In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful[HM1]
An open letter to the Pope, Pope Francis, regarding the genocide in Gaza and Palestine
To the Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio Francis, Bishop of Rome and spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, the Reverend...
Greetings of peace, tranquility, and goodness to every innocent human being in this universe.[HM2]
I am sending you this message, regarding the massacres and collective punishment practiced by the Israeli occupation and its supporters against the people of Palestine and Gaza, hoping that it will resonate with you, have a good impact on your souls, and contribute to ending human suffering in Palestine. Because its motive is humanitarian and moral, and closeness to the Great Creator.
O Pope: At the time I am writing this letter, the values, principles and teachings of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) are being desecrated in one of the most beloved parts of the earth to him, and in the birthplace of heavenly laws “Palestine”, at the hands of the Israeli occupation army and its allies, who use all kinds of weapons. They practice the utmost levels of brutality and murder against the vulnerable, and they delight in bombing innocent children, women, the elderly, and young people. They besiege defenseless civilians, starve them, and cut off their medicine, water, food, and electricity in Gaza City.
It is a shock, that this happened with the support and blessing of Western “Christian” countries, such as the United States of America, Britain, Italy, France, and Germany. Countries whose constitutions represent high human values, and adopt the “Christian” moral, emotional, and spiritual reference. These countries were not content with remaining silent in the face of the horrific massacres taking place against safe civilians, but rather they deployed their armies, weapons, and money, and provided all kinds of political, intelligence, and logistical support in favor of this unjust aggression, and participated in that[HM3] human tragedy that contradicts the guidance’s of heaven, and contradicts the approach of the leaders of human civilization, including the two prophets of Allah, Abraham and Moses (peace be upon them), who stated in their scriptures on[HM4] the tongue of our Most Gracious, Most Merciful Lord, “the Creator of the universe and man,” in His Holy Book, “the Holy Qur’an”: [ Or has he not been informed of what was in the scriptures of Moses* And [of] Abraham, who fulfilled his obligations*That no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another* And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives* And that his effort is going to be seen* Then he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense] (An-Najm: 36-41).
In all the authentic heavenly messages, and in the call of the messengers and prophets such as those carried by Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them), life was based on justice and peace, so that no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. How can this collective punishment, horrific massacres, and Zionist crime, the death toll of which has risen until the moment of preparing this letter to about 4,700 innocent civilians documented by name (1,873 children, 1,023 women, 187 elderly people, and dozens under the rubble) be practiced in Gaza, amid the ignorance and silence of the majority of the leadership, Western institutions, religious and church centers, the media, and human rights centers, as if the Palestinians who died were not human beings!?
O Pope: We followed your calls to open humanitarian corridors to help those besieged in the Gaza Strip. We followed the statements of the Vatican Foreign Minister, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, saying: “The Vatican’s priority is to secure the release of the hostages held by Hamas, and it is ready for any necessary mediation!” He also said in an interview with the Vatican media: “The attack launched by Hamas is inhumane!” and added: “Even legitimate self-defense must respect the standards of proportionality!” We also heard statements issued by the Foreign Minister of the Israeli occupation government, Eli Cohen: “It is expected that the Vatican will be more concerned with Israeli suffering...” We are surprised that the priority of the Vatican leadership is the release of hostages and does not give even a hint of the necessity of stopping the killing of civilians practiced by the Israeli army. Is the suffering of the dead, wounded, displaced and hungry, and the tragedies of many families, several of whom were completely wiped out, equal to the suffering of Israeli hostages!?
Then, will your media statements and humble positions stop the human suffering and horrific crimes in Gaza and Palestine? Is it sufficient to repel the aggression of Israel, which over the decades of its occupation of Palestine deliberately harassed Christians and Muslims and insulted their sanctities?! Is the Pope aware of the repeated racist Zionist measures against Christian pilgrims coming to Al-Quds, and preventing them more than once from arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to perform their prayers and religious rituals on what was called “Holy Saturday” and “Glorious Easter?” And their attacks on the historic Christian churches in Al-Quds, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Hebron, including attacks on the “Church of the Resurrection,” the “Church of the Sepulchre,” the “Church of the Nativity” in Bethlehem, and the “Church of the Annunciation” in Nazareth, in addition to settler attacks on the walls of the Armenian Patriarchate. In the city of Al-Quds, writing phrases calling for death for Arabs, Armenians, and Christians, and that Al-Quds belongs to the Jews only!?
Is it possible to simply condemn the spitting of Jewish settlers on Christian clergy in Al-Quds, which has increased in frequency and become a daily habit under the auspices of the occupation forces there and without any protection for Christians? Is there greater evidence than those brutal attacks on Gaza, in which the Israeli machine destroyed the Baptist Hospital of the Anglican Episcopal Church, and the destruction of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Porphyrius in Gaza? The occupation also destroyed, in its current brutal attack, Muslim mosques, the number of which rose to 31 mosques, including 26 mosques were completely destroyed. How can these statements alone be sufficient to put an end to what is happening, when whoever reads them carefully sees that they equate the victim with the executioner, while ignoring dozens of violations and crimes committed by the Israeli occupier against the Muslim and Christian population of Palestine from the beginning of the occupation of Palestine in 1948 AD!?
