Transcript: Salim Mansur | Mar 04, 2007

[Theme music plays]

The opening sequence rolls. The logo of “Big Ideas” featuring a lit lamp bulb appears against an animated blue slate.
Then, Andrew Moodie appears in the studio. The walls are decorated with screens featuring lit lamp bulbs, and two signs read “Big Ideas.”
Andrew is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short curly black hair. He's wearing a beige shirt.

Andrew says HELLO.
THIS IS
BIG IDEAS
AND
I'M ANDREW MOODIE.
WE'RE GONNA START TODAY'S
EPISODE WITH A...
QUOTE.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THERE ARE
MOMENTS IN THE LIVES OF NATIONS
AND PEOPLES WHEN IT IS INCUMBENT
UPON THOSE KNOWN FOR THEIR
WISDOM AND CLARITY OF VISION TO
SURVEY THE PROBLEM WITH ALL IT'S
COMPLEXITIES AND VAIN MEMORIES
IN A BOLD DRIVE TOWARD NEW HOPE.
THOSE ARE THE WORDS OF ANWAR
SADAT.
PRESIDENT OF EGYPT WHO WAS
ASSASSINATED IN 1981 BECAUSE HE
WAS WILLING TO NEGOTIATE WITH
ISRAEL.
HE AND MENACHEM BEGIN ENTERED
INTO A PEACE TREATY AT CAMP
DAVID IN 1979.
HERE TO COMMEMORATE THE TWO MEN
AND THE POSSIBILITIES FOR PEACE
IN THE REGION THAT HAS NOT SEEN
MUCH OF IT IS SALIM MANSUR.
HE TEACHES POLITICAL SCIENCE AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN
ONTARIO AND IS A FREQUENT
COMMENTATOR ON MIDDLE EASTERN
AFFAIRS AND HIS WRITINGS CAN BE
FOUND IN
THE LONDON FREE
PRESS
AND
THE
TORONTO SUN.
HE IS HERE SPEAKING ON SADAT'S
CONVERSION AND WHAT THE QUR'AN
SAYS ABOUT THE JEWS IN THE HOLY
LAND.
THIS IS THE FIRST ANNUAL BEGIN
SADAT LECTURE WHICH IS ORGANIZED
BY THE CANADIAN COALITION FOR
DEMOCRACIES.

A clip plays in which Salim Mansur stands on a small stage in a large room full of people. He stands behind a wooden podium. The walls of the room are panelled.
Salim is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with short curly salt and pepper hair. He’s wearing a light gray suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

He says IN THE MIDDLE
OF THE COMMEMORATIVE PARADE
MARKING THE 8th ANNIVERSARY OF
THE OCTOBER 1973 WAR LAUNCHED BY
EGYPT AND SYRIA AGAINST ISRAEL
ON YOM KIPPUR.
ALSO KNOWN AS THE RAMADAN WAR.
ANWAR SADAT, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT,
WAS MURDERED BY A BAND OF
EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS TAKING PART IN
THE EVENT.
25 YEARS LATER, IF YOU RECALL
THE LEGACY OF SADAT, IT BECOMES
UNMISTAKINGLY CLEAR THAT THE MAN
WHO KILLED HIM ON OCTOBER 6th,
1981, WERE FORERUNNERS OF THOSE
WHO FLEW PASSENGER JETLINERS
INTO THE TWIN TOWERS OF THE
WORLD TRADE CENTER IN NEW YORK
CITY AND THE PENTAGON IN
WASHINGTON ON THAT FATEFUL
MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001,
UNLEASHING A WHIRLWIND OF HATRED
AND BIGOTRY EMANATING FROM THE
DEEP TOXIC BOWELS OF A MEDIEVAL
AGE THAT'S STILL CLINGS TO OUR
WORLD AT THE BEGINNING OF THE
21st CENTURY.
IN THIS EVENING'S LECTURE,
ESTABLISHING THE MEMORY OF
MENACHEM BEGIN AND ANWAR SADAT
OF THE EXAMPLE THEY SET IN
EMBRACING EACH OTHER AND OF
THEIR PROMISE THAT REMAINS
UNFULFILLED, I WILL REFLECT WITH
YOU ON THE MEANING OF SADAT'S
HISTORIC JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
AND THE SPEECH HE DELIVERED AT
THE ISRAELI KNESSET ON NOVEMBER
20, 1977 WITHIN THE LARGER
CONTEXT OF ARAB AND EGYPT’S
MODERN HISTORY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Salim Mansur. Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Western Ontario. Hart House, University of Toronto. November 29, 2006."

