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Hamas' Christian convert: I've left a society that sanctifies terror

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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-31-08 02:04 AM
Original message
Hamas' Christian convert: I've left a society that sanctifies terror
A moment before beginning his supper, Masab, son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, glances at the friend who has accompanied him to the restaurant where we met. They whisper a few words and then say grace, thanking God and Jesus for putting food on their plates.

It takes a few seconds to digest this sight: The son of a Hamas MP who is also the most popular figure in that extremist Islamic organization, a young man who assisted his father for years in his political activities, has become a rank-and-file Christian. "I'm now called Joseph," he says at the outset.

Masab knows that he has little hope of returning to visit the Holy Land in this lifetime.

"I know that I'm endangering my life and am even liable to lose my father, but I hope that he'll understand this and that God will give him and my family patience and willingness to open their eyes to Jesus and to Christianity. Maybe one day I'll be able to return to Palestine and to Ramallah with Jesus, in the Kingdom of God."

Nor does he attempt to hide his affection for Israel, or his abhorrence of everything representing the surroundings in which he grew up: the nation, the religion, the organization.

more...
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-31-08 02:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. from someone who knows.....
Edited on Thu Jul-31-08 02:45 AM by pelsar
Hes lived within....grew up there, in the culture. Seems to me has very much the credentials to comment on the gaza society, its social norms, it culture.........and it should be taken seriously....at least he probably knows a lot more than me....a past visitor or those who have never even been....
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Psst.. newsflash: he's from the WB.
Edited on Fri Aug-01-08 08:28 PM by ProgressiveMuslim
And frankly, the fact that he now accepts the lord jesus christ as his "personal savior" makes me think he probaby has some pretty serious mental issues. You may or may not know this, but Muslim conversion to Christianity is highly unusual. It's hard to imagine a context in which that could happen spontaneously. There really is not prosletyzing among indigenous Palestinian Christians.

The whole thing is pretty freaking weird.

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Sezu Donating Member (920 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Mental issue because he was once Muslim and now Christian?
Back away from your compuer slowly.....LOL
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Would you say the same if was the reverse? n/t
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Sezu Donating Member (920 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. Of course. Conversions happen all the time. No biggie.
Kind of bigoted to think any conversion is some kind of mental impairment.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 06:56 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. You're right.
Edited on Sat Aug-02-08 06:57 AM by ProgressiveMuslim
I would bet a week's salary that he was first a collaborator, then a convert.

It's not simply changing religions, it's the celebration of "Israel" that makes me think there is a mental impairment.

If an Israeli Jew converted to Islam and joined Hamas, wouldn't you suspect something had gone awry?

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Dick Dastardly Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #15
34. So having praise for Israel is a mental impairment?
Do you feel the same way about praise for Palestine?
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #34
44. Can you imagine a black South African celebrating the Apartheid Gov't?
Tibetans praising the wonders of Communist China?

I sure can't.
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. Perhaps, then, those analogies are not accurate?
There are many Palestinians who speak well of Israel.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #45
48. I guess I missed all those 60th anniversary celebrations in the WB & Gaza.
While there are some who admire the parliament, economic growth, etc.... you don't think it's bit of a stretch to say there are there many who celebrate Israel?

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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #48
50. Do you consider Israeli Arabs to be Palestinians?
Many Israeli Arabs did take part in 60th anniversary celebrations.

Does the term "Palestinian" include Israeli Arabs?
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #50
53. I generally say Israeli Arab. And my comments were specifically related to people living under
occuapation.
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. I think there are some who speak well of Israel
Certainly it is a minority, but I don't think it is unheard of.

There was a survey not to long ago where a small percentage of Palestinians indicated a preferences for a return to full Israeli occupation over the current situation.

I don't think there were too many celebrations of Israel's 60th birthday in the West Bank, however, I think some Palestinians do speak fondly of a time when they worked in Israel and relations were relatively good.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #54
55. Yes, the good old days, when Gazan workers were locked in their workplaces at night...
I am sure there were some slaves in the 1800s who thought their roles in the house weren't so bad either.

Some institutions are foul regardless of how they are perceived. Israel's military occupation, by its very nature, limits the kinds of human rights and freedoms that you and I take for granted. It is sad that resisting that has led to further deprivation and impoverishment; but the solution isn't the halycon days of pre-Intifadah I. Remember, it was those "halycon" days that led to intifadah I.

