Mohamed Abushaban endorsed 2021-11-28 13:26:23 -0800
As religious leaders and scholars, please join us in endorsing the declaration below.
Include your title and your religious, denominational, or organizational affiliation. For additional information:
- "Detained Bodies" (FOSNA)
- "Israeli High Court Greenlights Holding Palestinian Bodies as Bargaining Chips" (B'Tselem)
We, the undersigned faith leaders of the three primary monotheistic religions native to the Holy Land, declare in no uncertain terms that the bodies of fallen combatants, including enemies, should be treated with respect and afforded a proper burial. They must not be held as bargaining chips or used to collectively punish and torment their families. This is a moral and ethical requirement of all three religious traditions, applying to all parties involved, and is not simply a position based on political expediency. It is likewise required by secular international law and the provisions of Article 17 of the Geneva Convention. The practice of withholding the bodies of one’s enemies as bargaining chips, by Israel or Hamas, as well as the current Israeli policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinian combatants to punish families—in the name of both deterrence and collective punishment—is particularly abhorrent and unacceptable.
In Judaism, says Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, refusing to return bodies to their families absolutely contradicts the core Jewish value of upholding human dignity in all circumstances. Furthermore, according to Jewish law, the burial of corpses requires same day burial (Deuteronomy 21:23) and was interpreted by sages like Nachmanides to include the bodies of enemy combatants. Ultimately, refusing to return the bodies of the deceased to family members for burial destroys the possibility of peacemaking between combatant societies, because disrespecting the dead is a deeply traumatic event that prevents reconciliation.
In Christianity, says Rev. Naim Ateek, we believe that God, our Creator, has endowed every human being with dignity and self-worth. God breathes life into all humans. We believe that God created us in His image and has given us the breath of life. Therefore, our faith inspires us to respect the dignity which God has given to all humans, whether living or dead. Any act that dehumanizes and degrades any person must be totally rejected and resisted.
Rev. Alex Awad elaborates further that we are taught to love our neighbor as we love ourselves and do to others what we wish others to do to us. This applies not only to the living but also to the captured corpses of our enemies. We need to handle the corpses of enemy fighters with respect because we are taught that each of us is created in the image of God. Even if a human is dead, he or she continues to reflect that image. Finally, a corpse cannot fight back or pose a threat. Hence, why retaliate or show contempt towards a lifeless body that can neither feel your retaliation nor cause you any further harm?
Islam, says Imam Zafer Bangash, accords great value to human dignity. God grants rights to all human beings—referred to in the Qur’ān as “God’s representatives on earth” (Al-Baqarah 30)—from before one is born, throughout their life, and even after death. Dead or alive, the human body—created by God in perfect shape—must be given dignity and respect. The importance of this is illustrated in the Qur’ān (Al-Ma'idah 31). There, it is narrated that when Cain was unsure of how to deal with the body of his brother Abel—whom he had murdered—God sent a message in the form of a raven. God used the raven to dig into the ground to bury another raven, thus indirectly showing Cain how to bury his brother’s body.
Chief Sunni Court Judge, Shiekh Muhammad Abu Zeid, elaborates further: In addition to prohibiting harm done to non-combatants (Al-Baqarah 190), promoting peaceful solutions to conflict (Al-Anfal 61), and demanding the proper treatment of prisoners (Muhammad 4), the Quran specifically prohibits the desecration of the bodies of enemies (Al-Nahal 126) or leaving the bodies of enemies in the open and unburied. This was precisely the example of the Prophet Mohammad himself after the battle of Bader (Bukhari 3976; Muslim 2875). Islamic teachings confirm the necessity of preventing unjustified wars and the necessity of preventing savage acts, which affect the souls of the living and the bodies of the dead alike.
In each religion, therefore, the dignity of the bodies of fallen combatants must be respected for deep ethical, scriptural, and theological reasons. The corpses of our enemies should not be allowed to become pawns in a political struggle, causing anguish to families and festering hatred between peoples.
