05 August 2013

Perhaps Art Can Succeed Where Politics Has Failed

The repetitive geometric patterns in Islamic art teach Muslims to see their world as a continuous uninterrupted pattern that extends across North Africa and the Middle East. They see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern that needs to be wiped out.

Israel is viewed as an alien presence that Palestinian Authority television calls a “cancer in the body of the Arab nation.”//// The Hamas charters calls for jihad to destroy Israel, an ugly stain in the midst of the Islamic world. “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them.”//// Iran calls for the destruction of Israel as it races ahead to build an atomic bomb to carry out its threat.  Its leadership states emphatically that the need to exterminate Israel is non-negotiable. //// Islamic State is overrunning Syria and Iraq in its march to create a caliphate that incorporates all the Islamic lands and then the entire world.

However, a perceptual shift derived from Islamic art and thought will make the Islamic world recognize that Israel's presence in its midst is the realization of Allah's will.  

PEACE: Perceptual Shift Derived from Islamic Art
The perceptual shift needed to lead to genuine peace can be found in Islamic art where a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates human creation as less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Imam of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, explains why the idea of including some voluntary counter-pattern in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, and architecture. Devout Muslim women who weave rugs would not be so arrogant as to attempt a perfect rug since such perfection only belongs to Allah. Consequently, they deliberately break each rug’s patterning as a mark of their humility.

The Islamic World Needs Israel to Realize Its Values
Peace can be achieved when the Islamic world recognizes that they need Israel to realize its own religious values. Israel provides the break in the contiguous Islamic world extending from Morocco to Pakistan. Accepting the Jewish State as the necessary counter-pattern demonstrates humility and abrogates arrogance before Allah and honors the diversity evident in all of God’s creations. The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

Sheikh Palazzi quotes from the Koran,
Sura 5:20-21, to support the Arab world’s need to switch their viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.”

Jews are the Indigenous People of the Land of Israel
According to the Imam, Islam’s holiest book confirms what every Jew and Christian who honors the Bible knows: The Land of Israel was divinely deeded to the Children of Israel. The Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel who have continuously lived there for more three millennia despite the conquests of numerous imperialist empires. Jews are from Judea. Arabs are from Arabia. The Arabs are blessed with 21 other countries.

A paradigm shift can transform the perception of Israel as a blemish to seeing it as a tiny golden seed from which a lush green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East.

Israel is a Blessing for the Muslim World
Professor Khaleed Mohammed, expert in Islamic law, explains: “As a Muslim, when I read 5:21 and 17:104 in the Quran, I can only say that I support that there must be an Israel. The Quran adumbrates the fight against tyranny and oppression, using the Children of Israel as an example, indeed as the prime example.” Tashibih Sayyed, Editor-in-Chief of Muslim World Today writes: “I consider the creation of the Jewish State as a blessing for the Muslims. Israel has provided us an opportunity to show the world the Jewish state of mind in action, a mind that yearns to be free…. The Jewish traditions and culture of pluralism, debate, acceptance of dissension and difference of opinion have manifested themselves in the shape of the State of Israel to present the oppressed Muslim world with a paradigm to emulate.”

An Islamic Metaphor to Usher in an Era of Peace
Peace will come from a fresh Islamic metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will. A shift in viewpoint where Israel is perceived as a blessing, as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world, will usher in an era of peace. Peace will come when the Islamic world recognizes that Israel as the national state of the Jewish people is the realization of its own values.

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