While a Palestinian might use the "old days" to make a point, when it was easier to travel, fewer checkpoints, could still go to Jerusalem, it's instructive to remember, that NO ONE was in favor of living under the daily tyranny of Israel's iron fist.

I would love to read a serious op-ed in which a Palestinian says: I desire to live under Israeli tyranny for my entire life; I'd love my children and grandchildren to have that life too...

Do you have any idea how deeply offensive what you are suggesting is?
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #55
58. I'm not suggesting anything and do not pretend to speak for any Palestinians
Edited on Mon Aug-04-08 05:44 PM by oberliner
The only information I can provide regarding the opinions of Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza is what I read online.

I am just sharing what I have read in Palestinian opinion polls, surveys, and opinion pieces. No offense is intended.

And let me again restate that it seems only to be a minority of Palestinians who have expressed those sentiments.

Here is an example:

Recently, a few Palestinian columnists have broken a political taboo by referring to the Israeli occupation as perhaps preferable to the current chaos. Majed Azzam wrote in the Hamas-affiliated Al Risala weekly that Palestinians "should have the courage to acknowledge the truth," that the only thing that "prevents the chaos and turmoil in Gaza from spreading to the West Bank is the presence of the Israeli occupation."

Another Palestinian writer, Bassem al-Nabris, a poet from Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, wrote in the Arabic electronic newspaper Elaph that if there were a referendum in the Gaza Strip on the question of whether people would like the Israeli occupation to return, "half the population would vote 'yes.' But in practice," he continued, "I believe that the number of those in favor is at least 70 percent, if not more."

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/06/africa/mideast.1...
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. Do you take those statements, made in the heat of civil war, to be an endorsement for perpetual life
under the iron fist of Israel's violent military occupation?
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #59
62. I never claimed that anyone endorsed perpetual life under Israeli occupation
My only claims are the following:

Some Palestinians view Israel positively.

Some Palestinians believe that life was better under full Israeli occupation than the current arrangement.

Some Palestinians speak fondly of a time when they were able to work in Israel relatively easily.

In all cases, I have stated and re-stated that I believe that it is a minority of Palestinians who feel this way and that the majority of Palestinians do not hold these views.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. I would dispute with you that saying, "Geez... life was easier before the IDF left" is not
the same as "viewing Israel positively."

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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. "I respect Israel and admire it as a country"
That is what the Palestinian from the OP said about Israel. He seems to view Israel positively.

Perhaps there are others who share his view.
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Vegasaurus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. I can imagine
that there are Palestinians who would love to live in Israel, with its good economy, plentiful jobs, etc.

The iron fist of Hamas cannot possibly be preferable to life when Palestinians could travel freely, work in Israel (as opposed to the current very high unemployment rate in Gaza), lived without checkpoints and walls.



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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #64
70. I doubt the sentiment is widespread.
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Vegasaurus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #55
66. Do Gazans prefer the iron fist of Hamas
where they can be stoned and murdered, where there is a moral police, where there are roving militias?

I wonder if they prefer this treatment simply because those perpetrating the actions speak Arabic.

If those actions were carried out by Israelis, there would be no end to the hue and cry.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. She didn't say any conversion is some kind of mental impairment...
I thought it was in reference to the slaverish praise of Israel and the rather inept attempt to claim that Palestinian society is evil. Though I do think those born-again christian types are nutcases and there's nothing bigoted about saying that. What would be bigoted is for someone to call someone who's Jewish a kapo, wouldn't you agree?
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Dick Dastardly Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #16
33. I think its bigoted to generalize all born agains are nut cases
Edited on Sun Aug-03-08 12:19 AM by Dick Dastardly
I know a couple who are pretty decent and dont push it on others and I know a couple that are irritating idiots and I know a couple that are nut cases.


Where did he claim all Palestinian society was evil and that was untrue that he said?
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 06:22 AM
Response to Reply #33
37. Yeah, but you also think any reference to *white people* is bigoted...
Interesting that you are so overly sensitive to what you see as bigotry when it comes to just about everyone but Muslims and Palestinians...

In answer to yr question - I did assume you'd read the OP before you posted, but here's just one bit: 'An entire society sanctifies death and the suicide terrorists.'
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #37
46. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Apostates are given a death sentence,that's why it's unusual.
Most Muslim scholars say that Muslim religious law - sharia - requires the death penalty for apostasy.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. As the poster said
he is from the West Bank which has a sec-u-lar government.
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
22. So all these "honor" killings in Britain and the Westare not such thing,
because they are sec-u-lar.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Were we talking about Britian or the West?
Edited on Sat Aug-02-08 02:47 PM by azurnoir
We were talking about a convert from the West Bank.

