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If not for social media, I would have remained in my ignorance. Alhamdulillah for growth. Growing up as a Muslim in Ireland, surrounded by my community of Nigerians, I was never really aware of issues other than racism. I never watched the news either, especially Al Jazeera, which constantly covered wars or humanitarian crises. Until I started learning more about the diversity of my religion coupled with social media, I became aware of Palestine. Within my community, I only ever knew that Black Muslims existed and this was because of where I grew up and who I surrounded myself with. Moving to London with a melting pot of cultural diversity opened my eyes to the uniqueness of my religion and my brothers and sisters in Islam.
It was only in late 2019 that I became clued up on the injustice Palestinians were facing. I always saw ‘Gaza’ on the news but never paid attention to it, simply because I hated seeing graphic images in the media. Likewise, I always heard issues about Israel and Palestine but never researched it. I remembered that as a Muslim, the ummah is like one body and it was my duty to use my voice and help wherever I am able to. Although I am not based in Palestine and have no affiliation other than how I am connected to the Muslim Palestinians through our religion, I decided to write about this due to the genocide the Israelis are committing. I deliberately use the term ‘genocide’ because it is a genocide. Terms such as ‘annexation’ sugarcoat the brutalities that the Israelis are inflicting on the Palestinians. I hate to use the term Israel because who is she? Israel does not exist — it is Palestine. For the remainder of this piece, I will use the term, ‘the illegitimate state.’ So illegitimate that 31 members of the UN do not recognize this supposed nation.
Palestine is a human issue, not an Arab issue or a religious issue.
Palestine belongs to all Palestinians — not just the Muslims, but the Christians too. I realize that unfortunately, certain demographics fail to talk about Palestine because it appears to be a ‘Muslim problem’, but their ignorance clouds their judgment — forgetting Arab Christians exist too, Palestinian Christians exist, Afro Palestinians exist, and they are all suffering from the occupation. I implore you to think bigger and look at how it is a global issue that impacts all of us. It is a human issue — it is a Holocaust that is going ignored by the global community. Neighboring countries that possess vast amounts of wealth are funding the illegitimate state and doing nothing. I just think about how on the Day of Judgement, Allah will hold us all accountable for our actions or lack of action. Yes, I am not physically in Palestine, or even close to it, but I am using my voice, donating, and more importantly, making dua for the Palestinians’ land to be restored to them.
I won’t get into the history of Palestine and this illegitimate state, because I believe it is important to research by yourself first and understand how it impacts us today. The most disgusting thing is that these countries that are supposed to be ‘advanced’ or ‘leading the Western world’ when they are really just third world countries with a Gucci belt supporting this illegitimate state. For example, Trump always appears to be on the side of injustice and is of course supporting this genocide. The UK always seems to follow the US when it comes to international matters and again, is participating on the wrong side of history. The UK still supports this illegitimate state and sells arms to them to inflict terror on innocent civilians. Based on my knowledge, the conflict began in 1948, following the Jews fleeing from persecution in Europe and wanting to establish a Jewish territory, upon which the Palestinians resisted — as they should. One of the biggest issues in the world, in my opinion, is the lack of compassion. If the Jewish people who occupied the Palestinian land by force felt the impacts of the Holocaust, surely they would know what they were doing is wrong. If there was more compassion in this world, things would be different. If billionaires were not greedy and instead had compassion and empathy, perhaps we would be closer to ending world hunger and corrupt governments would not be selling arms.
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions:
The BDS list consists of businesses that support or fund this illegitimate state. A very hypocritical example is Ben & Jerry’s — they support Black Lives Matter, which is cute or whatever, but still support this illegitimate state, as if the roots of Palestinian liberation and Black Lives Matter are not the same. This is why international solidarity is important. Alhamdulillah, I never bought their ice cream anyway, but it is hypocritical to see how you can support one movement and not another when in essence, their systems are the same. Calling for the abolition/defunding of the police yet supporting the IDF — make it make sense. Boycotting is the least we can do — letting Palestinians know that we hear them and support them. I won’t say it is easy as so many organizations support this illegitimate state, but we should still make conscious efforts to support Palestinians, even if it means finding a different ice cream brand.
Fighting for Palestine is fighting for liberation everywhere.
The Palestinian fight has always been a global fight — in light of Black Lives Matter, it is unfortunate to see how some of my fellow Black brothers and sisters are dismissive of Palestine, as if the same pain inflicted on Black people in the US by police isn’t the same pain inflicted on Palestinians. Due to the movement, many people have been reading more about Angela Davis and her theories, which is amazing, but it seems that they forget about how she integrated Palestine into her frameworks decades ago due to the importance of international solidarity movements. Therefore, it is not just a Palestinian problem. If you support Black Lives Matter, you should support Palestine too. They are movements of the same ilk. Ahmed Erekat was murdered by IDF soldiers while running errands for his sister on her wedding day. This is, unfortunately, a regularity in Palestine, and in the USA where Black people are killed by police. Eyad Hallaq, a man with autism, was murdered by the IDF, and this broke me to my core as I understand what it is like having a family member with autism, and seeing his mother cry out for her son shook me to my core. The same energy we have for Black Lives Matter must be felt for Palestine. Palestinians have always been supporting our movement, even when they are suffering, and we have to support them. For those who think I am comparing tragedies, I am not. It is just sad seeing both of my communities suffering and not seeing much uproar. It is a human issue — you don’t need to be religious to care, you just need to have basic decency.
“The encounters between Black liberation struggles in the United States and movements against the Israeli occupation of Palestine have a very long history.” -Angela Davis
I write this in light of the suffering that our Palestinian brothers and sisters are going through. Also, in instances of injustice, being neutral is being complicit, silence is violence, and if you are neutral, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
From the land to the sea, Palestine will be free and I pray when it becomes free, I will be able to celebrate its freedom in my lifetime.
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Resources to support Palestine:
- BDS List
- More info on the BDS Movement
- The Adalah Justice Project
- Ahmed Erekat’s body is being held hostage: Even in death, Palestinians are still not free.
- Email your MP and urge that they hold the illegitimate state to account
- Palestine and Gaza Appeal
- Justice for Eyad Hallaq
- Palestine Children’s Relief Fund