From the top left, clockwise: Abdel Aziz Rantisi (former Hamas leader), Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Jesus Christ. And an unknown Palestinian looking for a place to sit during Ramadan.
Christians may be surprised or shocked to see Jesus, a symbol of peace, beside Saddam, a symbol of tyranny. They may be tempted to contrast their imagined peaceful religion with that of Islam, which is imagined to be violent. However from one perspective Jesus beside Saddam is unsurprising and perhaps even logical. Tragically, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all been associated with episodes of savage violence on a breathtaking scale in Israel Palestine, as even a casual reading of their histories will demonstrate. Jesus's teachings on violence are ambiguous, as recorded in the New Testament. Although Christianity is in some respects a religion of love, some of its followers have abused it to persecute Jews and Muslims, fellow children of Abraham. From barbaric individuals like the monk Bar Sauma to vicious movements like the Crusades--30,000 Muslims and Jews were murdered by Crusaders in Jerusalem in three days in July 1099--Christians have much to reflect on. As Karen Armstrong writes in her book titled Jerusalem, "All too often, the revelation of the city's sacred character had been accompanied by internecine Christian struggles, power games, and the suppression of rival faiths" (pg. 210).
This is not to suggest Muslims of today living their faith ideally. Tellingly, one hardly sees any recognition anywhere among Muslims in Palestine of truly great Muslim devotees of nonviolence, such as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, http://asianreflection.com/. It is my dream that one day inspiring Islamic figures such as Khan will be held up as role models for the young, alongside other magnificent historic figures from Judaism and Christianity. As Rosa Parks once said, "I am leaving this legacy to all of you ... to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die -- the dream of freedom and peace."
Rantisi was assaninated by Israel in Gaza, April 2004.