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Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Model : Muslim-Jewish ties
It is one of the most powerful messages I have read and Insha Allah, I will preserve this to repeat every time I see people are wronged anywhere in the world.
This is the spirit of co-existence that needs to be modeled after. I would urge every peace seeker in deed to take steps on his or her own to create that world around him or her. Peace is not the word, it is the work.
Below the article, I have added another such piece "Each community is a beautiful bus"
Morocco: a model of Muslim-Jewish ties
The tone of tolerance for the nation's Jewish minority begins with the king.
By Serge Berdugo CASABLANCA, MOROCCO – As the flames of anti-Semitism continue to be fanned across much of the Islamic world, there is a risk that today's youth will grow up believing that Arabs and Jews were simply not meant to coexist, let alone thrive together.
That idea conflicts with history - and is a falsehood today. My country, Morocco, illustrates the viability and vitality of a Jewish community - my community - in an Arab country. It's a model of harmony other Muslim nations should follow.
The Jewish people have been a presence in Africa's Maghreb region for more than 2,000 years. North African Jews and Muslims traveled north and thrived together in southern Europe for more than 700 years. In 1492, when we refused to convert to Christianity, we were expelled - together - from Spain. And together we successfully sought refuge in Morocco, which accepted us into its society and institutions.
In the MonitorTuesday, 01/09/07
A history of defending Jews
Morocco's leaders have always made the well-being of the Jewish people a top priority. During World War II, when the Vichy government of occupied France announced that it had prepared 200,000 yellow stars for the Jews of Morocco, King Mohammed V replied that he would need 50 more for him and his family. He refused to make any distinction between his citizens.
The importance of a nation's leader setting the tone for recognition, respect, and treatment of minority faiths can- not be overstated. Today, King Mohammed VI has declared his religious, historical, and constitutional obligation to protect the rights, liberties, and sacred values of the Jews in Morocco.
This commitment dramatically affected Morocco's reaction at moments of great challenge. After May 16, 2003 - the Moroccan 9/11, when five terrorist bombs exploded, three directed at Jewish targets - King Mohammed VI expressed condolences at a Jewish Center, condemning the criminal acts and reaffirming his determination to protect Jews and all Moroccan citizens.
In doing so, he defined the attack as one upon all Moroccan society, awakening the national conscience and strengthening the bonds between us. Moroccans of all faiths responded with candlelight vigils at bombing sites and demonstrations attended by nearly 1 million participants.
Many Moroccan Jews have emigrated to Israel and elsewhere, but the attachments to our homeland are unique. "Morocco never loses a Jewish citizen - we gain an ambassador," Mohammed VI's predecessor, King Hassan II, once said. Today, there are 1 million such "ambassadors" all over the world and 600,000 in Israel alone.
We Jews who call Morocco home have a vibrant community that includes 30 functioning synagogues and three school networks, which many influential Muslim families choose for their own children. Moroccan Jews serve as counselors to the king, ministers, colonels, members of parliament, judges, and ambassadors. On Jewish holy days, Muslim authorities, out of respect, attend our services.
With help from the Moroccan government, we started a foundation to preserve Jewish historical sites. And we support research on our community - including 30 doctoral dissertations presently under way by Muslim candidates.
Muting the extremists' call
Are we an isolated society? Hardly: Moroccans young and old have access to as wide an array of media and ideological diversity as anywhere in the Islamic world. Yes, the extremists' call is heard here, too, but make no mistake - it's the response that differs. The tones of tolerance, trumpeted by a government that believes that Moroccan Judaism is an intrinsic and permanent part of the national culture, overwhelm the extremists' siren song.
Are we a historical accident or the path forward? Perhaps the answer is that our historical good fortune now has to be transformed into a model for others. We are more relevant outside our border than ever before.
Other world leaders must realize that the path forward lies not in fanning the fires of the moment, but in setting a tone of authentic coexistence that will endure.
• The author is the president of Morocco's Jewish Community Council.
EACH COMMUNITY IS A BEAUTIFUL BUS
Each community, each nation and each faith is like a beautiful bus; when you plan to go somewhere, you make sure all its tires have the same amount of air pressure for it to run effectively, to give better mileage, lasting tire wear..... all the mechanical parts must be greased, all the parts must be checked for a safe, stable and sure journey.
We need to work together to ensure that every one is on par to ride the road of progress, we need to fill the tire if the pressure is inadequate, instead of asking the tire to fill itself. Whose loss is it if the tire does not fill itself? We have to help the communities that are at a disadvantage. We need to bring them to a well balanced, smoothly functioning society. Ignoring one tire or a community is an irresponsible thing for the bus journey.
It is the responsibility of each person in the world to make a better world. Each day we need to ask ourselves, what have we done today to make the world a better place?
Peace and prosperity of our World hinges on justice and plurality, absence or deficiency of it will cause the BUS to slow down. It is in the interests of Community of the Nations to bring up the people in ditches on to a level playing field, and let them compete from that point forward. Imagine each community to be a tire of the bus, if all the tires have adequate air pressure, the smoothness of the journey is certain, assured and safe.
Each one of us needs to be the 'source' of goodwill to bring that equilibrium. You and I are not safe if the world around us isn't. All change begins with you and me. And I pledge that whatever I do, I will do it to bind people together, and will be a source of goodwill.
Try filling your heart with goodwill and fight with yourselves to remove any prejudice you may have..... some day, you would have changed the lives of at least a few people around you, but more than any one else, it will be you who will find boundless joy in yourselves.
Be contagious with your freedom.