If before you so sterotype Islam and Sharia law perhaps it would help to know what you are talking about, besides the stuff on RW blogs and Fox news

This is a "small" excerpt from the article which covers Sharia's influence on British, US and International law as well yes Dhimmi read it or not as you please

Sharia (Arabic: شريعة transliteration: arīʿah) is the body of Islamic religious law. The term means "way" or "path to the water source"; it is the legal framework within which the public and private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islamic principles of jurisprudence and for Muslims living outside the domain. Sharia deals with many aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business, contracts, family, sexuality, hygiene, and social issues.

<snip>

One of the institutions developed by classical Islamic jurists which influenced civil law was the Hawala, an early informal value transfer system, which is mentioned in texts of Islamic jurisprudence as early as the 8th century. Hawala itself later influenced the development of the Aval in French civil law and the Avallo in Italian law.<4> The "European commenda" limited partnerships (Islamic Qirad) used in civil law as well as the civil law conception of res judicata may also have origins in Islamic law.<3>
The transfer of debt, which was not permissible under Roman law but is practiced in modern civil law, may also have origins in Islamic law.<40> The concept of an agency was also an "institution unknown to Roman law", where it was not possible for an individual to "conclude a binding contract on behalf of another as his agent." The concept of an agency was introduced by Islamic jurists, and thus the civil law conception of agency may also have origins in Islamic law.<41> The Siete Partidas of Alfonso X, which was regarded as a "monument of legal science" in the civil law tradition, was also influenced by the Islamic legal treatise Villiyet written in Islamic Spain.<42><43>
Islamic law also introduced "two fundamental principles to the West, on which were to later stand the future structure of law: equity and good faith", which was a precursor to the concept of pacta sunt servanda in civil law and international law. Another influence of Islamic law on the civil law tradition was the presumption of innocence, which was introduced to Europe by Louis IX of France soon after he returned from Palestine during the Crusades. Prior to this, European legal procedure consisted of either trial by combat or trial by ordeal. In contrast, Islamic law was based on the presumption of innocence from its beginning, as declared by the Caliph Umar in the 7th century:<42>
"Only decide on the basis of proof, be kind to the weak so that they can express themselves freely and without fear, deal on an equal footing with litigants by trying to reconcile them."
The concept of Ombudsmen was derived from the example of the second Muslim Caliph, Umar (634-644) and the concept of Qadi al-Qadat (developed in the Muslim world), which influenced the Swedish King, Charles XII. In 1713, fresh from self-exile in Turkey, Charles XII created the Office of Supreme Ombudsman, which soon became the Chancellor of Justice.<44>


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. One of the major concerns of people critical of Shariah law is that it is subject to interpretation
Hence the stoning deaths for adultery,hanging of homosexuals,and the honor killings.
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Vegasaurus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 06:49 AM
Response to Reply #23
39. We see how Sharia law is being played out throughout the ME
including in Gaza.

Beating and stoning women, hanging gay people, "moral" police, lack of rights for women in general.

There is widespread concern about these human rights abuses.

Islamic law affects many people in a very negative way, and it is widely documented.

I don't know why you don't think women, minorities, gay people, etc. are worth more to a society, and deserve to be treated with greater respect.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I can't recall such a thing being carried out in Palestine, can you?
Edited on Fri Aug-01-08 10:14 PM by ProgressiveMuslim
Islam is a pretty encompassing religion. Christians in Palestine don't try to convert Muslims.

The whole thing is weird as can be.

Me thinks he's a collaborator who converted, rather than a convert who collaborated.

I think there are like 4 of these guys world-wide. The neocons love them of course.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I wondered if the rarity of conversion
had more to do with the "redundancy" factor as Jesus and Mary are already revered in Islam.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. The thing is...
It's very difficult to go from strict monotheism, to "Jesus is God's son."

That's the hurdle. I think when "There is one God" is the mantra you've heard all your life, it's very, very hard to change that way of thinking.

And you are right, Muslims do revere Jesus as a prophet.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 01:31 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. so....its encompassing ...just like Judaism....
Edited on Sat Aug-02-08 01:33 AM by pelsar
and excuse my mistake...I made the assumption of him having spent time in gaza because of his dad.....

