A Muslim Sort of Peace
Varda EpsteinVarda Meyers Epstein is an expatriate, third-generation born Pittsburgher...
There is a problem with the concept of peace and that is the assumption that certain values are universal. Westerners would agree with the idea that all human beings love life, that all mothers love their children, that peace is more important than territory. These beliefs, however, are false and misleading.
There are humans that love death more than life, mothers that love ideology more than their daughters and sons, and a people that prefer territory to peace.
These humans, mothers, and people are Muslims, adherents of Islam, the religion President Obama referred to as “the religion of peace.” The inaccurate label is due to a distorted understanding of what the word “Islam” means. The President thinks that “Islam” means “peace.” It does, but only if you interpret “peace” according to the Islamic values system.
Religion Of Peace?
What “Islam” actually means is “voluntary submission to Allah.”
To Muslims, peace is defined by world submission to Allah. It may be that some people come to submit to Allah on their own and that is all well and good.
But what if they don’t come to Allah on their own? In that case, peace is wrought through the killing of those who refuse to submit, forcing the ultimate submission through the forfeiture of lifeblood.
This too, fits the Islamic concept of peace, because in dying the dead have lost the war with Islam. They lose. Allah wins.
Of course, a non-Muslim could accept tribute status as a Dhimmi. This is what happened in the Syrian town of Raqqa in late February when the Christian community was given three options—the same three options given to non-Muslims hailing back to the 7th century when Islam was born: become Muslim, keep your religion but submit to Islamic rule, or face the sword. The Christians of Raqqa chose the second “option” and accepted Dhimmi “protected” status.
A Dhimmi pays tribute to Allah by living life subjugated to Islamic rule and by paying the jizya tribute tax (think pirates and booty). Note that Dhimmi status doesn’t guarantee you get to live. You’re protected only so long as your Muslim keepers decide to keep you around. If they should decide to kill you, well, buh bye—you’ve just become another Muslim vehicle for acquiring “peace.”
These three ultimatums: conversion, subjugation, or death are the only states of being—other than already being Muslim—permissible in Islam and define Islamic peace according to the word of Allah: a Muslim sort of peace.
I thought of all this as I watched footage from the documentary, To Die in Palestine, shared by my friend Sarri Singer. The documentary was born of an effort by Abigail Levy to speak to the mother of her daughter’s killer. Rachel Levy was 17 on March 29, 2002, when Ayat al-Akhras, 18, self-detonated in front of a Jerusalem supermarket killing the two of them plus the guard at the front of the supermarket who prevented Ayat from entering the store where many more might have been killed.
Abigail wanted closure. She thought if she could just talk to Ayat’s mother, mother to mother, she might find a way to her own sort of peace. Hence the documentary was created, which includes footage of the meeting between these two mothers.
Sarri knew about all this because Sarri herself was the victim of a suicide bombing, this time a bus bombing on June 11, 2003. Sarri was visiting Jerusalem from New Jersey, and is the daughter of Sen. Robert Singer. As a result of her own near-death and struggle to survive, Sarri founded a nonprofit called Strength to Strength to help the victims of terrorism around the world deal with their long-term psychological issues.
Sarri shared the following two Youtube clips on the Strength to Strength Facebook page this morning and wrote, “I spent 3 weeks with Abigail traveling in the United States and Abigail is so brave and loved her daughter so much that she felt so strongly that she needed to confront the parents of the girl who murdered her daughter. As the anniversary has just passed, I am thinking of the Levy family and especially of Abigail these days.”
As I watched these two clips, the sick feeling in my stomach grew. It was clear to me that there was a serious culture clash here that could never be resolved, just as the Middle East Conflict can never be resolved. The word “peace” means two different things to these two mothers, Umm Ayat and Abigail Levy.
To Umm Ayat, peace is wrought through the killing of Jews who live on land that Muslims covet. Abigail doesn’t understand that the love of a mother for a daughter is an unfamiliar idea to Umm Ayat. This is purely a Western concept. Umm Ayat doesn’t have this feeling, this value in common with Abigail Levy.
What Umm Ayat feels is pride in her daughter’s act of jihad, of killing the Infidel, the Jew who lives on land that Muslims want, Al Quds, which the Jews call “Jerusalem” from a time that predates the birth of Islam by thousands of years. From Umm Ayat’s point of view, Rachel Levy was killed for the honor of Muslims everywhere and for the sake of Allah. She was permanently and irrevocably subjugated to Allah through Ayat’s direct intervention. This is the entire purpose of Islam.
In the eyes of Umm Ayat, Ayat has done the only thing a Muslim is meant to do in this world. She has fulfilled her purpose for creation.
Abigail Levy, on the other hand, insists that both girls have died for nothing. She is sure she can make Umm Ayat, the Mother of Ayat, understand this, if only she can speak with her face to face. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Umm Ayat remains proud. Abigail Levy remains heartbroken.
Unfortunately, Abigail has learned nothing from her efforts. Perhaps she feels that the effort is enough—that at least she tried. Sarri is sympathetic to Abigail’s plight. She tries and fails to explain it all to me.
Not For Nothing
From my point of view, Rachel Levy did not die for nothing. In this, I will agree with Umm Ayat. Rachel Levy died because she was a Jew living in Jerusalem. This very fact makes her death one that sanctifies the name of God. Not Allah, but the one God. The God of the Jews. The God that gave Jerusalem to the Jews as their birthright.
And not to the Arabs.
The question is whether there is solace in the fact that a young girl who would have become the mother of fine Jewish generations, loses her life in the sanctification of God’s name. Can a Jewish mother ever feel in her heart as does Umm Ayat that a daughter’s life is incidental to a greater ideal? Can there be any sort of comfort found in this idea?
I do not know the answer to this question and I hope I never will.
All I know is that those of us who do not and never will submit to Islam and to Allah must be ever so smart and ever so wise. We must never imagine that the sort of peace we dream of can be had with Muslims. This sort of peace, the kind WE crave, is antithetical to Islam and contravenes its central religious theme.
If we close our eyes to this reality, we will not be able to defend ourselves against it.
It is not enough that individuals will come to understand this idea: that Muslim peace demands our land AND our deaths. We need to come to this understanding in great numbers in order to combat this evil that is foreign to all we hold in common, hold dear, as Jews or Westerners.
I don’t ask that you believe me. I ask that you study the subject. Read books about Islam. Go to your local library and get educated.
Then you will understand the meaning of peace from all perspectives.
And you will know what you need to do.