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A Letter To the American people From
The Heart Of A Muslim Woman

By Nahida

05 May, 2010
Poetry For Palestine

To the American people who support Israel and its wars

Dear friends

I am writing this letter to you because of the devastation that is caused by your government in our lands, and because of the immanent threat to world peace that I see your government pushing for, again.

The way things are moving now, I foresee great danger, and terrible risk to peace and security to the whole world.

I am writing to you because I care very much about humanity and I love our planet, with all its inhabitants.

I am writing to you because I believe in civilised dialogues, where people can express themselves freely, without being patronized, silenced, ridiculed, imprisoned or even killed for their beliefs.

I am writing to you to build bridges not walls, and to take you on a short journey so you may see things from our perspective.

I am writing to you for the purpose of advancing more realistic and humanistic understanding and for trying together to achieve a more tolerant and peaceful world.

I see systematic efforts by most of your media pundits, to work endlessly at dehumanizing Muslims and their faith, and I see that as pre-emptive justification for more military attacks against more innocent civilians, aiming at our total destruction.

When a group of people (Muslims in this case) are seen as intrinsically evil, and when their faith and beliefs are portrayed as violent, malicious, and aggressive, then, anything done to those people is acceptable and defensible.

Without talking to one another, and without trying sincerely to put extra effort to understand the other, we will all be losers, and we’ll be driving our beautiful world towards catastrophe and devastation… that breaks my heart, as a mother, and as a human being.

Is it too much to ask “to open our hearts and our minds and listen to what the other has to say” ?

Can we learn something from little children; where prejudice and bigotry are non-existent ?

Words in your media are used and manipulated to imply deceptive meanings, so you are kept in a state of constant fear, watching over your shoulders in panic from "Islamist monsters bent on invading and destroying you", never mind how absurd and ridiculous such allegations in reality are.

The zionist-controlled media has hijacked our language, and vocabulary and disfigured our religion

They drilled in people’s heads that:

Islam is terror

Jihad is holy war

Fatwa is death penalty

Muslim women are the manifestation of oppression, uneducated, forced into wearing the veil, and enslaved by their men.

Muslim men are fanatics, cruel, sadistic wife beaters

Muslim children are terrorists in the making

When a c rime is committed, the criminal is a criminal, but when a Muslim commits a crime, even a petty one, he is immediately labelled a "Muslim criminal" irrespective the fact that his faith opposes such crimes. A Muslim criminal committing a crime becomes "a Muslim terrorist", and he committed the crime because he is a Muslim and his faith teaches evil!

If only Americans could understand that what is published in US medias and blogs, is not the truth, but as much a lie as when your bankers all told you could borrow almost limitless and never suffer any economic consequences.

The hard facts about Islam and Muslims, are different, and the vast majority of Muslims would not fit to this ugly stereotype.

Islam is peace: the root of the word Islam is Salam, which is one of the Holy Names of God. Salam is Arabic for Peace. The meaning of the word Islam is beautiful as Islam is Arabic for bring into Peace.

The word Salam is used for greeting others. Saying "as'Salam alaikum" to someone means "Peace be upon you!"

When a Muslim greets another person with "Peace be upon you," the greeter is in fact proclaiming a contract of Peace with the other person. Hence, if the greeter has non-peaceful intentions towards the other person, he would be engaging in hypocrisy, which is one of the Major Sins in Islam!

“When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. God takes careful account of all things” Quran (4:86)

Jihad is an Arabic word that means the endeavour to do your best to make this world a better one:

Any effort to help achieve that is called jihad, or struggle, going to school to learn is a form of jihad, being a mother rearing children is jihad, spreading knowledge through teaching or writing is jihad, treating patients is jihad, looking after sick parents is jihad, also defending yourself when attacked is jihad, and struggling against oppression is jihad.

Any action that one undertakes in order to bring good to mankind is jihad

Life with all its ups and downs is a jihad

The highest form of Jihad, however, is the inner Jihad, which is the Major Jihad that means the never ending inner struggle against one’s arrogance, greed, and selfishness in order to achieve the Generous Temperaments.

The Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, declared "Verily I was sent to this World to define (and live by) the Generous Temperament."

According to him, the codes of Generous Temperament (makarem elakhlaq) are seven:

“Pardoning those who have oppressed you

Giving to those who have deprived you

Connecting with those who have shunned you

Benefiting those who have abused you

Counselling those who have deceived you

Forgiving those who have maligned you

Forbearing with those who have angered you.”

Contrary to common beliefs, the concept of holy war does NOT exist in Islam; it is a European concept from the days of the crusaders, and has absolutely no equivalent in Islam, it does however in the minds of the new crusaders as it seems from so many video clip we have seen, of your hypocrite politicians and zionist "evangelists", and in the sick minds of those who invaded our lands and murdered our people.

To translate the concept of Holy War into Arabic is almost impossible. It would sound something like “Harb Muqaddassah” which does not exist in Arabic, even the concept of it is unheard of, never used in spoken or written language, as it is too contrary to Islamic principles and values !

How misleading and dishonest is the translation and misconception of jihad as a holy war then!

By writing this, all I am doing is reclaiming my language back.

Fatwa is nothing but an expression of an opinion by an informed person:

Being what it is, it is not for any one to enforce their “fatwa” / opinion upon anyone.

There is no hierarchy system, no priesthood, no church institution, and no clergy in Islam; and that is something totally misunderstood, and rarely ever mentioned.

Any Muslim is entitled to make his/ her opinion from their understanding of the Qur’anic text.

If those opinions are expressed by some knowledgeable person, they are called “fatwa”.

All this falsification, distortion, and misrepresentation of Islam (deliberate or not) if not addressed and sorted out urgently, logically and with open-mindedness and compassion, then our world is doomed!

Being a Muslim woman and knowing exactly what Islam teaches, I feel dismayed and heartbroken at the image that you are made to believe as a true representation of us and of our faith

Now, if I come to you and say: “well, no in fact Islam teach this or does not teach that” would you take my word for it?

Of course not, so, I “quote” some of the specific teachings in order to reflect-precisely- the position of Islam, from the most authentic source to Muslims: the Qur’an.

Democracy and Freedom of choice:

“No compulsion in religion or ideology” (2:256).

“Say: O you that reject Faith! I worship not that which you worship, and you do not worship that which I worship... To you be your Way, and to me mine”. (109:1-6)

“We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will)”. (76:3)

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity”. (3:104)

"And their affairs are (conducted) through consultation among themselves." (42:38)

“If any one does a righteous deed, it ensures to the benefit of his own soul; if he does evil, it works against (his own soul). In the end will you (all) be brought back to your Lord”. (45; 15)

Relations with others:

'O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honoured of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in righteousness. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware'. (49.13)

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know”.(30-22)

Women’s’ issues

“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions”. (16-97)

“The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey God and His Messenger. On them will God pour His mercy: for God is Exalted in power, Wise”. (9:71)

“If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them”. (3-124)

“Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it”. (99:7-8)

“It is He who created you from a single soul, and made its mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love)”. (7:189)

“And among His Signs is this: He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He plants love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. 30-21

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise; for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward”. (33:35)

War and peace:

The general rule is:

Fighting is only allowed in case of self-defence, against Aggression (odwan) or Persecution (fitnah).

'You may fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not initiate aggression. God does not love transgressors.' (2.190)

"O believers, be you guardians of justice, witness for God. Let not a group's hostility to you cause you to deviate from justice; be equitable - that is nearer to being God-conscious." (5:8)

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight back), because they are wronged; and verily, God is most powerful for their aid; (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,-(for no cause) except that they say, our Lord is God”. (22:39-40)

“God commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and antagonism: He advices you, that ye may be reminded.” (16-90)

"No soul shall be made to bear the burden (liability) of another." (35:18)

“But show them forgiveness, and say "Peace!" and soon shall they know!” (43; 89)

“The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God; for (God) loveth not those who are wrong-doers”. (42:40)

'If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things.' (8.61)

“But God does call to the Home of Peace” (10-25)

“Ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the desires (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do. Thus, have We made of you a nation justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves” (2-143)

“Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” (7:199)

“It may well be that God will bring about love (and friendship) between you and those with whom you are now at odds.” (60:7)

“Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel evil with what is best: if you do so, he who is your enemy will become a close friend.” (41.34)

**********************

I am only a mother, and I am also a person who detests violence, war, weapons, killings…etc

I am sick to death with war and violence

And I wish what I have seen and what my people had seen on nobody.

Centuries of imperialism, and illiteracy followed by the brutal uprooting of a whole nation from their homeland in order to give it away to people from other parts of the world just because of their Jewish-ness, and to free the European’s mind of the guilt of the holocaust (which we –Muslims and Palestinians- had nothing to do with, but ended up having to pay the price for Europe’s crimes)

Year after year, decade after decade of injustice towards the Palestinians, accompanied by unequivocal support from USA and Europe to the Zionist entity, led the Muslims to resent the hypocritical policies of the Western world.

This blind support of the Zionists was/ is perceived by Muslims as an act of aggression and grave injustice.

Yet those fundamental basic facts are not represented to you, what you led to believe is that Muslims hate your freedom, your democracy, they are jealous of your way of life, and they hate peace… what a load of nonsense!!!

Muslims feel oppressed and persecuted by YOUR government, its unjust policies, its unconditional support of the terrorist zionist regime and its criminal wars and aggression

They feel that justice had been denied to them, and that they have been constantly under attack.

Exposed to so much injustice and oppression it is only natural that people would have resentments and would look for ways to liberate themselves from oppression and modern slavery, which is precisely the case in many Muslim countries nowadays.

