60 years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. She was arrested and fined. Parks’ actions ignited a bus boycott and protests to abolish segregation.
USA. Atlanta, Georgia. 1995. Rosa Parks. © Eli Reed/Magnum Photos.
Parents Circle is a group of Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost children to violence and now works together for peace. On Saturday night, they set up a tent of reconciliation in the Israeli city of Jaffa. The idea is to establish a place where Israelis and Palestinians can talk with each other.
“When the Taliban closed all the girls’ schools in Afghanistan, Sakena Yacoobi set up new schools, in secret, educating thousands of women and men. In this fierce, funny talk, she tells the jaw-dropping story of two times when she was threatened to stop teaching — and shares her vision for rebuilding her beloved country.”
This year, the most holy day of the Jews – Yom Kippur and of the Muslims – Eid al Adcha will again be celebrated around the same time. This is a timely video:
MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) posted this clip from an interview with Saudi author Turki Al-Hamad on Rotana Khalijiyya TV, Saudi Arabia, aired July 13-14, 2015. He talked about the extremist discourse prevalent in Saudi Arabia, leading many of its youth to join ISIS, and said, “In order to stop ISIS, you must first dry up this ideology at the source.”
Saturday, February 21, following the Shabbat service, young Norwegian Muslims will form a human shield around the synagogue in Oslo. They call it the “ring of peace.” One of the eight organizers, 17-year-old Hajrah Arshad, told a Norwegian newspaper:
We have taken this initiative not just as fellow human beings but also as Muslims to show that Muslims are opposed to the hatred Jews have to face.
2,000 have said they will attend. One of them is Waqas Sarwar. He wrote this blog post in The Times of Israel:
It has been one week since the terrorist attack in Copenhagen that killed Dan Uzan, a Danish Jew. He was standing guard outside the city’s synagogue during a Bar Mitzvah gathering when a terrorist shot him dead in an act of unprovoked and blind killing for no other reason than Uzan being a Jew.
A week later and just across the sea, in Oslo, the Shabbat will be marked in a rather unusual way. A group of Norwegian Muslims have decided to take upon themselves the task of organizing a human “chain of peace” around the synagogue in an act of solidarity. The gesture will be carried out on Saturday on the completion of Shabbat.
Read the whole post: Why I, a Muslim, am going to a synagogue – the comments are interesting, too
With the Israeli elections coming up in March 2015, IFLAC has sent an open letter to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, appealing to him to use his authority to have Hamas revise their Charter and delete the conspiracy clauses and the clauses calling for the destruction of Israel. The Preamble to the Charter states that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam invalidates it.” In another statement, we read that the Jews “aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam.”
Statements like these are counterproductive to the peace process. “The way is to come to the peace table with an open heart and mind and not with false negative conceptions and fixed defamation of the partner. Only in this way can the negotiations between two open, honest and willing partners reach a successful result, accepted by both sides,” IFLAC writes.
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Cartoonists all over the world reacted quickly to the despicable terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices. The slideshow below shows some of their cartoons illustrating that the Pen is indeed Mightier than the sword. Always has been, always will be.
The slideshow also includes the cover of the first Charlie Hebdo issue following the attack. It depicts the Prophet Muhammad shedding a tear and holding up a placard that reads “Je suis Charlie” and “Tout est pardonné” (All is forgiven).
Feel free to leave tips on other cartoons in the comments field.
Thea did not say yes. Clever stunt by Plan.
Every day, 39,000 young girls are forced into marriage; that means 14 million child brides every year. In a campaign to raise awareness of child marriage, Plan Norway launched a fictitious blog (English machine translation) by Norwegian Thea, age 12, announcing her wedding to Geir, 37, on the International Day of the Girl. In the blog, she writes about the wedding preparations, counting down the days and posting selfies. Plan celebrity ambassadors were asked to tweet about the blog, and the story went viral.
Today is the International Girls Day, and Thea walked up the aisle to meet the man she did not want. The priest talked about God and love and the sanctity of marriage and asked, do you take this man? Thea did not answer, just shook her head. The priest went on, THEA? Thea turned around and walked away while the people shouted, THEA SAY NO.
Thankfully, Thea was not a real child bride, but 39,000 are on this International Day of the Girl.
September 21 is the International Day of Peace. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982.
International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Ceasefire would mean to humankind.
HAPPY PEACE DAY!
One week after the twin attacks in Norway, Oslo is covered with flowers.
The first of many funerals took place on Friday. Young multicultural Bano, who only became 18 years old. Together with her family, she fled Iraq and sought sanctuary in Norway when she was just seven. The funeral services were held in accordance with both Christian and Islamic traditions, and the image of a female priest and an imam side by side contradicted everything the Islamophobic killer stands for.
Two days later, Bano’s 14 year old brother, determined to resume normal activities as soon as possible despite his grief, played his first game in Norway Cup, an international football (soccer) tournament for youth. He was credited an assist – he could have scored himself, but chose to pass the ball to the scorer.
The teddy bears and cards in the sea of flowers in front of Oslo Cathedral will be stored. The candles will be remoulded into new candles. The flowers will become new soil for a memorial site.
The sympathy that has poured in from all over the world has been heart-warming. From Oklahoma, the city that was hit by the dreadful bomb attack in 1995, come recorded Voices of Hope and the message that Norway should establish a memorial site in order not to forget.
Oklahoma has its memorial park, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, including the Field of Empty Chairs with its 168 empty chairs representing those who lost their lives in the attack. Each night, the chairs are lit. There is also the Memorial Fence, where visitors still leave flowers and mementos.
Time for reflection: What if the killer had not been blond with blue eyes, but a Muslim, as so many thought as the news of the bombing of the governmental building reached us? Would we still have stood shoulder by shoulder? Would the anti-Islam rhetoric have become even harsher? As we realized that we were witnessing a home-grown terrorist in action, a mind-changing wind swept over us. This should be a time for all of us – no matter which ethnicity and religion we belong to – to reflect on our own thoughts and prejudices towards others, and we are allowed to say: I was wrong. Forgive me.
Flowers all over: