May 2023
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I.A.Q. Al-Mufti: Acknowledge the Past and Move On

I am originally a Palestinian, and it is good to talk with others who remember my family and the places where I used to live. I learned that my family home has been used as a school for nearly 50 years. We lived together with the Jews in my hometown. We had a large Jewish population.

My father was a mufti, a judge, and he was a leader in our area. He always protected the Jews from any violence. A Jewish man told me this when I returned to my hometown in 1967. We had not been allowed back since 1948 when Israel was created. This man also introduced me to his father, who had known my family very well. He told me wonderful stories about how the Jews and the Muslims and the Christians all lived together in harmony and peace. He said there was a beautiful coexistence among our people. It is most unfortunate when people suffer. It makes life very difficult and creates enmity.

Judaism and Christianity are accepted by the Muslim religion. And this is why we have nothing against Jews as Jews. It is what happened to the Palestinians that created the conflict. The Zionist movement created the very unjust situation under which the Palestinians live.

But now we must go on—not continue thinking of the past and the wrongs that happened to the Palestinians. For reconciliation to occur, we must acknowledge the past, not repeat it, and move on. Through interreligious dialogue and practical means, we could do much to relieve the suffering in the Middle East and bring peace to the region.

[Source: Islamic Perspectives on Peace. Tarrytown, NY: Universal Peace Federation, 2006.]