As we approach the last 10 days of Ramadan, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by the events at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the heart of Jerusalem. If you have a pulse as a Muslim, you would have been deeply affected by the image of Israeli soldiers beating Palestinian worshipers. The footage of this injustice raises many issues that deserve pondering and deep reflection.
There are plenty of images that show Israeli soldiers beating, grabbing, and dragging Palestinian women. In the pictures, it is clear that they are women. In some cases, it is clear that they are not young women. One thing that struck me immediately—and you can verify it for yourself—is that although the images clearly show Israeli soldiers assaulting women, in the written descriptions you will invariably find the description of what happened; that Israeli soldiers assaulted men, as many reports put it, "as women and children could be heard in the background, screaming." One outlet even posted a picture of Israeli soldiers clearly assaulting a muhajabah. In the picture, she is clearly a muhajabah, but in the caption under the picture, this news outlet said, "Israeli soldiers assaulting a Palestinian man."
There are many things to pause, reflect upon, and talk about. One of them is the way that even the Muslim consciousness is conditioned to ignore what it can see with its own eyes. Imagine if any of these pictures were of Muslim men beating or dragging a Jewish woman. It would be clearly described as an assault, but the word “assault" is rarely used, along with the word, “woman.”
This occurred just as Ramadan started. I am sure that Muslims all over the world were waiting to hear of an Israeli assault against Muslims in Al-Aqsa, or even in Gaza. Muslims have such a short memory span, but it was not so long ago that during the month of Ramadan, Israel sprayed Muslim worshipers and defaced the land of Al-Aqsa Mosque with sewage water. Images of Israelis assaulting the Al-Aqsa Mosque have become so common that they hardly elicit a Muslim response at all. I am sure that if Israel could have prevented the leak of this film, it most certainly would have done so. Yet, this Ramadan, all of us saw how Israeli soldiers were surreptitiously filmed beating Palestinians as if they are hardly human. In fact, they were interrupting prayers without any regard to the sanctity of the month or of the space. Muslims have such a short memory span, however, and their consciousness is engineered and conditioned in ways that are not just superficial, but even conditioned against Muslim self-interest, so Muslims cannot see the facts staring them in the face.
It was not that long ago that stories leaked of the then-Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, giving strict orders that the way Palestinians should be dealt with is by “breaking the bones” of Palestinians. It was not that long ago that it was uncovered that Israeli soldiers were explicitly given orders, not just to beat Palestinians, but to actually induce fractures purposely.
Shortly after the assault by Israeli forces against Muslim worshipers, a conversation was leaked in which Ben-Gvir justified planned violence against Muslims in Al-Aqsa. He did so in a typically racist way, one that has become so common, so regular, and so persistent that even Arabs and Muslims themselves no longer recognize it as what it is: racism.
In this leaked conversation, Ben-Gvir is talking about the planned storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying that Israelis must storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque, that Jews must ascend to the Temple Mount, meaning Al-Aqsa Mosque, that the Temple Mount is not just for Arabs. In a typically racist way, he says, "It is in the nature of these Muslims to kill one another." This is a classic, racist Israeli justification for violence against Palestinians. The justification is, "It does not matter if we do it, because if we do not, they will do it to one another anyway."
Anyone who has dealt with the human rights violations of the Israeli state is all too accustomed to this justification, to this blatantly racist argument. Israel does not allow for i'tikaf in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, except for the last 10 days of Ramadan. This Ramadan, they have forced Palestinians to evacuate the premises of Al-Aqsa Mosque every day at 7:00 AM to open the gates for Jewish Israeli settlers to storm and lay claim to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In a pattern of escalating violence, not only has Israel made clear that i'tikaf is not permitted, and not only have they attempted to clear the premises at 7:00 in the morning, but what instigated the assaults against Palestinians was that even before Palestinians were able to finish taraweeh prayers, Israeli forces wanted Palestinians to clear out so they could create facts on the ground, as Israel has done before. Because we Muslims have such a short and false memory, we forget all too quickly that this has been an ideological and methodical process.
