At Hajj, can peace be found?

Hassan Ammar AP Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray inside the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Nov. … Continued

Hassan Ammar


Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims pray inside the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws three million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world. The Hajj will begin on November 5.

Year after year, holiday after holiday passes with no progress in the Holy Land. In August, Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan, with no peace in the Holy Land. In October, Jews marked the High Holy Days with Palestinians still under occupation. Now, as millions of Muslims descend upon Mecca to perform the pilgrimage, or Hajj, peace between the children of Abraham remains as elusive as ever.

Indeed, there is great fear that even more violence will erupt, and the chance for a lasting peace will become even more remote that it already seems. Yet, far beyond the cynical political calculation of politicians, the Realpolitik of various world leaders, and overarching geopolitical interests of nations, there lies the lives of people, real live people, who have suffered and are suffering tremendously. That is what I see as a person of faith, who values the Holy Land tremendously.

This land is very special to me, as a Muslim. It is the land of my ethnic and spiritual father Abraham, to which he fled the oppression of his people for his staunch belief in the Lord God. It is the land in which my Master Abraham, and his sons Isaac and Jacob, are buried. The rituals of the Hajj, in fact, are all a re-enactment of the story of Abraham with his son Ishmael in the plain of Paran.

In this Holy Land, my Master Joseph, who preached the faith of the One God to my Egyptian people many centuries ago, was also laid to rest. In this land, my Masters David and Solomon ruled in justice and faith, and on this land, my Master Jesus Christ tread his holy footsteps, preaching the Gospel to the Children of Israel. And to this most holy of lands, my Master Muhammad traveled by night to lead all of the prophets in prayer. For all these reasons and more, the veneration of this land will be ingrained in and be with me forever.

In such a wondrous place, there should be no violence. In such a wondrous place, there should be no occupation; no war; no sadness for the loss of life; no cries of children attacked by rocket fire; no screams of mothers holding their dead babies in their arms. In such a wondrous place, the children of Abraham should be living and working together in peace, just as their holy fathers did all those years ago.

Yet, sadly, despite the wondrous nature of the land, these are not wondrous times. Extremists who hail from both Isaac and Ishmael are bent on seeing the other destroyed. Politicians lack the courage to make the hard choices for peace. And as diplomats wrangle over what to say and do to save political face, terrible misery continues to envelope this most wondrous and holy of lands. As those diplomats wrangle, the blood of innocents, which defiles and chokes this most wondrous and holy of lands, continues to spill with abandon.

Will this sad state of affairs fail to awaken us? Will the cries of the Holy Land, in her utter anguish, not arouse us to try to bring and end to this suffering? It brings me no pain to see Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall: this was, after all, the wall of my Master King Solomon, about whose story I read in the Koran itself. And neither should it bring any misery to our Jewish brethren to see Muslims worshipping on the Temple Mount: in the chants of the Koran is the glorification of Moses, David, Abraham, and Solomon, and most importantly, the glorification of our mutual Lord and God.

This is the middle way, about which the overwhelming majority of us can agree. There can be peace between Christian, Jew, and Muslim in the Holy Land; there can be mutual respect for the life of the other in that most wondrous land; the cries of the innocent can be quieted and replaced with the laughter of children hopeful of a bright and prosperous future. We live this reality in America, and it is most joyous indeed. It just takes courage and fortitude, and reliance upon our Lord, to make this come to pass over there. As I behold the scurrying of the politicians near and far, I realize that change cannot come from they. So let that change come about through us.

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  • Kingofkings1

    Nobody in the house of reps, senate, or the POTUS office is listening or ready to take a logical view on this topic. So you’re just going to have to wait until the “sole superower (no pun intended)” just takes its last breath; the way it’s going – it may not be that long.

  • shilotoren

    Right and meanwhile Muslims are slaughtering Muslims with abandon in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Baharain………actually so many places.

    And of course how many dhimni are getting theirs at the hands of “believers”?