Salim continues IN ADDITION, I
WILL DWELL BRIEFLY ON WHAT THE
QUR'AN TELLS US ABOUT JERUSALEM
AND JEWS IN THE HOLY LAND.
SADAT'S JOURNEY
TO JERUSALEM MARKED A DEPARTURE,
POLITICALLY DRAMATIC AND THEN
FATAL FOR HIM.
FROM THE COURSE TAKEN BY THE
ARAB STATES WITH EGYPT AT IT'S
HEAD THREE DECADES EARLIER IN
REPUDIATING THE DECISION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS TO PARTITION
PALESTINE UNDER THE BRITISH
MANDATE INTO TWO STATES, ONE
ARAB AND ONE JEW.
IT WAS ALSO DEPARTURE FOR SADAT
FROM THE POLITICS AND IDEOLOGY
OF ARAB NATIONALISM OF THE
PREVIOUS HALF CENTURY WITH WHICH
HIS GENERATION WAS ASSOCIATED.
IN SETTING OUT FOR JERUSALEM,
SADAT BROKE RANKS WITH HIS
FELLOW ARAB LEADERS AND IN
SEEKING RECONCILIATION WITH JEWS
AND ISRAEL, HE PRACTICALLY
SIGNED HIS OWN DEATH WARRANT.
HIS JOURNEY FROM CAIRO TO
JERUSALEM WAS IN THE FIRST
INSTANT CONCEIVED IN STRATEGIC
TERMS TO WREST BACK TERRITORY BY
DIPLOMATIC MEANS LOST TO ISRAEL
IN THE JUNE 1967 WAR AND HE
DROVE A HARD BARGAIN IN THE
SUBSEQUENT NEGOTIATION AT CAMP
DAVID TO RECOVER EGYPTIAN
TERRITORIES ON ISRAELI
OCCUPATION.
YET THE NATURE OF THE JOURNEY
WITH ALL OF THE SYMBOLICAL
TRAPPINGS CARRIED WITH IT THE
POSSIBILITY OF PUTTING IN PLACE
AN ENTIRELY NEW ARAB-ISRAELI JEW
MUSLIM RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD
HELP HEAL THE RIFF BETWEEN THE
TWO BRANCHES OF ABRAHAM'S
FAMILY.
WE WILL NEVER KNOW HOW SADAT
WOULD HAVE NURTURED THIS
RELATIONSHIP IF HE HAD LIVED
LONGER.
SADAT'S MURDERERS BELONG TO THE
MOST RABID FUNDAMENTALIST MUSLIM
CELL IN THE EGYPTIAN SOCIETY
KNOWN AS
[Speaking Arabic]
MEANING EXCOMMUNICATION AND
FLIGHT AND AL-JIHAD MEANING HOLY
WAR AND THEY'RE OFFSHOOTS OF THE
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.
THE TRADITIONS OF THESE GROUPS
DENOUNCE EGYPT AS AN APOSTATE
NATION FOR NOT FALLING IN FULL
WHAT THEY CONSIDERED THE
TEACHINGS OF THE QUR'AN.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE PRACTICE
OF JIHAD LITERALLY TAKEN TO MEAN
ENGAGING IN VIOLENCE AND BLOOD
SHED IN THE CORES OF THE FATE
AND LAND AND GIVEN EQUAL
IMPORTANCE AS PRAYER, FASTING,
CHARITY AND PILGRIMAGE THAT
TAKEN TOGETHER REPRESENTS THE
PILLARS OF ISLAM.
THE LEADER OF SADAT'S
ASSASSINATION SCORE WAS A
LIEUTENANT IN THE ARTILLERY AND
AFTER UNLOADING HIS MACHINE GUN
ON THE PRESIDENT, HE YELLED OUT
“I'M KHALID ISLAMBOULI.
I HAVE KILLED PHARAOH AND I DO
NOT FEAR DEATH.”
I CHARACTERIZE SADAT'S DECISION
TO VISIT JERUSALEM AND FORAGE
TOGETHER WITH BEGIN, ISRAELIS
AND JEWS OUTSIDE OF THE MIDDLE
EAST A NEW RELATIONSHIP OF
MUTUAL RESPECT AND COMMON
INTEREST AS AN ACT OF CONVERSION
ON A JOURNEY THAT NEVER GOT
FULLY CONSECRATED.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SADAT'S
JOURNEY MIGHT ONLY BE
APPRECIATED IF IT IS UNDERSTOOD
WITHIN THE LARGER FRAMEWORK OF
MODERN ARAB POLITICS AND HISTORY
THAT SHAPE THE THINKING,
ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOUR OF THE
GENERATION TO WHICH SADAT
BELONGED AND TO WHICH, AND THOSE
WHICH HAVE COME AFTER HIS.
SADAT CAME OF AGE BETWEEN THE
TWO WORLD WARS.
THESE WERE THE YEARS WHEN THE
BRIEF BLOSSOMING OF LIBERALISM
IN EGYPT THAT COINCIDED WITH THE
BRITISH PRESENCE IN THE COUNTRY
FOLLOWING THE ISRAELIS PURCHASE
OF SHARES IN THE SUEZ CANAL
COMPANY IN 1875 BEGAN TO FADE.
IN THE THREE DECADES BEFORE THE
GUNS OF AUGUST ENDED THE LONG
TWILIGHT OF THE VICTORIAN AGE,
EGYPT BECAME RECEPTIVE TO THE
FLOW OF IDEAS FROM EUROPE THAT
GENERATED A MOVEMENT OF REFORM
ACROSS THE SOCIETY.
THIS PERIOD IN EGYPT'S HISTORY
IS KNOWN AS “NAGDA,” AN
AWAKENING OR RENAISSANCE WHEN
EGYPTIANS EXPERIMENTED IN ARTS
AND LETTERS, IN POLITICS AND
RELIGION WITH THE WISH OF
RECONCILING IT'S CULTURE BASED
ON TRADITIONAL ISLAMIC VALUES
WITH THE MODERN WORLD OF SCIENCE
AND DEMOCRACY AS FOUND IN
EUROPE.
BUT BY THE TIME SADAT GRADUATED
FROM CAIRO'S WORLD MILITARY
COLLEGE AND GOT POSTED IN THE
SIGNAL CORPS OF THE EGYPTIAN
ARMY IN 1938 AS A SECOND
LIEUTENANT AT THE AGE OF 20,
REFORMIST LIBERALISM WAS BEING
RAPIDLY REPLACED BY A RISING
KIND OF NATIONALISM COMBINED
WITH THE MILITANT RENDITION OF
ISLAM AS AN IDEOLOGY OPPOSED TO
BRITAIN AND FRANCE AS VICTORIOUS
POWERS OVER THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN THE EVENT
WAS FOUGHT AROUND THE EDGES OF
EGYPT AND EGYPT WAS NOT DIRECTLY
EFFECTED BY THE PARTITIONING OF
ARAB PROVINCES OF THE OTTOMAN
EMPIRE BETWEEN THE SUEZ CANAL
AND THE PERSIAN GULF AFTER THE
WAR.
EGYPT WAS NOMINALLY AN
INDEPENDENT COUNTRY UNDER A
MONARCHY BELONGING TO THE SONS
OF MUHAMMAD ALI, AN ALBANIAN
SOLDIER WHO SERVED THE CALIPH IN
ISTANBUL BUT FOLLOWING
NAPOLEON'S SUCCESSFUL MILITARY
INTERLUDE INTO EGYPT EMERGED AS
THE DE FACTO RULER IN CAIRO.
BUT SINCE 1882, BRITAIN HAD
EMERGED TO CONTROL ASPECTS OF
EGYPT VITAL TO A STRATEGIC
INTEREST IN THE AREA AND BEYOND.
FOLLOWING THE WAR, BRITAIN
ARRANGED A TREATY WITH THE
RULING MONARCHY BY WHICH THE
SECURITY OF EGYPT AND SUDAN AND
THE CONTROL OF THE SUEZ CANAL
AREA WERE DETAINED BY LONDON.
IT WAS AN ARRANGEMENT THAT
QUICKLY BECAME THE FOCUS OF
NATIONALIST RESENTMENT,
ULTIMATELY CULTIVATING,
CULMINATING IN THE SUEZ CRISIS
OF 1956.
IT WAS IN THIS CONTEXT OF
ANTI-BRITISH NATIONAL SENTIMENTS
FUELLED IN PART BY THE NEW
PHENOMENON OF ISLAMISM, OF THE
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD FOUNDED IN
1928 BY HASAN AL-BANNA THAT
SADAT'S GENERATION CAME OF AGE.
ISLAMISM MIGHT BE DESCRIBED AS
A REDUCTION AND BENDING OF A
FATE TRADITION FOR POLITICAL
PURPOSE.
AND AS AN IDEOLOGY FED BY AM
INCREASING NUMBER OF MUSLIM
INTELLECTUALS, ISLAMISM GREW
ALONG SIDE THE OTHER TWO MODERN
SECULAR IDEOLOGIES BORN IN
EUROPE, BOLSHEVISM OR COMMUNISM
AND FASCISM AS A BITTER OPPONENT
OF LIBERALISM.
“NADASA FRAN,” A HISTORIAN OF
MODERN EGYPT WRITES OF THE
IDEOLOGY OF BROTHERHOOD AS A,
QUOTE, SIMPLE CREED GROUNDED
MORE ON FATE THAN SYSTEMATIC
TAUGHT, CAST INTO THE FRAME OF A
MILITANT MOVEMENT INSPIRED AND
ACTIVATED BY NEGATIVE
NATIONALISM AND REINFORCED BY
CONCERN WITH A BITTERLY FELT
SOCIAL MISERY, UNQUOTE.
THE NATIONALIST ANGER INSIDE
EGYPT DREW UP ON THE SENSE OF
BETRAYAL FELT BEYOND IT'S
BORDERS BY ARABS NEWLY LIBERATED
BY THE ARMS OF BRITAIN AND
FRANCE.
BRITAIN'S DECISION TO HELP JEWS
ESTABLISH THE HOMELAND IN
PALESTINE ANNOUNCED BY BELFOUR
IN HIS LETTER OF NOVEMBER 2nd,
1917 TO LORD WEIZMANN AND THE
REVELATIONS OF THE SYKES PICOT
DRAFT AGREEMENT FROM MAY 1916
ABOUT POST-WAR SETTLEMENTS IN
THE MIDDLE EAST WERE TAKEN AS
EVIDENCES OF PERVASIVE
INTENTIONS OF LONDON AND PARIS
TO DIVIDE AND HOBBLE ARABS FROM
ACHIEVING THEIR INDEPENDENT
GOALS.
IN TIME, THE TEAM OF ARAB
BETRAYAL BECAME THE AXIOM OF
ARAB NATIONALIST POLITICS.
THESE WERE ALL THROUGH THE
YEARS WITH THE MUFTI OF
JERUSALEM.
AN APPOINTED POSITION AND IN
[Arabic name] CASE, HIS
APPOINTMENT MADE BY THE FIRST
BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER TO
PALESTINE, SIR HUBERT SAMUEL WHO
WAS HIMSELF A JEW, DISCLOSED HOW
THE COMBINED EFFECT OF
NATIONALIST RESENTMENT AND
ISLAMISM LED TO A POPULAR
SUPPORT OF ARABS FOR HITLER AND
THE GERMAN NAZI'S WHEN THE MUFTI
BECAME A COLLABORATOR WITH THE
THIRD REICH.
IN HIS AUTO-BIOGRAPHY IN SEARCH
OF IDENTITY, SADAT RECALLS THESE
YEARS AND HIS OWN IMPRESSION
WITH THE POLITICS OF THE TIME.
SADAT WRITES, AND I QUOTE...
“I WAS IN OUR VILLAGE FOR THE
SUMMER VACATION WHEN HITLER
MARCHED FORTH FROM MUNICH TO
