Jerusalem: A Litmus Test For Muslims

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President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the pending relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is a litmus test for the dignity of Muslims. Will Muslims stand idly by if their undemocratic leaders and governments do little to oppose Trump’s provocation because they need U.S. backing to hold on to authoritarian power? Or will Muslims demand that their rulers force Trump to back down?

President Trump’s decision tramples Palestinian hopes for a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as its capital and is a slap in the face of all Muslims. It is a naked use of power to appeal to America’s Jewish campaign donors. It is an unnecessary provocation. Jerusalem is a holy city to Christians, Jews and Muslims and East Jerusalem must also be the capital of an eventual Palestinian homeland. Trump’s action will make a two-state solution a mirage and extinguish any hope of peace in the Middle East.

Can it be that 1.4 billion Muslims around the world are impotent in the face of 15 million Jews supported by America’s military and economic might? This will be a litmus test for rulers and governments in Muslim countries. They have little choice but to stand up for the dignity of Muslims. If they fail this test, it could lead to increased conflict in Muslim countries and more recruits and fuel for terrorism.

Muslim countries should demand that their rulers stand up to this naked American provocation of Muslims. Their joint action should be coordinated through the OIC (The Organization of Islamic Cooperation). If the OIC has a raison d’être, this is it. Governments and rulers should begin by recalling their ambassadors to the United States. Muslims should peacefully demonstrate at U.S. embassies around the world. Muslims in the U.S. should demonstrate and lobby their representatives. If Trump does not back down, Muslim countries should make it clear that they will sever diplomatic relations with the U.S. If they don’t take a strong stand, it is yet another sign that Muslim rulers are subservient to U.S. dictates and that Muslims have lost all vestige of dignity. Severing diplomatic relations with Israel, as threatened by Turkey, is a cowardly response because it is the United States that has taken this divisive step.

If Muslims show a united front, Trump will be forced to back down and treat Muslims with more respect. The world must not be held hostage to Trump’s evangelical base.

President Trump’s decision is yet another attempt to divide, dividing Muslim Americans from their fellow Americans and Muslims from Jews and Christians across the world. America will gain thousands, if not millions, of enemies around the world with new conflicts to follow for decades and even centuries. In the end, ironically it may be Israel that pays the highest price. Its Arab citizens will soon outnumber Israel’s roughly seven million Jews. This will present Israel with a stark choice—abandoning the premise of a Jewish state or jettisoning the constitution of a democratic society.