  • Secular1

    Mr. Hesham A. Hassaballa, I was sick to my stomach reading your inanity. It is beyond words, to describe my loathing to your misogyny, cloaked as humility and relentless adoration. You take the names of the most disgusting characters of human fiction and one historical person, and heap your adoration on them shows without a shadow of doubt your own misogyny.

    1) Your adoration for the pond scum of a character Abraham. It is beyond me why this excrement of an apology for humanity is held in such reverence. This character per every account pimped%^$ his own incestuous wife not once but twice to the kings of the lands. That was because he thought they would kill him because he had this lovely 80, year old hag of a, wife. In fact these kings were, of far greater ethics that this pond scum. When they found out the treachery, thru the misery of their subject, out of love for their subjects threw him and his wife out.

    2) This pond scum then, then goes about and dumps his baby mama, along with the baby into the desert. This dead beat is who you venerate and adore?

    3) The same rascal then goes on to kill his own child, because he hears voices in his head? This you call it faith. This misogynist had no faith when it came to his own skin, but with his son’s life he had all the faith.

    Then come your Isaac, and Jacob. What a pair of characters, one repeats his fathers tradition of pimping&*^ his wife and then the old fool cannot tell apart his own sons. The latter unashamedly con his father to get his blessings and then pillages the whole place and throws out his baby mamas when it becomes inconvenient just like his grand daddy and kills his daughter’s in-laws en-mass.

    Coming to Joseph, he did not preach any of the sorts to then Egyptians, he was only to busy pillaging the place and setting up his treacherous brothers ups with cushy jobs. There is not a single instance any kind of conversion of the natives to Judaism in those filthy tomes called OT or Koran.

    Then comi

  • mwpalmer

    Here Hesham makes an appeal for peace and you respond with contempt and disgust?

    If a person’s demeanor hinges on the worth they find in the holy writ, then I would choose to believe the words we inherit of Abraham’s children, regardless of historical uncertainties.

  • Secular1

    Regardless of historical inaccuracies most of the population of the world. If you are not from middle east then it is unlikely you share any blood line with this pndscum. The so called holy writ is filth. When one venerates such filth then teh result is what you see.

  • mwpalmer

    Could you be more obtuse? The filth flows from those who gush contempt for the things that others hold sacred, not from the holy things. Your demented portrayal of Abraham is so soiled by your handling of it that it is beyond recognition to us who feel an affinity with him.

    And, just as you maliciously misconstrue the characters of the Bible, I suspect you also disdainfully nurture misinformation about the people of the near east now. Could that be the real core of the problems we see there?

  • abrahamhab1

    Hoping and praying for ”the sole power” to take its last breath is the prevalent mood among Muslims. Their imams plead it to Allah in almost all their “sermons”. It seems they had finally hit upon the “cause” of all their ailments. America is now the scapegoat to all the ills that stamp their societies as behind backward in every aspect of life. They look every where else but in themselves and in their ideology that paralyses their minds.

  • Secular1

    Mr. Palmer, same old tired diatribe esposed by the likes of you, for eons. You claim, “The filth flows from those who gush contempt for the things that others hold sacred, not from the holy things.” Please tell me why I must not heap contempt on contemptible ideas, just because it is held holy by you and your ilk. You go read the story of Job and every place where your sky daddy is mentioned, substitute the word “boss” and tell us what your opinion of the character of Boss and that of Job will be. Just imagine yourself in the shoes of Job and your boss is destroying your hard earned wealth, your family & children just to test you. You then tell me how high you hold yourself and your boss.

    Then you go on to say, “our demented portrayal of Abraham is so soiled by your handling of it that it is beyond recognition to us who feel an affinity with him”. Please show, how is my depiction of your adorable pond scum differ from the description of him in your holy decrypt tome. I do not maliciously construe any of the biblical characters. I read that book of yours as any piece of literature, except I skip any editorial recommendations the about characters being great, etc, etc. I do not shirk that responsibility but take it upon myself to judge them.

