Choose a World of Peace Not War

On Saturday May 15th Global Peace Alliance joined over 1000 people and marched in a protest against the bombing and killing of Palestinians and the lack of human rights, expropriation of their lands, denial of medical and covid assistance, denial of an airport, denial of fishing, essentially  rendering them living in an open air prison and in an apartheid system within Israel. This must stop and the world must continue to protest until a solution is found to the conflict. Below is a letter shared by our own Annie Ohana, board member on social media

Below is a letter shared by our own Annie Ohana, board member on social media.

For my Jewish family living overseas in Israel , I share some beautiful thoughts of peace and justice from local Jewish and Muslim Leaders. Our family has such a long legacy of co-existence. Let peace and justice reign in the Holy Land.

This is a joint letter of peace from Rabbi Dan Moskovitz, Senior Rabbi of Temple Sholom Vancouver and Chair of the Reform Rabbis of Canada and Haroon Khan, Trustee for Al-Jamia Masjid Vancouver and President Emeritus of the Pakistan Canada Association.

We are a Jewish Rabbi and a Muslim Community Leader.

We connected here in Vancouver through similar community traumas.

When six Muslim worshippers were killed and five others seriously injured after evening prayers at a Quebec City Mosque in January 2017. On behalf of the Jewish community of Vancouver Rabbi Dan reached out to offer solidarity, prayers and support.

Less than two years later 11 Jews were killed and six wounded during Shabbat morning services at Tree of Life – Or L'Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA. On behalf of the Muslim community of Vancouver Haroon reached out with solidarity, prayers and support.

Through the years we have brought the elders and the youth of our communities together to learn about and from one another. We are working in partnership now to bring faith communities together to honour our sacred duty to guard and protect the Earth, our environment and our precious natural resources.

As violence rages once more in a land that we both consider holy and sacred, we join together again; yes, sadly to comfort each other’s communities, to cry out against the escalating violence, the vigilantism, the hateful rhetoric and warmongering. And we also join together in, mutual respect and friendship to remind our communities in Vancouver and elsewhere that, from our own experience, it doesn’t have to be this way.

The seemingly unending cycle of violence that has plagued Palestinians and Israelies are quite distinct between what actual relations are between Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics, Indigenous and other peoples of faith and good conscience.

We CAN live together in peace because we DO live together in peace.

Shootings and acts of terror in Mosques, Synagogues, Churches, Temples and Public places are an aberration, an anomaly so to speak the world over. For the most part people do live, however fragile it may be at times, in a state of relative peace.

There are forces that are seen and unseen that pit people and ideologies against one another. It is a lust for power, land, resources, greed and avarice,— and something else that has become quite apparent during the current cycle of atrocity that we are all bearing witness to—Fear.
* Fear of peace * Fear of losing influence and "stature" * Fear of the consequences that peace will have on extremist ideologies and their proponents.
We must confront this fear with empathy; putting ourselves in the lives of the other. We must stop trying to solve our differences with violence; the solution to our conflicts is not the annihilation of the other; the solution to our conflicts is the embrace of the other.

The stakes are life and death, and thus as the world has learned in confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic; when human life is at stake, when our world is turned upside down, when we are confronted with our shared human vulnerabilities it is also a transformative opportunity to shape the evolution of ourselves, our children and generations to come Things have to change, the violence between our two people, Biblical brothers and Quranic cousins, must once and forever end; peace and coexistence must take hold.

We know and accept that neither of our people will ever leave the land each of our sacred texts and traditions proclaim as holy ground. So we must share the land, its natural resources, spiritual centres. We believe that our shared love for the land where our mutual forefather Abraham/Ibrahim walked and planted can guide us toward true love and respect for each other. It has been said so many times, ‘Jews and Muslims have so much more in common than we have at difference’. It is the politics of fear of the unknown that has perpetuated war, hatred and suspicion of one another.

Years ago we were brought together because the one thing our two people seem to have most in common is that for centuries others have targeted us for hate and violence. Violence has led to too much violence, let it now lead to empathy and from empathy to peace.

That brotherhood of suffering compels us to make this pledge, “We will not do to each other what so many have done to us.”

A common passage of revelation in all of the world's holy books and texts reveal we were made into many nations and tribes not to fear and mistrust one another but to KNOW one another. When you truly KNOW someone, you understand each other, befriend each other and can grow to love each other.

Jews and Muslims are but two of many nations and tribes brought onto this majestic Earth we all share... We MUST live together in peace; we have no other choice.

Haroon Khan, Trustee, Al Jamia Masjid Vancouver
Rabbi Dan Moskovitz, Temple Sholom

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any religious affiliation.