Skip to main content

Why there's no justification for Hamas attack on Israeli civilians: Osama letter explained

By Bharat Dogra* 

Whenever highly unjust violence is unleashed on some people, there can be calls for revenge violence. However, as the big ones responsible for the initial violence may be beyond the reach of the victims, it is quite possible that they end up targeting those who are easier to attack, in the process perhaps killing entirely innocent persons. This can lead to a cycle of indiscriminate violence in which many innocent lives will be lost.
Those Hamas attackers who attacked Israel recently are likely to have been motivated by the anguish of many Palestinians who were innocent victims of Israeli aggressions on many occasions, but did this anguish become any less when they killed several Israeli civilians? Who knows, those killed may have included those who strongly desire a more just policy toward Palestine. Did this action of Hamas increase the number of such persons, or did it decrease this?
What is more, this led to such a disproportionate and cruel response from the Israeli government that already about 11,000 Palestinians have been killed. Will this lead to future indiscriminate attacks on the people of Israel? Where and when this cycle of indiscriminate violence and revenge stop? The bigger danger is that this can lead to a wider war which can lead to death, injury and displacement on a much bigger scale.
In the middle of all the violence of recent times there has been a revival of interest in an old document promoting revenge which was becoming so popular with several readers that some newspapers removed it from their website.
This is a document released by Osama bin Laden titled ‘Letter to America’ in 2002. In this letter Osama bin Laden has stated that highly unjust policies and actions of the USA and some of its allies have caused immense distress to Muslims (as well as some others) and Muslims should unite with courage to oppose this.
However this letter also goes much beyond this and justifies attacks on USA civilians saying that they vote to elect the government. This is clearly wrong and all citizens who exercise their voting rights cannot be said to be complicit in violence. Such instigation can lead to the targeting of many innocent people.
In addition this letter targets many sections of people as indulging in immoral activity, including those who practice homosexuality or sexual promiscuity, or those who consume or trade intoxicants, or those who charge interest payments. Women are subjected to more strict surveillance and some of their occupations are frowned upon.
Only one religion is proclaimed as supreme, while others (those belonging to other religions and atheists) are described as non-believers hostility against whom can be justified. In such a worldview millions and millions of people are considered undesirable on the basis of those preferences which belong to their personal world .All these undesirable persons can evoke the hostility of believers, according to this document.
This is just one example of endless violent possibilities of an agenda which is based on violent, indiscriminate revenge, set against an ideological background of sectarianism and irrationality. If the violence of imperialism is to be fought on the basis of such an agenda, then the world will be destroyed by endless cycles of indiscriminate and irrational violence.
There is urgent need at world level of a broad-based peace movement which can intervene to prevent such cyclical violence and instead provide a response based on justice based peace.
It is an example of endless violent possibilities of an agenda which is based on indiscriminate revenge, set on sectarianism 
If such channels of a peaceful response do not exist, then it may be difficult to prevent a response based on indiscriminate violence and revenge. In addition it is the task of the peace movement to work with more continuity for strengthening the desire and possibilities of peace, with practical solutions discussed at the level of common people (not just leaders) and slowly gaining strength.
This is where the courage and commitment of people particularly youth should be channelized (and not into seeking indiscriminate revenge) and only then we can be hopeful that the new generation at least will be able to live in conditions of peace with justice.
The ideas that one religion is superior to others, or that those belonging to other religions and other sects, or atheist persons, are inferior are completely out of place in a world that needs peace based on equal respect for all faiths.
Such ideas are often at the back of those who get hooked by sectarian and violent forces, and therefore it is important to expose the futility of such ideas in the present day world which needs inter-faith harmony more than ever before so that people of different faiths (as well as atheists, or those who do not attach much importance to religious identity) can work together in peace and with solidarity for several good causes, such as environment protection, which are important for all.
While this is true for all places, this is all the more important for places like the Palestine-Israel region where people have already suffered much due to indiscriminate violence and inter-faith discords. Commitment to inter-faith harmony and a belief in people of different faiths living together peacefully should be at the heart of desiring and creating a better future for the people here, particularly the young generation.
*Honorary convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include “When the Two Streams Met”, “Man over Machine”, “Earth without Borders” and “A Day in 2071”



