War and its discontents: pacifism and quietism in the Abrahamic traditions

ISBN 13: 9780878406036
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My purpose is to illuminate how theory gets integrated with practice, especially regarding peacebuilding and nonviolence in Islam. Thus, I set the stage for suggesting possible contemporary contributions to peacebuilding and nonviolence from the Islamic tradition. However, there was significant groundwork laid in prior organization. For example, through the Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, nonviolent works were translated into Arabic and disseminated with discussion in the West Bank and Jerusalem four years prior.

Techniques of nonviolent resistance used since by the Palestinians were also identified and shared. When the official Intifada came in , the Islamic Jihad Brigade also renounced weapons. The first two years boasted a high degree of coordination, such as the system for blood donations. Some of the significant examples of nonviolent resistance in the Intifada include: visiting the graves and families of those killed as well as prisoners and hospitalized resisters; working the land of these people; demonstrations, marches, and sit- ins; praying and fasting; withholding taxes; replacing Israeli-controlled institutions with Abu-Nimer, Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam: Theory and Practice Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, , First, economic noncooperation was used in tax resistance, boycotting Israeli goods, and the successful Palestinian merchant strike all under a general plan to make the occupation unprofitable for Israel.

Second, social noncooperation was practiced by suspending social and sports events, doing stay-at-home actions, and general activity-ceasing strike days. Third, protest and persuasion was practiced through marches and demonstrations, media, theatre, and teach-ins. Fourth, political noncooperation was practiced, especially after , through PLO elected officials pushing for resistance and local control, resigning their posts in civil administration, and defying laws regarding driving, educating, and opening shops.

This political shift from earlier violence to nonviolence increased the resistance and made it more effective. Fifth, symbolic expressions were utilized with flags, clothing, prayer, paint, etc. Sixth, perhaps the most important nonviolent resistance was the development of alternative institutions such as a locally based decision-making apparatus that spanned out to health, education, economic, judicial, and agricultural institutions. Finally, changes in attitude that were consistent with nonviolence included: the willingness to bear more suffering than the opponent without retaliating, the rejection of hatred, increasing respect for the Israelis and avoidance of dehumanization, taking the perspective of a non-zero sum reality, and increasing cooperation with Israeli peace groups.

Pacifism, Just War and Peace

Although Hamas and Islamic Jihad were directly involved in the Intifada, they represented fewer than ten percent of the Palestinian population. Thus, Abu-Nimer insists we must go beyond them to grasp the full functioning of Islam in the Intifada.

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First, the mosque was used to exhort worshippers to participate in the resistance, as a center for symbolic resistance, as a place of religious unity between Muslims and Christians, and as a place for fasting in response to killings. Second, the faith was depended on for centering, inner peace, and the sense of a higher reality than the Intifada. Third, the fast of Ramadan affirmed the sense of sacrifice and sharing resources.

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Fourth, hospitality, generosity, and protection spread even to the treatment of Israeli soldiers. Fifth, the shahid witness or martyr as innocent suffering rather than heroic armed aggression became a central symbol of the Intifada that was rooted in Islam.

Sixth, the Islamic tendency to work through consensus was extended and developed in the leadership of the Intifada. Finally, particular values consistent with Islam were present such as: unity, solidarity, justice and empowerment, commitment and discipline, forgiveness, rituals and religious symbols, and sumud steadfastness. Khan, a Muslim, went to a Christian mission school in where he experienced a generosity and love that were a key factor in cultivating a desire to serve his suffering and impoverished people at the age of twenty-one.

In turn, the British authorities warned Khan to cease his work. However, one of his major obstacles was the cult of revenge and violence entrenched in Pathan society. Beneath this violence and ignorance, Khan saw extraordinary endurance and courage, which he committed to lifting up and inspiring. He traveled around India encountering the spirit of revolution, and returned with a challenge to the pride of his people.

