Saturday, 10 January 2015

BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Monday 5th January 2015
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
University of Miami, FL

It’s been a difficult start to the New Year with a number of quite dreadful events covered in the news.  One place we hear about often in the news is Israel and Palestine where even the use of these identity markers can bring out impassioned emotions from both sides.  I fly out to Jerusalem today to take part in an American Muslim leadership initiative as the only non-American.  It comes as no surprise that many from all sides have mixed feelings.  It is clearly an extremely complex situation.  I’ve been to Jerusalem several times in the past and I’m all too aware of the politics of such a trip. 

However, I’ve always tried to steer clear of political traps and concentrate on the people.  Jerusalem, the Holy land, to Jews, Christians and Muslims is sacred to them all.  It is then clear that only an inclusive society will thrive and exclusivist claims will and actually always have failed. I remember listening to an American diplomat once who said that if the holy land was just a matter of real estate then it would have been resolved a long time ago. 

I travel to the holy land to see how every day Jews, Christians and Muslims li  I’m also intrigued to see the ways that the non-religious communities find themselves and co-exist.  No one is winning in the current situation and sadly the holy land continues to bleed.  I have very little hope in political systems or even political parties yet I have every hope in the every day man and woman who builds bridges.  It’s not an easy task, especially when we become arm-chair commentators far away.  Another reason why I want to go and immerse myself in the individual voices of Palestinians and Israelis as a Scottish Muslim who wants to see peace and equality in the holy land for all.  Every new year brings with it challenges with a mixture of hope toward the unknown. Our actions can be read and understood in various ways but at the end of the day we must be firm in building bridges.