umm Abdillah, Radio Islam Programming, 2014.11.03
One of the very first boycotts known to mankind took place in 617 CE when the Quraysh tribe targeted the Banu Hashim tribe in Arabia. In modern times the practice dates back to the 1790s, when supporters of abolition of the slave trade in Britain advocated boycotting slave-produced sugar. Now more than ever boycotts fit part of a larger political program, with many techniques that require a longer structural commitment. While we in South Africa may understand the need and effects of economic, academic, sporting, moral and social boycotts including disinvestment, it’s very important we never lose Islamic common sense. In the case of Palestine, the end should justify the means.
Hereunder, a summary of a discussion on Radio Islam’s breakfast show Sabahul Muslim this morning, by Ml. Sulaimaan Ravat.
The issue of how to behave during a boycott or while engaged in consumer activism is a sensitive, yet a necessary discussion. Boycotts are a wonderful tool in the hands of the peace loving, be they Muslim or non-Muslim. This is not only with regards Palestine, but also against all oppressive regimes. Raising issue with dress code or vandalism is in no way a means to trivialise the efforts of those involved.
A boycott is an effective strategy that allows us to move from being passive to active citizens. Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions by key role-players since 2005 are hurting every Israeli pocket. Even if Woolworths doesn’t come to its knees via these boycotts and protests, it keeps the Palestine issue alive. What the Zionist fears is the mainstream media constantly reporting on these issues highlighting their oppression and Israel being a pariah state. Broadening our circle of concern is however important as we saw in the case of South Africa. It wasn’t just the boycott, but making the allies of an oppressive regime want to distance themselves from such a regime that pushed the SA apartheid regime into a corner. BDS movements’ greatest strength is thus keeping this traction going, dissolving the Israeli Hasbara, showcasing Israel for exactly what they are – an illegitimate state.
There is a difference with regards participating in a boycott and protesting. You can boycott without protesting. The manner in which we protest should not be in violation of the Shariah regardless of the vileness of treatment received or the vileness of apartheid Israel. The images of the people breaking the laws of Allah with regards dressing and improper Muslim conduct – lying down in aisles, jamming tills, interfering with shoppers, can all be counterproductive. These are ways of devaluing the Palestine struggle and making it look cheap. At the same time, even if people have done these things it doesn’t mean we undermine or trivialise the entire concept of BDS. Rectify and Guide with wisdom. Now more than ever we need to unite on the issue of Palestine.
Listen to the discussion here.