by Chelli Stanley, USA
“Everyone has a dream. Not just one dream – dreams. Everyone has a story.” So begins Alaa Jaber from Hebron, Palestine. Though his story is profound, rich, multi-layered, real, it is one that is rarely heard in the West.
The clarifying truths he shares can tear down the years of lies that have dominated in the United States era of Islamophobia. He shares that Islam specifically teaches its followers not to hate Christians or Jews, as they all worship the same God. He explains that Islam teaches that it’s wrong to force people to convert to your religion: “because how can I force you to convert to my religion if you don’t believe it?”
This simple truth exposes that the lies of a world Muslim takeover agenda filled with hatred for other religions are nothing but illogical fantasies pushed by those with nefarious agendas in the United States government and media.
Alaa encourages people to look at the root of Islamophobia and who is behind it. As an American who has spent time in Hebron, Palestine, and who has lived through the racist and dishonest era of American Islamophobia, I have some insight into who is behind Islamophobia. I know that Islamophobia is nothing but racism and lies, spoken about people who would sincerely invite you into their homes with a cup of tea, smiles, warm food, friendship, and great conversations.
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I saw American citizens in Hebron, Palestine, who are living as Israeli settlers, calling for genocide against the Palestinians inhabitants of the city. I saw my government allow these Americans to fund-raise in the United States and commit terrorism and war crimes in Palestine for the sole purpose of trying to expel peaceful people from their homes, neighborhoods, and communities – all while my government shamelessly slandered the very people it allows its criminal citizens to attack on a daily basis.
I saw conscripted teenage Israeli soldiers funded by my government being forced to stand in the streets of Hebron and support the genocidal aims of American citizens who are working hard to depopulate the city of its families, culture, and communities.
The people of the Middle East are known for their hospitality and warm culture. But under the slanderous narrative of Islamophobia, we in the United States are incited to believe they are known for their love of war and hatred of others. It is preposterous.
Everyone has a story. Palestine is filled with stories that would make the walls of war and hatred fall to the ground if they could be heard for what they are. It seems there is no one in the world who speaks about peace more often than Palestinians. They long for it, they hold it in the air with their hands everyday as a prayer.
Alaa Jaber of Hebron is one life whose very existence is powerful enough to dispel lies and bring unity between people who were never enemies at all. His humanity is so rich it disgraces the lies of Islamophobia, the lies of racism, the lies about the worth of Palestinian life, culture, and dignity – and there are countless more stories and lives in Palestine that must be seen in their fullness, beauty, and value.