The Dangers of Interfaith Dialogue with Fanatics

Two weeks ago, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, hosted a group of British Muslim clergymen for tea and cake at Lambeth Palace, his official residence. Among those in attendance were Mohammad Ali Shomali, a former representative of Iran whose organization is currently under investigation by UK authorities, and Mohammed Kozbar, who has praised Hamas, associated with notorious anti-Semitic Islamists, and is the deputy head of a group that has been boycotted by the British government since 2009 for its pro-terrorism stance. Stephen Pollard comments:

I don’t for a moment think that Welby is even remotely sympathetic to the views of Shomali or Kozbar. But the fact that he is happy to host them at Lambeth Palace points to the fundamental flaw in so much interfaith dialogue. For one thing the word dialogue is a misnomer, because this is not a serious exchange between people openly sharing their views. It is, rather, a form of hekhsher, [a kosher certification]. For the likes of Shomali and Kozbar, it’s a mechanism by which they can, bit by bit, normalize their public standing.

That’s because all too often, as we see in this instance, those who invite people with such views for tea or its equivalent don’t do anything resembling due diligence about what their guests actually say and believe. Worse—and I think this is more often the case—they don’t even care, because they naively think that “it’s good to talk”—that somehow if we all sit round and talk that must be a good thing in itself, when the act of sitting together and talking can, in reality, be a very bad thing.

Worse still, Pollard observes, such exercises often undermine “all those moderate Muslim voices who despair that organizations like the [Kozbar’s Muslim Council of Britain] are seen as being the appropriate representative of British Muslims.”

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Church of England, Interfaith dialogue, Islamism

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas