Faith and Policy
by Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi
Lebanon, one of the most beautiful and hospitable countries in the world, has gone through unimaginable pain and suffering in the past two weeks. Israel declared this unjust and immoral war under the excuse of its two soldiers being captured by the Lebanese resistance. Lebanese forces said they took the Israeli soldiers to negotiate the release of their own captured people and 495 other hostages—Palestinian women and children who have been held a long time.
Instead, Israel started a nonstop bloody bombardment of millions of Lebanese civilians: This is clearly not a war of self-defense.
The Lebanese started firing their Katyusha rockets on northern Israel three days after the Israeli invasion or, more accurately, after three decades of Israeli occupation and aggression. Israel never left the Lebanese Shaba farmlands, and Israel was planning this war for a long time.
We don’t wish harm for either side; we just want this madness to stop.
Jan England, the United Nations’ top officer visiting Beirut, was shocked by Israel’s disproportionate use of force. According to Hanady Salman, an editor at the Beirut daily, As-Safir, people are told to leave their villages and then are ruthlessly massacred.
“I very much hope that the Americans understand what’s happening to Lebanon, the destructions of the infrastructures, the death of so many children,” British Foreign Minister Kim Howells said. “If they are chasing Hezbollah, then don’t go for the entire Lebanese nation.” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour says Israel may have committed war crimes.
The world asks for an immediate cease-fire, but President Bush says it’s too early. He pays no attention to Lebanon’s prime minister, who begs for time to remove hundreds of bodies trapped under the rubble. Unfortunately, the mistakes of this administration in Lebanon are even worse than those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Israel accuses Hezbollah of receiving $100 million a year from Iran. I don’t know if that’s true, but why is Israel getting $6 billion of U.S. tax money each year?
There was no need to create this headache for the region. Israel’s real enemy is not Hezbollah, Iran or Syria but its own arrogance. An Israeli soldier described the determination of the Lebanese forces, saying, “It’s hard to beat them. They are not afraid of anything!”
Since Bush chose to be an obstacle to peace, I’d like to ask: What happened to his “Army of Compassion”? Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are the war makers!”
Does Bush think he is serving the interests of our country by unnecessarily creating more enemies? Or is he playing with the blood of the Lebanese and Palestinian kids to win support from the Israeli lobbies in the upcoming elections?
Bush should listen to wise people like Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former Carter national security adviser who called for talks with Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. They are not less intelligent than Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Saudi Arabia’s Saud al-Faisal. To resolve the conflict, listen to both parties.
Bush’s capital is America’s great civilization and international image. It’s treasonous to squander the dignity of the United States in the sight of the world. He is giving Israel five-ton laser-guided bombs to use against fleeing civilians and refugees. That is unconscionable.
The foundation of peace does not consist of bigger missiles, death and destruction but wisdom and leadership. That is what America wants from Bush.
Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights. Title in the Detroit News: “Bush must stop Israel’s immoral war, which massacres civilians.”