On Monday, November 3, Shalhevet students were privileged to hear from Kasim Hafeez, a former Muslim extremist and founder of the Israel Campaign. Born in Nottingham, England, in a small community of Pakistani immigrants, Mr. Hafeez was educated at a young age to hate Israel and Judaism. Mr. Hafeez recalled being shown pictures and videos by teachers and professors depicting Jews in a negative and demoralizing light. No explanations were given about why they were to hate, but that the more they displayed their hatred towards Israel, the better off they would be. He took Islam seriously and followed his father in becoming an extremist. When he started college, he was strolling through a bookstore and fell upon the book A Case for Israel, by noted attorney Alan Dershowitz. As he read through the book, he discovered that his education had been misleading.
Mr. Hafeez did not come to deny Islamist teachings right away, but decided to explore the truth. He opted to travel to Israel to see firsthand what Israeli life is all about. Upon his arrival, he was stopped by Israeli airport security, since he had an unstamped passport. He told security that the reason for his visit was that he used to be anti-Israel but was now exploring the truth. Mr. Hafeez was pleasantly surprised that even during the eight hours that security held him up, they treated him with respect and “Jewish mothered” him (as he calls it) by constantly offering him a drink. When he finally made it through security, he was expecting to see a state of oppression and violence. He was stunned when he spoke with Israelis, Jewish and non-Jewish, who revealed how amazing Israel is and how they loved living in such a wonderful country. He was amazed at the rights afforded to minorities, and noted that in Israel, Muslims are afforded more rights than they are in most Arab countries.
When Mr. Hafeez returned to London, he had the toughest decision to make: stand up and expose the truth and risk losing his family or keep quiet and go along with the masses. Ultimately, he chose to stand up for what he knew was true and tried to put an end to the lies that were being taught. He began the Israel Campaign to educate students around the UK about the truths concerning Israel. His family ended up disowning him and he faced criticism from his community. Mr. Hafeez stood strong in his beliefs and did not conform to his society’s standards. He currently resides in Winnipeg as a proud Zionist Muslim.