I Used to Be a Mouthpiece for Israel – Then This Happened – Empowered Podcast

Abdurraheem Green

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I was a mouthpiece of Israeli propaganda. It's literally what I was brainwashed with just being a middle class white person. This is a download and Abderrahim green, a man who dedicated his life to calling people to Islam. And he's no introduction. But not many people know this. And I was shocked and inspired to hear that Palestine was central to his conversion to Islam and his vision in life for Tao. And we had seen pictures of Israeli soldiers breaking the arms of nine year old kids, so they pinned down these kids, and they were breaking their arms with rocks, they were gassed by unknown chemical gases. What can we do? How can we help the brother who had been taken us around all

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driving us around all of this time, he said something that always stuck with me, I spoke to him to get the whole story of his surprising connection to Palestine for this episode of empowered for Islam. 21 See, our new weekly podcast where we collaborate with leading voices to discuss Islam solutions to 21st century challenges and trends, I think that every river has, when they think about the things that help them become Muslim, there are always a few key things like reading the Quran and Tauheed. But you understand that the Allah created some space in your life in your mind for you to be able to accept being a Muslim, because you can accept the philosophical ideas, but just never

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be able to embrace what it entails to be a Muslim, you just can't avoid the fact that being a Muslim is going to by necessity take you on a journey of embracing to some degree, some ethnic, cultural, political positions, you can't avoid it. And Palestine, by the way, is just one of those positions, it is almost inconceivable that you could be a Muslim and not support in some way the cause of the Palestinians and the cause of Palestine, not least because there's Masjid Al Aqsa, it's a holy land for the Muslims. It has such great significance. So I think that in my journey of becoming Muslim, one of this hugely important events, which was transformative for me, from the point of view, of

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just my perspective, of hypocrisy of the West, and just looking at the world through a different lens was very interesting night that I had with a Palestinian family. There were these Christian Palestinians. My dad was working in Egypt, from the age of nine, he went to Egypt, he worked there, I spent my whole life I was a school that I go to Egypt for my holiday. So I must have been about 16, I reckon. And my parents were playing bridge, which is quite a sophisticated card game, which I never could get my head round. They were playing bridge with this family, Palestinian Christian family, very sophisticated, very rich, but they said why don't you come along? I said, What am I

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going to do? And it said, Well, Charlie will be there. He that's the son you can talk to him. So I thought, Okay, why not? That sounds I don't mind that. Now. At this time. context. The Israeli army had surrounded Beirut IDF, it's surrounded Beirut PLO was basically holed up in Beirut, and they were bombing the crap out of Beirut. You know, this was all over the news. It wasn't being reported actually, really in a very positive way at all my friends. You know, I say my friend, he became my friend.

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So, Charlie, I was sitting down with Charlie this happy chubby, you know, really super nice guy. Yeah. And he just said, What do you think of what's going on now, you know, in Beirut, so I said, you know, Israel, literally, like I was a mouthpiece of Israeli propaganda. I don't remember consciously anyone sitting down propagandizing to me, it's literally what I was brainwashed with just being a middle class white person reading English newspapers and watching a huge TV. That's just what it is. So I was parroting you know, Hitler killed 6 million Jews. This is the land that God promised to them. Obviously, being a Catholic being Christian, you know, you have that

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connection, that biblical thing that you don't question any of that. So yes, the promised land for the Jews land without people for people without land, it was a desert. It was just, you know, inhabited by these savages, you know, these almost savage people, the Palestinians, and they came when they made it green. And, you know, they got to defend themselves because there's like, you know, 20 million Arabs just ready to eliminate them at the drop of a hat. It's not that they're bad people. They're just like fighting for their existence. So this was the sort of narrative this basically what I said to him, you know, completely without any, you know, without any it's like,

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yeah, no, yeah, what's happening in Beirut is bad, but basically the rest of the night, Charlie, just bit by bit, point by point, just talk me through everything and just demolish that one of the very powerful things you said to me is he just said, like, and I still use this argument is so ridiculous. The idea of it's their promised land

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because they live there a few 1000 years ago, Ken, he said, Can you imagine how absurd the world would be if everybody else started making claims like that, if you know people whose ethnic ancestors used to live in a land 2000 years ago started saying, now this land belongs to us, because our ancestors lived there, or claimed and or claimed ancestors even know but even forget, even if they really were their ancestors, let's just take it at face value. It's still absurd. Of course, it becomes even more absurd when you realize that actually a lot of them are converts to Judaism. On top of that, they're not even ethnically Semitic, which are cousins, literally, they are genetically