___

converts from Judaism are also rare....but it doesnt mean their sick or mentally ill for converting. And it would be odd to ignore the celebration of suicide bombers, moral squads running around etc as a non factor in a thinking persons view of his own culture.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 06:52 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Yes, "Jews for Jesus" are so beloved in Israel, aren't they?
NOT.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. jews for jesus are not persecuted in israel...try again.
Edited on Sat Aug-02-08 09:08 AM by pelsar
nor are they afraid of the "authorities".....the medic, in my unit, with me is in fact a "minister" in one of the sects....

still trying with the "moral equivalency".....and it still doesnt cut it.....does it?
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. Remember this thread?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

The Messisnic kid who found a nail bomb on his families doorstep?
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. That's one incident
One incident does not demonstrate widespread persecution.



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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. One incident were there was a serious injury
Howeer the day to day stuf is more common from the article

Messianic Jews say they are persecuted in Israel

Or Yehuda, a town in central Israel with many immigrants as well as ultra-Orthodox Jews including a deputy mayor, Uri Aharon, was the scene of the May 15 book-burning.

Ami Dahan, a local police official, says hundreds of Christian religious books were burned on May 15 in an empty lot in town. He said Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon, has been questioned on suspicion that he instructed youths to collect the books from homes where they had been distributed and told them to burn them.

But the obstacles are evident, raised not just from religious activists but by the state.
Calev Myers, a lawyer who represents Messianic Jews, said he has fought 200 legal cases in the past two years. Most involve authorities' attempts to close down houses of worship, revoke the citizenship of believers or refuse to register their children as Israelis. In one case, Israel has accused a German religion student of missionary activity and has tried so far unsuccessfully to deport her.


http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3558795,00.ht...

As for widespread how widespread are Messianic Jews in Israel?

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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. trying again?....israel the racist society
Edited on Sat Aug-02-08 10:50 PM by pelsar
are you really going to try again to show who israel is a racist society?....you keep on trying from so many different angles be the, the state against newer immigrants, the sepharadi against ashkenazi, arab vs jew etc etc etc...and every single time its the same answer- israel is an imperfect liberal democratic society....

perhaps try the black ethiopians vs the less dark Sephardim...thats a new open wound of which there is lots of information....
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. For the luv...........
Check this out

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

same thread different forum, why because I was avoiding the Israel is a racist society crap that's why.
There were some questions and opinions I have about Messianic Jews that I wanted to discuss and I knew it would get sidelined.

So to belabor it once again is Israeli society racist depends on the Israeli some no, some yes, some in between pretty much like any other society.

and this perhaps try the black ethiopians vs the less dark Sephardim...thats a new open wound of which there is lots of information....

ever see Spike Lee's School Daze? the jigaboo's vs the wannabee's? same principle
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #30
35. if your really curious...
about the messianic jews and their life styles...ask me without any insinuations and ill be glad to fill you with what i know...i have two friends who are....
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. Not so much Messianic Jews
Edited on Sun Aug-03-08 02:34 AM by azurnoir
but more how Christianity lost Judaism in it's practice. Who, how, and when was it "decided that Judaic law didn't count anymore, never made sense to me, if there is any sense to made.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #36
40. way out of my league there....
and your asking about "sense" in religion......i personally never found any, but always found amusement in the logical twists and turns used to explain events...my favorite:

when there was the hebron agreement (i actually forgot what it was)..it rained that day.

the jews claimed god was crying...
the arabs said god was blessing it with life giving rain....
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #9
21. More like 6 mil a year convert to xtianity from Islam
snip

But there is a third story about Islam that most of the mainstream media is not reporting, and that is a very significant story indeed. It involves not just the conversion of one Muslim, like Allam, but many, indeed millions. The truth is, there has recently been a tsunami of Muslim converts to Christianity.

In a recent article Andrew Walden offers some amazing statistics: In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These are some remarkable figures indeed.

As already mentioned, the rise in numbers in Islam is mainly due to demographics, not conversions. This is more than the normal flow between two large religious communities. Islam can point to little in the way of recent conversions. Its claim to be the worlds fastest-growing religion stems mostly from the high birth rate in Islamic countries, whose infant mortality rates have been cut by the introduction of Western medicine. Christian growth is based on adult conversion. As leading Christian evangelist Wolfgang Simpson writes, More Muslims have come to Christ in the last two decades than in all of history.

Walden looks at a number of Muslim countries where significant conversion rates to Christianity are occurring. He also looks at Western nations where Muslims are leaving their faith: Islam is also losing adherents in areas where Islamist harassment is heavy on the streets. The London Times estimates 15% of Muslims living in Western Europe have left Islam - 200,000 in the UK alone. Those who leave often face harassment, threats, and attack.

