Hamas leaders claim that their understanding of Islam makes Israel's survival a theological and moral impossibility. What's your response to that? How should Israel respond? How should other Muslims respond?
Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham on January 6, 2009 7:11 AM
The idea that ultimate truth can or does reside in a single religious tradition is the primary place where religion in all its forms almost inevitably turns demonic. We understand it when confronted by the absurd Muslim claims, like those expressed by Hamas leaders. The time has come to recognize it when it comes perfumed with Christian vocabulary.
Posted by John Shelby Spong, on January 13, 2009 5:32 PM
Killing children is never morally defensible. It is indefensible when done by rockets and suicide bombers, but it is equally indefensible when done by F16s, aerial bombardment, tanks and ground troops, or for that matter, by slow starvation, lack of medical supplies and care.
Hamas, Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda are not political extensions of an ethno ideology contextualized within the framework of a religious narrative. These groups represent nothing more and nothing less than an unbridled commitment to murder, destruction and terrorism.
Posted by Samuel Rodriguez, on January 13, 2009 3:06 AM
Asking for a first response from other Muslim leaders puts them in a difficult position. Disagreement with Hamas may sound like support of Israel. Agreement with Hamas may sound like opposition to any possible peace settlement in the Middle East.
Posted by Leith Anderson, on January 13, 2009 1:01 AM
It is not Hamas's understanding of Islam that make them hate Israel, it is the fact that they are a dispossessed people, a people who's land was given away by Europeans, stolen from them more often than not at gun point.
Posted by Pamela K. Taylor, on January 13, 2009 12:00 AM
While it makes some people uncomfortable, the fact is that according to some readings of Islam, Israel's existence does violate foundations of the faith both morally and theologically. So what? The faithful of every tradition have always found footnotes to justify their actions.
Posted by Brad Hirschfield, on January 9, 2009 5:09 PM
Israel's military occupation of the West Bank in defiance of international law and its continuous bombardment and blockade of the Gaza Strip have been the greatest obstacle to a two-state solution and a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel has made the creation of an independent Palestinian state not only a "theoretical impossibility," but a practical impossibility.
Posted by Hadia Mubarak, on January 9, 2009 4:48 PM
The leaders of Hamas remind me of battering husbands who use religion to justify beating their wives. The violent use religion to justify using violence. The choice to use violence comes first; the religious justification follows. When you choose peace, that is the religious reflection you see and the reality you live.
Posted by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, on January 9, 2009 12:29 PM
At whatever cost to the Gazans, Hamas believes it must continue to make the statement that land once Muslim (dar es salam) must always be Muslim; and if taken from Muslims, it is "war territory" (dar es harb) until recovered for Islam.
Posted by Willis E. Elliott, on January 9, 2009 12:10 PM
I see God as loving and inclusive. I see God as valuing all people. I see God weeping as he looks at children who claim God as the head of their lives plowing into Gaza with little regard for the innocent people who are being killed.
Posted by Susan K. Smith, on January 9, 2009 11:35 AM
It is ironic that apocalyptic groups in U.S. Christianity and Islamic Hamas engage in the same kind of militant and willful misreadings of their holy books. These texts speak to many kinds of situations, and one can find in both passages which are militant and reconciling.
Posted by Martin Marty, on January 8, 2009 8:27 AM
The sad truth of the Middle East conflict is that many Muslims and Jews agree that the Solution Rulebook makes sense to them, but when the crisis escalates and hits the front page (like now), the old logic takes over and Muslim and Jewish organizations revert to the Status Quo Rules.
The region is always on the edge of violence. How can it be otherwise, when the primary parties to the conflict both believe that their god has chosen them to live on holy ground? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most tragic example in modern history of the folly of trying to base political arrangements on the myths in ancient books.
Posted by Susan Jacoby, on January 6, 2009 2:33 PM
The only solution, once Hamas is vanquished, is to temper inflexible religion with flexible politics. Most Israelis, and a good many Arabs, stand ready to achieve a political solution in the Middle East. Whatever their religious beliefs, they understand that compromise is necessary, that the time has come for "the art of what's possible."
Posted by Jonathan D. Sarna, on January 6, 2009 1:37 PM
The oil-producing countries could have alleviated the grinding poverty in Gaza and the West Bank using a fraction of their oil profits annually. Instead, the Palestinian conflict has been cynically used as a tool of anti-Semitism and a sop to the Arab street, which likes nothing better than an enemy to be inflamed against.
Posted by Deepak Chopra, on January 6, 2009 10:49 AM
I'm sickened when I hear that a person's religion makes him unwilling to let other human beings live in dignity and peace. I'm disgusted when people make it sound like God plays favorites - loving their own kind and hating others.
Posted by Brian D. McLaren, on January 6, 2009 2:32 AM
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