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connected ethnic Jews who lived in Palestine and have for generations and generations. Alongside with Arabs, they are genetically cousins, they're indistinguishable Arabs, and ethnic Jews, ethnic Israelis or ethnic bene Israel is the Quran we call them genetically, you can't distinguish them. They are literally cousins. But this is obviously different from European and you know, Russian and, you know, Ukrainian converts to Judaism or or, you know, or others, right. But the point was, even if we would accept them all as being ethnically it's, it makes no sense because Denmark, and Norway and Sweden could claim huge swathes of Great Britain, because the Vikings lived there for quite a

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long time. King Canute and the Vikings lived in England for a long time. So maybe they should just claim Yorkshire and bits of Scotland and Ireland and Wales. And like imagine everyone decided doing that would be mad. So that was like, that makes sense. That's not a very good argument. And then he went through the whole making the desert green stuff. He said, That's nonsense, right? My ancestors lived in Palestine. They farmed the land there. He's and he was just going through describing and he might even show me pictures of his family and their farms and this and that. And that really didn't make much sense. Yeah. And again, he said, like the white of the Palestinians have to suffer because

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Hitler killed 6 million Jews, right? Surely the people who should suffer should be the Germans. If anyone needs to have there needs to be a homeland. And look after them and be loud be given out over them. You should be in Germany, nowhere else right, let alone Palestine. Wait. So he just went through. And it was just logical. It wasn't. You know, I wasn't. For me, there was no emotional connection. I was just saying what I had heard. So by the end of the evening, it was a massive paradigm shift. For me, the thing that almost upset me the most is this thing that I was left in my head. Why have I never heard this before? That was the big paradigm shift in my whole life. I've

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been lied to my whole life. Yeah, this is way before I started. Even thinking about Islam, I was thinking about different religions. But it was a huge opening to me in the way I began to analyze world news. Like long before I became Muslim, I was completely disillusioned with the whole idea of Western human rights, I just began to realize the whole thing was selective. It was just used selectively, in order to target whoever they perceived at any particular stage were an enemy. They were quite happy to bring down democracies and impose dictatorial regimes fascist regimes in order to advance their economic interests. And I was switching on to this as a 16 year old kid, and I read

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a lot. I was a big reader, I, you know, and I used to read the newspapers. But this perspective that this Palestinian gave me, that just began to make me analyze everything with a different perspective. It was revolutionary in my thinking, you know, so I have that guy to thank. But I do also think that I had to get to that place. Because I think that's what my dad always struggled with, although Hamdulillah he did become Muslim in the end, but I realized that he always struggle with the fact that and he said it to me, I'm an establishment that I come rooted in the establishment. You know, he was in the he was in millet military intelligence in the war. He was,

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you know, worked for the World Bank. He was an international banker. He was you know, new ambassadors. He had a you know, MBE CV, and BCB. I don't know which one is where you had both. So he was a he felt really rooted in the establishment. And I think he knew for a long time in his heart that Islam was the truth but he realized that becoming Muslim meant that you had to disco he he understood that as well. And he couldn't, in a sense, maybe do that in the way that I could. So I'm just saying that this evening with a Palestinian gave me that

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base and I think it was a part of that space that Alhamdulillah through Allah's permission, Allah guides who wants to guide but I look at it as part of how Allah had prepared my mind to, you know, accept Islam. You mentioned that that after this young Palestinian guy kind of de radicalized and undid the brainwashing you, you actually became like an advocate for the Palestinian cause. I mean, school I walked around everywhere that Palestinian scarf, I used to, like have it everywhere.

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But you know, like it was just things like that. But later when I did become Muslim, very early, this is must have been probably in the first year of me being a Muslim very early in my journey into Islam. That was also the time of the First Intifada. And we had seen pictures of Israeli soldiers breaking the arms of nine year old kids. So they, they pinned down these kids.

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And they were breaking their arms with rocks, because these kids were throwing stones and these images went viral. What would have been like, there was no internet at that time. But they were published on the news channels. And people were just like, What on earth is this? This is just disgusting. There was a group of British Muslims, mostly headed by by Yusuf Islam. But there was like 18 of us, we went out to see for ourselves. But it was quite interesting, because we were pitching our whole story to the newspapers, the independent was just about launch, they were the only one who actually actually even got back to us. And they basically said, We'll only really

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publish a story if one of you gets killed. Otherwise, we're not really interested. That's literally what it was.

