Disappointing Shame

In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Farhan Memon beat me to the punch. He did exactly what I would have done (if my private practice job did not have me rounding well into the night): he criticized the destruction of the synagogues left in the Gaza strip by Palestinians and decried the silence of the world’s Muslims, including those in America. He was absolutely right to do so.

Yes, it is true that many believe the decision to leave the synagogues standing was a set up orchestrated by the Israeli government. In fact, the decision not to destroy them was heavily criticized in the Israeli press. Still, why did the Palestinians go for the bait? Why did they not have enough sense to realize that these synagogues are houses of worship that should not be harmed or desecrated? Didn’t the Prophet (pbuh) specifically instruct the believers NOT to harm houses of worship, even during warfare? Farhan Memon said it best:

Herein lies the sorry state of Islamic affairs. Muslims like to brag that when the Caliph Umar ibn Khatab entered the City of Jerusalem, he exhibited respect for Jews and Christians by refusing to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, because he was afraid that Muslims would take it over. Indeed, to this day, a Muslim family is entrusted with the key to the church. In contrast, this Islamic spirit has ceased to exist 1,400 years later. The Palestinian authority is incapable (or unwilling) to provide security for the abandoned synagogues, the Palestinian people lack the adhab to refrain from destroying a temple dedicated to the worship of Allah, and Muslims in America are indifferent to this destruction because it is occurring to Jewish property.

I realize that I say this from the comfort of my blessed life as an American Muslim. I realize that I have not lived under military occupation. Yes, Israeli bulldozers have demolished home after home in the Occupied Territories. I do not belittle that injustice and the suffering it inflicts day after day. Still, look up at the top of my blog…Never let the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice.

The Palestinians should not have done what they did. They should not have burned the synagogues to the ground like they did. Not because, as Mr. Memon wrote, “Once again the familiar narrative would be reinforced: Palestinian Muslims are barbarians, and Israeli Jews are justified in their brutal methods, otherwise civilization would fall.” No. They should not have destroyed the synagogues because true Muslims do not destroy houses of worship – including makeshift Hindu temples in Saudi Arabia; true Muslims don’t destroy Buddha statues in Bamyan; true Muslims would not destroy the house of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), where he asked his beloved wife Khadijah to cover him after receiving the first words of Revelation from the Lord God.

Rather, the Palestinians should have converted the synagogues into churches and mosques. At least they would stay as houses of worship wherein God’s name is sanctified and glorified. If Farhan Memon was the only American Muslim to publicly condemn the desecration of the Gazan synagogues, then let me be the second one to do so. It is the right thing to do, and as God told me, I must always strive to be on the side of right, even if it be against my own people.


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