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/04/05/islam-and-chr... /

the 6 million number comes from an interview on aljazeera with Ahmad Al Qataani.

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Sezu Donating Member (920 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. WOW.....that's a long way from 4 isn't it? n/t
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Lithos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #21
47. I have my doubts
The source of the Al Qataani seems to come down to a single blog reference by Joel Rosenburg who runs the Joshua Fund site which is in the business of obtaining funds for conversions. I would not qualify as being anything but biased as his own income and fund raising is based on success. Most of the citations he makes on his blog are anecdotal, heresay and without confirmation.

Even assuming his trends are correct, the numbers are grossly over-inflated (Iran has a population of 71 million - and given the state of events, you WOULD have most definitely heard on the mainstream presses when over 1% of the population would have converted under a theocratic Islamic dictatorship), extremely bogus conversions (you let me baptise you or you don't get to eat at my food kitchen), or represent conversions of non-Islamic people (such as ethnic Russians who now live in Kazhakstan) who through word-spin are made to look like they were Islamic conversion.

That said, I do agree it is more than 4, though most probably occur way outside of traditional Islamic countries.



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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #47
49. My "4" reference isn't number of converts, but converted mouthpieces who are trotted out
by neocons and anti-Muslim groups.
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #47
51. I think the number is exaggerated
And all the hits on google reference the same aljazeera interview:
http://www.turkishconnections.org/Articles.html

I suspect your right that most of these conversions occur in non-muslim countries like the UK and France.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-31-08 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
2. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. One fundamentalism replaced by another. nt
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #5
17. For some people there's no middle ground...just swap one extreme for the other n/t
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. The commies and the fascists used to trade followers all the time.
That is the correct word for all of these sheep too: followers. Herded around like sheep, always trying to stay current with the daily party line ...
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Dick Dastardly Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 12:04 AM
Response to Reply #17
32. Do you have proof he is an extremist or
are all Christians extremists. He is not preaching hate and terror so whether he is a Christian fundy or not its better than a Hamas
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 06:43 AM
Response to Reply #32
38. No more than you'd have proof that he was an extremist type before...
You don't think generalising an entire society as sanctifying terror is preaching hate? I'm sure you would if someone were to make nasty generalisations like that about Israeli society...

I don't know why yr so resistant to the idea that people who tend to hold rather extreme ideological views do tend to veer to the other extreme rather than arrive at a more balanced stance. I had an online friend who was a bit like that. Up until Sept 11 she'd been militantly left-wing on all issues. Something snapped and she veered right over to the other extreme, and the last time I saw her posting anywhere I was she was making some suggestions for a solution to the I/P conflict that were genocidal sounding. And while it's not ideological, some ex-smokers become militant anti-smokers consumed by a self-righteous hate for those who don't want to or haven't got the willpower to give up. It's a think in some people's personality. When they give something up they picture what they left behind as the epitome of bad, and they can't do what most people do and just move onto the next stage of their life and put their past in some balance...
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Dick Dastardly Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #5
31. So do you have evidence that he is a fundy or
do you just generalize all Christians are. Even if he is a fundy he is not preaching hate and terror so its not the same.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #31
41. He says and does certain things that are indicative to me.
Edited on Sun Aug-03-08 08:06 AM by bemildred
For example he talks about being in Jerusalem in the Kingdom of God with Jesus. (That's Revelations stuff, very popular with the "Born Again" and "Left Behind" crowd.) He has been baptized with a new name. There are half-a-dozen other things that suggest he is a convert to one of the evangelical branches of Christianity as practiced here. This is something I know about, having many family members, both direct and by marriage, who are deeply into this stuff, and having done a good deal of church going myself at one time. But opinions will vary. Maybe he's just a really devout Lutheran or something.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #41
42. i dont know about christians...
but in judiaism when they get their converts they seem to go to the extreme..those that do it for "religion' (and not some other motivation...as in making your partner happy).

the sad thing is about these converts is that they dont quite get it, but they're second class if not worse in the religious pecking order.....
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #42
43. Yah, that sounds about right.
You get a lot of gratitude for your contribution to the cause, but you are never quite trusted. After all, you already changed your faith once. So you always have to keep proving yourself.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #41
56.  Palestinian Lutherans are liberation theology followers!!
As a former Lutheran who is deeply proud of the work the Lutheran Church has done to promote peace and justice: don't smear Lutherans!!!!!!
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #56
57. I apologize, I had no intention to smear Lutherans.
Or especially devout Lutherans. Sometimes you just don't know who to use as a bad example. Many evangelical Christians can be decent people in their private lives too. Maybe we should just give up and admit that everybody might be OK sometimes. But then what? Who would we punish or make second class. Modern life is very difficult.
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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #57
60. Yo, Bemildred, I know you're not really smearing Lutherans...
but it does speak to my point that mainline christians have the correct view of this situation!