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It was literally like, yeah, try and get one of you killed and that makes you're looking at each other thing, you know, not me, not me. By the time we got there, and it didn't take long, I think, you know, a few of us might have volunteered for that because it literally didn't take us long day one off the aeroplane. We went to a hospital in this hospital. You know, I saw things that you know, you never ever expect to see in your life. I saw a kid who had been run over by Israeli Jeep, he had a he had a stitches were literally like an L shape. Big like you can imagine like what you think Frankenstein patch together, stitches all the way down his stomach. We saw kids who had been shot by

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Dum Dum bullets, the doctor was saying we can't take out all the fragments of these bullets, they're banned by the Geneva Convention, we can't take out all of these fragments, because there's too many small fragments, and it will literally they wouldn't have a body left. So we have to leave the small ones in and in 30 years time, they will eventually poison their bloodstream. And they will eventually it will contribute to that early death. Basically,

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they were gassed by unknown chemical gases that were supplied by the United States of America. We saw the canisters you they didn't know. Like most of these that they're supposed to have an antidote, but they didn't know the antidote. As this will I saw day one. I can't say that what unfolded was a series of horrors because it wasn't it was almost the opposite. What unfolded in front of our eyes was just heroic. It was her the heroism of the Palestinians, just ordinary people just being heroic. in an amazing way, this stoicism, that heroism, their ability to endure hardship and still have a smile, and I saw Subhanallah I saw one of these so many videos, it's like you can't

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keep up with them. This is a family just sitting down making bread with a little fire and just laughing and you know, like not a worry in the world and they just sitting amongst the ruins. Let's sing amongst rubble and laughing and someone was commenting look at these people look who's happy in a time like this. But I saw this with my eyes, I saw this. I don't remember where it was what part but basically, the Israeli had arrived two o'clock in the morning, taking the family out of the house and demolish the house in front of them. Because their son had been accused of having taken part in a peaceful demonstration. This is what the family said. They immediately started to try and

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rebuild their house that is really said if you touch it, you will be shot. This is here as an example to everybody to see what happens when you do something like that. Or when your children do something like that. Now, you know how would you expect people to be who had gone through that you'd expect them to be crying, depressed, tearing their hair out, you know, in a state of mental confusion? Nope. They were camped outside their house in a little sort of quick made tense when making tea. Salam aleikum. Wa Alaikum wa salam Keifa Alhamdulillah Allah, like, it's that Alhamdulillah with a smile like what it's like, I mean, I was

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Muslim at this time. So it wasn't that I was surprised. It was just so beautiful to see it. I mean, that's what I expect. That's what how I would expect a Muslim to be although many will not be like that, right. And lots of people are heroic and heroism is a word that many people will use to describe the Palestinians martial arts, Monica Lima, especially the people of Gaza.

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They've inspired so many people across the world, and many people even looking into Islam as a result of their steadfastness, what we can see from just their reliance, they're being bombarded. They're being subjected to extermination attempt after examination attempts from the last few, several decades. And, you know, it's just, it's just kind of increasing their spirit of, of resistance or resolve of terracotta and Allah. And there's something special about the tarbiyah that the people of Gaza have been receiving Subhanallah it's that type of attitude, the stories I heard of people in prison, what they went through what they were subjected to, but the camaraderie that

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existed between the prisoners, the Israelis were devising things to try and divide the prisoners, one from each other, and to get them to fight. And so they'd give them for example, an olive each and all, everyone would have won all of that sometimes all they would be fed an olive, but they'd give one extra olive one extra one just to, but it would not, they would just sort of divide it up between themselves or give it to the person who needed the most. Like, these are the stories they were telling, like they knew this was happening to them on purpose. This may not seem heroic to anyone, but it was really heroic to me and to see these kids into these see these people. And I

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think the first the the root, the thing about the Intifada, the First Intifada is that unlike most of what had happened before, it was mostly motivated by Islam. It was it was a religious movement, it was something that the people were inspired and motivated by primarily by religion, not by nationalism, right, not by some left wing, you know,

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kufr ideology that you have with, you know, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. Right, who were just secularists. Right, nothing to do. Right. They may be Muslim nominally, but as an ideology, nothing to do with Islam. But the Intifada was not like that. It was the grassroots of it was Muslims and shale. And it was a resistance that came from the heart of faith and, and how strange, you know, in a way that it was just way more effective, it had more impact. It was more effective than anything that tried before. It was a time of, of hope. Another interesting thing I'm going to mention, we know actually from the Quran, that they know about the Prophet Muhammad, the people have

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knowledge amongst them and I have met rabbis, I have met rabbis in speaker school, and I've talked with them I've I maybe I would say, we will. Maybe not friends, but we were very friendly. I was friendly with some rabbis. Yeah.

