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A Letter to Rabia Chaudry

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Rabia Chaudry

Dear Rabia Chaudry,

On May 12, 2014, you wrote at Time Magazine’s Blog: An Open Letter to Bill Maher from a Muslim American. Then you wrote: What a Muslim American Learned from Zionists. Your comments show the risk Muslims take when they engage in a gesture for peace, a risk also taken by Al Quds professor Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi when he took a group of Palestinians  to Auschwitz. Your underlying doubt, and the reaction of your peers, drew me in because you seemed to almost regret your peaceful gesture. I wondered if you felt Bill Maher presented more of a problem than the fact your fellow Muslims hated you. This was your chance to stand against anti-Semitism. Your equivocation was consciousness in motion.

Rabia Chaudry II

Israel and Chauvinism:  I started following you on Facebook. Your theme? One-sided attacks accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, or how Islam would one day run the UK, and other chauvinism. It seemed odd. Do you choose reform or are you a soft radical? I disagree existentially, using “existential” to mean the opposite of universal, with your stands.  I am a Christian apostate who admires Bill Maher and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you are the Media Relations Director of CAIR who penned this: The Vilification of CAIR. I think CAIR too often foments Islamophobia, i.e. concerning Nidal Hasan and the The Honor Diaries. I seek discourse, and you seemed perfect.

    Skeikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Business Schoo, Al Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Skeikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Business School, Al Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE.

I’m more familiar than most Americans with Islam. That’s me on the left. I’m the guy wearing glasses, the young men are my high school students from 1997-98 when I taught English in the UAE. My father is half Persian and born in Lebanon, I was engaged to a Muslim woman, thus at her request I studied the Koran and attended mosque, and as a writer I have been gripped by The Satanic Verses. Thus my curiosity and desire to engage with you as I grow familiar with your politics, family, and Mr. Beans, your cat. You and I share concerns, yet tension remains. And this I wanted to discuss, if you were willing.

Then three Israelis were abducted on June 12, 2014, and a desire to find commonality surpassed my urge for polemics. Rabia, when you see something like this, at the Huffington Post, France’s Jews Flee As Rioters Burn Paris Shops, Attack Synagogue you comment, “Despicable.” I feel a similar rage when people, who might share some of my views, comment in the thread of, say, this Yahoo article on Gaza, “your (sic) Muslim you die,” and then receive 28 Likes vs. 5 Dislikes.

Rabia Chaudry IVSo I condensed my letter. We may differ on the lesser evil, IDF or Hamas, yet debate creates progress. I’m still not sure where you’re headed, but I hope you choose reform over apologies. Below is a compilation of “notes” in the form of quotes and links.

Caleb Powell


“We are witnessing ugly crimes on television that have been perpetrated by the enemies of Islam. These various futile sects shed blood for no reason and kill fellow Muslims in the name of Islam, but what they are doing is nothing but organized terrorism and theft.” – Saudi Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh

“After all, the cautious truce agreed (to) last week ended not with an attack on Gaza, but an attack on Israel.” – Hopi Sen

“People don’t know it, but hundreds of our men were martyred digging the tunnels.” – Hamas Spokesman Husam Badran

“Hamas being fully responsible for the civilian deaths does not preclude Israel also being fully responsible.” – Seth Lazar, Boston Review

“Let’s look at the Hamas ‘Covenant,’ the founding document published in 1988 and unchanged since. It’s fascinating how central this document is—or should be—to the Gaza conflict, and yet how absent it is in most discourse.” Ron Rosenbaum, Slate

“We are stronger than they are in the justness of our cause. We are the rightful owners of the land, and they are the thieves of the land. We are the victims and they are the murderers. But despite this we might not win a battle or two completely, but at the end we will win the war. Our steadfastness is a victory. To kill their soldiers while they kill our civilians is also a victory for the Palestinian cause and Hamas.” – Khaled Meshaal, Hamas militant leader comfortably speaking from Qatar, at CNN

“In one day, they killed more than two thousand Yazidi in Sinjar, and the whole world says, ‘Save Gaza, save Gaza.’” – Karim, an ethnic Yazidi, The New Yorker

“We are not going to apologize for being friends with Israel.” – Amina Mohamed, Kenyan Foreign Minister


