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Voices for Peace

By Khaffia Ahmad

Shalom. Salam. Peace.

At a time where justice, peace and security are being violated in broad daylight, it is vital we remind ourselves of our humanity and call for peace. The concept of peace is clearly illustrated in both Islam and Judaism, as is apparent with the greeting “Salam” in Arabic, and “Shalom” in Hebrew; both salutations conveying Peace.

It is easy in times of war to become hopeless, especially in situations where those in power refuse to acknowledge or address the elephant in the room. Instead, they choose to tip toe around the subject of war, displacement, human rights violations, and genocide, in order to appeal to voters and individuals that continue to fund their re-election campaigns.

The censorship of Palestinian voices in the media and the continued narrative of Israel’s “right to defend itself” against an apparent nation of terrorists is frightening, draining, and disappointing. The blatant disregard for human life when the victims are brown, Arab or Muslims, regardless of age and gender, is appalling.

It is easy to become angry at this, and rightly so, but it is at this time we must hold onto our anger and frustrations, and instead of causing further division, we must extend a “Salam” or a “Shalom”, and beckon everyone to peace.

It says in the Holy Qur’an;

“Those who believe and mix not up their belief with injustice — it is they who shall have peace, and who are rightly guided.”

The current genocide in Gaza has long been a highly political and divisive topic due to the use of misconstrued religious ideals and the rise in Zionism. The use of religion to justify horrific acts of violence is strictly against religious teachings.

To use Judaism, the first Abrahamic faith established by Prophet Abraham to convey and encourage peace on the earth, as a justification for the killing of innocent men, women and children, is ironic and appalling.

“And remember when Abraham said, ‘My Lord, make this city a city of peace, and keep me and my children away from worshipping idols.”
(Holy Qur’an 14:36)

With all that is going on, how can we encourage and promote peace?

Islam emphasis compassion, forgiveness, and respect for all humans. There are 9 key fundamentals identified by the “Pathway to Peace Campaign”, which was set out by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to encourage world peace before the recent escalation of Violence in the Gaza strip.

1. Recognition of the Creator
2. Global unity among nations
3. Absolute justice
4. Reject extremism
5. Loyalty to country
6. Need for nuclear disarmament
7. Elimination of weapon profiteering
8. Need for economic equity and eradication poverty
9. Service to humanity

We can each look further into these fundamentals, and easily apply them to the violence occurring in Gaza, where basic human rights are not being respected in broad daylight. By continuing to educate ourselves on the current violence and continuing to promote peace for all, we can work towards and encourage a complete ceasefire, which respects all humans and establishes their rights.

Having peace and security is a human right. The children of Gaza deserve to grow up with a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. We must promote and ensure peace for them.