Notes and Comments

Notes & Comments

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Syed Amer Safir, Chief Editor & Manager 

The Israel and Palestine conflict has wrongly been described in some quarters as a religious war, when in reality, it is a geopolitical one. Nonetheless, as many continue to associate it with religion, The Review of Religions has been providing religious commentary across our platforms to help build a counter-narrative. The loss of innocent civilians has been truly painful. The attack by Hamas on Israeli soil resulted in the killing of over a thousand Israelis, including women and children, which is not according to Islamic teachings (see article in this edition ‘The Laws of War in Islam’) and is of course condemned. However, in the aftermath, the actions taken by the Israeli government have been described by an increasing number of politicians, leaders, analysts and the general public as utterly unjust and far beyond a proportionate retribution, with over 14,000 Palestinians killed, the majority being women and children. Gaza is being described as a graveyard, with Palestinians having little to no access to clean water, food, medicine and electricity. Even churches and hospitals in Gaza have not been spared. We have been speaking to people on the ground in Gaza (see the special ‘Untold Story’), and their accounts are harrowing and heart-wrenching.

But just how much retribution is proportionate? We explore this topic in one of our articles in this edition, analysing the teachings of the Torah, which some leaders are quoting to justify their unjust approach against innocents in Palestine.

An unfortunate allegation raised through the current discourse is that Islam, God forbid, inherently harbours enmity toward Jews, whereas the Qur’an describes Jewish people as ‘People of the Book’ and teaches Muslims to defend all places of worship, including synagogues, from harm. The charter of Madinah was a ‘melting pot of interfaith religious harmony’, between Jews and Muslims, established by the Prophet Muhammad (sa) (see ‘A Glimpse into the Life of the Holy Prophet (sa)). The compassionate and just treatment accorded to the Jewish people by the second Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar (ra), after he conquered Jerusalem, was remembered by Rabbis and Jewish people centuries after.

Readers can access our special coverage of the Palestine-Israel conflict across our print edition, website, social media and YouTube channel. Ultimately, the world is in dire need of interfaith harmony; to find a comprehensive and beautiful understanding of this, see the article in this edition, ‘Islam Religious Freedom and Harmony’.

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