Muslim Scholar Praises Israeli Democracy & Equal Rights

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by JStone, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. JStone
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    Tashbih Sayyed, Muslim Pakistani scholar, journalist, author and former Editor in Chief of Our Times, Pakistan Today, and The Muslim World Today http://www.muslimworldtoday.com/land30.htm

    A Muslim In A Jewish Land

    I do not believe that anyone but a committed anti-Semite will deny that Israel is not a democracy. Democracy in Israel is proportional and representative...The object of a free and democratic Israeli society is to reach satisfactory compromise but often the conclusions are less than satisfactory - especially for the majority. It involves coalitions and unity which are also checks and balances on any potential abuse of minority rights. It is a better system than the American Representative Republican system - which is really a representation of power and special interests. In the U.S. you get a democracy for the few. In Israel you have a democracy for everyone.

    I tried very hard to find any Muslim state that has true democracy and where religious minorities are accorded equal democratic rights, but failed. The map of the Muslim world is too crowded with kings, despots, dictators, sham democrats and theocratic autocrats and the persecution of minorities is an essential part of Islamist social behavior

    Here, protected by Israel's democratic principles, the Muslim Arab citizens of Israel are afforded all the rights and privileges of Israeli citizenship. When the first elections to the Knesset were held in February 1949, Israeli Arabs were given the right to vote and to be elected along with Israeli Jews. Today, Israel's Arab citizens are accorded full civil and political rights entitled to complete participation in Israeli society. They are active in Israeli social, political and civic life and enjoy representation in Israel's Parliament, Foreign Service and judicial system.

    As our air-conditioned bus negotiated the mountainous curves of the road to the heart of Galilee, I could not miss the rising minarets identifying a number of Palestinian Arab towns dotting the hillsides. The imposing domes of mosques underlined the freedoms that are enjoyed by the Muslims in the Jewish State. Large Arab residences, wide spread construction activity and big cars underlined the prosperity and affluence of Palestinians living under the Star of David. On my way from the city of David to the Royal Prima hotel in Jerusalem, I asked my Palestinian taxi driver how he feels about moving to the territories under Palestinian Authority. He said that he could never think of living outside Israel. His answer blasted the myth spread by anti-Semites that Israel's Arab citizens are not happy there. Another Israeli Arab informed me that Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights. In fact, Israel is one of the few countries in the Middle East where Arab women can vote. In contrast to the non-Israeli Arab world, Arab women in Israel enjoy the same status as men. Muslim women have the right to vote and to be elected to public office. Muslim women, in fact are more liberated in Israel than in any Muslim country. Israeli law prohibits polygamy, child marriage, and the barbarity of female sexual mutilation.

    Moreover, I found out that there are no incidences of honor killings in Israel. The status of Muslim women in Israel is far above that of any country in the region. Israeli health standards are by far the highest in the Middle East and Israeli health institutions are freely open to all Arabs, on the same basis as they are to Jews.

    Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel and underlines the tolerant nature of the Jewish State. All the street signs call out their names in Arabic alongside Hebrew. It is official policy of the Israeli government to foster the language, culture, and traditions of the Arab minority, in the educational system and in daily life. Israel's Arabic press is the most vibrant and independent of any country in the region. There are more than 20 Arabic periodicals. They publish what they please, subject only to the same military censorship as Jewish publications. There are daily TV and radio programs in Arabic. Arabic is taught in Jewish secondary schools. More than 350,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel's founding, there was one Arab high school in the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools. Israeli universities are renowned centers of learning in the history and literature of the Arab Middle East.

    Aware of the constraints that a non-Wahhabi is faced with while performing religious rituals in Saudi Arabia, Kiran (my wife) could not hide her surprise at the freedoms and ease with which peoples of all religions and faiths were carrying out their religious obligations at the Church of the holy Sepulcher, Garden Tomb, Sea of Galilee, newly discovered Western Wall Tunnels, Western Wall, tomb of King David and all the other holy places we visited.

    Continued...
     
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  2. JStone
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    All religious communities in Israel enjoy the full protection of the State. Israeli Arabs—Muslims, as well as many Christian denominations—are free to exercise their faiths, to observe their own weekly day of rest and holidays and to administer their own internal affairs. Some 80,000 Druze live in 22 villages in northern Israel. Their religion is not accessible to outsiders and Druze constitute a separate cultural, social and religious Arabic-speaking community. The Druze concept of taqiyya calls for complete loyalty by its adherents to the government of the country in which they reside. As such, among other things, the Druze serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Each religious community in Israel has its own religious councils and courts, and has full jurisdiction over religious affairs, including matters of personal status, such as marriage and divorce. The holy sites of all religions are administered by their own authorities and protected by the government.
    A Hindu journalist who came to visit me talked about the openness that Jewish society represents. He told me that more than 20% of the Israeli population is non-Jewish of which approximately 1.2 million are Muslims, 140,000 are Christians and 100, 000 are Druze. Another non-Jewish Israeli told me that Christians and Druze are free to join even the defense forces of the Jewish State. Bedouins have served in paratroops units and other Arabs have volunteered for military duty.

    The big houses owned by Arab Israelis and the amount of construction that was going on in the Arab towns exposed the falsity of propaganda that Israel discriminates against Israeli Arabs from buying lands. I found out that in the early part of the century, the Jewish National Fund was established by the World Zionist Congress to purchase land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. Of the total area of Israel, 92 percent belongs to the State and is managed by the Land Management Authority. It is not for sale to anyone, Jew or Arab.

    The Arab Waqf owns land that is for the express use and benefit of Muslim Arabs. Government land can be leased by anyone, regardless of race, religion or sex. All Arab citizens of Israel are eligible to lease government land.

    I asked three Israeli Arabs if they face discrimination in employment. They all said the same thing; normally there is no discrimination but whenever homicide bombers explode and murder Israelis, some Israelis feel uncomfortable dealing with them. But that uncomfortable feeling is also very temporary and does not stay for long.

    My first visit to Israel has not only consolidated my belief that Israel is vital for the stability of the region but has also convinced me that the existence of Israel will one day convince the Muslims of the necessity of reformation in their theology as well as sociology.

    Looking at the development and transformation that the land has gone through because of the Jewish innovative spirit, hard labor and commitment to freedoms for all times to come, I am convinced that it is true that God created this earth but it is also a fact that only an Israel can keep this earth from dying.
     
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  3. High_Gravity
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    Israel is the only country in the ME where Muslims, Christians and Jews can practice their religions openly without getting into trouble.
     
  4. Truthseeker420
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    Bullshit !
     
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    Is that right? show me one other country in the Middle East where Christians, Jews and Muslims can practice their faith together OPENLY.
     
  6. JStone
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    Dr. Wafa Sultan, Human Rights Activist, Among "Time magazine's 100 heroes and pioneers whose power, talent or moral example is transforming our world" Wafa Sultan - The 2006 TIME 100 - TIME.

     
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  7. Jos
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    Morocco, Iran, Tunisia,
     
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    Tunisia is becoming an Islamic theocracy so these things may change, I think you are right about Morrocco, not sure about Iran though.
     
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    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Jews in Iran - Telegraph
     
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    Yes but besides that one seat in parliament, the Jews are not allowed to do much else politically.
     

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