Israel colonizes Palestine by changing the facts on the ground. They may or may not acknowledge international law, but they continue changing the facts on the ground until the claim of law sounds empty and absurd. This is the way that Israel has changed the facts on the ground since 1948, until the partition plan sounded ridiculous. This is the way that Israel has changed facts on the ground in the Golan and what they call “Judea and Samaria”; although persistently claiming to play by the rules of international law, indulging in the absurdity of negotiations with Palestinians, and pretending to give leeway to Palestinian statehood, they continue to change the facts on the ground.
We forget so easily that it was not that long ago that we had a living example in the Ibrahimi Mosque. The Ibrahimi Mosque has always been a Muslim mosque, but Israel has, again, changed the facts on the ground. Now Jewish fanatics have equal rights with Muslims to the Ibrahimi Mosque, although the history of the Ibrahimi Mosque is truly only linked with Islam. Before Islam, it was a neglected site to which Christianity and Judaism gave no attention. Of course, most Muslims do not know, and if they knew, they have forgotten. And if they have not forgotten, they truly do not care.
Netanyahu’s and Ben-Gvir's fanatic government announced that, this Ramadan, it would support the rights of Jewish fanatics to storm Al-Aqsa and slaughter animals on the Mount. They talk about equal rights in the Temple Mount, i.e., the Al-Aqsa Mosque, although rabbinic law, for centuries, has prohibited Jews from worshiping anywhere in the quarters of the Al-Aqsa Mosque because rabbinic literature, long before the Zionist movement was ever born, declared the Al-Aqsa Mosque as off-bounds or illegitimate territory for the performance of ritual and worship.
Under rabbinic law, if one was to perform their prayer on the Mount, as opposed to the Wailing Wall, their prayers are not accepted. This is because, for centuries before Zionism, the idea that the two destroyed temples lay somewhere under the Al-Aqsa Mosque was purely speculative. Israel has long been digging under the Al-Aqsa Mosque to find one shred of proof that it was the site of the two temples, and has come up with absolutely nothing.
False consciousness and artificiality of memory and realization. A few days before Israel assaulted worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, arresting some 500 people, there was an event. Because Muslim life is so cheap, no one noticed, cared, condemned, or said anything. Mohammad Al-Osaibi was a young, gifted Palestinian doctor. Mohammad Osaibi was ethnically Palestinian, meaning he was an Arab, but he was a citizen of the state of Israel. Unlike other Palestinians who are not citizens of the State of Israel, Mohammad Al-Osaibi had access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, despite his young age, and did not have to go through the vetting, screening, and tortuous inspections and humiliations that Palestinians normally have to go through to access the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Mohammad Al-Osaibi, as an Israeli citizen, would regularly pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Ramadan. However, he saw Israeli soldiers harassing, molesting, assaulting, and mistreating a Palestinian woman. He thought that, as an Israeli citizen, he could intervene to bring an end to the way this Palestinian woman was being treated. What he got for his troubles is that he was shot 10 times by Israeli soldiers, and killed. Because Muslim life is so cheap, no one cares.
Imagine if this was anyone other than an Arab or a Muslim. Imagine all the experts waxing on about Jewish militancy; all the blabbering of academics and scholars about trends and orientations in Jewish thinking; the problem with Jewish thought; the roots of Jewish extremism, racism, and bigotry. Because he was a Palestinian doctor, however, no one cared. Israel gave its typical justification and explanation. "We shot him because once we tried to arrest him, he tried to go for one of the guards' guns." I have been hearing this explanation for the extrajudicial killing of Palestinians since I was six years old.
According to Israel, Palestinians, Muslims, and Arabs can study, go to medical school, and become doctors, but they cannot help themselves the minute someone tries to arrest them lawfully. They quite irrationally try to grab the soldier's gun off his belt, so they must be fatally shot. This is, again, changing facts on the ground, which is entirely in line with the long history of documented abuses and suffering. Other than Mohammad Al-Osaibi, days before Israel's assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel extrajudicially executed two Palestinians in the West Bank. No one remembers. No one cares. Since the beginning of 2023, Israel has extrajudicially executed 93 or 94 Palestinians. No one remembers. No one cares. Look at the extent of how false consciousness is created.
