Samar Sarhan is a Palestinian-American serving as a Middle East Peace Apprentice with AFSC's Iowa program. She made the following remarks representing her own views at the Des Moines rally marking the 8th anniversary of the U.S. war in Iraq.
War, Harb or whatever you want to call it is the same in any language, culture, or religion. It starts and ends the same way whenever and whereever it happens. War can’t be contained to one place; it transcends oceans, walls and barriers. We are all affected by what happens in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Palestine. Whether it be because we have been involved in the war, lived in the countries, have loved ones go through the war or know someone who fought in the war. We all have been personally touched in one way or another.
As Americans our tax money is spent to finance these wars that cause hurt, pain and disappointment to everyone involved. For 2010 the government allocated $1.12 trillion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attack. 1% of those funds are allocated for veterans medical care. Just one percent.
Throughout these wars, Islam has been my solace. It has given me hope when I felt there wasn’t any and kept me going when I didn’t think I had it in me to go on. I have learned patience and the power of prayer through Islam which reminds me of this verse in the Quran “We have shown man the way, he may be thankful or he may be unthankful.” I choose to be thankful. Thankful that I am still alive, thankful that I can speak my mind and thankful that there are people who think that these wars should be stopped.
As I’m sure Islam has been a solace for the people in Iraq when they heard bombs dropping or the people of Afghanistan when they weren’t allowed to leave their homes or the people in Libya who aren’t able to get medical care for their wounded and the people of Palestine when they can’t visit family or friends because of walls and check points that stop them.
Islam is a religion of peace and has very clear rules of war and engagement. The prophet said: “None of you wish to meet an enemy but if you do, stand your ground.” In Islam, it isn’t about causing the war but defending oneself if attacked.
I want to leave you with one last verse from the Quran "Say, O my people, do your best, and so will I. You will surely find out who the ultimate victors are." Certainly, the wicked will never succeed.
The wicked will never succeed.
Thank you and Peace.