May 16, 2011

--- ------- ------The Nation.---'---- - --------- -----
25
Khan's campaign, while reinforced by religious rigor, was
---- also strategically brilliant, quickly garnering global attention.
. Then, as now, the international community cried foul as it
watched the British respond to the Red Shirts with a Qaddafi-
like retribution: bombing, killing, torturing, castrating, ı
poisoning and drowning the Khidmatgars. Unsurprisingly,
then, as now, a quizzical world questioned the relationship
between Islam and nonviolence, to which Khan quickly coun-
tered, "There is nüthing surprising in a Muslim or a Pathan
[Pashtun] like me subscribing to the creed of nonviolence. It is
not a new creed: It was followed fourteen hundred years ago by
the Prophet all time he was in Mecca."
teachings or İ culture. Khan was quick to make note of this.
Mohammed, Khan quipped, taught that a Muslim is one "who
never hurts anyone by word or deed," a principle the Prophet
repeats in his last sermon: "Hurt no one so that no one may
hurtybu."
Khan's movement remains notable given its size and scope,
but he was not alone in his mission. Fast-forward to Khan's
counterparti; in more recent years, such as the nonviolent
leadership of Syrian-born Sheik J awdat Said, whose 1964 book
The Doctrine of the First Son of Adam articulates for the modern
Islamic movement the concept of nonYiolence. Or prominent
Muslim-American human rights lawyer and writer Arsalan
Iftikhar, whose upcoming Islamic Pacifism: Confessiom of a Mus-
lim Gandhi highlights the legacies of Islam's nonviolent leaders.
Iftikhar's book, due out around the tenth anniversary of 9/11,
profiles numerous notables, induding the "Chechen ı
Gandhi," Kunta-haji Kishiev, an ideologue of nonviolence and
passiye resistance.
Khan was intentional about sourcing his nonviolent teachings
and inspiration in the Koran, a practice his grandson Asfandyar
Wali Khan continues to this day as head of the Awami Nation-
al Party in Pakistan's North-West Frontier (recently renamed
Khyber-Pakhtunkwa). The preamble to the party's platform, in
fact, is an unequivocal ı to the principles of nonvio-
lence, the teachings of Khan and the cause of the Khidmatgars.
Beyond Pakistan', the raison d'etre of Khan's red-shirted
revolution stilI resonates, as protests of equal proportion and
principle pepper many Muslim streets to day. What. is criti-
cal to keep in mind, as Americans pay homage to the rolling
wave of democracywashing over the Muslim'world, is that the
nonviolent nature of some protests is not foreign to Islam, its
The scribes chronicling history-in-the-making in the Arab
and Muslim world would do well to make note of this. What
is happening in the streets of Cairo and Sanaa and Damascus is
not the work of Gene Sharp or Gandhi. As Americans angle to
a-'mplify nonviolent Muslim voices, a good ı would be to give
credit where credit is due: the seeds sprouting this Arab Spring
are native born. f.
Letters
(continued from page 2)
seems smarter with every issue. ı this
is absolutely the last iteration of her peri-
odically reinvented name i ı ı tolerate-
unless, of course, she marries me.
L.E.ALBA
Palestinians & Israelis Together
MOTZA lUT, ISRAn
Joseph Dana and Noam Sheizaf, in "The
New Israeli Left" [March 28], mention
Combatants for Peace. Some Israelis are
actively opposing the occupation and the
settlements-they are ı ı destroying
our country-and Palestinians
because we feel, as J ews, it is our moral
obligation. We are a ı ı minority, but
\ that minority is doing great things.
The Combatants for Peace movement
was started jointly by ı and Israe-
lis who had taken part in violence: Israelis
as soldiers and Palestinians in the struggle
against the occupation, mainly during the
second intifada. Until then we had seen one
another onlythrough gun sights and at de-
tention centers. Now we have put weapons
aside and fight for peace. We recognize that
this is the only way to put an end to the vio-
lence and bloodshed and the oppression of
. the Palestinian people. We act only nonvio-
lently and see dialogue and reconciliation as
the only way to end the occupation and to
halt the settlements.
i recently spoke with a fellow who heads
the Jerusalem-Bethlehem branch of th'e or-
ganization. He commanded "shock" forces
(his term) in the Bethlehem area during
the second intifada, and i don't even want
to think of the violence he's been respon-
sible for. He spent seven years in jail and
was released as part of ı Oslo Accords.
He had never ı ı ı an Israeli who was not in
uniform until he participated in demonstra-
tions at Bil'in. Here encountered Israelis
in the thick of things, opposing the path of
the wall and the expropriation of land., lt
did not take long before he became active
iri Combatants for Peace.
Ivolunteer in Humans Without Borders,
an organization of about 290 members de-
voted to helping Palestinian famiHes whose
children require medical treatment available
only in IsraeHhospitals. Each week volun-
teers drive about fifty children and their fam-
ilies to and from hospitals in Israel, where we
visit and comfort the ı ı
the ones being, treated for cancer.
i drive children from the Bethlehem;-
Jerusalem border crossing to a hospital in
West J erusalem to undergo dialysis three
times a week. Humans Without Borders '
also organizes summer camps for the kids;
we bring whole families to the sea and zoos
for fun days, and we do so much more.
Ilad Shtayer is a remarkable man who
almost single-handedly arranges for the
weekly distribution of vegetables from
Wadi Fukhin, a ı ı Palestinian Yillage
being strangled by the ultra-Orthodox city-
settlement of Betar Ilit. The yillage is fa-
mous for its ı ı produce-
they raise the most amazing vegetables. But
until Ilan and others took the marketing in
, hand, the ı ı had no way to ı ı their
vegetables. Each week he trucks the goods
into Jerusalem and distributes large boxes
of wonderfully fresh organic seasonal pro-
duce-we never know what the boxes will
The 150 families in Wadi Fukhin
survive because Ilan and his friends distrib- ,
ute that produce.
Anarchists Against the Wall, Com bat-
ants for Peace, Humans Without Borders
and others desperately need funding.
LARRY LESTER
c

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful