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Muslim Women Respond to Apartheid in the Holy Land

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Lauren Booth

Channel: Lauren Booth

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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala Rasulillah Dear brothers and sisters As salam o Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and welcome to the LM feed Podcast. Today I have a guest who I'm really looking forward to speaking to all of our hearts are with our brothers and sisters in Palestine. I have

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hamdulillah sister Lauren booth. Salaam aleikum, Sister Lauren, while they come salaam Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, it's great to see you again, one of your reflections being in the last few weeks. Well, Palestinians have been calling out this apartheid since 1967. They've been going to the United Nations, they've been demanding their rights. They've been listing the the crimes. And you know, there have been pockets of external resistance of activists and groups say, trying to be advocates and ally, because this is different. Can you taste it? It's like a really nice, it's like a really nice chocolate with a tank at the end. It's like, huh, this is great. This is good stuff. We're

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going to do this, we're going to drive this through, because people are listening. And we can go into this a bit deeper in Charlotte in this. But yeah, it is exciting. And we do feel strong. Because there's been a sea change, right? Like, whether it's celebrities, whether it's even politician, I felt like this time round. There were many more voices that were willing to just say, you know, what, this is apartheid. You know, this is oppression, there is no justification for this. This is wrong, this is occupation, we're watching occupation in front of our very eyes, and we're allowing an entire country to get away with it. Subhanallah, you know, allows planning is perfect.

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And, you know, has some of them locked, who's the British ambassador to Palestine, he's been smashing out the park. And he makes

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it makes it very clear that, you know, Black Lives Matter has played a big part in setting the groundwork for a new understanding of what white supremacy looks and feels like. And I was speaking to him last night, and I was saying, You know what, I think as a as a white European, that we've become kind of used to questioning ourselves a bit now, like, that feels a little bit like it was a little bit racist. There was a it was like just a little soups on a racism there. And we've had to start questioning ourselves. So when something else big comes, we're like, Oh, this looks like smells like tastes like what we've been dealing with and had to ask ourselves. So it's like this big

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groundwork that's been going on through the suffering of, of black people in America, and globally, has set the groundwork for the for the white power base to then reflect on ourselves and go, Well, are you saying Jews can't be white supremacists, or they are all but this really look kind of looks a bit like that. So I think all of this work that's been going on, for the last, you know, you know, year particularly has really made a new framework possible. Your experience, just a glimpse of your experience, especially the last time maybe you went to Palestine?

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I think what's what is it like for people who haven't been on here, every time for me, it's been different. I went in 2005, as a journalist for the West Bank, when in 2006, as a journalist to the West Bank and Gaza 2008, as an activist on the Free Gaza on a boat 2009 hamdulillah with Viva Palestina, which was a road that remember 2009 I went by bicycle cycling from Amman, a trip from Amman to Jerusalem with my daughter with peace cycles SubhanAllah. And then 2009 as an activist 2011 2012 is delivering a 2013 Delivering ate every time, every time has felt different. And there have been elements that are the same. I think in in 2005 The first time I went CES, what really

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struck me as someone who's only known an exceptional amount of freedom in their lives, was checkpoints. 2000 The first time I went it was all about checkpoints. And that was because there was it was that the first national Palestinian elections for the PA and I was with Chip Carter Jimmy Carter's son

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on you know, we were the group and he was checking out the freedom of movement that was supposed to be allowed for the Palestinians. Because if you're in Bethlehem, and you're supposed to vote in your birthplace of Nablus normally that may not be possible but they had to free up the roads. You had to be able to go vote and come back of course that wasn't that was that was not happening as it should be happening. And I just remember the sort of the fury the the humiliation I mean, Nablus is a horrendous checkpoint where

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You know it's like you're out you're out you're a cow you're just heard it in areas checkpoint in 2006 was one I don't like to use were traumatized because you can't in reflection to what everybody over there goes through but I was shocked.

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Watch the lady in a wheelchair be humiliated and refused exit to go and get to go and get her to go and get an operation in America. I watched members of the PA the newly formed Palestinian Authority sitting there you know, humiliated it was like, What's going on here? And then when you when you say anything collective punishments, a man with a with a walkie talkies? Yeah, they're not going to go. Yeah. Okay, so we'll shut the whole checkpoint for four days. Hang on a minute, there's somebody else who needs so in other words, if you don't shut up, right, when there's an injustice, we're going to punish everybody else for you not shutting up, because we've caused an injustice. So you so

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I really got a sense of, you know, collective punishment, which is illegal under international law. But and that's just

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what you're talking about is known as Israeli exceptionalism. Why is applicable everywhere else, but not in Israel? And this is what really, I think, has people continually scratching their heads and thinking it can't be that bad, because otherwise it will be criminal. You know, it's true. I believe you've got two bad guys, you Muslims, you activist, you've got to be missing a very intelligent piece of information here. Because

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and that's why we keep saying, Well, it's complicated. I need to look into it, you know, cuz, because they literally think it can't be that bad. Like

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this stuff. Yeah.