I'm sure the guy is NOT now a Lutheran, or Episcopalian, or Presby, or Mennonite, or Quaker, or Roman Catholic....

Sorry...sometimes this online thing doesn't convey (lighthearted) tone at all!

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #60
61. Yeah that happens to me all the time.
:-)
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
20. Lebanese Christians mull conversion
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
52. He is no doubt right about the nastiness of Hamas, and I am glad he's moved away from that
I do suspect a bit of 'mirror-image-ism' here (see some of my posts in other threads). He seems at present to regard *everything* from his former background: not just the 'organization' but the 'nation and religion' as bad, and *everything* opposed to it as good, even things that don't quite go together: for instance, Israel doesn't nowadays have much to do with Jesus, even if it did 2000 years ago! Common enough in converts and others who have strongly rebelled against their original backgrounds.
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Dick Dastardly Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:19 AM
Response to Original message
67. Here is the expanded interview


We met for the first time about four years ago, outside the military prison at the Ofer Camp, only about half a kilometer from the family home in the town of Bitunia, near Ramallah. His father, not a member of parliament at the time, was one of the founders of Hamas in the West Bank and one of the prisoners' leaders; he was supposed to be released after several years' imprisonment for membership in the organization. In order to arrange an interview with Sheikh Hassan Yousef (Abu Masab), I had to speak to his eldest son, Masab, who was expected to take an active part in running his father's political affairs in the future. When I saw him in the prison parking lot I was surprised by his unusual appearance, which deviated from the dress code expected of relatives of senior Hamas leaders. Without a beard or even a goatee, he sported a Western haircut, jeans and a motorcyclist's leather jacket. But the media uproar that accompanied his father's appearance made me forget his "improper" appearance.

Since then, the young man has hardly changed. He is 30 years old and has lost several kilos ("because I don't eat much"), his hair is short, he is suntanned and looks like just another young Israeli in California. Most of the interview is conducted in English, mostly so that his friend Ryan will understand.

"As a child I grew up in a very religious family, on the principle of hatred of Israelis. The first time I encountered them was at about the age of 10, when soldiers entered our home and arrested my father. Until then I had never been separated from him. We didn't know anything about the circumstances of his arrest. His membership in Hamas was a secret matter, and we certainly didn't think he was one of its founders. I didn't understand anything about politics or religion. I only knew that the Israeli army had arrested my father repeatedly, and for me he was everything: a good, loving man who would do anything for me. He took care of us, bought us gifts, gave of himself, whereas the soldiers entered our house and took him away from me. In high school I studied sharia, Islamic law. In 1996, when I was only 18, I was arrested by the Israel Defense Forces because I was the head of the Islamic Society in my high school. It's a kind of youth movement of the organization. And my process of awakening began."

What happened?

Masab-Joseph: "Until then I knew Hamas through my father, who lived a very modest and loving life. At first I really admired the organization, mainly because I admired my father so much. But during the 16 months I spent in prison I was exposed to the true face of Hamas. It's a negative organization. As simple as that. A fundamentally bad organization. I sat in Megiddo Prison and suddenly I understood who the real Hamas was. Their leaders in prison received better conditions, such as the best food, as well as more family visits and towels for the shower. These people have no morals, they have no integrity. But they aren't as stupid as Fatah, which steals in broad daylight in front of everyone and is immediately suspected of corruption. receive money in dishonest ways, invest it in secret places, and outwardly maintain a simple lifestyle. Sooner or later they will use this money and screw the people.

"Nobody knows them and how they operate as well as I do. For example, I remember how the family of Saleh Talahmeh, a member of the military arm of Hamas, who was assassinated by Israel, was forced to beg for financial assistance because they were left with nothing after his death. The Hamas leadership abandoned them as well as the families of other shaheeds , while the senior members of the organization abroad wasted tens of thousand of dollars a month only on security for themselves."

For example?