BERLIN.
TO WIPE OUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF
GERMANY'S DEFEAT IN WORLD WAR
ONE AND REBUILT HIS COUNTRY.
I GATHERED MY FRIENDS AND TOLD
THEM WE OUGHT TO FOLLOW HITLER'S
EXAMPLE BY MARCHING FORTH FROM
AMID OUR HOME TO CAIRO.
I WAS 12.
THEY LAUGHED AND WENT AWAY.”
BUT THE ADOLESCENT IMPRESSION
ABOUT HITLER REMAINED WITH SADAT
THROUGH THE INCONVENING YEARS
AND AFTER HE GRADUATED AS AN
OFFICER IN THE EGYPTIAN ARMY.
AGAIN, HERE IS SADAT IN HIS OWN
WORDS DESCRIBING HIS INVOLVEMENT
IN PALESTINE POLITICS WITHIN THE
ARMY.
“MEETINGS TOOK PLACE IN MY
APARTMENT, IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE,
AT [Speaking Arabic], IN THE
OFFICER'S CLUB, AT CAFES AND IN
THE HOUSES OF OUR COLLEAGUES.
CONTACTS WERE INITIALLY CONFINED
TO FELLOW OFFICERS IN THE SAME
CORE.
MOSTLY MY CORE EQUALS BUT
ENCOURAGED BY HITLER'S
SUCCESSIVE THREATS TO THE
BRITISH IN 1939-41, I WIDENED
THE CIRCLE GRADUALLY.
MANY SENIOR AND JUNIOR OFFICERS
WERE APPROACHED AND ACTUALLY
RESPONDED TO OUR CALL NAMELY
THAT WE SHOULD SEIZE THE
OPPORTUNITY AND CARRY OUT AN
ARMED REVOLUTION AGAINST THE
BRITISH PRESENCE IN EGYPT.”
AT THIS TIME, SADAT ALSO MADE A
SECRET ACQUAINTANCE WITH HASAN
AL-BANNA AND WAS POSITIVELY
IMPRESSED.
A RELATIONSHIP BEGAN BETWEEN
SADAT AND AL-BANNA AND THOUGH
SADAT DOES NOT ADMIT OF FORMERLY
JOINING THE BROTHERHOOD, HE
WRITES ABOUT OTHERS WHO DID AND
OF HOW BROTHERHOOD'S IDEOLOGY
PENETRATED INTO THE RANKS OF THE
EGYPTIAN MILITARY INFLUENCING
SOME WHO WOULD JOIN THE FREE
OFFICERS ORGANIZATION LED BY
GAMAL ABDEL NASSER, THE FUTURE
DICTATOR OF EGYPT.
THE FREE OFFICERS CORPS OF JULY
1952 ENDING THE MONARCHY LATER
CELEBRATED AS A REVOLUTION PLACE
SADAT IN THE INNER CIRCLE OF THE
MILITARY OFFICERS WHO HAVE HELD
POWER EVER SINCE IN EGYPT.
IT BECAME THE MODEL OF OTHER
MILITARY SEIZURE OF POWER WITHIN
THE ARAB WORLD AND THE POLITICAL
THINKING AND ATTITUDE OF THE
FREE OFFICERS WOULD BE IN
DIFFERENT DEGREES COPIES IN
BAGHDAD, DAMASCUS, TRIPOLI,
ALGIERS,
[Speaking Arabic]
AND DRAW POPULAR SUPPORT IN THOSE
ARAB STATES WITH A TRADITIONAL
ORDER AS IN SAUDI ARABIA HELD
FIRM AGAINST THE BATTER OF
NATIONALISTS.
IN EGYPT, THE FREE OFFICERS
SUPPRESSED THE BROTHERHOOD AS
THE RIVALS COMPETING FOR POWER
AND SIMILAR MEASURES WERE TAKEN
IN SYRIA, IRAQ, LIBYA AND
ELSEWHERE BUT THE IDEOLOGY OF
ISLAMISM REMAINED PERCOLATING
THROUGH THE RANKS OF THOSE IN
POWER AND THOSE RESENTFUL OF
BEING DENIED POWER.
ARAB NATIONALISM OF THE VARIETY
THAT TOOK HOLD IN EGYPT WAS AN
APPEAL TO UNITE AGAINST OUTSIDERS.
TO ACHIEVE INDEPENDENCE FOR RIGHTFUL
PROGRESS, DEVELOPMENT AND
REGAINING A PAST DOLLED UP AS
GLORIOUS.
IT CONFOUNDED
JEWS IN PALESTINE, MOBILIZED AND
UPSTAGED THE WAR AGAINST ISRAEL
AND AFTER REPEATED DEFEATS,
FOUND GREAT DIFFICULTY IN
HOLDING IN CHECK THE RISING
INFLUENCE OF ISLAMISM GROWING
MORE VIOLENT IN ITS HATRED OF
JEWS AND OPPOSITION TO THE
LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC WEST.
SADAT, AS NASSER'S DEPUTY...
AND THEN FOLLOWING NASSER'S
DEATH IN SEPTEMBER 1970 AS A
LEADER IN HIS OWN RIGHT, WAS
CAUGHT IN THE CONFLICTING POOLS
OF ARAB NATIONALISM AND
ISLAMISM.
FOR A WHILE, SADAT SPOKE ABOUT
EGYPT AS A CROSS ROAD BETWEEN
ARAB AND MEDITERRANEAN CULTURES.
OF AN EGYPT WITH A HISTORY OF
SEVERAL MILLENNIUM PRIOR TO THE
COMING OF ARABS IN ISLAM.
OF ALEXANDRIA CONNECTED TO
EUROPE.
OF AN EGYPT THAT'S NOT ENTIRELY
PART OF AN ARAB WORLD AS IS
JORDAN WITH THE GULF EMIRATES
AND HENCE, AN EGYPTIAN ARAB
IDENTITY THAT LOOKS IN BOTH
DIRECTION TOWARDS EUROPE AND THE
EAST.
THIS WAS POINTEDLY AN ATTEMPT TO
DEPART FROM NASSER'S
REPRESENTATION OF EGYPT AS BEING
AT THE CENTER OF THREE
CONCENTRIC CIRCLES, ARAB,
AFRICAN AND ISLAM.
SADAT'S ATTEMPT TO CIRCLE THE
CONFLICTING PRESSURES OF HISTORY
AND IDEOLOGY, TO HARNESS THEM ON
BEHALF OF A CLEARLY DEFINED
EGYPTIAN NATIONAL INTEREST
WITHOUT COMPLETELY REJECTING THE
CLAIMS OF ISLAMICS EVENTUALLY
FAILED AS HE FELL TO THE
VIOLENCE OF THOSE WHO'S
TOTALITARIAN IMPULSE VIEWED
EVERYONE DISAGREEING WITH THE
PRONOUNCEMENT AS ENEMIES OF
ISLAM.
BUT SADAT WAS PART OF THE MEN
THAT KILLED HIM AND THE REASON
FOR HIS MURDER WAS HIS JOURNEY
TO JERUSALEM SEEN AS A BETRAYAL
OF ARABISM.
THE MIX OF NATIONALISM AND
ISLAMISM OF WHICH HE WAS A
PRODUCT.
SADAT'S JERUSALEM JOURNEY
THEREFORE IN IT'S CONCEPTION AND
EXECUTION SIGNIFIED A
REPUDIATION OF WHAT HIS
GENERATION HISTORY HAD MADE OF
HIM UNTIL DEATH.
BEFORE THE JOURNEY HOWEVER,
THERE WAS ANOTHER WAS FOUGHT.
THE OCTOBER 1973 WAR WAS PLANNED
AND LAUNCHED TO ADDRESS THE
HUMILIATION OF JUNE 1967.
THE BREAK THE STATUS OF IT'S
ISRAELI OCCUPATED EGYPTIAN
TERRITORY OF SINAI.
TO OPEN THE SUEZ CANAL.
TO HARNESS SYRIA SUPPORT BEHIND
ARAB CLAIMS AND GRIEVANCES AND
TO DEMONSTRATE TO ISRAELIS THAT
THE ARAB STATES ARE NOT ENTIRELY
WITHOUT MILITARY RECOURSE IN
MEETING THEIR OBJECTIVES OF
REGAINING EQUILIBRIUM IN THE
ARAB-ISRAELI FACE OFF.
AT THE END OF THE JUNE 1967 WAR
AND AHEAD OF THE PASSAGE OF THE
U.N. SECURITY CONSOLE RESOLUTION
242 IN NOVEMBER, THE ARAB STATES
MET IN KHARTOUM, SUDAN IN
SEPTEMBER AND CAME OUT WITH A
THREE NO.
NO PEACE, NO NEGOTIATION AND NO
RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL.
FOR SADAT, THE OCTOBER WAR WAS
THE MEANS BY WHICH TO CUT
THROUGH THIS STALEMATE AND
ESTABLISH HIS OWN AUTHORITY
INSTEAD OF BEING CONSIDERED
MERELY AS NASSER'S SUCCESSOR.
THE OCTOBER WAR DESIGN AS
LIMITED IN SCOPE AND DURATION
COULD ONLY SUCCEED IF IT CAUGHT
THE ISRAELIS COMPLETELY BY
SURPRISE AND REGAIN FOR EGYPT
AND ITS ARAB PARTNERS AN
INITIATIVE AGAINST ISRAEL LOST
IN 1967.
FROM SADAT'S PERSPECTIVE, THE
OCTOBER WAR FULFILLED THIS
PURPOSE.
THE UNITED STATES WAS DRAWN INTO
A DIPLOMATIC PURSUIT OF A
NEGOTIATED DISENGAGEMENT BETWEEN
EGYPTIAN AND ISRAELI FORCES
UNDER HENRY KISSINGER'S
STEWARDSHIP.
THE SUEZ CANAL WAS REOPENED AND
SADAT EMERGED WITH THE PROFILE
OF A MILITARY STATESMAN IN
STATURE BIGGER THAN HIS
PREDECESSOR WHO WAS HELD
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEBAUCHLE OF
1967.
SADAT COULD HAVE RESTED ON THE
MORALS OF THE OCTOBER WAR.
THE WORLD WAS PREPARED TO TILT
IN FAVOUR OF THE ARAB STATES AS
EFFECTS OF THE ARAB OIL EMBARGO
AND OIL PRICE QUADRUPLING IN
SUPPORT OF THE OCTOBER WAR SENT
CHILL THROUGH THE GLOBAL
ECONOMY.
ONE MEASURE OF THIS TILT WAS A
PASSAGE IN 1975 OF THE U.N.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION
DECLARING ZIONISM AS A FORM OF
RACISM AND RACIAL
DISCRIMINATION.
SADAT GRADUALLY AWOKE TO THE
REALIZATION HOWEVER THAT NEITHER
DIPLOMACY NOR MILITARY POSTURE
COULD BREAK THE IMPASSE BETWEEN
ARAB AND ISRAELIS UNLESS THERE
WAS A PRIOR CHANGE OF THINKING
IN HEAD AND HEART AMONG BOTH
PARTIES AFTER A LONG
DEBILITATING AND ULTIMATELY
MEANINGLESS CYCLE OF CONFLICT
DENYING HOPE FOR A BETTER FUTURE
TO BOTH ARAB AND JEWISH CHILDREN
ALIKE.
IN SADAT'S VIEW, A PSYCHOLOGICAL
BARRIER IMPRISONED ARABS AND
ISRAELIS AND THIS BARRIER NEEDED
TO BE SCALED.
THIS IS HOW SADAT EXPLAINED
HIMSELF.
BY A PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIER, I
MEAN THAT HUGE WALL OF
SUSPICION, FEAR AND HATE...
AND MISUNDERSTANDING THAT HAS
FOR SO LONG EXISTED BETWEEN
ISRAEL AND THE ARABS.
IT MADE EACH SIDE SIMPLY
UNWILLING TO BELIEVE THE OTHER.
I HAVE THEREFORE TENDED TO
COMPARE THAT BARRIER TO THE
AUSTRALIAN GREAT BARRIER REEF
WHICH IS SO DANGEROUS TO