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And it's quite a quite literally is that simple. It literally it's, it's apartheid, as you'd recognize it with with with checkpoints and different allowances, whether it's building a house, whether it is access to health care and medical care,

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and civic facilities within Israel, Palestine, 1948, whether it is literally your right to travel and move about it as outlined in international law. And, of course, the the determination that the occupier must pay for the occupation. And Israel's never, never had to do that. The EU, the EU, or charities, international corporate, international organizations pick up the bill. So it's the cheapest, longest occupation in modern history.

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Pamela Silla and I just want to share with you, you know, there's a there's this near shift genre, there's a neighborhood called is a Ouija. Okay. And when I was 16 years old, I was in Egypt. And I had this map of the Middle East on my wall. And one day, I woke up just staring at the map. And I realized how close Jerusalem was to Egypt, right. And I said to my friends, like, Oh, my God, I could go and pray in much Luxor. And they were laughing. They were like, you know, yeah, you know, that you know, what's going on? And,

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but I just got this just very strong feeling that I wanted to go. And this is in 1996 97. Right. And so myself and my sister, so two Brits, and two American sisters, African American sisters, we got on a bus basically, and went on an eight hour trip to wrap up the rougher border, okay. And then into Jerusalem, from there to Jerusalem. And we arrived there in the middle of the night.

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And what happened was, we were last week, you know, we were just being very carefree and slightly naive, teenagers, I guess. And I just wanted to, we're just like, we want to pray in much laughter. Alhamdulillah they allowed us in very easily, maybe because of our passports and, you know, and maybe the climate at that time.

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But when we arrived

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before we went there, a lot of brothers and sisters were telling us don't go because you know, you're going to be basically helping the Israelis you're kind of acknowledging them. There was like a fatwa at the time that you know, nobody should even go there. Right. But we did our own research. And I remember the Hadith of the Prophet SAW Selim. Don't, don't make effort to go to any Masjid. Don't make any spirit spiritual journey, you know, except three places. Masjid Al haram, much his masjid, the prophets, mercy and Masjid Al Aqsa, and I thought to myself, Wow, the Prophet SAW Selim would not have said that if Masjid Al Aqsa was not. So was not immensely significant, right.

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And that's

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is what kind of drove us to go. And when I, when we arrived, we were lost and

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panela when we first arrived, there was some Jewish

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youth who were just walking on the streets. This is 3am in the morning, by the way, and one of them literally started yelling at us. This is in Jerusalem, outside Damascus Gate kind of area. And he started, he started shouting at us, Arabs, Arabs, you deserve to buy. And when we were like, This is too cliche. But that was literally our welcome to, to, you know, occupied Palestine. And then one of his friends came over to us. And he said, Excuse me, you're not Arabs, are you? You're, we were like, American and, but we're Muslim. You know, we're British and American, but he was. And he said, Look, I really want to apologize. So. So we saw that both of those sides, you know, like the kind of

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more peaceful side of Israelis, and then also the very kind of aggressive side. But anyway, the the long short of it is that in the middle of the night, a guy just comes out of the blue in a taxi.

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He sees us and he said, What are girls like you doing in the middle of the night on the street, you know? And he was really worried about us. And he said, Listen,

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we said, we want to pray much love. So he says, You're too late. It's too late at night now. But what you've got to do is find some accommodation. He said, Look, I've got a sister. We live in Jerusalem, East Jerusalem.

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And she lives by herself common stay. And we have to make a split second decision. We agreed.

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I don't know if we're foolish. But, you know, that's one of the great things about being young, right? You just make these decisions. And it was one of the best decisions of our lives because we ended up staying with them for 10 days. Wow. And

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this angelic man, you know, subhanAllah, he fed us he provided whatever we needed, he got us to phone home to our dads, you know, like, because he was probably thinking, Dad's worried. He has a daughter, so he invited us to his daughter's wedding. This is East Jerusalem is so beautiful. It's such a beautiful, such beautiful people, wonderful people. And I think it's always one of those neighborhoods, you know, like chef's genre, that Muslims that the Palestinians are being so called evicted, right.