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And they said to me, we know Muhammad, so perfect to at least two, if not three of them said to me, even one of them quoted to me said and this is why this is how we know it's written here in the Torah. Yeah. And if Allah says in the Quran, yada foreigner who can I get the phone number now they recognize him like they recognize it on Sunday that the Jewish scholars would know about the Prophet Muhammad and so on about the truth of his prophethood that that visit to

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our visit to Palestine, to alkaloids to the vasa.

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The Westbank was, you know,

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what impact did it leave on you? And your and your vision for your life? That's a good segue. Yeah, it's interesting, because

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as we were leaving, obviously, I can't remember how long we were there was probably over a week, we were all moved. And

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obviously, we felt we wanted to do something, try and do something. And I think it was probably the use of Islam said, What can we do? Or how can we help the brother who had been taken us around all driving us around all of this time? He said something that always stuck with me. He said, Go back and invite the people to Islam, because if the people become Muslim,

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they'll be with us. They'll be our brothers. And we know they'll support us. I think it's only later that I began to appreciate how deep and profound what he said was and there was something very rare in his statement. Rare in the sense that when someone is really immersed in their own oppression there I mean, any situation where you are so immersed in it, we have a saying you can't see the wood for the trees, right meaning that you can't see the forest you can't even see the the fact that there's just

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forest, but there's also hills and mountains and rivers. And all you see is the trees. That's just all you can see. Right? You just see what you just see trees, you, you can't see your mind somehow does not let you have a bigger vision, right? That's what it means, right?

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And it's not a good perspective to have and that he was his ability, despite everything to see the bigger picture that in retrospect was just so impressive to me that he realized that it's not about Palestine, it's not even about kids. It's not about us and what we Palestinians are going through. He said, he was almost saying, it's not really what's important, what's really important is in the law, that the people hear this message of Islam that was very deep and very profound, and more so because of who it came from an the circumstance in the situation that person was in. And you know, I think there's something we don't say it enough. We do not say this enough. Because there's there is

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this narrative, and this has been pushed out that is trying to belittle the idea of a mother. No, it doesn't exist, you know, that. All these people in Bangladesh, what have they got in common with, you know, a Muslim in America or a Muslim in Nigeria? They've got nothing in common. Yeah, this, this idea of Amma it's not there. There's not really this is it's simply not true. Maybe if you are some sick, hardened, individual, and your heart is covered in rust, because you're immersed in materialism, and nationalism, and your own petty little I love my country. Yeah. And I love my culture. If you're lost in that quagmire. And that swamp, yeah, then no, you won't feel it. Of

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course you won't, because you're sick. But I have traveled all over the world. And I have stepped off the airplane and I've met my brothers, I have met people who I feel instantly connected to as if I have known them all my life. And one of the things that I think that constantly resurfaces every time there's a bombing of Gaza, it's almost like it's this, it is this routine, but But you know what? It reminds you that there is this connection. There are people I follow. Sometimes I follow them on social media for different reasons. I don't always follow the people I agree with. I don't follow the people I like I don't follow necessarily the people who they're on the same men hedges

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me, right. I want to know what other people are thinking. Yeah. But you know, to see this outpouring of support from this hugely diverse, someone, you'd never think that maybe they're not even you never look at them and think, Oh, that's a Muslim. But they deeply care about Palestinians. They care about Islam, they care about their religion, looking at the media may never think about it, look at their social media account, you wouldn't even get a clue. But then, for the last two weeks, all they've been doing everyday is posting about what's going on your husband, and it's like, Oh, you haven't seen my usual lighthearted stuff. Sorry, you ain't gonna see that while this is

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happening. I can't be quiet. I can't be silent. So how do you say there's no connection? How do you say there's no real drama? What's this from then? What is this except that, that there is this between the believers there is this deep connection that runs there? And this is something Marshall the sort of thing I love it when chef Haytham you know he, he reminds us that these things are, Allah is bringing the Ummah up, Allah is preparing us for something bigger and better. And it's true, I think from what's true, from one point of view, we're not ready and we don't love each other as we should. And we don't care about each other as we should. And I do have some sympathy with

