Christmas

Notes and Comment

Christmas and Eid are a time for the family.

Political turmoil and racial hatred do not always happen of their own accord. People of different creeds have lived together for centuries in harmony before a political change born of greed encouraged hatred and turmoil. Such was the case in India where Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs could happily co-exist before politics ‘reminded’ them that they were sworn enemies, no longer contented with their own lot. The same was the case in Palestine where Jews, Christians and Muslims had co-existed for years and endured side-by-side foreign invasions from Europe in the form of the Crusades. The Jews had suffered persecution at the hands of Europe several times since and had always fled to Muslim nations such as Spain, Turkey and North Africa to get freedom and an atmosphere in which they could thrive. So how did Jews and Muslims suddenly become sworn enemies of one another? Again, we are indebted to politics for creating the current circumstances in the Middle East where thousands of Palestinians now live in abject poverty, unable to cultivate land that their families had owned for centuries, and the incumbent Jews watch in amazement as waves of immigrants have created Israel. Yet these people share a common religious her- itage which endorses peaceful co- existence and brotherly love! The feature article provides an insight into the politics around the creation of the mess in the Middle East. The main issue was that the regional politics were crafted for the benefit of outside interests rather than for the interests of the people involved and without even their consu- ltation. It is greed and self- interest which drives such politics, but actually nobody wins because successive generations then bear grudges and look for opportunities to gain revenge. And have we learnt any lessons fifty years on … well the Balkans, Central Africa and many other conflict zones will bear testimony to our wisdom in years to come. Fazal Ahmad 2 Review of Religions – December 2002 Editorial

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