Monotheism – We Are All Praying To The Same G_d
By Gary D. Mizel, Special To The Muslim Observer
At the outset of this opinion piece, I would like to express that after reading many issues of The Muslim Observer, I would characterize the newspaper as being journalistically at the same level as most of the highly esteemed papers around the country. I say this because it is true; and I also say it because I want to diffuse any criticism of the paper that would be used as a method of opposing me for appearing (as a Jew) in the text of TMO.
I would like to extol the Islamic community by citing a compliment that came from a noted Rebbetzin (Rabbiâ€™s wife), which was expressed during a Torah study lecture. In the midst of complaining, she came out with the following idea: Muslims are more observant than Jews in a particular way because they devoutly pray five times a day. This was meant to shame the audience to a degree whom she was trying to persuade to be more openly observant. As for myself, I would simply assert that after having met scores of Muslims (mostly from studying the Koran at the Islamic Cultural Center on 96th street) I have never exchanged or been exposed to any harsh words. One young man told me he did not like Jews and I answered that there is nothing I can do about that. He smiled as if he were just testing me; and we became friends.
It is my belief that the followers of the main religions spend more time adhering to the rituals of their faith than investigating what methods can be used to create peace and to bring the world together by declaring that we are all the same – all members of the human species. Although we are commanded not to kill, we murder ourselves by murdering our own human kind. The method of war that involves soldiers dying is as offensive as it is primitive. It is much more cost effective to conduct a war through propaganda and influencing public opinion rather than having a human life extinguish during conflict. It is exponentially more expensive to equip fighting men, train them, gather their bodies for burial, and take care of the wounded (physically and psychologically) for 50 years, or the rest of their lives. Marketing leaves no scars and, like political elections, outcomes can change through the application and introduction of laws more easily and without physical conflict. With this background, let me share what I view as the main pathway to peace – and that is to use the force of capitalism as the ultimate peacetime tool.
There are so many Muslims that are frustrated because they subsist without careers or upward mobility. When I, myself, had no investment capital but many entrepreneurial ideas – I came to be angry, frustrated, and depressed with ideations of suicide, homicide, and overwhelming anxiety. During such moods, I found temporary salvation by receiving some kind words and by immersing myself into some sort of creative activity. Through this process I discovered that what made me feel healthy again was commerce and the pursuit of happiness by making money.
This point of view is what I would like to share with the readership of The Muslim Observer.
From my experience in the business world, I have never witnessed a more uplifting event than when two or more people make money together. When my partner Joan and myself went to the real estate office for a closing from the sale of one of our properties, I felt (like the old adage) that I was walking on air. My mind was filled with the history of our buying a property, fixing it up, changing the zoning, and selling it for 50% more than what we paid. When Joan and I would go out for a celebration, the feeling was euphoric. My mind was filled with deploying our new capital to buy another building, buy clothes at the most prestigious store, buy my friend a mink coat, and try to select from my mind a myriad of daydreams all with ecstasy at their root.
This feeling is what I would like to share with my Muslim brothers and sisters. Here is how.
I suggest that we form a company that would serve as a role model for Arabs and Hebrews alike. We would start our project in a mosque where a Muslim audience would share with its Jewish hosts what kinds of negative feelings they may harbor towards the Jews. The Jewish role would be to listen and ask questions so that by the end of the evening the Islamic contingent would feel that their complaints have been heard and understood.
Then we would go about selecting an Arab (preferably Palestinian) to be my partner in a 50/50 commercial joint venture. Myself and my Muslim partner would be co-chairmen, have an equal amount of stock in the company, and would receive the same salary and other compensation. This scenario represents equality in many forms. We would choose our business together such as bread, coffee, or art; and we would market this company as being the most important in the world as its success would engender imitation and the concomitant growth of Muslim business sectors worldwide.
We would hire a Muslim videographer to document our salient experiences to use as promotional material or forge into a documentary. Our marketing and PR would suggest that buying our product would be helping the world. During the creation of our marketing plan, I would call upon painter extraordinaire, the great Anki King, to draft some sketches of our company logo.
With permission from my partner, I would go for an icon that is symbolic of the two sides collaborating with each other such as a combination of the Crescent Moon and the Star of David. Whatever image we decide upon in tandem would be augmented once again with the idea that buying our product is the equivalent of â€œTikkun Olamâ€ which is Hebrew for â€œrepairing the world.â€
Once the Jews are in this position, their feet will be set in concrete, and I believe they will become more involved and seek new ways for our company to thrive. Most importantly, besides the creation of a substantial revenue flow, our Muslim and Jew will work out our conflicts by speaking the language of business and not becoming confused or overwhelmed by making the entire initiative a religious experience. Speaking for the Jews, I can say that we would not intend to convert anyone because (even though most people want to belong to the best or winningest religion) God hears all prayers. Lastly, I simply want to express that I would relish having a Muslim partner. I would promise loyalty to my partner; and I would look forward to our commercial success as being a far reaching lesson in living and working together. I would love human beings more fervently and love making a major contribution to the direction in which the human species determines to take.