Sheikh Hamza Yusuf wrote this letter to the parents of Rachel Corrie after hearing about her death. She was killed March 16 in Gaza by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to block the bulldozer from demolishing a Palestinian home.

To the Parents of Rachel Corrie,

Any attempt at conveying adequate words to express my deepfelt pain for you at this time is as doomed to failure as your daughter's heroic attempt at protecting a poor family's home from harm's way. I cannot imagine a parent's pain at the loss of a beloved child, but mine is a stranger's pain who sees the loss of an innocent life sacrified in selfless concern for others.

Although, I must say, upon reading Rachel's hearfelt and brilliant missives to you, I no longer felt like a stranger to her, but rather a friend who had just lost an inspiring comrade dedicated to prodding me out of my sleep, urging me to do something, anything but sit in silent complacency.

Suffice it to say, upon reading her story at the news-stand I broke down. Again, on seeing a picture of her frail and fallen body beside a monstrous machine designed to build and used to destroy, I sobbed uncontrollably. Like so many others, I feel this bond with Rachel because she has silently spoken with her precious life's blood for all of us. So many of us see wrongs in the world; too few of us set out, like your daughter, to right them. In her gentle and compassionate heart was a courage that compelled her to actions that shame those of us who look with horror and apathy on crimes for which we in the United States bear so great a measure of responsibility; crimes that continue day after day, year after year, generation after generation.

Ironically, she chose to confront, not with a slingshot in her hand but peace in her heart, a new Goliath in the old land of Rachel with the moral righteousness of that godly matriarch whose name she so aptly bore. It almost seems that it was your daughter in Rafah to whom the Book of Jeremiah refers when we're told "a voice is heard in Ramah, of lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are not." Rachel's lamentation and bitter weeping for the children of Palestine have been seen and heard the world over, and her tears and blood were not in vain. She had no stones to throw, no weapons to wield, only a young girl's pure and idealistic heart for which she paid an exacting and irreplaceable price.

Rachel will not be forgotten by me and I venture to say that a Just and Merciful God would not allow what she did for the voiceless, homeless and forgotten to fall into oblivion. You have my sincere condolences and prayers with the hope that your daughter has finally found the peace she so eagerly sought for others.

Faithfully yours,

Hamza Yusuf Hanson

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