By Syed Shaheen Chishti
Jewish and Muslim communities have so much in common to celebrate that it is inevitable that two would come together for the well being of the greater good.
Muslims have to understand that the Jewish thinking of a homeland is due to there experience in Europe over the 2,000 years. They were discriminated again and again by the European mobs over the centuries. That gave birth to having a secure homeland and they were offered a land next to Uganda but eventually they settled in Israel. Isreal is the strongest living democracy in the Middle East and thriving IT and medical hub of the world. Isreal has 18% Muslims so neatly every fifth person in Israel is Muslim.
Jewish community in Israel will need to somehow provide a home for the Palestine’s either in or around Israel. The answer in the long run lies in economy development which will bring the lasting peace for the two communities. Maybe a two state solution based on some formula would be acceptable to both sides. But most important is to win hearts and mind here. In addition Muslim world is not all Arab world. Majority of Muslims live outside of Middle East and needs to be engaged. I am doing all I can to increase Jewish community awareness across the Muslim world and reduce tensions. I also at times face silent rejection but I never give up.
That brings me to the main point of my article which is that with younger leadership in Saudi Arabia and HE Mohammed Bin Salam we can start this process. This year I feel is the year when Israel and Saudi Arabia must normalise its diplomatic, social, culture and economic ties. This will be a huge achievement and bravery is needed with diplomacy to overcome this. But time is ripe for this relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia to begin.
Once it has taken roots in Saudi Arabia other countries like Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia would follow suit.
This will not even make Israel stronger but also it’s economy will expand. Same time Muslim world will benefit from the medical, technology advancements streaming from Israel.
Isreal having normal relationship with Saudi Arabia will be a huge opening and acceptance for both sides.
I will do all I can to exhibit holocaust suffering of Jewish community in the Muslim world. Someone can do similar from the Jewish side of Muslim suffering in Bosnia.
My Islamic beliefs are rooted in the fact that both communities have the same God and it is to this God we will return as cousins and children of Abraham.