In Response to "Common Values of Abrahamic Traditions" article: By Jeanne Swartz


Respectfully, Mr. Munjid, I can not agree with your supposition that the main message of Hijra, Hannukah and Christmas are all equally about “spiritual breakthrough........starting point for the establishment of a new social order that is supported not by blood, ethnic and cultural affiliation, but by the ideological principles of monotheism, social equality and political contract among the stakeholders.”
The Hijra that starts Muharram, the month beginning another Islamc New Year and the 10 first days that include Ashura, started out as spiritual and may have spiritual aspects for some muslims still today. But it is also now one of the MOST divisive times among Shia and Sunni Muslims. Exactly because of the political posturing and power struggle that MEN brought up over the Caliphate. Ali was MURDERED because he aspired to the Caliphate and started a war against those who believed Mohammed never appointed a successor and deliberately did not want someone connected to his family so chose to follow Abu Bakr who they considered more worthy to be Caliph. So that shoots down your assumption that Hijra is a bloodless spiritual breakthrough.
Hannukah also commemorates a bloody battle. Yes, it was probably joyful because the victory gained them freedom after years of subjugation and humiliation. And because of this victory they could revive their spiritual life by removing idols, and purifying the Temple to offer worship again. But the bigger reason for joy was because in taking back the Temple many thought this would also be a place to renew their seat of power in the Middle East. So when you try to claim that there is no blood or nationalism associated with this minor holiday of Jewish tradition I wonder what history books you are reading. Much less the reasoning Israel's leaders now regarding the situation in Gaza that confirms the majority of Jewish people still today do not follow the OT commands, but want what they want and are willing to go against God and arm themselves to the teeth and retaliate even on innocents. If you walk through some sections of New York City you will see
Orthodox Jews screaming and sometimes even assaulting non-Jews who walk past smoking, in short dresses, or playing loud non-religious music. They have no desire to struggle silently and bloodlessly but would engage in violence here too, if our government allowed it!
BUT Christ was not born to set up any political system (read the Holy Bible and you will clearly see several statements Isa al-Masih Himself made about this). The Bible is also clear from Old Testament through end of the New Testament that believers of the One, True God were not chosen to form any type of political nation. Judges and kings were appointed by MEN because the people were stubborn and insolent, but God, being the greatest respector of our free will, allowed them to set up this type of national and political system. But truly only so they would see the BEST way to lead was directly based upon the commandments God had given. These outlined first love for God, which leads to equal love of self and neighbor, yes even non-believers. So Christianity is not based on any political ideology or contract, but LOVE and EQUALITY given to each person BY GOD. People who are Christian however MUST live in this world, and therefore God also tells
believers we must live righteous lives in the midst of any political or ideological system that surrounds us, and yes, we can be a part of the political process. But that is not the basis of Christianity because even if we may live in a country that is an Islamic Republic, Communist, or has a majority of Buddhist or even atheists, still we are to represent the Lord (live out our Christianity) and live in peace, regardless of any situation, political or ideological system that makes demands of us.
Martin Luther King, Jr. exampled this well ...........if there is oppression or subjugation even in a nation that appears to have majority of Christians we are still to address issues NON-violently and often even silently and thru prayer. But NEVER with retaliatory violence. Yes, we are allowed defensive actions to protect ourself or an entire people/ nation if provoked. But our first and primary recourse is to seek peaceful solutions in an honest and open manner. The times that armies were formed and major wars happened in the name of Christianity, most Christians today would decry them as counter to the Bible's teaching and say that happened because MEN like the early Israelites, followed their human nature and not the Biblical commandments from Jesus – blessed are the peacemakers.....and many other statements that men in that time and still today needed to hear to understand the original simple “love God and neighbor as yourself”.
So yes, each tradition may have its own understanding of a “struggle for religious freedom” but it is clearly untrue to say they all come from the same understanding and values! And it is ridiculous to equate Hijra and Hannuka to Christmas because Christmas has NOTHING to do with fleeing or migration or physical battles like the other two stories. Ok, the Holy Family did have to flee when Jesus was a bit older due to Herod's decree to wipe out all infant boys in an attempt to kill Jesus. But that story is really not part of the Christmas incarnation story because it happens years later. So there is no political breakthrough associated with Christmas. The spiritual breakthrough, YES, I can agree wit – that love, the greatest love of all, God Himself, loved us so much that He designed a “love system” long long before mankind ever existed knowing we would fall due to our human nature. And the Son agreed with his equal Father and equal Holy
Spirit to show the greatest love by humbling Himself to live among us, to feel, think, act, share pain and sorrow and even death with us. All to show the greatest love and compassion God ever could. And then rising from death and offering to those who believe in the Son's deity – and through faith empowering us daily with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to also overcome ANY trial, struggle or temptation – now THAT is LOVE and the greatest “system” possible! Designed by the only omniscient, omnipresent – the One and only true and eternal living God – the Lord who loves EACH person so much that He will one day bring peace and recreate this entire world, destroying all religious and political and man-made systems and surrounding the people chosen by Him who accepted Him with his incomprehensible, loving presence, allowing us to live and worship Him forever and ever into ageless time – AMEN!
The prayer of Christians today when we are asked to understand the “common values” we have with other religions is that, in explaining who the Lord Jesus Christ is that non-believers will come to see who God TRULY is as He Himself explains in the Holy Bible – and believe – so that they too may experience this glorious eternal love “in common” and truly share common values forever!

Jeanne Swartz is Human Right Activists in USA.

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