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those people who may be if they mean by that the Ummah is not as it should be, and we're not as connected as we should be. And we don't love each other as we should, then I'm down with that. That's true, right? But somehow claim it's not there at all. No, no, no, that's not the case. But hamdulillah Allah's put love in the hearts of the believers. So what do you say to someone who won't say, You know what, you just hate Jews. Lots of people are saying this, you know, the people who are against Israel or people are supporting Palestine actually, the reality is, you don't care about Palestinians or whatever. But you just hate Jews. Do you hate Jews? Well, not at all. No,

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no, no way. I told someone said this, someone was close to me was unfortunately, got into trouble

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because of a pro Palestinian stance that this particular person took and actually got fired from work as a result of it because

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was a senior executive woman who was a Jew started arguing with this person. So in the personal,

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you know, WhatsApp messages, she said some stuff about Jews, you know that were too generalized. And I said, Listen,

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I said number one, your mother was a Jew. I mean, Sofia was a Jew, she was a Jew, as

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I said, half the rabbis of Medina, they became Muslim.

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Right? Please don't say this, as if you know, you're going to blank it. Every Jew. And we've seen We've seen the Orthodox Jews standing there side by side. There are. I think as of last week, I had 100 100 Jewish people in prison

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for supporting Palestine and probably it's a lot more. And there are people protesting, we've seen it in New York and this and that. So we need to recapture this narrative because this is just the offloading of European anti semitism, anti semitic guilt, and projecting it onto others, who themselves assume it's like the Palestinians and Arabs in general, so is terrible. You know, Muslims have had no such a bad history with Jews, throughout our history, in fact, has been the opposite. No, I mean, you know, just listen to Hamza sources. And he's, you know, he quotes them he gets the quotes off the top of his head, you know, about the how the Jews were welcomed and looked after, in

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the Ottoman, by the Ottoman Empire. But even before that, the Jews flourished, they had, you know, what's considered their golden age, in under in Islamic Spain, and even the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam? Yes, it ended, unfortunately, for some of the Jews in a bad way, because of their treachery. But the prophet, he made an alliance with the Jews, he made treaties with them, they were actually one community, as we know, from the what's in the Treaty of Medina, I can't remember exactly what it's called, but the treaty that they all made, they all agreed the Constitution of Medina, they all agreed, you know, to work together to defend each other. So, when when Europeans

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have an issue with Jews, it's always been because they hate Jews, you know, the ingrained anti semitism for you know, 1000 plus years, and obviously, Muslims against Muslims as well, because Arabs, I certainly see mites and stuff, but when when, you know, historically, when when Muslims have had an issue with someone who happens to be Jewish, or a group or like, you know, today we're seeing in Palestine, it's not because the Jews, their Jewishness is just incidental, I will say if they were Inuit, so Eskimos, who came out of the igloos and started, you know, oppressing Palestinians, or Mexicans or Japanese people, they would be just as angry about, you know, the

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usurpation of the land being put into the walls open, biggest open air concentration camp, and being subjected to apartheid, illegal occupation and aggression on a daily basis. It's not because the Jews are upset about this is because of all of that stuff. Absolutely. If they were, arguably, there might be some genuine racism. I mean, actually, Palestinians do look at an Arabs in general, do look at Jews as their cousins and they say, our cousins, it's just I just don't think they have quite the same level of sort of

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maybe hatred and envy, and I don't know what it is. It's even you see from Palestinians today, they don't, you don't feel that from them at all. And something really profound you never, I wouldn't say never, but almost inconceivable that you would find a Palestinian especially a Muslim, a genuine Muslim, ever feeling happy about the death of a Jewish baby just because it's, you know, because I mean, apart from anything, we look at children as innocent but

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no one would feel joy about something like that. No one would feel happy that yeah, we're killing all these Jewish babies. I don't I really genuinely will be surprised to find maybe one or two but i Even though I don't think they exist, I just don't think people like that exist because it's genuinely not a sentiment that Muslims in fact exists. The other side, unfortunately, yes, it does. It genuinely seems.

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Okay, last question, sir. If there's one thing our audience will remember from this podcast, it would be the my main message is really my main messages. If you know about Palestine, you know the history. You know the situation. You're even a little bit acquainted with it even more. So if you're a Palestinian, right. Talk to people, white people like

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ain't me the background I came from genuinely most of them don't know. They're not necessarily bad people. They've just been indoctrinated. Just present them the facts. Don't get emotional. Don't scream at them don't get what because they don't know. Right? And it doesn't help. By the way, if you get emotional and you whatever, just present the facts, rearrange the facts, give them logical, simple, logical explanations that makes it well it worked with me. You know, it definitely worked with me and I'm sure it will work with others as well. So that's like my advice I'd love to give to everybody is that talk about it because people do change their minds.