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Saturday, September 17, 2005


Tragedy in Taybeh Was No Pogrom

When I first read the reports about the tragedy concerning the relationship between the Muslim woman from Deir Jarir and the Christian man from Taybeh, I was reminded about the story regarding how Ramallah was settled. The story of Ramallah's settlement is every bit as tragic as the recent incidents in Taybeh . The following is paraphrased from Naseeb Shaheen's A Pictorial History of Ramallah.

Ramallah was settled because of a "dispute over a girl." Rashed Haddad lived with his brothers in the area of Karak and Shoubek, east of the Jordan River. They were surrounded by a powerful Arab tribe headed by Emir Ibn Kaysoom. Ibn Kaysoom was visiting in Sabra Haddad's home when a girl was born to Sabra, Rashed's brother. At that time Ibn Kaysoom requested the girl as a wife for his son. To be polite, Sabra agreed, not taking Ibn Kaysoom seriously, since intermarriage did not occur between Muslims and Christians.

The girl grew up and Ibn Kaysoom's people requested her for his son. Sabra, dumbfounded by this request, refused. A fight broke out between the two tribes and two of Sabra's sons were killed. Ibn Kaysoom threatened to kill the rest of Sabra's family and take the girl.

Later, in order to trick Ibn Kaysoom to get revenge, Sabra set a date for the wedding. A feast was prepared. When it was time to eat, Sabra and his relatives drew their swords and killed all the males, including Ibn Kaysoom's son. Then Sabra, Rashed, and the rest of the brothers went across the Dead Sea into Palestine winding up in Ramallah after sojourns in Halhoul, Hebron, and Beit Jala. Eventually, Sabra and Ibn Kaysoom reconciled and Sabra returned to Karak.

The Zionists, of course, quickly tried to make the most of the incident in Taybeh. Daniel Pipes took the opportunity to launch his predictable invective against Muslims and David Horowitz's odious FrontPage magazine was close on his heels. Westerners, who know little about Christian and Muslim relationships, favored headlines informing that a "pogrom," was launched by Muslims against Christians.

This incident must be viewed in perspective as a family feud even though Zionist propagandists and their Arab lackeys are working overtime to use it to denigrate Muslims by inventing Muslim "pogroms" against Christians. Raja Matar writes brilliantly in "Arab Christians Are Arabs,"

"Pogroms were an invention of Christian rulers in Europe, mostly directed against Jews - for which Palestinian Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, have been paying dearly as the Christian West tries to atone for its sins at their expense. This Western guilt complex, nurtured continuously by Zionist propaganda, has resulted in a tomblike silence over the atrocities perpetrated by Israel over the past 60 years."

Father Raed Abu Sahliyeh of the Christian village of Taybeh says,

"I reject the newspapers and the people who spoke about an attack by Muslims against Christians. I will repeat this a million times: We are Arabs, we are Palestinians and we are Christian since 2,000 years. This is a small biblical village. We have lived in peace with surrounding Muslim villages for 14 centuries."

Matar elaborates, "We Arab Christians should avoid at all costs to forge alliances with any new crusaders against Arabs or Islam. We should support the Arab's struggle today against these neo-crusaders who are masquerading as liberators and democracy promoters, and who are trying to disfigure Arab history and reshape Arab Culture and values. "

Just as Ibn Kaysoom and Sabra Haddad reconciled in spite of their tragedy the wise heads of Taybeh and Deir Jarir know better than to be used as pawns of the enemy. In fact it was Saladin who named Taybeh, "tabeen," for "kind" for when the Muslim warrior went through the town, he was taken by the hospitality and friendliness of its inhabitants.

Let's look to the people of the two neighboring villages for the wisdom that they offer in the wake of this tragedy. Father Raed says, "This mistake between two people should not poison the relations between Muslims and Christians. Those who are playing this dirty game should calm down. We are wise and we say that we have no choice but to live together, side by side, and with friendly relations."

Abu Rashid of Deir Jarir says, "In Palestinian tradition when you make a mistake like this, you pay with your blood. It doesn't mean we're not brothers. The people of Taybeh and the people of Deir Jarir are one family. "

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