'Draconian' Kerala health law follows WHO diktat: Govt readies to take harsh measures

By Dr Maya Valecha*  The Governor of Kerala has signed the Kerala Public Health Bill, which essentially reverses the people’s campaign in healthcare services in Kerala for decentralisation. The campaign had led to relinquishing of state powers in 1996, resulting in improvement of health parameters in Kerala. Instead, now, enforcement of law through the exercise of power, fines, etc., and the implementation of protocol during the pandemic, are considered of prime importance.

Reject WHO's 'draconian' amendments on pandemic: Citizens to Union Health Minister

By Our Representative  Several concerned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister to reject amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted during the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA75) in May 2022, apprehending this will make the signatories surrender their autonomy to the “unelected, unaccountable and the whimsical WHO in case of any future ‘pandemics’.”

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Bihar rural women entrepreneurs witness 50% surge in awareness about renewal energy

By Mignonne Dsouza*  An endline survey conducted under the Bolega Bihar initiative revealed a significant increase in awareness of renewable energy among women, rising from 25% to 76% in Nalanda and Gaya. Renu Kumari, a 34-year-old entrepreneur from Nalanda, Bihar, operates a village eatery that serves as the primary source of income for her family, including her husband and five children. However, a significant portion of her profits was being directed toward covering monthly electricity expenses that usually reach Rs 2,000. 

Work with Rajasthan's camel herders: German scientist wins World Cookbook Award 2023

By Rosamma Thomas*  Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are the only awards for international food culture. This year, German scientist  Ilse Kohler Rollefson , founder of Camel Charisma, the first of India’s camel dairies, in Pali district of Rajasthan, won the award for her work with camel herders in Rajasthan, and for preparing for the UN International Year of Camelids, 2024. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why is electricity tariff going up in India? Who is the beneficiary? A random reflection

By Thomas Franco*  Union Ministry of Power has used its power under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003 to force States to import coal which has led to an increase in the cost of electricity production and every consumer is paying a higher tariff. In India, almost everybody from farmers to MSMEs are consumers of electricity.

'Pro-corporate agenda': Odisha crackdown on tribal slum dwellers fighting for land rights

By Our Representative  The civil rights network Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), even as condemning what it calls “brutal repression” on the Adivasi slum dwellers of Salia Sahi in Bhubaneshwar by the Odisha police, has said that the crackdown was against the tribals struggling for land rights in order to “stop the attempts at land-grab by the government.”

Deplorable, influential sections 'still believe' burning coal is essential indefinitely

By Shankar Sharma*  Some of the recent developments in the power sector, as some  recent news items show, should be of massive relevance/ interest to our policy makers in India. Assuming that our authorities are officially mandated/ committed to maintain a holistic approach to the overall welfare of all sections of our society, including the flora, fauna and general environment, these developments/ experiences from different parts of the globe should be clear pointers to the sustainable energy pathways for our people.

Hazrat Aisha’s age was 16, not 6: 'Weak' Hadith responsible for controversy

Sacred chamber where Prophet and Aisha used to live By Dr Mike Ghouse* Muslims must take the responsibility to end the age-old controversy about Hazrat Aisha’s age at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) – it was 16, not 6 (minimum was 16, Max 23 per different calculations). The Hadiths published were in good faith, but no one ever checked their authenticity, and they kept passing on from scholar to scholar and book to book.  Thanks to 9/11, Muslims have started questioning and correcting the Hadiths, Seerah, and mistranslations of the Quran. Now, the Ulema have to issue an opinion, also known as Fatwa, to end it and remove those Hadith entries. Mustafa Akyol, a scholar of Islam, implores Muslims to stop deifying “the received traditions” and critically study their religious past, shedding rigid legalism and close-mindedness. Someone else used the phrase “copycat Muslims” to identify scholars who copied what was given to them and passed it on without researching or questioni