[(Continued from p.7)]free country.
So, why is the media always critically focused on Israel? It is one of the few places you can take a television camera with virtually unlimited access. Why can't we take cameras to Syria when the president there decides to destroy an entire town? Simple: we are not allowed.
The West has a different standard for the Arab Middle East than it does for the rest of the world. It is not a healthy thing, but shows a kind of disdain. Arabs need to be judged by the same standards as everyone else.
When I engage in debates with Arab-Americans, I constantly raise this. Their families came to the United States for freedom and opportunity, just like mine did. So, why, when they look at the Middle East today, do they side with the regimes that perpetuate the oppression that their parents or grandparents fled? Why do they think that they are standing up for Arabs when they justify the murderous actions of someone like Saddam Hussein?
Joseph Farah has worked over twenty years as a journalist, including stints as executive news editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and editor-in-chief of the Sacramento Union. He founded the Western Jour- nalism Center in 1992 and has taught journalism at UCLA. He is founder and CEO of the Internet news site WorldNetDaily.com.
On Jerusalem: Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran in the first verse of the 17th chapter, the chapter of the Children of Israel, which deals with the night journey of the prophet Mohammed to Jerusalem. The opening verses tell the story of Jerusalem and the temple in Jerusalem. Then it deals with the destruction of the First and Second Temple. In the last verses, especially verse 104, it explains that the destruction of the Temple and the punishment and exile of the Jewish people was a temporary punishment and the Jews will come again to settle in the Land of Israel, after being scattered among many different peoples.
When the Zionist movement started, Emir Faisal wrote a letter to Chaim Weizmann recognizing this fact and defining the Zionist movement as a return to the land of its original inhabitants on the basis of this Koranic passage. [He saw] the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel not as a political program but ordained to the Jewish people by God. So settling the land was something commanded the Jewish people by God and so permitted to them at this time.
Recent statements by the PLO-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem Ikrama Sabri that there never was a First or Second Temple reflect the ideology of the PLO, which is based on historical and religious revisionism. Claiming the Temples did not exist opposes not only the Jewish Bible but the Koran. Early commentaries on the Koran even reveal that the Prophet Mohammed was questioned about the Temple by someone who said the Koran described this marvelous Temple with gold and silver but he had been in Jerusalem and never seen this Temple. The Prophet Mohammed explained that the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and the Jewish people were sent into exile until the Persian king permitted them to return. They built the Second Temple which was then destroyed by the Roman Emperor and this, said the Prophet Mohammed, was why, if someone travels to Jerusalem now, he cannot see that Temple.
These commentaries are among the basic commentaries of the Koran and it is inconceivable that someone calling himself a Moslem scholar ignores them. But this is characteristic of Palestinian ideology. To support their point of view they must lie, both concerning the contents of the Bible and the Koran. When I visited Jerusalem I offered to publicly discuss with Sabri these verses of the Koran but he always refuses to agree to such a debate.
On the idea of a Palestinian people: There is an Arab people which is divided in many different areas and under different governments. But the only original definition of the word Palestinian, which is not Arabic at all, and which is a layman's definition, was not used by Moslems themselves until the last century. Then it was used in the ancient Roman meaning and its later British meaning to refer to the area of Palestine including all of Jordan, Israel, part of Lebanon and part of Syria. This is Palestine in the way we say Sweden, Norway and Finland are Scandinavia. So in a sense all the inhabitants of this area are Palestinians. The Arabs are Palestinians, the Jews are Palestinians, the Christians are Palestinians, everyone who lives in this geographic region. But limiting Palestine to Western Palestine and thinking Palestinians are a special people having their own national history, this is in my opinion a fraud with no basis in the history of Palestine itself.
On Jihad: Jihad in its correct Islamic
meaning is every effort made to reach a positive religious
result. There are many traditions. The prophet
Mohammed, for example, says making a pilgrimage to Mecca is a
jihad for women because there are some limitations and
for women to make a pilgrimage is more difficult than for
men. There is another hadith that says, for someone who
has old parents, taking care of them is the jihad of a son.
There is a military jihad but it has conditions. A military jihad
in the correct sense is understood as a military action by
an army against another army. It is not an action by
terrorist groups against civilian populations. [The miiltary
action] must be waged under certain conditions and even
under those conditions one must be ready to accept a
proposal of peace. A war is a jihad as long as its goal is
defending the religious freedom of Muslims, as for example when
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Outpost - 8 - June-July 2001