The following Letter-to-the-Editor by Jacob Bender, CAIR-Philadelphia’s Executive Director, was published in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
To the Editor,
As the Executive Director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, I believe your readers should be aware that many Muslim organizations, including ours, have condemned the recent brutal murders in the Jerusalem synagogue. CAIR’s national statement reads in-part, “We condemn this and any other attack on a house of worship and urge all parties in that holy city to refrain from actions that further inflame religious tensions.”
It is precisely at tragic moments like this, however, that we must reject the temptation of hopelessness, and attempt to turn our fear into faith, and our despair into reconciliation. Too much Arab and Jewish blood has already been spilled in this conflict, but it must be remembered that the conflict over Israel/Palestine is not an eternal war going back to biblical times, but is rather a modern conflict only some one hundred years old, a complex mix of competing nationalisms, colonial meddling, and religious fervor. But it is a conflict that is eminently solvable, if both sides can finally recognize their common humanity, and reject the occupation and the repression, the revenge and retaliation that will neither lead to Palestinian liberation or Israeli security, but only to more death.