Steps to Peace in an Islamic Rug

The Jerusalem Post, February 15, 2008

If I could meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, this is what I would tell him:

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post this week, you spoke about making peace with Israel, saying, “This is a small and rough neighborhood, and we have to do it right, and doing it right requires a new paradigm, a new thinking” (Fayad tells Post: “Israeli security needs must be met,” February 13).

The new paradigm that you propose can be derived from Islamic art. It can provide that “new thinking” required to bring peace between Jews and Arabs in their shared neighborhood.  This paradigm shift could end the Arab attitude of seeing Israel as an alien presence in the Middle East, and the 60-year war to wipe it off the map.      

In Islamic art, as you probably know, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern to demonstrate that human creation is less than perfect.  Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug-makers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs.  The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with Allah.

Perhaps you see a continuous pattern, like a beautiful Islamic rug, running from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern borders of Iran.  Shift your perception to see Israel, not as a blemish on that great Islamic rug, but as a small counter-pattern needed to realize Islamic values.

The ingathering of the Jewish People into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘Scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near, we will gather you again into the Promised Land.” 

Switch your viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews in the Land of Israel as the will of Allah as expressed in Sura 5:20-21: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people.  O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.’”

Recognize the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will.


Mel Alexenberg

Petah Tikva