The war in Gaza is no excuse for spreading hate and fear here at home.
Thousands of people are taking it to the streets to protest the war in Gaza and call for an end to the violence. Protesting against injustice is a great way to show support and to bring change in the world. Rioting, abusing each other, and turning on your neighbors is not.
As people gather to protest the Israeli war on one side and Hamas on the other, it's important to understand one thing; we're all on the same side. Each and every one of you out there raising your voice is doing so because you want an end to the terror for all the people in the region. You want no lives to be threatened or lost. You want an end to the brutality and for freedom for all.
So why on earth are you yelling and shouting at each other here at home? Neighbors in the US, particularly here in Chicago are not at war. We live in peace. We grow our communities together and enjoy equal rights and freedom, so then why is it that what's happening a world away turns us against each other?
The Jewish and Muslim communities just held their annual Iftar in a Synagogue in downtown Chicago to celebrate the breaking of fast and building of ties.
Yet somehow we're supposed to believe that Jews and Muslims cannot live together and are mortal enemies? Letting emotions blind us into making Anti-Muslim and Anti-Jewish statements is not the way to make peace.
In protests around the US and the world peaceful demonstrations in support of freedom for Palestine are met with hostile hate mobs looking to provoke a response and vise versa. You both want the same thing, PEACE. So why turn to violence and abuse here at home ? Wouldn't it make more sense to show the people of Israel and Gaza what peace looks like for us here in the US? You can't champion peace there by spreading hate here.
As protests gather steam and news of bodies being littered on the streets of Gaza and hundreds of rockets reaching Israel stream in, the passions are heightened so much more. So much so that there are cowards out there taking advantage of the situation to push their hate here. Be it walking into a crowd of Palestinian supporters with Israeli flags and Arab slurs or the cowardly leaflets being left in our neighbor's windshields in Chicago; (Click here to read the complete story on the Chicago Tribune)
Several vehicles were targeted in the Pulaski Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side with anti-Jewish leaflets, police said.
Six vehicles were discovered with leaflets on Saturday on the 6300 block of North Monticello Avenue, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.
This is not how you show your support and solidarity with the people of Gaza. This is not how a free society behaves. We do not threaten our neighbors regardless of their personal beliefs and opinions. We don't show up to peaceful protests seeking to provoke others. We don't make threatening and hate filled comments towards each other.
We are not at war. The Jewish and Muslim communities that live side by side as neighbors and friends are not at war. Protest and raise awareness for the massive loss of life in Gaza. Speak up against Hamas and their rocket fire, but for heaven's sake stop turning on each other.
For all my friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans, if you do choose to go out and Protest, do so with the understanding the you represent our communities and our freedoms. Respect each other and demonstrate peacefully and with purpose. Side by side stand there and tell the world that we want the bloodshed to end and the freedom and rights for all upheld. Israel must be safe from Hamas rockets and Gaza must be free. The peace and safety of both people rests on the same thing, as peace for one cannot be without peace for the other.
If you need inspiration look no further than the courage on display in Evanston, IL just north of Chicago. (Click here to read the complete story on the Evanston Review)
“Today, we come here to be a repairer of the breaches of our people,’’ Rabbi Andrea London, spiritual leader of Beth Emet Synagogue.
"We have to end this cycle. It has to come from us. It has to come from people who believe in justice. It will not come from somewhere else.” Tahera Ahmad, Muslim chaplain at Northwestern University