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And so I really, I really feel for them, because I haven't been to Gaza. But I've been to Jerusalem, and I've lived in Jerusalem, a number of days. And I just I can't imagine what it must be like for them to literally be driven out of their homes that they've lived in for generations and, you know, homes that are theirs and land that is theirs under international law. SubhanAllah. And what always strikes me when I go is the love for the land, the love, we love the soil. I mean, I remember when we were cycling through the West Bank in 2009. And we got to belie in Beeline is a wonderful, tiny little village, really,

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by the wall, which is resisting so that they can keep their crops and their land, because it's a separation of checkpoints for farmers. So not only have you got Jeeps coming in in the middle of the night and grabbing your young men from the beds and terrorizing the sisters and the children. What you've got is a deliberate effort so that the farmers cannot get to their planting areas cannot get to their animals so that things die. Oh, well there you have it. And you know, and then have we lost like if it's untended, then it goes to the state sorry, it's not yours anymore. Clearly it was scrub land. It's like a you literally stopped me for six months. But so there's all that going on, but I'm

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just getting there and, and seeing people's love of their land. And that getting them to do the talk about the Earth and the trees the love of the olive trees. So just like a heron sister Lauren, is there anything else you want to add? Is there anything else you want to any message? Yeah, give

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Mannerheim educate your children, show them maps with Palestine on it. Talk to them about how Prophet peace be upon him visited Al Aqsa, there are a wonderful wonderful booklets out there available that are worksheets to do with Al Aqsa to do with Palestine you talk about it around the family table you know share the cuisine night speak to his fight find Palestinian groups and and twin your school with a school in Nablus or a Bethlehem or you know Ramallah there are things that you can do as

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The parents at the school at the school where you're at in Sharla. And and speak to teachers as well and say, Is there room on the curriculum for us to have a discussion about this? We can do it with a smile. It's perfectly legitimate to speak about the world if we're speaking about the world, can we do it this way? You know, be engaged, we're engaged people in sha Allah to Allah. And yeah, hamdulillah just mela mela mela bless our brothers and sisters. And thank you, thank you so much to Allah to Allah for, for allowing us to have this great, great group of people who teach us on deen and teach us the real meaning of patience and steadfastness anima. That I think that's really

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powerful, what you said about our children, because I think one of the reasons why normalization probably occurs is because a new generation have completely lost the link, right? They've forgotten they've forgotten the significance, and they've forgotten the history, right? Or the turning a blind eye to the history. So I think it's, it is really important, not only to talk to our children about it, teach them the history, tell them the stories, take them there, if you can, you know,

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let them feel that connection. For a lot of kids, this would have been the first time they ever heard of Palestine or they heard about,

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you know, I want to add here is I really hate it. When I hear young people say, I really want to go to Gaza with this charity and do some work there. I want to go to Al Aqsa and teach kids, but my parents won't let me go and then Muslim parents, you know, as a, you know, brothers and sisters, we love our children, we have a duty of care, but when they're 18, and they're wanting to do good for the Ummah is it? Is it our place to really stand in ways that

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we should be proud? I mean, I felt proud with my son's just going to the protests, you know, because I was like, subhanAllah like,

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this is why we have kids, you know, we want them to have a positive impact on the world. You want them to be awake more than to be contributing to positive change. And when our kids do good deeds, and when they do good things, we as parents are rewarded for that right?

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You know, there's a beautiful dua for our children or a banana I mean, as well as you know, what would react in our Kurata on what Elena little mattina Imam that oh Allah bestow upon us are going to have done I mean, as well, as you know, from our spouses and our children, the coolness of our eyes, make them the coolness of our eyes, and make us leaders of the God conscious, may cause leaders of the God conscious and in the in the explanation why it says, In the explanation of that door, it says, what it means by the coolness of your eyes is that make our children active, make them pious, make them servants of Allah, in such a way that when we see them when we see them

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worshipping Allah when we see them doing good, when we see them on those protests, when we see them standing up for the truth, it gives us this immense happiness right our hearts so just like a heron, Sister Lauren, we make dua for our brothers and sisters, in Gaza and in Palestine. We make but other Allah

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give them patients give them steadfastness and your Allah forgive us for our shortcomings, you know, as an ummah and help us to revive ourselves and our leadership and help us to do right by them. Free Palestine Free Palestine Leila hit Allah Allah, we're going to do this because Allah has written it so and he's made our people strong. May Allah bless you are Shahida in heaven, and our people are doing well. Don't worry, stay strong. Stay blessed. And I'm Ali Khan Rahmatullahi but a curtain does Zach Allah Heron sister