"Even some of the current leaders of Hamas were involved in the past in the 'security arm' in the prisons, so that he is among those responsible for these acts. They were suspicious of prisoners who spent too much time in the bathroom, even if it was only an upset stomach. They suspected that the prisoner was transferring information or alternatively having sexual relations with other men. A homosexual. The gays were immediately suspected of collaboration. Then I understood that not everyone in Hamas is like my father. He's a nice, friendly man. But I discovered how evil his colleagues are. After my release I lost the faith I had in those who ostensibly represented Islam."

Were you tortured?

"No. I enjoyed immunity because of my father's status."




clip
"You'll see, this interview will open many people's eyes, it will shake Islam from the roots, and I'm not exaggerating. What other case do you know where a son of a Hamas leader, who was raised on the tenets of extremist Islam, comes out against it? Although I was never a terrorist, I was a part of them, surrounded by them all the time."

How were you exposed to Christianity?

"It began about eight years ago. I was in Jerusalem and I received an invitation to come and hear about Christianity. Out of curiosity I went. I was very enthusiastic about what I heard. I began to read the Bible every day and I continued with religion lessons. I did it in secret, of course. I used to travel to the Ramallah hills, to places like the Al Tira neighborhood, and to sit there quietly with the amazing landscape and read the Bible. A verse like "Love thine enemy" had a great influence on me. At this stage I was still a Muslim and I thought that I would remain one. But every day I saw the terrible things done in the name of religion by those who considered themselves 'great believers.' I studied Islam more thoroughly and found no answers there. I reexamined the Koran and the principals of the faith and found how it is mistaken and misleading. The Muslims borrowed rituals and traditions from all the surrounding religions."

But they all did that.

He doesn't respond to this comment directly. "I feel that Christianity has several aspects. It's not only a religion but a faith. I now see God through Jesus and can tell about him for days on end, whereas the Muslims won't be able to say anything about God. I consider Islam a big lie. The people who supposedly represent the religion admired Mohammed more than God, killed innocent people in the name of Islam, beat their wives and don't have any idea what God is. I have no doubt that they'll go to Hell. I have a message for them: There is only one way to Paradise - the way of Jesus who sacrificed himself on the cross for all of us."

Four years ago, he decided to convert. He says that nobody in his family knew about it. "Only those Christians with whom I met and spent time knew about my decision. For years I helped my father, the Hamas leader, and he didn't know that I had converted, only that I had Christian friends."

I remember how you dressed at the time. How were you accepted in Hamas?

"You have to understand, I was never one of them. Although I helped my father and accompanied him, I was always opposed to the use of terror. Hamas members didn't like me. I didn't come to pray in the mosques, I hung around with strangers. They didn't like my leather jacket or even my jeans. They considered it going astray. But I helped my father and conducted his affairs because he's my father, not because he's a leader in Hamas. I'm not a Hamas activist who converted to Christianity. That's not the story. I wanted to help my father understand that harming innocent people is forbidden and through him perhaps to change other people's thinking."

What is Hamas' attitude toward Christians? What is your father's attitude?

"When I was with my father, I in effect pushed a moderate Hamas leader into making logical decisions, such as stopping the attacks and establishing two states alongside one another. I felt responsible. It was better for me to be there rather than a gang of fools who would poison his mind. I tried to understand those people, their thoughts, in order to change them from inside by means of a strong person like my father, who admitted to me in the past that he does not support suicide attacks. He thinks that harming innocent people gives the organization a bad name. The sheikh once said to me that when he sees an insect outside the house he is careful not to harm it, 'so what can I say about harming civilians?'

"But within Hamas there were other leaders, mainly from the Gaza Strip and Damascus, who thought they had to continue with suicide attacks as an effective means of achieving their aims. The problem was that they were stronger than my father in terms of their status in the organization. What helped stop the attacks in the final analysis was Israel's attacks against the Hamas leaders."

How involved was your father in making decisions in Hamas?

"He had no connection to the military arm, but they always consulted him about strategic decisions. The Hamas leadership did not make decisions only according to the opinion of the organization leaders in Syria or Gaza. However, you have to remember that the Hamas leadership in Damascus was in control of the organization's money. Therefore it had the most influence on organization policy. They were also the only ones who were not restricted in contacting one another, as opposed to the leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza, so that they also served as go-betweens among all the groups in Hamas. And incidentally, although they now claim that the revolution in Gaza was not planned, I can tell you from clear knowledge that a year earlier, in the summer of 2006, they spoke among themselves to the effect that if the tension with Fatah continued, they intended to take control of the Strip."