And instead of trying to right the wrongs you’ve done over decades of oppression and injustice, what do you do?

You go yet again and attack more Muslim countries; you bomb Afghanistan and Iraq reducing them to rubble! And go on to threaten Iran with nukes!

You kill over a million more!

And what is more ridiculous is that you are doing so whilst claiming that you’re doing it for the sake of liberating us from our backwardness, ignorance, and our fanatics…

What are you thinking? Do you think we are idiots?

We are sick to death with your interference in our lands, and our countries

We are sick to death with your domination and your attitude of superiority towards us and the rest of the world.

We are sick to death of you trying to impose on us your ways, your thinking, your problems and your solutions.

Imperialism has no room in the future of our world, and most certainly, that must include thought imperialism.

WE WANT TO BE FREE

We want to be free in our homelands

We want to be able to exercise our rights to choose our representatives and our governments

We want our human rights that enable live peacefully and with dignity with no threat of bombing or ethnic cleansing

We want our right to go home and not to live forever as refugees

We want our right to believe in God or not to believe if we so wish to

We want our right to be equal human beings with equal value to our lives

We want to be free to solve the ills of our societies in our own ways not by copy-pasting your experiences and your solutions.

It’s not good enough to try to justify the horrors that you’ve inflected and still inflecting upon us, by dehumanizing us and belittling our faith. Period

Where to go from there?

Yes indeed, where to go from there?

Is there a way out?

As an optimist, yes of course there is always a way out:

To begin with, you must start with opening your hearts and minds to see us as equal human beings, worthy of life, love, and freedom.

Remove your prejudice against us, and with sincere efforts open dialogues with us, not to tell us what should we do or how should we think, or whom to elect as our leaders, but to listen to us as your equals in humanity. A dialogue is a two way system.

It’s also good to start educating yourselves a bit more about us, not taking your information from Hollywood but from us and our authentic sources.

We have so much to tell you, so much to share, so much good we can offer you and the world.

And that is not exaggeration; that is simply the truth. Because we are humans just like you. We all have so much to offer the world.

May I give some suggestion towards a solution?

Why not end your occupation of our lands?

Why not stop supporting those puppet regime and dictators your successive governments have forces upon Arabs for the sake of "Nation Building" which is the most heinous word one can imagine, and why not continuing by accepting our FREELY elected representatives, whom we chose through democracy ?

Why not visit and even come and live in Muslim countries without your army uniform, and without offering your bombs and missiles as gifts?

Why not drop your arms and come to us with open arms rather than coming carrying machine guns and riding offensive tanks?

Instead of pushing like crazy towards Armageddon; why not gently, lovingly, tenderly and with compassion, why not embrace a world of justice, tolerance and respect, as Jesus “peace be upon him” would’ve done if he was alive today?

Why not attentively listen to each other? Why not dream and work for a more peaceful world built upon diversity and richness of multiplicity, a world where humanity is celebrated and variety is rejoiced, a world where all are respected, where all are free to think, to believe, and to live their own way without infringing on each other, or imposing our ways upon each other?

As of now, the world already can see that the American dream is a nightmare, your s-elected and corrupt governments have made your country the most loathed country, and they have robbed you exactly as they robbed those "Arabs out there"

If you look more vigilantly, more attentively, and closer to home, you will find the REAL terrorist worthy of your alarm and disgust, are the ones amongst your midst, ruling your country, robbing your resources, thriving on your poverty, rejoicing your misery.

So why not transform this mad nightmare and ideologically driven devastation, back into a dream…. a reality?

Who is there?

Oh human

Can’t you see!

I am precisely like you

I don’t like being humiliated

I am no one’s doormat

I’m person in my own right

When I was born

I was born innocent

Happy and free

And I want to live

A normal life

With dignity

Wouldn’t you?

I realise there is a dawn

Waiting to be born

And that… after hardship… passes away

Ease will come to life… very soon

But… they’ve inflected so much

Pain and cruelty

Upon this little girl

And upon her homeland

The world is watching

Eyes open wide

In bewilderment

And disbelief

“What we are watching

Is a fiction movie

It’s not really true”

While in exile

Puzzled… I agonize

Wiping tears off my saddened face

Searching around

Any one there?

Looking up… into sky

Did You hear my cries?

Did You witness the crime?

Suddenly

Knock… knock

A gentle tap

 

Yes, coming

Who is there?

Hope is here

Smiling at my heart

Standing by my door

I am a Jerusalem-born Palestinian refugee living in exile for over 42 years. I was forced to leave my homeland, Palestine at the age of seven during the six-day war. I am a mathematician by profession. I started writing about three years ago when my friends insisted I should write about my memories, experiences, and feelings as a Palestinian. I did… but it all came out -for some strange reason- sounding -as I am told- like poetry! So I self published two books (I Believe in Miracles, and Palestine, The True Story. Write to me at: nahidaexiledpalestinian@gmail.com