“The conflict is not about religion for me—it is a political situation. We don’t need to get into the religion part—we all know we have different religions—it’s the political situation that needs to be fixed.”
- Omar M – Muslim-Palestinian participant, 16 years old
On a sunny afternoon in October 2018, Omar led a tour through his Jerusalem neighborhood, sharing stories about his life and the conflict, and his expereince in Kids4Peace. We are walking on Al-Mutanabi street heading into my neighborhood, Al-Suwana.
Do you see the white paint crossing out part of the sign? Because we are in an Arab neighborhood, people here don’t want a Hebrew name here. They spray paint over it, and it’s horrible.
This has been freshly painted. Here there was a picture of a mosque, but the Israeli ministry has painted over it, just two days ago. The person who drew it will draw it again next week. Back and forth, they will redraw it. Wherever there is a smudge of white paint, you should know there was a Palestinian drawing before, of a martyr, of a poet, of a hero for the Palestinians.
My mother’s grandfather was a very well-known Imam. Religion for me is how I live, you can never use Islam as a motivation or for bad purposes. But a lot of people come, they take only specific parts of the Koran, and they take what they like. That’s the problem we have today. These are the bad guys in Islam.
The conflict is not about religion for me—it is a political situation. We don’t need to get into the religion part—we all know we have different religions—it’s the political situation that needs to be fixed.
I think one thing that has helped me stay safe is my strong English. I have learned English from my grandfather and at the Jerusalem school. My grandfather had a British English accent, and so I have both a bit of British and a little American. One time there was a stabbing and I could have been in a dangerous situation, but I was able to get through the crowd using my English. Travel isn’t that important to me. I have a lot of friends here, and have fun here, this is my city and my home.
Remembering the past can help us to overcome and build a new future together.
Remembering the past can hurt us because of the family we lost, and when I say family, I mean every free Palestinian.
I am so happy to be in Kids4Peace. I’ve achieved a lot, I did things that I never thought I would do. This tour, is one of the proofs that things are changing for the better.