Regards to Israel

Masab-Joseph listens to singer Eyal Golan in his free time. "I've been listening to his music for 10 years," he says. "I like his voice but don't always understand the words." However, his favorite singer is Leonard Cohen. "He's a Canadian Jew," he explains.

He has a bachelor's degree in geography and history from the Al-Quds Open University in Ramallah, but in the United States he has difficulty finding work. He has plenty of free time, and participates in religion lessons and prayers in the church at least once a week. Every few days he plays football with friends from the church, and surfing is a must. This is California, after all.

When he was working in his father's office, he encountered Hamas leaders as well as members of the Palestinian and Israeli security services and Israeli journalists, who often spoke with the sheikh. He does not conceal the fact that he supported contact with the Israeli media and has almost warm feelings for Israel. "Send regards to Israel, I miss it."

You miss Israel?

"I respect Israel and admire it as a country. I'm opposed to a policy of killing civilians, or using them as a means to an end, and I understand that Israel has a right to defend itself. The Palestinians, if they don't have an enemy to fight, will fight each other. In about 20 years from now you'll remember what I'm telling you, the conflict will be among various groups within Hamas. They're already beginning to quarrel over control of the money."

He does not conceal his abhorrence of everything representing the human surroundings in which he grew up: the nation, the religion, the organization.

"You Jews should be aware: You will never, but never have peace with Hamas. Islam, as the ideology that guides them, will not allow them to achieve a peace agreement with the Jews. They believe that tradition says that the Prophet Mohammed fought against the Jews and that therefore they must continue to fight them to the death. They have to take revenge against anyone who did not agree to accept the Prophet Mohammed, like the Jews who are seen in the Koran as monkeys and the sons of pigs. They speak in terms of historical rights that were taken from them. In the view of Hamas, peace with Israel contradicts sharia and the Koran, and the Jews have no right to remain in Palestine."

Is that the justification for the suicide attacks?

"More than that. An entire society sanctifies death and the suicide terrorists. In Palestinian culture a suicide terrorist becomes a hero, a martyr. Sheikhs tell their students about the 'heroism of the shaheeds' and that causes the young people to imitate the suicide bombers, in order to achieve glory. I'll give you an example. I once met a young man named Dia Tawil. He was a quiet boy, an outstanding student. Not a Muslim extremist and not radical in his ideas against the Israelis. I never heard extreme statements from him. He didn't even come from a religious family: His father was a communist and his sister was a journalist who didn't wear a head covering. But Bilal Barghouti didn't need more than a few months to convince him to become a suicide terrorist." (Tawil, 19, blew himself up in March 2001 next to a bus at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem; 31 people were wounded.)

"Do you know that Hamas was the first to use the weapon of suicide bombers against civilian targets?" he continues. "They are blind and ignorant. It's true, there are good and bad people everywhere, but Hamas supporters don't understand that they are led by a wicked and cruel group that brainwashes the children and gets them to believe that if they carry out a suicide attack they'll get to Paradise. But no suicide bomber will find himself there and no virgins are waiting for them after they have carried out an attack. They have to understand that Islam was created by people and not by God."

Were there good people in Hamas?

"In my eyes there were all cruel, ugly inside. But I think that Mahmoud Zahar is one of the worst."

And yet, in spite of the criticism of the place he left, California can't make the longings disappear. "I miss Ramallah," he says. "People with an open mind. I liked to walk around among the buildings, the restaurants, the people, to feel the night life. I have many friends there whom I would like to see and I don't know whether I'll be able to do that at all. I mainly miss my mother, my brothers and sisters, but I know that it will be very difficult for me to return to Ramallah soon."



clip
"Many people will hate me for this interview, but I'm telling them that I love all of them, even those who hate me. I invite all the people, including the terrorists among them, to open their hearts and believe. Now I'm trying to establish an international organization for young people that will teach about Christianity, love and peace in the territories, too. I would like to teach the young people how to love and forgive, because that's the only way the two nations can overcome the mistakes of the past and live in peace."W

more
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1007462.html
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #67
69. thanks for this.
Realize that the anti-Israel crowd rejects all of this wholesale. This simply does not compute because it is so diametrically opposed to their accepted narrative. One excuse is that it's too "right-wing" so therefore it's trash. Simpleton logic.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
68. society sanctifies terror? BZZZZZT !!!! PC alert!
Moron alert. How can this new convert to christianity condemn a whole society like that? What does he know, right?
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