NAVIGATION IN THE SOUTHERN
HEMISPHERE AND IF THE APPARENT
BARRIER GOES BACK ONLY 30 YEARS,
IT REALLY HAS FAR PEOPLE ROOTS
IN HISTORY.
FOR IF AS BEGIN ALLEGES THE
QUESTION HAS A RELIGIOUS
DIMENSION FOR ISRAELIS IT
CERTAINLY HAS SUCH A DIMENSION
FOR US SO I DECIDED TO LOOK AT
THE SITUATION FROM A NEW ANGLE
AND EMBARK ON A FRESH STUDY THAT
TOOK ALL DIMENSIONS INTO
CONSIDERATION.
WHAT WAS THEN SET INTO MOTION
WAS THE DETAILS OF SADAT'S
JERUSALEM JOURNEY ON NOVEMBER
19, 20, 1977.
IT TOOK EVERYONE BY SURPRISE.
SADAT'S FOREIGN MINISTER,
“ISHMAEL FATMI” TURNED IN HIS
RESIGNATION INSTEAD OF BOARDING
THE JETLINER PREPARED TO CARRY
THE PRESIDENT OF EGYPT TO VISIT
WITH THE ISRAELI LEADERSHIP AND
ADDRESS THE KNESSET.
THE DAY OF SADAT'S JOURNEY WAS
ALSO LADEN WITH SYMBOLISM.
SADAT WAS VISITING ISRAEL ON THE
EVE OF THE MUSLIM FEAST OF
ABRAHAM'S SACRIFICE AND HE
WANTED TO PRAY IN JERUSALEM
AL-AQSA MOSQUE ON THAT OCCASION
WHICH FELL ON NOVEMBER 20th.
SADAT'S JERUSALEM JOURNEY MORE
OVER CAME ON THE 60th
ANNIVERSARY OF THE BELFOUR
DECLARATION.
IT WAS ALSO ON THE EVE OF THE
30th ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.N.
PARTITION REVOLUTION OF 29,
NOVEMBER 1947 AND JUST AHEAD OF
THE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE
PASSAGE OF THE U.N. RESOLUTION,
U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION
242 ON NOVEMBER 22, 1967.
SADAT'S SPEECH TO THE AUDIENCE
AT THE ISRAELI PARLIAMENT WAS
REVEALING OF THE INNER JOURNEY
HE HAD MADE TO EMBARK UPON HIS
OUTWARD JOURNEY THAT BROUGHT HIM
INTO THE HEART OF THE JEWISH
CAPITAL...
JEWISH STATES CAPITAL.
IT WAS A CAREFULLY CRAFTED
SPEECH DELIVERED IN CLASSICAL
ARABIC BEING THE LANGUAGE OF THE
QUR'AN TO DISCLOSE HIS INNER
JOURNEY OF MIND AND HEART IN
ORDER TO ADVANCE THE EXTERNAL
REQUISITE OF PEACE.
SADAT AVOIDED GETTING STUCK IN
THE DETAILS OF PEACE NEGOTIATION
OR IN DISCUSSING THE NECESSARY
DIPLOMATIC TRADE OFFS THAT WOULD
BE REQUIRED FOR THE EVENTUAL
SIGNING OF AN EGYPTIAN ISRAELI
PEACE ACCORD.
INSTEAD, HE INVOKED THE NAMES OF
MAHAD MAGANDI, ABRAHAM IN THE
PATRIARCH ABOUT JEWS AND ARABS
AND OF MOSES WITH WHOM GOD SPOKE
ON THE SOIL THAT WAS PART OF
EGYPT'S TERRITORY.
SADAT'S SPEECH WAS INTERLACED
WITH WORDS THAT TOUCHED UPON THE
TERMS OF BECOMING FULLY HUMAN
AND OF COMMON HUMANITY.
ABOUT GOD AND OF PEACE, ABOUT
INDIVIDUAL AND NATIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY IN SEEKING PEACE
AND OF PEACE RENEWAL REQUIRING
JUSTICE THAT MUST NOT BE DENIED
NOR ABRIDGED.
SADAT DREW SUPPORT FOR HIS
VISION AND JOURNEY FROM THE
PROPHETS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
HELD IN COMMON RESPECT BY JEWS,
CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS AND
QUOTED FROM SOLOMON'S PROVERBS
“DECEIT IS IN THE HEART OF THEM
THAT IMAGINE EVIL BUT TO THE
COUNSELLORS OF PEACE IS JOY.”
SADAT'S OPINION TO PEACE AND THE
LABOUR FOR PEACE WAS BUILT UPON
THE SHARED RELIGIOUS VALUES OF
ARABS AND ISRAELIS, JEWS AND
MUSLIMS.
SADAT CALLED UPON GOD TO WITNESS
THAT HE HAD FAITHFULLY DELIVERED
HIS MESSAGE AND THEN HE ENDED BY
RECITING FROM THE QUR'AN THE
WORDS...
“WE BELIEVE IN GOD AND IN WHAT
HAS BEEN REVEALED TO US AND WHAT
WAS REVEALED TO ABRAHAM,
ISHMAEL, ISAAC, JACOB AND THE
JEWISH TRIBES AND IN THE BOOKS
GIVEN TO MOSES AND JESUS AND THE
PROPHETS FROM THE LORD WHO MADE
NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN THEM.”
THEN SADAT DEPARTED.
AFTER HAVING TRAVELLED THE
DISTANCE TO JERUSALEM TO EMBRACE
JEWS IN A MANNER THAT NO ARAB
AND MUSLIM LEADER IN MODERN
TIMES UNTIL THEN EVEN
CONSIDERED.
NOR SINCE THEN HAS ANY ARAB OR
MUSLIM LEADER EQUALLED.
IT WAS A UNIQUE MOMENT AND A
UNIQUE EVENT IN A HISTORY THAT
IS BURDENED NOW WITH
RECRIMINATION, VIOLENCE AND
GRIEF.
AND SO WE ASK WHAT DOES THE
QUR'AN, THE SACRED BOOK OF ISLAM
WHO'S WORDS ARE CALLING TO
MUSLIM BELIEF, WHO FIRST SPOKEN
TO MUHAMMAD THE HEAVENLY POWER,
THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL HAS TO SAY
ABOUT JERUSALEM AND JEWS AND THE
HOLY LAND?
THE STRIKING FACT ON FIRST
READING OF THE QUR'AN IS HOW
MUCH OF THIS MESSAGE IS JEWISH.
THE QUR'AN TELLS THE STORY OF
JEWS OF ABRAHAM AND MOSES, OF
JESUS AND MARY, AMONG OTHERS.
THE STORY'S TOLD FOR INSTRUCTING
ARABS AND MUSLIMS IN A HISTORY
OF A PEOPLE WHO RECEIVED DIVINE
SANCTION IN ACKNOWLEDGING THE
REALITY OF ONE SUPREME DEITY AS
CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE AND LAW
GIVER OF MANKIND AND FORSAKING
IDOL WORSHIP.
IT IS REMARKABLE HOW MUSLIMS
DESPITE THE DAILY READINGS OF
THE QUR'AN TEND TO OBSCURE THIS
FACT THAT THE STORY OF JEWS IS
FRONT AND CENTER IN THE SACRED
TEXT.
AND EVEN THOUGH THAT IT
ANTICIPATES ITS FAVOUR DESIGNED
AS HOPES FOR A REBORN ISRAEL.
THE HISTORIAN MAX DIAMOND
CAPTURED SUCCINCTLY THE MEANING
OF THE NEW HISTORY WHICH ERUPTED
FROM THE SANDY FACE OF 7th
CENTURY ARABIA FOLLOWING THE
DESCENT OF HEAVENLY MESSAGE TO A
MAN BORN AMONG PAGAN ARABS.
DIAMOND WROTE
IN THE SAME WAY AS THE RECIPIENT
PREPARED THE WAY FOR THE
TEACHINGS OF PAUL AMONG THE
PAGANS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE SAW A
GENERAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE OLD
TESTAMENT AMONG THE ARABS HELP
PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE COMING
OF ISLAM.
THE STAGE WAS
SET FOR THE HERO OF HISTORY TO
FUSE THE NATURE OF WORSHIP OF
THE ARABS, THE SALVATION
DOCTRINE OF THE CHRISTIANS AND
THE MORALITISM OF THE JEWS INTO
A NEW GOD IMAGE.
THE HERO WAS MUHAMMAD, THE CREED
WAS ISLAM, THE MOTIVATING IDEA
WAS JUDAISM.
HERE'S A CAPSULE VERSION OF THE
HISTORY OF A THOMAS CARLISLE,
THE SCOTTISH ESSAYIST AND A
HISTORIAN OF THE VICTORIAN AGE
DESCRIED AS IF A SPARK HAD
FALLEN, ONE SPARK ON A WORLD OF
WHAT SEEMED BLACK, UNNOTICEABLE
SAND BUT LO...
THE SAND PROVED EXPLOSIVE
POWDER, BLAZES HEAVEN HIGH FROM
DELHI TO GRANADA.
I SAID THE GREAT MAN WAS ALWAYS
AS LIGHTNING OUT OF HEAVEN.
THE REST OF MEN WAITED FOR HIM
LIKE FUEL AND THEN THEY TOO
WOULD FLAME UNCAUGHT.
MUHAMMAD WAS BORN IN MECCA IN
570 A.D.
HE DIED IN MEDINA IN 632.
IN HIS 40th YEAR, AROUND 610, HE
BEGAN RECEIVING HEAVENLY
REVELATION WHICH COMPRISED THE
QUR'AN AS GOD'S MESSAGE, AS
GOD'S MESSENGER AND LATER
CONFIRMED BY THIS REVELATION AS
THE SEED OF THE PROPHET.
IN THE 12th YEAR OF HIS MISSION,
622, MUHAMMAD FLED MECCA FOR
MEDINA WHEN PHYSICAL THREATS
FROM HIS ENEMIES AMONG THE IDOL
WORSHIPPING MECCAS COULD NO
LONGER BE DISCOUNTED.
THIS FLIGHT FROM MECCA TO SAFETY
IN MEDINA LOCATED TO THE NORTH
WEST OF HIS NATIVE CITY IS KNOWN
AS [Speaking Arabic] OR FLIGHT
AND IT MARKS THE YEAR ONE IN
ISLAMIC CALENDAR.
IN MEDINA, HE FOUND HIMSELF
AMONG VARIOUS CLANS OF ARABS AND
AMONG THE, THE JEWISH TRIBES.
HERE, HE EVENTUALLY FORGED A NEW
ALLIANCE, CONFRONTED HIS MECCAN
THREATS IN THREE BATTLES AND
VARIOUS SKIRMISHES, ESTABLISHED
A NATION FORM OF SOME AUTHORITY,
ADMINISTERED JUSTICE AND
EVENTUALLY LED THE FINAL
CAMPAIGN AGAINST HIS MECCAN
ADVERSITIES.
HE TROD TO HIS ENEMIES,
CONQUERED MECCA, DEMOLISHED THE
IDOLS OF THE TRIBE
[Speaking Arabic],
THE SACRED MOSQUE OF
ISLAM AND BEFORE HIS DEMISE,
MORE OR LESS UNIFIED THE TRIBES
OF THE PENINSULA ARABIA BY
SUBMITTING THEM TO ISLAM.
THEN WHAT IS ISLAM?
ISLAM IN QUINTESSENCE IS THE
AFFIRMATION OF BELIEF IN ONE
GOD.
THE CREEDAL STATEMENT OF ISLAM
EXPRESSES THIS IN A FORMULA OF
UNIVERSAL IMPORT.
THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD.
AND MUHAMMAD IS HIS MESSENGER.
BE FORMULIZED IN TWO PARTS.
THE PRIMARY PHRASE IS THE
CENTRAL MESSAGE OF THE QUR'AN
AND THE REST IS IT'S EXPLICATION
IN HUMAN HISTORY.
THE SECONDARY PHRASE CONFIRMS
THE DIVINELY GUIDED MISSION OF
MUHAMMAD.
THEN THERE IS THE HISTORICAL
ISLAM.
THE PROFANE HISTORY OF MUSLIMS
AS ANY OTHER PEOPLE DRIVEN BY
THE COMPLEX MOTIVATIONS OF THE
PLETHORA OF HUMAN IMPULSES
ACROSS THE SPECTRUM OF GOOD AND
EVIL IN THE MAKING OF THEIR
SOMEWHAT DISTANT CULTURE AND
CIVILIZATION.
THIS HISTORY WAS STAMPED AT IT'S
OUTSET BY THE TRIBAL CULTURE OF
DESERT ARABS AMONG WHOM MUHAMMAD
WAS BORN AND WHILE IMPRESSIONS
OF THAT TRIBAL CULTURE WERE
REFINED DURING THE IMPERIAL RULE
OF THE FIRST ARAB DYNASTIES OF
AN EXPANDING ARAB-ISLAMIC
EMPIRE, THIS HISTORY HAS
PERSISTED INTO THE PRESENT
TIMES.
MUSLIMS OF SUBSEQUENT GENERATION
DISTANCES APART, CAME TO VIEW
THIS PERIOD, THE FIRST FEW
CENTURIES OF THE ISLAMIC
CALENDAR AS A TEMPLATE OF ISLAM
AND HISTORY, MUSLIM HISTORY UPON
WHICH RESTED THE LATER
DEVELOPMENTS OF THE ISLAMIC
CIVILIZATION.
FOLLOWING MUHAMMAD'S DEMISE, HIS
SUCCESSORS ADMINISTERING THE
QUASI-STATE THE PROPHET
ESTABLISHED IN MEDINA EVEN AS
THEY WERE TORN AMONG THEMSELVES
BY BLOOD SO QUARRELS RESULTING
FROM FAMILIAR AMBITIONS AND
TRIBAL INTERESTS DIRECTED
MILITARY CAMPAIGNS WHICH
EVENTUALLY EXTENDED THE
BOUNDARIES OF ISLAM BEYOND THE
ARAB HEART LAND INTO NORTH
AFRICA AND ASIA.
IN 637, JERUSALEM UNDER
BYZANTINE RULE WAS CONQUERED BY
ARAB ARMIES UNDER THE AUTHORITY
OF OMAR, THE SECOND CALIPH OR
SUCCESSOR OF A PROPHET IN A
POLITICAL SENSE AND WITH THIS
CONQUEST, PALESTINE PASSED INTO
THE CONTROL OF MUSLIMS EXCEPT
FOR THE PERIOD OF THE CRUSADE IN
THE 11th, 12th CENTURY UNTIL
1917 WHEN BRITISH FORCES ENTERED
JERUSALEM AND THE COURSE OF THE
CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE OTTOMAN
TURKS DURING THE FIRST WORLD
WAR.
SINCE PALESTINE WITH CLAIMS ON
JERUSALEM IS AT THE HEART AT THE
CONFLICT BETWEEN ARABS AND
ISRAELIS, JEWS AND MUSLIMS,
REFERRING TO THE QUR'AN IS
ESSENTIAL IN VERIFYING THE
LEGITIMACY ON MUSLIM POSSESSION.
THE QUR'AN WAS REVEALED TO
MUHAMMAD PRIOR TO THE MUSLIM
CONQUEST OF JERUSALEM IN 637.
THIS FACT IS CRITICAL FOR EITHER
ARAB MUSLIM CLAIM RESTS ON THE
WORDS OF THE QUR'AN AS OR IT IS
BASED AS POSSESSION THAT CAME
FROM THE CONQUEST OF JERUSALEM
AND PALESTINE BY ARAB MUSLIM
ARMIES.
IN MUSLIM RELIGIOUS PROSPECTIVE,
ACCLAIM LEGITIMIZED BY THE
QUR'AN WILL BE OF TIMELESS
DURATION.
BUT IF IT IS BASED ON MERE
CONQUEST BY ARMS, THEN IT COULD
ONLY BE MAINTAINED BY FORCE AND
LOST THE SUPERIOR FORCE.
IN OTHER WORDS, A FORCE AND
CONQUEST PROVE LEGITIMACY, THEN
DEFEAT AND LOSS MAKE THAT
LEGITIMACY NULL AND VOID.
ISLAM, THE QUR'AN REPEATEDLY
REMINDS MUSLIMS AND OTHERS WHO
MAY READ THE TEXTS, IT IS NOT A
NEW RELIGION BUT THE PRIMORDIAL
FATE OF MAN AND THE BELIEF IN
AND THE WITNESS THERE OF TO THE
REALITY OF ONE GOD ARE THE
SOURCE AND ORIGIN OF ALL THINGS
IN THE UNIVERSE.
THIS PRIMORDIAL FATE GETS
REPEATEDLY CORRUPTED YET GOD IS
IN INFINITE MERCY SAYS PROPHETS
AND MESSENGERS WHO REFORM THE
CORRECTED FATE AND REMIND PEOPLE
HOW THEIR SOUL ON THIS WORLD IS
A PRODUCT OF THEIR CORRUPTION.
ISLAM IS A REMINDER TO EACH AND
EVERY SOUL ENDOWED WITH FREE
WILL OF HIS CONNECTION WITH GOD,
OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY AND
ACCOUNTABILITY ON THE DAY OF
RECKONING.
OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF GOD AND
MAN IN THE DIVINE SCHEME OF
THINGS AND THOSE THAT
ACKNOWLEDGE THIS COSMOLOGICAL
REALITY AND SUBMITS TO IT IN
LIVING OUT OF OBEDIENCE, FAITH,
LOVE, DEVOTION...
HOWEVER ONE WANTS TO EXPLAIN THE
MEANING OF SUBMISSION, WHICH IS
ONE OF THE COGNATE WORDS OF
ISLAM, IN ARABIC IS THEN AT
PEACE WITHIN WHILE THE OUTWARD
REALITY OF SUCH PERSON WOULD
REFLECT GOD'S MERCY AND
COMPASSION.
THE OUTWARD TURMOIL IN AN
INDIVIDUAL OR A NATION IS THE
ABSENCE OF INNER PEACE AND
HARMONY.
AND NOTHING BUT IT REVEALS THE
WISDOM OF THIS MESSAGE THAN THE
PRESENT STATE OF MUSLIMS AND THE
NATION SO UTTERLY IN DISREPAIR,
INDICATING HOW GREATLY ABSENT IS
GOD'S MESSAGE AS DELIVERED TO
MUHAMMAD FROM THEIR LIVES AND
THEIR LIVING.
ONCE MUHAMMAD WAS INSTRUCTED TO
PREACH GOD'S MESSAGE TO HIS
PEOPLE AND ENGAGE IN DEVOTION TO
PRAYERS PRIVATELY AND IN PUBLIC,
JERUSALEM BECAME AN AXIS OF
RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION OF THE
PROPHET AND HIS EARLY FOLLOWERS.
THE REASON WAS SIMPLE.
AGAIN, ACCORDING TO THE QUR'AN,
ISLAM WAS THE PRIMORDIAL FATE OF
THE PEOPLE ENCLOSES PROXIMITY TO
ARABS OF THE DESERT AMONG WHOM
MUHAMMAD WAS BORN AND TO WHOM HE
PREACHED.
THESE PEOPLE ARE THE CHILDREN OF
ABRAHAM.
THE VARIOUS TRIBES OF THE JEWS
AND THE CHRISTIANS WHO PARTED
FROM JEWS IN FOLLOWING JESUS,
THE SON OF MARY.
THE DIRECTION IN WHICH A PERSON
STANDS AND PRAYS IS A MATTER OF
ORIENTATION.
OF AFFIRMING THE CHAIN OF
CONNECTION AND RELATIONSHIP IN
THE DIVINE PLAN TO WHICH AN
INDIVIDUAL SUBMITS, MUHAMMAD
PRAYED IN THE DIRECTION OF
JERUSALEM AND JERUSALEM IN THE
VERY EARLY YEARS OF ISLAM WAS
THE “KIBLER” OR THE DIRECTION
OF PRAYERS FOR THE FIRST MUSLIMS
IN MECCA.
THIS ORIENTATION WAS AN
AFFIRMATION THAT ISLAM WAS A
PRIMORDIAL MESSAGE OF SUBMISSION
THAT PROPHETS FROM ADAM TO
ABRAHAM AND THEN THROUGH MOSES
AND DAVID AND SOLOMON, TO JOHN
AND JESUS BROUGHT TO GODS FAVOUR
TO THE PEOPLE AND LATER THE SAME
FAVOUR WAS DISPENSED TO ARABS
THROUGH A PROPHET BORN AMONG
THEM.
SOON AFTER MUHAMMAD LEFT MECCA
AND SETTLED IN MEDINA, HE WAS
INSTRUCTED TO REORIENT HIS
“KIBLER” OR DIRECTION OF PRAYERS
TO AL-AQSA THE MOSQUE IN MECCA
BUILT IN THE ORIGINAL ACCORDING
TO THE QUR'AN BY ABRAHAM AND HIS
SON ISHMAEL.
THE SPECIFIC WORDS OF THE QUR'AN
READ “WE HAVE SEEN YOU TURN YOUR
FACE TO THE HEAVENS.
WE SHALL TURN YOU TO A KIBLER
THAT WILL PLEASE YOU.
SO, TURN TOWARDS THE HOLY MOSQUE
AND TURN TOWARDS IT WHERE EVER
YOU ARE.”
SINCE THEN, MUSLIMS HAVE TURNED
IN THEIR PRAYERS TOWARDS MECCA
AND NOT JERUSALEM.
IN THE DIVINE SCHEME, THERE IS A
MESSAGE HERE THAT THOSE WITH
DISCERNMENT MIGHT DISCOVER.
MY VIEW IS BY TURNING MUSLIM
AWAY FROM JERUSALEM MEANT ANY
FUTURE CLAIM ON THE CITY OF THE
PROPHETS BY MUSLIMS ON RELIGIOUS
GROUNDS WAS TAKEN AWAY BY AN
OMNISCIENT AND MERCIFUL GOD.
AN EVENT OF MUCH SIGNIFICANCE
OCCURRED JUST BEFORE MUHAMMAD
TOOK FLIGHT FROM MECCA TO MEDINA
IN 622.
THIS WAS HIS NIGHT JOURNEY TO
THE HEAVENS.
THIS JOURNEY IS NARRATED IN
CHAPTER 17 AND 53 OF THE QUR'AN.
BOTH REVEAL IN THE EARLY YEARS
OF ISLAM AND MECCA.
CHAPTER 17 OF THE QUR'AN IS
CALLED BANI ISRA'IL OR THE
CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AND CHAPTER
53 IS CALLED AN-NAJM OR THE
STAR.
BANI ISRA'IL IS THE STORY OF THE
JEWS AND IT OPENS WITH THE
FOLLOWING WORDS.
GLORY TO HIM WHO TOOK HIS
SERVANT TO WIDE AND OPEN LANDS
FROM THE SACRED MOSQUE, TO THE
DISTANT MOSQUE WHO'S PRESENCE WE
HAVE BLESSED THAT WE MAY SHOW
HIM SOME OF OUR SIGNS.
IT IS INSTRUCTED THIS NIGHT
JOURNEY OF MUHAMMAD TOOK PLACE
FROM THE DISTANT MOSQUE THAT
MOST COMMENTATORS FROM THE EARLY
YEARS OF ISLAM AGREED WAS
LOCATED IN JERUSALEM AND WHERE
AT THE PRESENT SITE SUBSEQUENTLY
THE DOME OF THE ROCK WAS BUILT
BY THE MUSLIM RULER CALIPH ABDUL
MALIK IN 691, SOME 70 YEARS
AFTER THE EVEN THE QUR'AN
NARRATES.
THIS NARRATION IS PART OF THE
STORY OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL
AND THERE BY IT IS MADE CLEAR
THE MISSION FO THE PROPHET IS IN
THE SAME LINE AS THE PROPHETS OF
ISRAEL, BELONGS TO THE SAME
TRADITION AND CONSTITUTES AND
COMPLETES THE STORY IN THE
DIVINE SCHEME OF THINGS, PLACE
AND PEOPLE WHO'S PATRIARCH IS
ABRAHAM.
THESE ARE THE TWO INSTANCES
REPORTED IN THE QUR'AN BY WHICH
MUSLIMS FIND A SPIRITUAL
CONNECTION WITH JERUSALEM.
IN ONE INSTANCE, IT IS TO DO WITH THE
KIBLER.
WHEN THE QUR'AN INSTRUCTS
MUHAMMAD TO CHANGE HIS DIRECTION
OF PRAYERS FROM JERUSALEM TO MECCA.
THIS INSTRUCTION TO MUHAMMAD BECOMES
THE FIXED ORIENTATION OF MUSLIMS
AS MECCA WITH THE
[Speaking Arabic]
BECOMES THE EPICENTRE OF ISLAM.
JERUSALEM IS HOLY TO MUSLIM.
A PLACE TO BE REVERED AS A CITY
OF PROPHETS.
BUT IT IS NOT THE CENTER OF
ISLAM.
IN THE SECOND INSTANCE, THE
NIGHT JOURNEY OF MUHAMMAD FROM
PRESUMABLY JERUSALEM ACCEPTING
THE INTERPRETATION GIVEN BY THE
EARLIEST COMMENTATORS OF THE
QUR'AN, ESTABLISHES INTIMATE
RELATIONSHIPS WITH ALL THE
PROPHETS IN THE TRADITION OF
ABRAHAM WHO PROCEEDED HIM.
THIS RELATIONSHIP IS AT THE
SPIRITUAL LEVEL.
ITS AFFIANCE PROCEEDS THE
SUBSEQUENT EVENTS OF MUSLIM
HISTORY AND THE SPIRITUAL
CONNECTION STANDS OUTSIDE OF
TIME AND PLACE IN THE SECULAR
HISTORY OF MUSLIMS, JEWS AND
CHRISTIANS AND HENCE, IS
INCORRUPTIBLE BY WHAT PEOPLE DO
IN THE NAME OF THE FATE
TRADITION AS IN THE SECT OF THE
HOLY CITY DURING THE CRUSADES.
THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION OF
JERUSALEM FROM MUSLIMS FALL IN
THE RELATIONSHIP OF MUHAMMAD
WITH THE CITY BUILT BY DAVID AND
SOLOMON AND WHERE JESUS PREACHED
SHOULD REMAIN UNSULLIED BY ANY
SECULAR POLITICS AND ITS
HOLINESS REVERED.
BUT THIS SPIRITUAL CONNECTION
OFFERS NO BASIS FOR AN CLAIM ON
A CITY THAT THE QUR'AN CLEARLY
INSTRUCTS IS NOT THE KIBLER OF
MUSLIM PRAYERS AND OBLIGATORY
PILGRIMAGE AND CONSEQUENTLY THE
CITY SANCTIFIED BY THE PROPHETS
OF THE OLD TESTAMENTS MUST NOT
BECOME A MATTER OF CONTESTATION,
ESPECIALLY BY MUSLIMS AND JEWS,
AMONG PEOPLE WHO TOGETHER REVERE
ABRAHAM.
IT MIGHT ALSO BE NOTED HERE THAT
SINCE THIS CONQUEST IN 637 BY
ARAB MUSLIM ARMIES AND IT'S LOSS
IN 1917 BY THE OTTOMAN FORCES TO
THE BRITISH ARMY GENERAL ALLENBY
WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE HIATUS
DURING THE CRUSADE YEARS,
JERUSALEM NEVER SERVED AS A
POLITICAL CAPITAL OF ANY ARAB
MUSLIM DYNASTY.
THE RELIGIOUS POLITICAL CAPITAL
OF ISLAM IN THE CLASSICAL OF THE
7th CENTURY TO THE 15th CENTURY
MOVED FROM MEDINA TO DAMASCUS
THEN BAGHDAD AND LATER WAS
SITUATED IN ISTANBUL UNTIL THE
END OF WORLD WAR ONE.
THE HISTORY BY WHICH THE QUR'AN
ILLUMINATES A DIVINE SCHEME AND
INSTRUCTS ARABS OF THE DESERT IS
OF THE ISRAELITES.
INDEED, THE ARABS OF THE DESERT
AND IN PARTICULAR THE MECCAN
CLANS OF THE
[Speaking Arabic]
WITH THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS AMONG
THEM BEING THE FAMILY INTO WHICH
MUHAMMAD WAS BORN CREATES THE
DESCENT FROM ABRAHAM TO HIS
OLDEST SON ISHMAEL BORN OF
HAGAR.
MUHAMMAD'S MISSION IN PART WAS
TURNING HIS PEOPLE BACK TO THE
PART WHICH ABRAHAM HAD WALKED
AND THE QUR'AN'S ORATION OF THE
ISRAELITE STORY IS AN
ILLUSTRATION OF GOD'S MERCY AND
FAVOUR FOR A PEOPLE MOST
APPROXIMATE TO THE DESERT ARABS
WHO HAVE REMAINED FAITHFUL
DESPITE ADVERSITY TO THE ONE
QUR'AN BOOK THAT ABRAHAM
WORSHIPPED.
IN THIS NARRATIVE OF THE
ISRAELITE, THE QUR'AN RETELLS
AND CONFIRMS THE STORY OF MOSES,
OF HIS TRIBULATION AND THAT OF
HIS PEOPLE IN THE LAND RULED BY
THE [Speaking Arabic] AND OF
THEIR FLIGHT TO FREEDOM INTO THE
LAND PROMISED FOR THEM TO LIVE
AND MULTIPLY IN FAITHFULNESS TO
GOD'S COMMANDMENT.
THE LAND PROMISED IS PALESTINE
OR THE LAND OF CANAAN AND THE
WORDS OF THE QUR'AN CAN NOT BE
MISTAKEN.
IN BANI ISRA'IL, CHILDREN OF
ISRAEL, CHAPTER 17 VERSE 104
WHICH OPENS WITH THE NIGHT
JOURNEY OF MUHAMMAD, THE QUR'AN
STATES...
AND WE SAID UNTO THE CHILDREN OF
ISRAEL UNTO HIM “DWELL IN THE
LAND BUT WHEN THE PROMISE OF THE
HERE AFTER COMETH TO PASS, WE
SHALL BRING YOU AS A CROWD
GATHERED OUT OF VARIOUS
NATIONS.”
THEN IN A LATER MEDINA
REVELATION AL-MIDA, CHAPTER FIVE
AND VERSE 20-21, THE QUR'AN
DECLARES REMEMBER WHEN MOSES
SAID TO HIS PEOPLE “OH, MY
PEOPLE.
REMEMBER THE FAVOUR THAT GOD
DISTILLED ON YOU WHEN HE
APPOINTED YOU, APPOINTED
APOSTLES FROM AMONG YOU AND MADE
YOU KINGS AND GAVE YOU WHAT HAD
NEVER BEEN GIVEN TO ANYONE IN
THE WORLD.
ENTER THEM MY PEOPLE THE HOLY
LAND THAT GOD HAS ORDAINED FOR
YOU AND DO NOT TURN BACK OR YOU
WILL SUFFER.”
THE WORD OF THE QUR'AN
PERTAINING TO THE JEWS IN
PALESTINE OF THE RIGHT TO LIVE
FREE AND SECURE THERE WHERE THE
PROPHETS PREACH AND THE KINGS
BUILD A TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM CAN
NOT BE MISUNDERSTOOD, MISREAD OR
DENIED.
IT WAS ALWAYS INCUMBENT ON
MUSLIMS AS IT IS TODAY AS PART
OF THE FATE TRADITION TO
ACKNOWLEDGE THE RIGHT OF JEWS IN
PALESTINE.
WHILE DENYING OR TWISTING THE
MEANING OF THE WORDS OF THE
QUR'AN DESEED THE CONTRARY
PURPOSES AMOUNT TO REPUDIATING
IN EFFECT THE MESSAGE CONTAINED
IN THE SACRED TEXT.
MUSLIMS CAN NOT HAVE IT BOTH
WAYS.
VENERATE THE QUR'AN AS DIVINE
REVELATION TO MUHAMMAD AND THEN
CONTRADICT THOSE PASSAGES OF THE
QUR'AN AS IN THESE INSTANCES
WHERE THE WORDS ARE AMPLY CLEAR
AND PRECISE BECAUSE THEY FIND
THEM DISTASTEFUL OR CONTRARY TO
THE TRIBAL AND NATIONALISTS
INTERESTS.
THE LEAP SADAT MADE FOR MAKING
WAR AGAINST ISRAEL, THIS
FIGHTING FOR PEACE AND EMBRACING
ISRAEL WAS DRIVEN AS MUCH BY
CALCULATIONS OF NATIONAL
INTEREST AS IT REQUIRED REACHING
BACK INTO HIS FATE TRADITION TO
LEGITIMATE HIS JOURNEY TO
JERUSALEM AMONG HIS PEOPLE.
SADAT GAVE ENOUGH INDICATION IN
HIS MEMOIR THAT HE HAD THOUGHT
DEEPLY ABOUT THE JOURNEY HE SET
OUT TO MAKE.
THEN IT IS ALSO CLEAR THAT THERE
STILL REMAIN A DISTANCE FOR
SADAT TO TRAVEL IN HIS OWN
THINKING TO FULLY CIRCLE THE
POLITICS OF HIS PEOPLE WITH THE
MESSAGE OF THE QUR'AN.
SADAT DID NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND
NOR DID THOSE AFTER HIM THE
EXTENT TO WHICH NATIONALISM OF
THE ILLIBERAL VARIETY TAINTED
WITH ANTI-SEMITISM THAT DROWNED
EUROPE TWICE IN A GENERATION IN
BLOOD AND ASHES CORRUPTED THE
FATE TRADITION OF ARABS AND
PUSHED THEM INTO THE SORT OF
HOSTILITY AGAINST JEWS THAT WAS
ALIEN TO THEIR HISTORY.
YET IT IS NOT IMPROBABLE TO
SPECULATE THAT SADAT HAD SLOWLY
AWAKENED TO THE FACT THAT FOR
ARABS AND MUSLIMS TO BE IN
HARMONY WITH THE WORLD AROUND
THEM, TO MAKE PROGRESS AS A
PEOPLE THRIVING TO LIVE IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE VALUES OF
ISLAM, REQUIRED FULLY
RECONCILING WITH JEWS AND
ACCEPTING ISRAEL AS A LEGITIMATE
PARTNER AND FRIEND IN THE FAMILY
OF NATIONS.
SADAT'S JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM IN
THIS SENSE SYMBOLIZED THE
ACCEPTANCE OF A MUSLIM HOWEVER
BELATED THAT THE RIGHTS OF JEWS
ARE BESTOWED BY THE GOD OF
ABRAHAM, MOSES AND MUHAMMAD AND
THAT THESE RIGHTS MUST BE
UNQUESTIONABLY PROTECTED BY
MUSLIMS IF THEY ARE TO REMAIN
BOUND BY THE TRUTH OF THE SACRED
TEXT, THE QUR'AN.
IN THIS RESPECT, ANWAR SADAT'S
JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM WAS AN ACT
OF CONVERSION.
OF COMING TO TERMS WITH THE
MARVEL OF GOD'S MESSAGE AND OF
DYING IN THE WORK OF REPAIRING
THE BROKEN TRIANGLE OF
RELATIONSHIP AMONG JEWS,
CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS.
THANK YOU.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.