An important article by Jonathan Cook talks about how BBC coverage enables Israeli violence. In his article, he notes what Desmond Tutu said about the South African apartheid a long time ago, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Desmond Tutu also has a rather well-known statement about the elephant stepping on a little mouse's tail: “If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." If you try to remain neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. Jonathan Cook goes on to show how the BBC's coverage is precisely that of choosing the side of the oppressor under the guise of fair reporting and objectivity. For instance, the BBC introduced what happened as “clashes erupt at contested holy site” Clashes erupt? The violence was by a state power against unarmed civilian worshipers. The violence was against men, women, and children who were doing nothing but performing worship, only to be assaulted and beaten. By saying, “clashes erupt” the BBC is reporting the event as if there were two equal forces.
At a “contested holy site?” Suddenly, international law does not matter to the BBC. The fact that Jerusalem is occupied territory, whichever way you slice it or dice it, is irrelevant to the BBC. Despite the fact that a small, religious, and fanatical minority has repeatedly said that their plan is to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and rebuild the Temple, it has suddenly become a “contested holy site.” That is despite the fact that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not supposed to be under Israeli sovereignty, and the entire edifice of international law is supposed to place the administration of the Aqsa Mosque and the Mount Temple under Palestinian and Jordanian authority. The fact that Israel has broken all the agreements with both the Jordanian and Palestinian authorities, violated these agreements in letter and spirit repeatedly, and usurped control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, does not matter to the BBC as it reports that “clashes erupt at contested holy site.”
The formation of consciousness. How did we get here? How did we get to the point that the Al-Aqsa Mosque can be repeatedly violated? That Islamic sites can be repeatedly assaulted? How did we get to the point where we tolerate and go on without further ado when historical sites in India are destroyed, and centuries old Muslim mosques with a glorious history are razed to the ground, all because it was supposed to be the birthplace of the god Ram, again without any historical evidence that the god Ram was born at the location of the Babri Mosque that was destroyed by Hindu extremists?
The manipulation of Muslim consciousness is the manipulation of a subordinated people. A common dynamic of subordination is that the subordinator constructs the consciousness of the subordinated. Where is the root of the problem? I submit to you that the root of the problem is that Muslims, as a subordinated people, were brainwashed by their subordinators to think about their causes and goals in a segmented and compartmentalized way. The colonial subordinator never accepted Islam as a universal religion. For the subordinator, the colonizer, Islam was always a racialized religion. Islam was always the religion of the Arab, the Turk, and the Moor. Islam was never a universal faith, whereas White Christianity was considered a universal faith. The colonizer, the subordinator, looked at Islam like it looked at Judaism. Judaism was the religion of the Israelites and Islam was the religion of the people of the desert. Wherever the colonizer went, they could not, and did not, come to terms with Islam in India, in the Philippines, in Indonesia, in Vietnam, in Myanmar, in the Bahamas, or in South America.
I want to underscore something absurdly obvious, but something that countless academics cannot see. In the '90s, Bernard Lewis started asking, "Can Muslims possibly coexist with non-Muslims as minorities? Can Muslims possibly live under the sovereignty of non-Muslims?" What Bernard Lewis meant when he raised this question was to cast doubt on the ability of Muslims in the West to be loyal and faithful citizens of their respective countries in the West, despite the undeniable sociological reality that for hundreds of years, Islam has existed as a minority religion in hundreds of locations. It is the same thing as when the colonizer went to Australia, New Zealand, or North America, land that has clearly been inhabited by people for centuries, and says, "I discovered this land, and the year of the discovery is the year that this land was settled." The reality of the subordinator is that the subordinated are a disappeared, invisible people. As the colonizer saw Mecca and Medina as an exclusive, bedouin concern of Al Saud, Jerusalem, too, is simply the concern of Palestinian people. The real disaster was when Muslim consciousness was altered to buy into this garbage, so that Jerusalem no longer became a Turkish, Persian, Indonesian, or Malaysian concern. The only people that Israel and the West had to deal with and worry about are the natives of Jerusalem, which, like all indigenous native populations, could be erased by the colonizer without any worry or serious concern. The theology of the colonizer is superimposed upon the colonized.
Just as these events unfolded, I was reading a truly shocking report. The report is called The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Network in Canada. This is a network of Hindu nonprofit organizations that exist in no less than 25 countries, including Canada and the United States, and whose primary function is to malign Islam and Muslims as well as to raise millions of dollars to support Hindutva, the fascist Hindu nationalist ideology that openly calls for the extermination of Muslims in India.