We therefore call on all parties to respect these principles. And, we particularly call on Israel to discontinue this inhumane practice and return the dead bodies of its enemies to their families to receive a proper, dignified burial.Endorse
Mohamed Abushaban posted about Palestinian Letter on Jerusalem on Facebook 2017-12-07 18:51:30 -0800Sign the petition: quds
We invite Palestinians from all walks of life to sign the below letter. We ask that non-Palestinian allies circulate this petition and follow the action items at the end, rather than signing it.505 signatures
Throughout history, we Palestinians have been systematically left out of decision making processes that determine our fate. From the Balfour Declaration in 1917, to the UN Partition in 1947, and countless instances before and after, Palestinian voices have been continuously deemed irrelevant. On Wednesday, Donald Trump carried on that legacy, unilaterally making a decision that will have a serious impact on Palestinians for years to come.
Trump's naming of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not simply an act of disregard for our aspirations to justice and freedom, it is a blatant attack against them. It is in line with Trump’s racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Palestinian platform, which is legitimized using white and Christian supremacist rhetoric. As Palestinians, we call on people around the world to follow the leadership of the Palestinian people in our aspirations for justice as we are demanding it. We make this call alongside Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), a Christian ecumenical liberation organization that has been seeking justice in Palestine for over 20 years. We know that none of Trump’s actions are in line with Christian values, and we understand liberation as giving voice to the prophetic leaders of a community to determine their own fate, which is how God liberated his people throughout history.
There has been no lack of clarity on the position of Palestinians around the world when it comes to Jerusalem. Just ahead of Trump’s announcement, the patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem issued a letter to the president, calling on “the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem,” while in the United States, the Palestine Youth Movement condemned the “sweeping imperial arrogance and ease with which these decisions are undertaken.” Meanwhile, protests erupted across the Middle East. From the streets of Gaza, to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Palestinians everywhere have unified and taken to the streets to demand justice, and will continue to do so in the coming days.
As people around the world prepare to observe the Christmas season, it is the duty of all people committed to justice to support Palestinian calls for sovereignty and freedom from Israel's military occupation of our land. Peace will not come to Jerusalem without justice, and today, with Trump's help, Israel continues to colonize the holy city as the world ignores Palestinian voices. This move is, ultimately, one that will help Israel in its campaign to push Palestinians out of the city. We call on everyone to take action today so that Palestinians of all faiths can continue to live in Jerusalem.
- Contact your congressional representatives, and tell them that this holiday season, they should do all they can to ensure that Jerusalem remains accessible to people of all faiths. You can do so online using the tool here and the text on this postcard as a template, or print the postcard and send it yourself.
- Call the White House at (202) 456-1414 to say no to the embassy move.
- Attend local actions against Trump's embassy move in your city!
Not yet ready or able to sign the pledge on behalf of your congregration? Find additional resources here!
For thousands of years, churches have served as places to give thanks, to bring families together, to provide sanctuary for those in need. We cannot allow these core commitments to be diminished by allowing companies complicit in human rights abuses to establish themselves in our houses of worship. Hewlett Packard (HP) provides Israel with the technological tools to facilitate its oppression of the Palestinian people.
The Presbyterian Church, Unitarian Universalists, United Church of Christ, Quaker Friends Fiduciary, and Alliance of Baptists have all divested from HP at the denominational level. Let’s bring this courageous stand to the congregational level by becoming an HP-free church.36 signatures
As a community of faith, we recognize that mass incarceration, restrictions on movement, and illegal settlements and occupation are unjust, unsustainable, and irresponsible practices.
Until HP ends its complicity in the illegal Israeli occupation and ceases to profit from the violation of Palestinian human rights, we pledge to not buy Hewlett Packard products, including printers, computers, and ink.
(If you are unable to sign on behalf of your congregation, you can sign as an individual here.)