Sunday, March 09, 2008

What's wrong with Sympathy?

This might not be a great time to make this post, given the current situation in Gaza. On the other hand, it's a small insight that might only contribute to hostilities against Palestinians.

A few nights ago I went to Borders with some friends, while waiting for someone else we meandered over to the religion section to see what books were available on Islam. There was a case with 4 shelves labeled "Judaica," and next to that a case with 4 shelves labeled "Islamic studies." Of these 4 shelves under "Islamic studies" there was almost half a shelf of books from the Ahmediyya movement, a shelf and a half of books on the Holocaust, another half a shelf on Islam, the remaining shelf and a half with books on Sufism and Shi'ism.

That's right. Half a shelf only of books representating mainstream Islam, but yet so many books on the Holocaust. I just found that interesting. But one of the books on the Holocaust shelves was the Diary of Anne Frank--the diary of a young Jewish girl who was in hiding during Nazi occupation. It's pretty much a staple of the public school curriculums here, but one of my friends informed me that it was deliberately not taught at the local Islamic school.

When I asked her why, she told me that the administration of the school did not want to encourage sympathy!!

Sympathy for whom, you wonder? Naturally, sympathy for Jews. It's an answer which thoroughly disgusted me. True injustice is when neither side is capable of viewing the other as human beings. When Palestinians--really, any Muslims in fact--stop seeing Israelis--or really any Jews--as human beings, they become in some sense an oppressor. While I don't mean to deny cruelty done to Palestinians, to seek enmity rather than peace is, in my opinion, nothing other than evil, and a route to more violence, and more oppression.

Peace comes from justice--we are all going to be judged by God.

And I just wanted to express my concern for young Muslims who might be so inclined to develop such an animosity towards a group of people who have suffered grievously as well. And if society cannot pause to reflect on an evil history and condemn it in the strongest terms, the same society dooms itself to suffer from the same wickedness. I mean to say that Muslims in America are in danger of being persecuted similarly, and have therefore another reason to remember, and remind the world, and also to stand up for justice in all forms.


brnaeem said...

AA- Amy,

Very thought-provoking post...not what I need right now. :-)

But lemme first start with a quickie: What were a shelf and half of books on Holocaust doing under the Islamic Studies section? Odd, no?

Amy said...

WS Naeem,

Thanks for the comment. The Judaica section was right next to the Islamic Studies section, and I guess they decided to file the Holocaust stuff under Judaica. And apparently they had so many books on Judaica that the Holocaust section just spilled over. :-)

It's a shame that they couldn't find enough books on Islam to fill up the shelf space they had available.

In fact, at Barnes & Noble, another bookstore, they had a section on Islam that they just merged into a "religion" section and also somehow managed to cut down the number (and quality) of books available on Islam.

The best books they have about Islam, in fact, are probably just the "Everything" and "Idiot's Guide" books, which is pretty bad.

Amoola said...

Assallamu alaikum,

Good post sis.

The attitude reminds me of a conversation I had with muslim a while back. I was telling them about the book I had been reading ''the bone woman'' and that 800,000 Rwandan's had been massacred! Their attitude was well they're black anyway, and not muslim, so what!! If they want to act like animals let them!

Ya Allah! Give me Sabr.

Allah has told us that He will not change the condition of a people until they change themselves. If muslims in our societies have attitudes like this how on earth are we going to better our Ummah!

''The best books they have about Islam, in fact, are probably just the "Everything" and "Idiot's Guide" books, which is pretty bad.''

Yeah, same in our bookstores here!

Amy said...

Amoola, Wa alaikum as-salaam

Thanks for your comment, that is very true. It is a sad state of the world when Muslims turn their heads against oppression and injustice, instead of fighting to correct the evil in the world.