“You lied to those Nazis in the cemetery.”“How was that a lie? I’m not a Jew.” He was tired of talking about it and cross with her for bringing it up. “Ich bin nicht Juden.” Ellen stared at him over the bed. “Wir sind alle Juden,” she whispered… “We are all Jews…After Hitler, his wife explained almost tenderly, “what choice to we have? We have to be Jews, all of us.” – from “I Am Not a Jew” by John Biguenet

Best Editorial on Israel-Palestinian:
7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East – Ali A. (Atheist Muslim) Rizvi, The Huffington Post
Editorials Responding to Rabia Chaudry:
Faithwashing Israel and the Occupation – The Islamic Monthly
False Equivalencies Between the Oppression of Palestine and Israeli Zionism – Patheos
Editorials I agree with more than disagree:
Anti-Semitism on Rise Across Europe: Worst Since Nazis – The Guardian
A Palestinian Student Defends Her Visit to Auschwitz – The Atlantic
Arab Leaders Silent, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel – NYTimes
Caution Needed with Gaza Casualty Figures – BBC
Child Soldiers of Jihad – Tarek Fatah at The Toronto Sun
Forty Questions for the International Media in Gaza – Washington Post
Gaza: It’s a Man’s War – The Atlantic
Gaza War Proves My Pro-Israel Dad Was Right – Tova Ross
The Horrific Results of Israel’s Good Intentions – Slate
I’m Done Apologizing for Israel – Huffington Post
Israel Gaza War Data –
Israel Genocide in Gaza –  The Times of Israel
Israel Must Be Permitted to Crush Hamas – Washington Post
Israel’s Other War – Etgar Karet at The New Yorker
Italian Journalist Defies Hamas – Algemeiner
The Media Intifada – Forbes
The Moral Chasm Between Israel and Hamas – WSJ
Muslims and Jews are Targets of Bigotry in Europe – Kenan Malik NY Times
My own version of 17 Things to Read – Israel/Gaza – Huffington Post
Never Ask Me About Peace Again – Al Monitor
News of the Middle East, Muslims killed – Faisal Saeed al Mutar
Orwell in Gaza – Israel’s Iron Dome vs. Hamas’s Human Dome – Chronicle of Higher Education
Pornography of Pain: Why the Heartbreaking Images out of Gaza Are Hurting Palestinians – Huffington Post
Progressive Jews, Wake Up! – National Review
Righteous in Holland and Gaza – The Economist
Son of Hamas – CNN
To the Students of Justice for Palestine:  A Letter from an Angry Black Woman – Chloé Simone Valdary
Underground City of Gaza – Haaretz
Understanding the Violence in Gaza – Fareed Zakaria at CNN
What ISIS Is Doing to Iraq’s Christians in the Name of My Faith Makes Me Truly Sick – Express UK
When Protesting Israel Becomes Hating Jews – Boston Review
Why Does ISIS Hate US? – Independent UK
Why Hamas Stores It’s Weapons in Gaza – Washington Post
Why the Jew Is not My Enemy – Tarek Fatah
Winning the Battle, Losing the War – The Economist
Editorials I disagree with more than agree:
Disgraceful Coverage of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Huffington Post
Responses to Noam Chomsky 0n Israel and BDS – The Nation
Noam Chomsky: Nightmare in Gaza -Truthout
Global Powers Push on Gaza, One Mother Reaches Out – CNN, on Hamas rocket launches
The Three-Mile Long tunnel – Wall Street Journal
Rare Video of Rocket Launch from Gaza – NYTimes
UNRWA Condemns Placement of Rockets Near Schools – United Nation Relief and Works Agency
Of Interest:
An Iraqi Group Helping Women and Gays Is Receiving Death Threats – The Daily Beast
Palestinian Professor: No Regrets Over Taking Students to Auschwitz – Guardian (Al Quds University)
Sudan Death Penalty Reignites Islam Apostasy Debate – BBC
64 percent of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan support the death penalty for leaving Islam – Washington Post
Not Even ISIS Can Halt the March of the Non-Believer – The Australian
Persons to Follow:
Marwa Berro (aka Hiba Krisht), Tarek Fatah, Saadia Haq, Kenan Malik, Irshad Manji, Kaveh Mousavi, Maryam Namazie,  Maajid Nawaz , Ali A. Rizvi, Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Written by Caleb Powell

August 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

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