Marawi City’s statement on Israel-Palestine war

The City of Marawi, which prides itself as the only city in the region with the descriptive religious tagline “Islamic City,” can relate to the war between Israelis and Palestinians. It experienced a similar crisis during the 2017 Marawi Siege. The daily dish on social and tri-media showing graphic images of death, injury, weeping mothers, frightened children, scores of Palestinians fleeing to safety on the threat of annihilation, and the rubble of structures caused by the carpet bombing brought back grim memories of their trauma, with some still battling PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

At last Friday’s congregations in various mosques throughout the country, there was near unanimity among the imams (religious leaders who lead worship services) and Islamic scholars in their condemnation of the loss of lives, especially of innocent civilians. They blamed the apartheid policy of the Jewish state and the occupation of the Palestinian lands, which were handed to Jewish settlers, with the legitimate landowners driven to refugee camps.

Many radical Muslim scholars naively explained that the root cause of the crisis could be understood through a religious perspective. Both Muslims and Jews believe that they are descendants of the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim to Muslims), and if only they would follow the proscription of the Prophets Abraham and Moses (Nabiyullah Musa) and the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not steal,” there would have been no problem between the two peoples.

They clarified that if the Israel Jews did not “steal” the lands of the Palestinians, they could have co-existed peacefully. But what happened was a sustained campaign to displace the Palestinians in an ethnic cleansing and apartheid campaign, the fruit of which is the conflagration we see now.

The crisis has drawn reactions from the public and private sectors.

The local government of Marawi issued the following poignant public statement, unabridged, vis a vis the crisis:

“The sight of the destruction and ruins of urban structures and graphic footage of mothers weeping unabashedly for lost family members, including cadavers strewn on roadsides in the ongoing war between Israel and Palestinians, brought back painful memories of the 2017 Siege of Marawi City. We felt the same excruciating pain. The victims were not only the combatants but more so the innocent women and children. A resolution to the impasse is far from sight and likely to escalate with the public statements of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stage a siege of the Muslim City of Gaza anytime now.

“In this light, the local government of the Islamic City of Marawi reiterates its stand and condemns the use of violence in the resolution of the Palestinian issue, or any political issue for that matter. We ask parties to exercise maximum restraint and adhere strictly to the rules of engagement laid down by the United Nations Charter on the use of excessive lethal force and respect for non-combatants, especially women and children.

“There is no substitute for diplomacy in the resolution of conflicts. The UN had actively intervened in the Palestinian-Israel conflict, and parties should respect the various resolutions and agreements signed by the parties (The Oslo Accord, Camp David Accord, etc.). We appeal to them to return to the negotiation table so that the parties can once again talk and prevent the unnecessary loss of lives and limbs. We appeal to the world superpowers not to add fuel to the fire by issuing incendiary statements supporting any of the parties. Nobody wins in an armed confrontation, especially nuclear, everybody will be a victim.

“We call on the UN to reboot its conflict-resolution mechanism and intervene. It must call for a ceasefire and the status quo during the period of negotiation.  The same with the international community, which can use its moral influence and suasion for the greater interest of humanity.

“Lastly, we ask for prayers for Divine Intervention to end the dystopia.”

“May the blessing of peace be upon all of us!”


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