PRESIDENT OF FAITH MATTERS: RT HON SIMON HUGHES MP
Faith Matters is a not for profit organisation founded in 2005 which works to reduce extremism and interfaith and intra-faith tensions and we develop platforms for discourse and interaction between Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jewish and Hindu communities across the globe. We have offices in the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the Middle East (Jerusalem)
THE BRUTAL CYCLE OF VIOLENCE IN THE HOLY LAND IS AGAINST ALL THAT IS HOLY AND JUST
The murder of Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land bodes ill for the future of both people in a land that has seen enough blood spilt for the sake of God's glory. The murder of 4 Israelis in a synagogue today and the murder of Palestinians going about their daily lives and with the ongoing occupation, continues to cycle the violence. Depressingly, a much more sinister turn has taken place in the last two months.
Attempts to play politics with the Al Haram Al Sharif, (also known as the Temple Mount), by politicians in Israel and by politicians in the Arab world, are fueling resentment and deep religiously driven hate. Such politicians care nothing for the future of lives in the region and day after day, more humiliation and abuse breeds a sense of injustice and intolerance. If politicians in the region have learnt nothing from the brutal history of events such as the Crusades that have left a lasting memory in the psyche of the history of the region, then the region is on a combustible trajectory over the next 5 years.
What is at stake for the future of the Holy Land is this; whether Israelis and Palestinians can co-exist or whether they can accept living side by side in separate states. The occupation and the growth of settlements has meant that the latter is increasingly becoming non-viable, though there is some political hope that this may be possible. It may well be though, that the window for this may already have closed.
For people who believe in a brighter future for the Holy Land, we simply cannot allow for any more lives to be lost, or sleights against the holy sites of religious communities to take place. Nor can we justify acts of murder against Israelis and Palestinians and sites of blood soaked Qurans or Torahs should turn every sinew of our beings into working for peace in the region. Quite simply, if we, collectively, as people of faith or no faith, as Jews, Christians and Muslims, as men and women, chose to take the path of doing nothing, then we also collectively to blame for each and every death. Lives are at stake and the future of the Holy Land cannot be steeped in blood any more.