O Pope: What is the fault of children and the elderly in this “unjust” collective punishment, which violates human rights, international law, and divine laws? These aggressive actions confirmed the duplicity of Western countries towards human rights to freedom, life, and decent living, and offended Western civilization and the lofty values carried by our prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). Yes, in the face of this civilizational and moral challenge, your voice must be raised by denying, denouncing this aggression, exposing these crimes, and siding with people regardless of their color, race, or belief, which is what is dictated by your “historical” spiritual honesty in promoting the concept of peace, justice, and supporting the oppressed, in front of those who[HM5] distort the image of Humans and their culture, and distort their role, with the worst forms of crime, discrimination, and apartheid.
O Pope: The approach of all prophets and messengers; Starting with Adam (peace be upon him), and passing through our master Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Aaron, David, Solomon, Zechariah, Yahya, Jesus, and Muhammad (may the best prayers and peace be upon them), it is to reject this injustice, and to be siding with the values of humanity in their highest sense, of freedom, justice, dignity, human rights and preserving money, honor, blood, lineages... and more. Does your speech and voice rise to the level of stopping injustice and protecting the oppressed from this injustice and collective punishment?!
O Pope: The history of humanity, which Allah Almighty has preserved in the Holy Qur’an and His heavenly books, as Allah Almighty explains to us that when one of the sons of Adam killed his brother and regretted it in a story, the lessons of which were clear, he faced the wrath of Allah. Because killing oneself is part of spreading corruption on earth, which contradicts the approach of Christ (peace be upon him) and the approach of Islam, as in the Almighty’s saying ((And recite to them the story of Adam’s two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], “I will surely kill you.” Said [the former], “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him] * If you should raise your hand against me to kill me – I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds * Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers * And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers * Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, “O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?” And he became of the regretful * Because of that, we decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors)) (Al-Ma’idah: 27-32).
Allah Almighty, in His Holy Books, makes clear to us that whoever kills a soul for other than a soul or for corruption on earth, it is as if he killed all of humanity, so what about the one who kills thousands of women, the elderly, innocent and defenseless children in Gaza, Palestine, and elsewhere, without relent or mercy, and under the watchful eyes of the children of humanity? And the bearers of the message of peace in the West and the East, and you are at their head, O Pope!?
O Pope: Your person is a role model in spiritual qualities, humanitarian principles, and the civilizational message, for many Christian people in the world, especially in Western societies. Your silence, or speaking timidly about the massacres, displacement campaigns, and ethnic cleansing that are taking place in Palestine, gives an opposite perception of the meaning of peace that you call for with the Christian clergy in the West in your occasions and prayers, and if you believe that this is a just war, then this is a tragedy in itself, and I do not think that there is anything in Christian literature or messages from heaven that legitimizes killing and retribution except by right.
O Pope: We are a nation that belongs to a faith that does not like injustice or aggression against a human being, regardless of his culture, beliefs, religion, or race. We belong to a civilization that believes in peace, brotherhood, human love, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence. I will not cite many examples from our Islamic history of this well-established humanitarian approach except in the context of the first conquest of Al-Quds and Palestine in the days of the Rashidun Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), when he set the most wonderful examples of religious tolerance and human brotherhood, and he met with the Christians there for a meeting of safety and a covenant of coexistence, love and compassion. The Omri Charter for the people of Elijah (Al-Quds) stipulated giving security to the people of Elijah. As a security for themselves, their money, their churches, their crosses, their sick, their innocent, and the rest of their sect: that their churches shall not be occupied, nor demolished, nor shall they, nor their space, nor their crucifixes, nor any of their wealth be destroyed, nor shall they be forced to follow their religion, nor shall anyone be harmed. Of them, and none of the Jews live in Elijah with them (at the request of the Christians there). Thus, the Commander of the Faithful was keen on the rule of freedom of belief in society during the time of Muslim power.
We are a nation that belongs to a culture of forgiveness, pardon, and benevolence at various stages of its history, as Sultan Al-Nasser Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi (may Allah have mercy on him) set the most wonderful examples of morals and tolerance toward his Crusader enemies when liberating Al-Quds, and a witness from the other side testified in praising the morals of the Muslim conquerors of Al-Quds; American historian James Weston says: “Thus, Saladin’s soldiers behaved exemplarily in their occupation of Jerusalem in the year 1187 AD. Saladin vowed to himself and his reputation not to take revenge for what the Crusaders did in the first war in the year 1099 AD, and because of his protection of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and other Christian places, everyone will remember his tolerance towards people of other religions and towards the holy places of the Christian religion. It seems that his actions were considered knowledge and an example of how to conduct with righteous behavior[HM6] . Because of his forgiveness, the many aspects of goodness in his nature, and his behavior towards his enemies, he will remain famous forever for his kindness, tolerance, and wisdom".
As the French historian and philosopher Stephen Runciman said[HM7] : “...the victorious Muslims were famous for their integrity and humanity. While the Franks - for eighty-eight years - were wading in the blood of their victims, no Christian house has now been plundered, and no harm has befallen any person. On Saladin’s orders, policemen began roaming the streets, and at the gates, preventing any attack on Christians”.
