In recent years, there have been more Muslim Israelis who have voiced their support for Israel and Zionism, like the young social media activist Mohammad Zoabi. In fact, more Muslim Israelis have joined the IDF and Police Force, and have achieved high rankings, such as Deputy Police Commissioner. Major Ala Wahib, who serves as the Operations Officer at an IDF ground forces training base, even labels himself a “Zionist Israeli Arab”.
These are but a few examples. Their sentiments, however, are not new. Of course, Muslims who have shown solidarity with Zionism, just like other supporters of Israel, have faced violent backlash and opposition, even and sometimes especially from their own families. As citizens in the majority Jewish State, it would seem to be in their best interests to be pro-Israel, but what motivates non-Jewish Israelis to become Zionists, especially Muslims? How does it benefit them in any way?
Muslim support of Israel doesn’t come only from within, but also from across the world. A shining example is one of the newest members of the Zionist Federation of the UK, Pakistani author Noor Dahri. In an Op-Ed piece in The Times of Israel, he explains his reasons for being a Muslim Zionist.
Noor Dahri is co-author of a book called Silent Death:The Islamic State and the Threat of Dirty Bomb in South Asia and another book The Prospect of Nuclear Jihad in Pakistan and even before the end of March 2016 when Dahri received honorary membership into the Zionist Federation of the UK, he has had many mixed responses from multiple individuals and locations about his allegiance to Zionism; especially from the communities close to his native Pakistan. Based in the UK, he has formulated a way to answer questions and field responses in regards to being a Muslim, Pakistani Zionist.
To the question, “Why did I join the Zionist Movement being a Muslim?” his counter question is, “What is Zionism?” Dahri points out that even before there was Zionism, Jews were being persecuted and he mentions pogroms, genocide and ethnic cleansing. He pulls no punches when he says, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism.” He then explains how Zionism was birthed and the reason for it – also giving examples of how other people groups and nations have had similar positive national liberation movements. He feels that every person who suffered racially and religiously would understand better what the objectives of Zionism are.
The next fallacy that the author has to rebuff is that Zionism is against Islam and Muslims. He says that this accusation is baseless and ignorant and that the opposite is true. Dahri shows how since 1896 Zionism was only ever about the creation of a homeland for Jewish people and the agenda was never against any religious group or movement. He points out that there is religious freedom in Israel and that 20 percent of the population are not Jewish; the majority of that minority being Arab Muslims. There are around 400 Mosques in Israel, and Israel is the only place in the Middle East where all citizens can live without fear and persecution. He is proud to remind his readers that at the very outset, very well-known Muslim political figures not only supported Israel, but provided assistance in recognition of the Jewish State of Israel.
The third fallacy that Noor Dahri has prepared a rebuttal for is that Islam and the Quran is against Zionism. He starts out by saying that Zionism is a new nationalist movement of Jewish people and has nothing to do with Islam, Muslims or the Quran. He says that he can give many examples that show that Israel belongs to the Jewish people and Jews belong to Israel only. He even says that the Quran itself defended Jews and their land of Israel, quoting from the Quran and Islamic scholars to back up his belief. He says, “I fully concede with the statement of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, a pupil of the Grand Mufti of Cairo, in which he stated: ‘The Qur’an itself grants the whole Land of Israel to the Jews, so that any opposition to the Jewish state is an offense against Allah.’”
Dahri has done thorough research, and says:
According to the Islamic point of view, this land belonged to the people of Israel (Bani Israel) and Muslims must follow the Qur’anic teaching by accepting the truth and embracing the Jewish community especially the Jews of Israel.
In conclusion, he explains that he has joined the Zionist Federation to unconditionally support his Jewish brothers and sisters and to educate his fellow Muslim, particularly the Pakistani community to stand in solidarity and raise awareness of what Zionism is and what it isn’t.