[Applause]

A slate reads “Questions and answers.”

Then, a man in the audience rises to make a question. He’s in his fifties, clean-shaven, with receding white hair and glasses.

He says THE QUESTION THAT I HAVE IS
WHY IS IT THAT IN THE LAST
COUPLE OF YEARS, IN THE LAST
SEVERAL YEARS, YOU AND MATI
PALATSI ARE THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE
THAT I'VE HEARD COME OUT AND
SPEAK ON THE THEOLOGICAL
ARGUMENT THAT COULD BASICALLY,
IF ACCEPTED BY MAINSTREAM ISLAM,
WOULD BRING ABOUT PEACE BETWEEN
CERTAINLY JEWS AND THE ARABS AND
THE ISLAMIC WORLD.
WHERE ARE THE CLERGY IN
WESTERN DEMOCRACIES FROM ISLAM
WHO ARE GOING TO PRESENT THE
TRUE STORY OF THE QUR'AN AND
BRING ABOUT SOME SORT OF AN
UNDERSTANDING AND PUT THE LIE TO
THE ARGUMENTS OF THOSE WHO
PROMOTE HATRED AND MURDER?

Salim says VERY QUICKLY...
ISLAM HAS BECOME A HIGHLY
POLITICIZED FAITH TRADITION.
MY OWN VIEW IS THAT IT BECAME
HIGHLY POLITICIZED SOON AFTER
THE PROPHET.
THAT WHEN POLITICS AND RELIGION
IS MIXED, IT IS A RUIN OF BOTH
AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.
TODAY IT IS EXTREMELY
POLITICIZED AND AS A POLITICIZED
FAITH, WHAT YOU SEE IN THE MEDIA,
WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR AND TALK
ABOUT IS POLITICAL ISLAM.
BUT BELOW THE RADAR IS A WHOLE
WORLD OF ISLAM SILENT, PROBING,
PULSATING, LIVING THAT NOBODY
HEARS ABOUT AND THERE ARE MANY
VOICES WHO NOBODY'S GOING TO
PICK UP ON.
I CAN RING NAMES AFTER NAMES
AFTER NAMES BUT IT WILL MAKE NO
SENSE TO YOU.
MEN LIKE “SHAY CABANING” IN THE
UNITED STATES WHO'S NEVER GIVEN
ANY PRESENCE IN THE DISCUSSIONS
THAT ARE TAKING PLACE.
SO, WHAT I SHARED WITH YOU, MUCH
OF IT WAS MY OWN THOUGHTS BUT
AGAIN IT IS NOT ENTIRELY MY OWN
THOUGHTS BECAUSE THERE IS THAT
UNDERSTANDING THAT EXISTS BELOW
THE RADAR BUT THEY ARE NOT
POLITICALLY IMMOBILIZED, IN FACT
THEY DON'T WANT TO BE
POLITICALLY IMMOBILIZED BECAUSE
THAT WOULD MEAN THE CORRUPTION
OF THEIR FAITH.
THE PRESSURES AND THREAT FROM
THE ORGANIZED POLITICAL WING OF
ISLAM WHICH IS THE DOMINATE RING
IN THE MOSQUE DEMANDS THE PRIEST
TO READ THE PRAYERS, THE
DESIGNATED VOICES BOTH INSIDE
THE ARAB MUSLIM WORLD AND THEIR
REPRESENTATIONS IN THE --
IN EUROPE, IN NORTH AMERICAN OR
IN AUSTRALIA OR WHERE EVER ELSE.
THEY EXERCISE THROUGH THOSE
INSTITUTIONS SUCH POWER AND
INFLUENCE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY
THAT THE PRICE OF OSTRACISM, THE
PRICE OF VIOLENCE DIRECTED TO
ANYONE WHO WOULD BE STANDING UP
OR STANDING OPPOSED TO THIS
CONSENSUS IS TOO GREAT.
IT IS TOO GREAT AND THIS IS
NOTHING NEW AND UNIQUE TO ISLAM.
IT HAS BEEN PART OF THE HISTORY
OF OTHER ORGANIZED FAITH BUT I
THINK...
THOSE OF YOU, WE LIVE REMARKABLY
IN AN AGE WHERE WE CAN GO INTO
THE INTERNET...
AND THE MIDDLE EAST IS BUBBLING
WITH ARGUMENTS ON THE ISSUES
THAT I JUST PLACED BEFORE YOU.
SO WHAT WE ARE SAYING, I MEAN,
THIS IS AGAIN A HUGE QUESTION
THEY TALK ABOUT BUT LET ME LEAVE
YOU WITH THIS IDEA, THIS IMAGE.
WE ARE GOING THROUGH A
CONVERSION...
BUT THIS, THAT IS IN THE
ARAB-ISLAMIC WORLD, THEY ARE
GOING THROUGH A CONVERSION BUT
THIS CONVERSION BECAUSE OF THE
GLOBAL AGE IN WHICH WE ARE
LIVING, THE INTER-DEPENDENT AGE
WE ARE LIVING, THE REST OF THE
WORLD CAN NOT BE SEPARATED FROM
THE CONVERSION AS WHEN EUROPE
WENT WITH A CONVERSION,
REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION
WHICH SPREAD OVER SEVERAL
CENTURY, THE REST OF THE WORLD
WAS OBLIVIOUS TO IT.
NOW, WE ARE ALL PART OF THIS
CONVERSION AND OUT OF THIS
CONVERSION...
THERE WILL EMERGE A REFINED AND
A DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDING.
I LIKE, AND I'VE WRITTEN ABOUT
THIS, I LIKE THE WILL AND I'LL
SAY THIS AT THE END...
ISLAM...
IS A PRIMORDIAL FATE.
ISLAM IS A HUMAN REALITY, IT'S A
TEENAGED CHILD BURSTING WITH
TESTOSTERONE AND WHEN CHRISTIAN
FAITH WAS BURSTING WITH
TESTOSTERONE, THEY WERE DOING
THE SAME THING AS WELL AS
JUDAISM WHEN IT WAS BURSTING
WITH TESTOSTERONE.
WE'RE DOING THE SAME THING.
TODAY, THE CHRISTIAN WORLD HAS
GONE THROUGH THAT PHASE OF BEING
ADOLESCENT AND HAS BECOME
SOMEWHAT MATURE, YOUNG PEOPLE
AND JUDAISM OF COURSE IS WAY
ADVANCED IN IT'S MIDDLE AGE AND
HAS SEEN IT ALL AND HAS SO WIDE
THROUGH FIVE MILLENNIUM THROUGH
ALL SORTS OF TRIAL AND
TRIBULATION.
SO, HAVING A HISTORICAL
PERSPECTIVE, THIS CONVERSION IS
PART OF THAT PHENOMENA THAT HAS
BEEN PART OF THE HUMAN CONDITION.