French historian Rene Grousset said what he literally stated: Unlike the Crusaders, Saladin carried out his promises with honour, with human feeling, and with a spirit of chivalry, which aroused the admiration of the Latin historians who recounted the events of that period.... Grousset went on to say: “Some fanatics asked Saladin to demolish Christian temples[HM8] and destroying the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with the aim of canceling the pilgrimage of Christians who believe in the Holy Trinity, so he prevented them from that with a word from him, as he said: Why demolish and destroy, as long as the goal of their worship is the place of the cross and the Holy Sepulchre, and not the external building? Even if the buildings are leveled, the various Christian sects will not give up their quest to reach this place. Let us then do as Caliph Omar did, who preserved these buildings when he conquered Al-Quds in the early years of Islam". Grousset comments on this by saying: “Everything that this great Sultan possessed of freedom of opinion and belief is highlighted in this beautiful phrase”.
O Pope: We believe that our defense of the oppressed, whether Muslims or other human beings, is one of the closeness through which we draw closer to the Creator of the universe, Glory be to Him, who identified Himself by His most beautiful names and sublime attributes, and said: [He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful* He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him * He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise] (Al-Hashr: 22-24). To Allah all creatures return, and Allah holds them accountable for their deeds, both good and evil, and then they are destined for Paradise or Hell, after moving from the frightening world of the isthmus to the Great Day of Resurrection.
O Pope: There has been a major penetration in Western civilization and values by some writers, historians, clerics, and revisionists affiliated with Zionism and its false claims about the idea of the Temple of Solomon and the doctrine of the Promised Land, because of which the blood of innocents is being shed unjustly today. All of these claims are false lies and deviations opposed by many Christian clergy and archaeologists, in their serious and objective research, even the Jews themselves. We mention, for example, but not limited to: Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, an academic from Tel Aviv University, who shared the opinion of several Jewish and Western researchers that all the excavations and excavations under the Temple Mount, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock Mosque did not provide a single piece of evidence of the authenticity of the Promised Land. And the story of the temple. What was proven by an archaeologist from Tel Aviv University, Professor Ze'ev Herzog, who participated in many archaeological excavations and missions in Al-Quds, Jericho, and large areas of Palestine, led him to reach one conclusion: “The time has come to stop searching for something that did not exist.”
Rabbi Ken Spiro, who brings Jewish religious students from all over the world to Jericho, also admits that the scientific evidence for the authenticity of Jewish stories about the Promised Land is sketchy or almost weak. These are facts confirmed by Rev. Dr. Munther Ishaq, Academic Dean of Bethlehem Bible College and Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Nativity, in a very important book entitled “The Promised Land". The Irish American archaeologist John Dominic Crossan reached the same convictions about the imaginary connection between the “biblical promise” and what the in-depth archaeological research in Al-Quds and Palestine found. These are some of the signs and indicators that make us, O Pope, stress the importance of fairness and adherence to historical facts based on rational and logical evidence, that the people of Palestine are an authentic people and have a historical right, which makes them adhere to their land and defend their honor and sanctities, also makes us justify their adherence to that Islamic and Christian cultural heritage in Al-Quds and Palestine in the face of the occupation, which based all its narratives on weak arguments and proofs that have no basis for their validity.
O Pope: The difficult humanitarian circumstances that the Palestinian people are going through require you, from a humanitarian and moral standpoint, to intervene to:
Reject [HM9] what is happening to innocent civilians in Palestine and Gaza, and the importance of protecting them away from the battlefields.
Reject and condemn inhumane violations, including the destruction of mosques, churches, schools, hospitals, civil defense centers, bakeries, electricity stations, vital roads, water stations, and safe residential neighborhoods. And protecting UNRWA shelters for displaced civilians.
Lift [HM10] the unjust siege imposed on the people of Gaza, which has continued since 2006 until now. And ending the human suffering of the people of Palestine in general.
O Pope, we do not send this message without scientific and historical data, and a vision that establishes the values of cooperation, dialogue, and tolerance. We have our integrated vision about the call of Christ (peace be upon him) in confronting injustice and corruption, and the approach of Islam in achieving peace, justice, and human brotherhood, and we have faith in the call of the prophets, Kings[HM11] David and Solomon (peace be upon them). The overwhelming evidence of the Palestinian right to the land of Palestine, and these convictions and foundations, make us ready for understanding and dialogue between cultures, civilizations and beliefs instead of the aggressive unilateral vision, which cost humanity rivers of blood, leaving psychological[HM12] , social and material effects, and spreading devastation[HM13] , fear and violence in wide parts of the globe. It[HM14] also severed the ties of communication and rapprochement between peoples and cultures, which opposes the call of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), and the message of prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them), the conclusion of heavenly messages of peace, love, cooperation, succession, and the architecture of the universe.
All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
Sheikh Dr. Ali Muhammad Al-Sallabi
Deputy Secretary General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars
07 Rabi’ Al-Akhir 1445 AH / October 22, 2023 AD
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