The unity of Pathans took center stage as members were asked to resolve all internal differences and feuds before joining. Ramu, Badshah Khan: indo-Pakistan Relations. Delhi: S. That weapon is patience and righteousness. No power on earth can stand against it. Endure all hardships. Victory will be yours. The Servants of God began educating and organizing. Khan and others were arrested. As nonviolent protests erupted, troops fired on them. Without panic the next line stepped forward and received bullets. This continued for the next three to six hours and became known as the Kissa Khani Bazaar massacre.

Finally, troops refused to fire but the repression continued the next few days. By the end of that month the Servants of God had over eight thousand volunteers. Soon a temporary truce was signed with the Frontier receiving significant concessions, although increased suppression followed later.

War and Its Discontents

However, there were no riots in the Frontier. Gandhi and Khan tried to travel and calm the violence. Second, nonviolence is not a weak force that only works against weak opponents. Third, nonviolence is not only a personal, local method unable to apply to war, but rather can become a mass professional army. Fourth, and perhaps most significant for this article, nonviolence has been and can be in the future a method of Muslims. First, the moral anthropology of the Islamic peacebuilding and nonviolence studies indicates a more sturdy sense of human dignity, equality, and the value of interdependence.

Second, the example of the nonviolent peace army by Khan demonstrates how nonviolence is for the strong, not merely the physically or militarily weak. This practice also offers an alternative, and perhaps an eventual substitution for current military organization.

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The challenge here is that justice is worked for with the same tenacity, strength, and faith but with the means of nonviolence. As Nagler puts it, if nonviolence is understood as weak then it is difficult to justify both ending violence and fighting for justice. For instance, Kamali says that punishment should be for reform rather than humiliation. Fifth, the notion of jihad is understood as the struggle within, and against evil qualities more than against individuals or groups as evil. This provides an emphasis on the transformation of conflict and persons rather than on mere short-term conflict resolution, or even exclusion, destruction and violence.


A sixth key contribution arises from an Islamic view of the role of government. The closer connection between politics and religion instructs the government to promote virtue and cultivate moral character. Even militant Islam seeks the freedom and right to promote virtue and prevent vice. Muslim democrats critique both militant Muslims and the U. Even Ahmadinejad from Iran argued that Bush and the U. For instance, this is illustrated by being against aggression but using aggression; against lying and deception but going to war under false pretenses; against killing of civilians without discrimination but causing civilian deaths in excess compared to the value of the direct, military target; affirming human rights but using torture; and defending liberty but violating the liberty of Muslims by denying them due process of law.

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Our library carries ARTnews in print and it can be found in our current periodicals area. Established seller since Request Username Can't sign in? New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1. Langan, SJ 7. Peace becomes the product of justice.

In turn, he wants to illuminate how the weak character of democratic leaders reflects the unsound nature of democracy as a system. Further, he suggests that immorality in the conduct of war results from the fact that democracy ignores the role of government in the formation of moral character. The first is rule by human law or liberal government, which suggests that the government does not have a role in the cultivation of character. For instance, people of such governments tend to tolerate or even cherish a predatory market, while the numbers of global poor grow, and they tolerate regular immoral conduct in war.

The second type is rule by divine law or Islamic government, which encourages people toward virtue and holiness. Yet, an important limit remains regardless of whether a government primarily follows rule by human or divine law. Both tend to limit the moral maturity of the virtuous person to the skill of obeying either law. Vision Report Watch Magazine For the minority of us who have a fascination for the non mainstream, finally a hard hitting, apocalyptic, online magazine that appeals to many potential alternative interests!

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This paradigm, as is the nature of all cosmologic paradigms, controls the boundaries of our thinking-the assumptions we bring, the questions we entertain and the answers we are capable of supplying. The paradigm of a warrior God no longer provides a sufficient framework within which to ground the ethics of the nonviolent reality at the core of our biblical, Anabaptist, theological and spiritual heritage. So great are the anomalies encountered within the practice of a nonviolent heritage that the tools of the Warrior-God paradigm can no longer solve them. But the theological crisis we are in has yet largely to be recognized.

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For Christian communities of nonviolence the theological project for the twentieth-first century can no longer be restricted to the sacred texts of the ancient Hebrews that legitimate holy war in the name of YHWH.