The clip ends and Andrew reappears in the studio with a caption that reads “Andrew Moodie.”

He says ON SIGNING THE
EGYPTIAN ISRAELI PEACE TREATY
IN WASHINGTON, D.C. IN MARCH OF
1979, MENACHEM BEGIN WAS QUOTED
AS SAYING “NO MORE WARS, NO MORE
BLOOD SHED.”
“PEACE UNTO YOU SHALOM, SALEM, FOREVER.”
THE MOMENT IN TIME THESE TWO MEN
SHARED AS MANSUR POINTS OUT TOOK
THEM TO THE HEART OF A LAND THAT
IS SACRED TO BOTH RELIGIONS AND
AS WE LOOK NOW AT AN IAEL
STRUGGLING AGAINST RIOTS BECAUSE
OF A REPAIR TO THE AL-AQSA
MOSQUE AND A PALESTINIAN
GOVERNMENT IN DISARRAY PLEADING
FOR A WORLD GOVERNMENT TO LIFT
AN ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL
EMBARGO, ONE CAN'T HELP BUT
WONDER IF THESE TWO GREAT MEN
COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE
TODAY.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THE PESSIMIST
IN ME CAN'T HELP TO ASK IF THE
ERA OF BILATERAL COMPREHENSIVE
AGREEMENTS FROM TWO LEADERS
DRIVING BOLDLY TOWARD HOPE IS
FINALLY OVER.
FOR
BIG IDEAS...
I'M ANDREW MOODIE.

[Theme music plays]

The end credits roll.

bigideas@tvo.org

416-484-2746

Big Ideas. Producer, Wodek Szemberg.

Producers, Lara Hindle, Mike Miner, Gregg Thurlbeck.

Logos: Unifor, Canadian Media Guild.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2007, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Salim Mansur