    Finally coming to your accusation that “I suspect you also disdainfully nurture misinformation about the people of the near east now”. No sir, I do not hold people in disdain nor nurture misinformation. However, I do hold world views in disdain. Some world views more than others. The christian, Judaic, & Islamic world views are indeed carbon copies of each other, as they must be. Since the source fables are all the same and filthy and decrypt. That said the modern islamic world view held by the most clerics even today has not evolved much past the original one, from say 25 centuries. So deserve particularly greater disdain than say some of the more inclusive Sufi, or Bahai world views. In answer to the last question

  • Kingofkings1

    Mr Secular 1,
    The ill will you generate by maligning figures others may hold in esteem says a lot about you. Either you were the bully in your adolescence or the nerd who now bullies others via anonymity. I believe a response to your countless outlandish allegations in your diatribe is not necessary except to point out to you that the islamic religion has not been in existence for 25 centuries. I would have thought that fact and logics would hold at least some relevance to the number one secularist or atheist.

  • Kingofkings1

    abrahamahab, I believe you are a machine and computer simulation of evil, so no response is necessary

  • Secular1

    KOK1, as always never get the point. Islamic, world view is not any different from the Judaic world view based on OT. It is, as teh saying goes, old wine in a new bottle (pun intended). I am not dogmatist like you that just espouses your Islamic world view, without as much as a thought. I make y assertions in a reasoned manner. Instead of being dismissive why don’t you challenge what I wrote point by point or at least some of them, where you think I am wrong. Like I did just now.

  • Kingofkings1

    Secular1, that’s a serious error, i.e. saying Islam is 25 centuries old, making it 1000 years older than it actually is. if you had said the united states as a distinct nation is 1300 years old, everything else you say would not be taken seriously. A point by point refutation is therefore not necessary. If you want to win people over to your thinking, I suggest you try giving a perception of being more accomodating and avoid insulting others or those they hold in esteem. I mean if I said “your mother is a —–“, I believe you have set the stage for a confrontation, and anything else you say will be meaningless.

  • Secular1

    KOK, again please follow the English. I am not saying that Islam is 25 centuries old. I am saying is Islamic world view is, for all intents and purposes a 2500 year old world view. To be more precise and please you, I will say the following. Islam which is some 1400 year old cult that came upon this world some 1300+ years ago, repackages the old testament world view of 25 centuries ago. A difference without material distinction. Perhaps this will satisfy your sense of historical accuracy.

    KOK I understand how the perception of being more accommodating goes a long way, whatever that long way is. The fact of the matter is that I refuse to play this moderation game. I along with several of my ilk are of the world view that moderates only enable & facilitate the extremists. It is certifiably figment of all imagination that Jinns wander between the 3rd and 4th firmaments (or whatever they are), or that there make believe 7 firmaments, or that sun rest under your sky daddy’s throne in the evening, to cloak it as some metaphor is only providing succor to the extremists. When I call the characters whom other hold in high esteem as I see them., decrypt, disgusting misogynistic characters, I am challenging the so called moderates to think their indoctrinated a priori opinions of these characters. When you treat the likes of Ibrahim as prophets and venerable ones, then you are only permitting the child abusers other succor. If you are unwilling to reason, but wish to dismiss my arguments because i insulted your long held beliefs so be it. Being perceived as accommodating only carries the day so far. Perhaps I would do that in face to face discussion (may be not at all engage in such conversations). In the blogosphere, I believe I speak my mind, forthrightly. That said I refrain from attacking anyone personally, unless they attack me first then I perhaps do not hesitate to reciprocate. I most certainly will not refrain from attacking head on ideas and icons peo

  • Secular1

    Wow that’s great KOK very mature and indeed rational and logical.

  • Kingofkings1

    I can easily denigrate someone who believes that billions of particles decide to form a working relationship with each other to perfection, and even to reproduce. Neither do I distort facts and take pleasure in creating new profiles partially based on facts, such as that Martin of Luther King’s mentor, Gandhi, who was reported to be a wifebeater. Neither do I take pleasure from cursing atheists at their annual “honor the godless world” meeting. So, I hope you choose to be a good atheist instead of a bad one

  • ccnl1

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today’s 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed’s book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere including the Hajj…………………………….