What is striking is that wherever the RSS exists, in all the advanced countries of the world, it has a remarkable unity of purpose and goal. It raises millions and millions of dollars that it sends to India in support of Modi's government. And it funds a great deal of the atrocities against Muslims in India, including something like the destruction of the Babri Mosque. Yet, no one dares to see the obvious link between the raising of funds and the commission of terror in the case of Hindus. What is worthy of pause is how free Hindus are to think about a unity of cause, purpose, and identity. Whether Hindus in Canada or elsewhere, their sense for this movement is true dedication. Of course, I am not talking about all Hindus in the world. I am talking only about this particular orientation in Hinduism. I am talking about those who are militant and grossly nationalistic, and the amount of resources they are able to raise for their cause.
It makes one pause and think. Nothing like this exists in the world of Islam. The Muslim mind is so colonized that we have completely bought into the idea that what happens in Mecca is a Saudi concern and what happens in Al-Aqsa is a Palestinian concern, to the extent that when Muslim countries like Indonesia see Arab countries take the backseat on issues relating to Jerusalem, so do they. We are lacking that obvious sense that Al-Aqsa is a Muslim cause, not an Arab or a Palestinian cause. We are lacking the sense that, if you mess with Al-Aqsa, you have messed with the entire Muslim world. The sense that the consequences could be truly grave because Muslims around the world would not let it go. But that is completely absent in the colonized Muslim mind.
Before the khutbah started, I learned that there was an attempt to get the Security Council to investigate and issue a resolution about what happened. There was even a suggestion by countries that are usually friendly to Israel of, "Fine, we will condemn the violence that Israel perpetuated at Al-Aqsa Mosque, but let us also condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza and from Lebanon at Israel.” Of course, they have no interest in condemning the disproportionate response by Israel. That never happens. That motion was quashed by the United States and Israel. The United States and Israel would not allow it, even if the resolution would also condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza and Lebanon against Israel. Why? Because they do not want the Temple Mount to be a matter of international concern, or even to be a matter of Muslim concern. They want it to simply be a matter between them and Palestinians, because they know they are the occupier, they are the elephant stepping on the mouse's tail. They know that Israeli technology, tanks, airplanes, missiles, and nuclear weapons are disproportionate in strength to a highly dependent Palestinian economy and to an anemic Palestinian production. Half the people of Gaza have no source of income. It is an unequal fight between natives and colonizers.
Colonizers know the end of the story. You do it slowly and steadily, but you erase and eradicate the natives bit by bit, in the same way that the sociology of Native Americans in America is horrible. Unemployment rates, drug addiction, alcoholism, and health services are all in the doldrums. The regular commission of sexual violence against Native Americans in America goes uninvestigated. The number of Native Americans that are abducted and forced into human trafficking and sex trafficking is astounding. Most Americans know nothing about it. But it did not happen overnight. It happened steadily and methodically, solong as the fate of Native Americans remained solely an American concern.
Every time any Black movement has tried to raise the issue of reparations for slavery or systematic racism in the U.S. at the level of the United Nations, including a famous incident in which a Black intellectual prepared a report called We Charge Genocide, the United States had flipped out. Every single time. The U.S. has completely obstructed the discussion of anything relating to race or Native Americans in the United Nations. Not because the United Nations is an effective forum, but because of consciousness. The United States cannot afford for Black Americans to see the obvious links between their plight and the plight of colonized people around the world. The United States cannot afford to have Black Americans see the links between their plight and the plight of Africa, and the political devastation and economic devastation in Africa.
One million children under five in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger alone face starvation in Africa. Africa, the breadbasket of the world, has been colonized, subordinated, and devastated. To see the commonalities between the fate of African Americans, the fate of Native Americans, and the fate of Africans in Africa is something that the colonizer cannot afford. The colonizer cannot afford to have Muslims see themselves as one people, to see the fate of Mecca and Medina as a personal issue, and to see the fate of Al-Aqsa as a personal, unmitigated issue for all Muslims. As a result, there has been the construction of false consciousness.
A Palestinian Israeli citizen gets killed for something that Hollywood executives could have made a great movie out of. He tried to save a poor woman being assaulted by soldiers, and he got 10 bullets for his trouble. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is regularly desecrated. Have we forgotten al-Durrah, the child who was killed by Israeli soldiers as he clinged to his father? Have we forgotten Rabin's government and the “breaking of bones”? Have we forgotten the spraying of sewage water all over Al-Aqsa? Muslim consciousness has become segmented and compartmentalized. It has broken down to the most myopic minutia. It cannot see big pictures or obvious links. It cannot make clear connections.
That is the art of subordination. When you subordinate, you break the psychology of the subordinated so they can no longer see for themselves, understand for themselves, think for themselves, or analyze for themselves. As a result, the subordinated busies themselves with the minutia of life. “I cannot control my fate, so let me control what happens in the next minute, what happens in the next meal, what happens with the next joke.” Little pieces of control.
CJ Werleman has done more to serve Islamic causes than the vast majority of Muslims. He does not labor under the mentality of a subordinated and colonized human being, Werleman can see the obvious links and make the obvious connections. He came out with a very important episode of his show recently, titled, Islamic Charities Under Attack from Saudi Arabia-UAE. In the video, Werleman does a great job of unpacking and documenting how the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia act to undermine the work of Islamic charities. An uncolonized, unsubordinated people understand the critical importance of charities in an Ummah's life. The report regarding the RSS Network, mentioned earlier, documents how Hindu nationalists have created a network of charities all around the world that they nurture, protect, and fight for. These charities raise millions upon millions of dollars from Canadian and American Hindus who are in all types of professions. A Hindu executive working for Twitter donated millions of dollars. A Hindu executive in IBM donated millions of dollars. A Hindu doctor in New York donated millions of dollars. In the world of Islam, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have persistently maligned, slandered, and hurt all the main Islamic charities in the world, charities that perform a critical role.
Why do they perform a critical role? In our modern world, the biggest block of refugees on the face of this earth are Muslims. The biggest block of orphaned children are Muslims. The result of colonial wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Sudan is 50 million Muslim orphaned children. What happens to children who are orphaned and displaced? They get trafficked, abducted, and sexually exploited. If they manage to make it and succeed in life, they grow up bitter against the very culture that did not nurture them and take care of them when they were young and vulnerable. They often become native informants, maligning and attacking the Islam that they grew up with. Colonialism convinces them not to notice the American warplane that orphaned them in the first place, but instead to put all the blame on Islam.
Muslim charities play a critical role in providing basic food, shelter, and medicine to these refugees. Despite this, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have made it a mission to label all types of Muslim charities as “terrorist organizations” and “terrorist supporters” with links to terrorism. Muslim charities have been forced, in country after country, to spend hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars hiring lawyers to defend themselves and to clear their names. This episode is a must watch.
Instead of admiring Jordan Peterson, how many Muslims admire CJ Werleman? Werleman tells it as it is. You cannot but pause and think. Why does the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia want to do everything possible to undermine Muslim charities? They have no intention of feeding the refugees or taking care of the orphans, and both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have, in every possible way, failed to support Muslim refugees all over the globe. Why, then, would they want to undermine these organizations that perform such a fundamental humanitarian function?
Think about it. What is the greatest danger for the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia? It is a new Muslim consciousness. A new Muslim consciousness that says, "Islam is not an Arab religion. You do not get to do with Islam as you wish. You do not get to do with Mecca and Medina as you wish. You do not get to betray and abandon Jerusalem, like you have done in the past century. Islam is ours, all of us. To the people of the Arabian Peninsula, you are but a minority. You are as relevant to Islam as the story of origin in Christianity." To what extent does it matter that Jesus was a Palestinian Jew in the full scale of Christian history?
They realize that Islamic relief organizations, with their focus on ihsan, with their concern about an Ummah, with their mentality that wherever Muslims suffer is our cause—that is a consciousness that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia do not want. They want Muslims fragmented, myopic, pedantic, irrelevant, marginal, and inconsequential. They want this so that they can continue wasting billions of dollars on their toys of promiscuity and corruption. Muslims continue to look the other way and admire the people that these guys fund and support. The Islam that is ready and appropriate for domination, subordination, and settler colonialism.