Friday, September 18

Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan

This year the Ramadan Fast and Rosh Hashanah fall over the same period. Ramadan preceded Rosh Hashanah and ends on Rosh Hashanah.

For both Jews and Moslems it is the season of introspection and a period of resolutions and betterment as well as purification of one's being.

The message coming from both the Jewish and Moslem perspective should be one of reconciliation and an end to hostilities and hate. Islam has many similarities to Judaism and shares similar values. The dietary laws of Islam are derived from Judaism with some differences. It is a great tragedy that the two peoples whose destinies are so closely linked are unable to make peace.

Family relationships are important to both faiths as well as relations with immediate neighbours

The significance of the message of peace and goodwill that are the basis of both Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah are very often overlooked by both peoples. Each side justifies its hostility towards the other and even finds justification for that hostility.

Unfortunately, there are those who misinterpret Islam and find justification for the most heinous terrorist acts in the name of Islam. There is Al Qaeda that has carried mega-terrorist acts over the years as well as splinter groups affiliated to that notorious terrorist organization.

The US has just commemorated the 11th September World Trade Centre tragedy. Since then there have been numerous acts of terror directed against "the infidels”, non-Moslems, irrespective of their race colour, or creed, just because they represent Western cultures which are anathema to Al Qaeda and their ilk.

Splinter terrorist organizations affiliated to Al Qaeda are still in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to attack and kill innocent people, who in their eyes represent Israeli interests or US.

It is not based or even connected with the Israeli occupation but rather a total disdain for the West generally. Proof of this is not hard to find. What is the connection between the Madrid bombings, London bombings or the Fiji bombings with the Palestinians?

On the Israeli side, there are also hard core extremists who have established illegal settlements in occupied territories and have received support from the Israeli Government over the years.

As the Jewish New Year commences and Ramadan exits with the celebration of Id El Fitr, let us both, Jews and Moslems, work together to rebuild a new Middle East - a Middle East that will cease to be an area of hostility. This is the message of both Islam and Judaism.

Let our resolutions be those of the paths of peace ensuring a bright future for all the peoples of the Middle East.

Let us put an end to violence and cease justification for violence no matter from whichever side it comes.

In this spirit of brotherhood, coexistence, an end to the occupation, achievement of justice and peace, we wish both Jews and Moslems - Shana Tovah and Ramadan Mubarak.

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