first to raise your loud voices against an Ethnic Cleansing in my country, which has turned to become the Genocide like the Holocaust. And you did everything in your power for the world to recognize that the cry of “Never Again” has failed in Bosnia. Therefore we the Bosniak Muslim people feel now that we are indebted to you as the Sephardi Jewish people feel that they are indebted to us Muslims in Bosnia because our grand-grand fathers helped rescue them from the Spanish Inquisition of 1492. This is the best proof that one benefits from a good will of his/her ancestors to the other, but, also, one may suffer from a bad will of his/her ancestors to the other. The lesson is that we should do good to the other so that those who come after us may benefit later on of our good deed.

Dear friends,
No, the UN Security Council is not capable to solve the puzzle of Jerusalem. But, you, the Jews and Palestinians, can solve every puzzle of it if you have the good will, the courage and the wisdom to do so. No one in the world can understand your similarities and your differences better than you yourselves. You are the owner of the problem and, thus, you are the owner of the solution to it. Thus, do not delegate the ownership of the problem of Jerusalem to anyone else. For, if you do, then you will lose the right of the solution, which is the key for you to get your rights in the first place. No, the puzzle of Jerusalem is not in the differences of Abrahamic traditions. In fact, the puzzle of Jerusalem is in the similarities of the Abrahamic traditions. Hence, the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims must learn how to live with their similarities in Jerusalem. Imagine how we, the spiritual descendants of Abraham, look like to other faiths in the world? Imagine an image of the Holy Jerusalem in the eyes of others who are not of the Abraham traditions? I will tell you: it looks like cursed, not like holy; it looks like dark, not like light; it looks like shameful, not like proud; it looks like barbaric, not like civilized; it looks like bloody, not like peaceful! Please, don’t tell me that stones are more dangerous than tanks and bombs! By the way, we should not forget that there were more powerful armies in history than the Israeli army, but they could not defeat the will of the people for freedom and dignity. Was not the Nazi army of Hitler the strongest of all in Europe? Did not the Japanese army look invincible? Was not the Soviet Union of Stalin seemed eternal? Did not the South African Apartheid look unbreakable? Was not the Yugoslav Army the third most powerful in Europe? We know now where and how all these armies ended up? They ended up in the wastelands of history. This must be a clear lesson for all those who threaten and oppress the other by useing the brutal force of Army.

Dear friends,
At the end of this letter I wish to send you one friendly message: – The (most) powerful Israeli Army in the Holy Land will become infamous if it does not understand and does not accept that the Palestinians have their right to life (“nafs”); their right to faith (“dīn”); their right to freedom (“‘aql”); their right to property (“māl”) and their right to dignity (“‘ird”). The Palestinians are your closest Cousins; they deserve to be treated with respect as every respectful nation in the world. I am sure that the Palestinians have no qualms of having you as their neighbor, to live in peace and security so long as there is a justice. As Muslims, they are told in the Holy Qur’an: “If someone who is not of your faith asks to be your neighbor, accept him as a neighbor so he can hear you and understand you (Al-Tawbah, 6).

Thus, dear bothers and friends, make sure that your neighbors are safe; make sure that your neighbors know that your name “Muslim” means the peaceful man, and that your faith “Islam” means the faith of peace and security. Make sure that Jerusalem is not only the Holy City by name, but that it is the Holly City of the Holy Human Life because, we are told in the Torah and the Qur’an that “if one kills one innocent human being it is as if he has killed the whole humanity, and if one saves one innocent life, it is as if he has saved the whole humanity”.

May God save us all!

(kep.org.sa)



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