Last Friday, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the center of the Islamic world, suggested in his weekly sermon that the time had come for Muslims to cooperate with the Jewish people.
Many across the Arab world saw the sermon as a prelude to Saudi Arabia following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates by normalizing relations with Israel. Earlier last week, Riyadh granted permission for flights between Israel and the UAE to use Saudi airspace.
Even Mohammed cooperated with Jews
In his weekly sermon, Imam Abdul Rahman al-Sudais stated that it was time to “correct and purify the Islamic faith from false and suspicious beliefs,” as he explained that the Prophet Mohammed himself cooperated with Jews.
It has been widely rumored that Saudi Arabia would be one of the next countries to normalize relations with Israel, even though King Salman still insists such a move must be preceded by an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
But, with an Israeli-Palestinian agreement still distant, the sermon by Sudais was seen across the Arab world as a move to pave the way for normalization between Saudi Arabia and the Jewish state even in the absence of a two-state solution. Like the other Gulf states, Saudi Arabia is believed to be under intense American pressure to stop predicating peace with Israel on the outcome of the Palestinian peace process.
Treason makes peace impossible
Harsh reactions to Sudais’ sermon demonstrated once again how many Muslims have painted the conflict in religious terms that effectively make peace forever impossible, even if Israel were to meet 100 percent of Palestinian demands.
Revered Egyptian Islamic scholar Mohammed al-Sagheer accused Sudais of “paving the way for normalization and treason.”
Al-Jazeera editor Abdel Fatah Fayed clarified that the treason being spoken of isn’t against the Palestinian cause, but against Islam itself. “Al-Sudais does not have the right to tamper with Islam. Nothing can justify treason,” wrote Fayed.
The Palestinian leadership also recently painted the conflict in such terms when it called the Jewish nation the “enemies of the Prophet Mohammed.”
When a people are brainwashed to view those on the other side of the negotiating table as enemies of the thing they hold most dear, in this case Islam, there can never be genuine peace, no matter how many concessions are offered.
If Donald Trump were to call China the enemy of Jesus, no one could believe that he was genuinely interested in peace. This is precisely what many Arab Muslim leaders, including those in Ramallah, are doing to Israel and the Jews.