Sometimes Peace is Impossible

I went to my pharmacy a couple of days ago to pick up a prescription for my daughter. One person was ahead of me, an older woman—almost the stereotypical grandmother: white hair, glasses, slightly hunched. But she wasn’t acting like a grandmother doting on her granddaughter offering her cookies.

Instead, she was in full-throated roar yelling at the twenty-something technician behind the counter.

Why?

Because she was going to have to wait for her prescription. No explanation mattered to her; there was no ability of the poor technician to fix the situation. The technician spoke softly—she was a small, brown-haired young woman in a white jacket. She was unfailingly polite and gentle. But the old lady refused any attempt at mollification. She kept yelling and yelling, kept reiterating that she wanted her prescription now and that it was unreasonable for her to wait. “There’s no one ahead of me,” she insisted. Of course failing to notice that there were other prescriptions being filled and that the stacks of prescription orders were rather high; yes, no one else was physically standing in front of her. It doesn’t mean that no one was ahead of her.

When faced with a foe, it is only natural to want to understand them. After the initial shock of an attack, whether it’s a coworker who unloads on you out of the blue, or a family member, or just someone you came in contact with at the store—understanding helps.

So eventually it came out: “I have a toothache and that medicine will make it stop hurting.” There was the reason for her seemingly unreasoning rage.

And so, when we look at the world, we’d like to find the reason for the conflicts we find. Surely there is a way to bring peace to those at war. When 911 happened, the first instinct of many was to wonder “what did we do? How have we offended them?” We seek to find an explanation, to assign guilt to ourselves for our suffering. When we look at combatants in the Middle East, we want to believe that there are two good sides to the argument and that there must be some way to bring about a resolution to the conflict. Surely if we make certain changes in how we behave as a nation, make better choices, say nicer words, then those who hate us will learn to love us and we can enjoy peace and harmony.

But sometimes, it isn’t so complicated. Sometimes, those who hate us aren’t reacting to a toothache or some perceived, whether legitimate or not, slight. Sometimes, there is no way to resolve the conflict. Sometimes, there can be no peace.

Such, sadly, is the case of Al-Qaeda and frankly, the other Moslim extremists out there. Frankly, it is also the case when it comes to Israel and groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Moslem Brotherhood and the like. Peace simply isn’t possible with those who want but one thing: for you to convert or die. There is no middle ground, nothing to give, no hope.

MEMRI.org recently published the following. Some people might want to ignore these words. Some people might want to believe that they aren’t really serious. Sadly, I don’t think these words give us any possibility of hope. Peace is impossible:

Al-Qaeda’s broadcasting arm Al-Sahab has released an audio lecture that sets the standards of friendship and enmity with infidels as defined by Islam. The lecture is delivered by Abdul Samad, a militant Pakistani cleric who speaks in Urdu.

The lecture is titled “Standards of Friendship and Enmity in Islam.” It was released through various jihadi forums with a link posted on the U.S.-based website Archive.org. Citing Koranic verses, Abdul Samad says Muslims should never form friendships and relationships with infidels, which is necessary for the success of Muslims in forming unity.

Citing hadiths and Koranic verses, Abdul Samad argues the following points:

i) The most powerful and binding relation is Islam.
ii) The believers, who do not disassociate themselves from nonbelievers and do not distinguish their ranks from people who have interest in worldly things, can never serve Islam effectively.
iii) Our friendship and enmity should only be for Allah’s cause.
iv) Our friendship, relationship and love should only be with the people who believe in Islam and Allah as the ruler.
v) The people, who do not accept Allah as the ruler and do not believe in Islam are our enemy and we should disassociate ourselves from them even if they are our close relatives and from our tribe.
vi) The infidels, whether they are the Jews or Christians, atheists and polytheists, are the real infidels and are the enemies of Allah’s faith (Islam).
vii) The Koran has termed friendship with Kuffar (infidels) as a sign of disunity and unbelief, as it is associated with the foundations of belief.
viii) The people declared by Allah as our enemy can never be our friends.
ix) The non-believers are the enemies of our elderly people, women and children. They kill the Muslims with bombs either in Kashmir, Iraq, or Palestine. There is hardly a day when a Muslim escapes their cruelty.
x) They open several fronts (against Muslims) after entering a region. One of their fronts is education. They used it in the Egypt and Turkey; and they currently use it in Pakistan against the Muslims.
xi) Our enmity towards Hindus is not due to the Kashmir issue; our enmity towards America is not due to Iraq and Afghanistan; the enmity between us and the Jews is not due to the Palestine; the real cause is that they do not accept our system and Islam.
xii) Our enmity towards them (the non-believers) will continue even if they renounce all their crimes.
xiii) Enmity towards infidels is a must. It is part of our faith. Islam says the Muslims should stay away from the infidels and their countries.
xiv) The best way to get rid of them (infidels) is to continue jihad until the Allah’s faith (Islam) is completely enforced all over the world.

See the full report: Al-Qaeda Releases ‘Standards Of Friendship And Enmity In Islam’

So.

They don’t hate us for our freedom.

They don’t hate us because we did something to them.

They hate us because we exist. Because we are infidels.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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