Gary Doupe endorsed 2021-11-24 20:06:57 -0800
A Declaration Regarding Respect for the Bodies of the Deceased
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
@gedoupe tweeted link to Faith Leaders Stand for Academic Freedom. 2018-11-12 16:02:06 -0800Kenneth Marcus' proposed definition of anti-Semitism is an attack on our academic freedoms. Sign this petition in support of our right to protest Israel's ongoing occupation and apartheid! http://fosna.nationbuilder.com/faith_leaders_stand_for_academic_freedom?recruiter_id=20655
Faith Leaders Stand in Support of Academic Freedoms
We, the undersigned faith leaders, stand together in support of academic freedoms, the right to open debate, and the right to advocate for Palestinian rights. Kenneth Marcus, President Trump’s head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, has recently adopted a working definition of anti-Semitism that would make criticizing Israel grounds for a federal investigation. In the face of intensifying repression of Palestinian rights activism, it is imperative that we stand united against such efforts that falsely conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel’s practices of apartheid and occupation.
As justice-seeking Christian leaders, we decry anti-Semitism, racism, and prejudice in all its forms. We confess the brutal history of our own religious communities in this type of bigotry and the need to commit to fighting it alongside the oppressed. In an effort to do this, we also decry ways in which the threat of anti-Semitism is used to silence or impede the ways of justice, freedom, and equality of all people. We agree with Marcus that Jews must be protected under civil rights laws, but we disagree with the concept that criticism of Israel is a form of discrimination against Jews. Criticizing Israel’s discriminatory policies is about freedom for Palestinians, who have been denied their rights for decades.
Marcus’ efforts add no new legal protections for Jewish students; rather, they implement an agenda to stifle and silence the voices of advocates of Palestinian human rights on university campuses and beyond. Marcus’ definition undermines our civil rights to protest and hold open debate. We write to preserve these freedoms for students and staff on college campuses and to safeguard the value of open discourse without fear of retribution. If we believe that everyone is entitled to freedom of expression and equal treatment, students and scholars in support of Palestinian human rights should not be made the exception. Students and scholars should be free to support Palestinian rights, too, without the fear of federal investigation, penalization, and intimidation.
As so often has happened before, it is true that college and university students are the ones who now lead the way in political discourse. As faith leaders, we insist on protecting open debate on our nation’s campuses about Israeli occupation and apartheid because it is one of the most pressing moral issues for U.S. taxpayers. Israel has denied Palestinians their basic rights for decades with the support and complicity of the U.S. government and our tax dollars. Our campuses must remain places for students to discuss freely, think critically, and act ethically.
As people of faith, we recognize this as a justice issue rooted in our own deep faith that demands we stand with the vulnerable, the silenced, and the oppressed. We lift up our concerns in service to justice, fairness, and our faith, which demands that we speak out against injustice. We sign this letter as faith leaders from across the United States in firm support of our freedoms to open debate, protest, and advocate for Palestinian rights. We believe that protest of Israel’s apartheid policies and ongoing military occupation of Palestinian land is not only a right but our collective responsibility.100 signaturesAdd signature
@gedoupe tweeted link to Become a Member. 2018-11-12 16:05:31 -0800Just made a donation to Friends of Sabeel North America https://fosna.nationbuilder.com/become_a_member?recruiter_id=20655
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