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How Taqiyya Alters Islam's Rules of War
How Taqiyya Alters Islam's Rules of War
by Raymond Ibrahim
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2010, pp. 3-13
Islam must seem a paradoxical religion to non-Muslims. On the one hand, it is constantly being portrayed as the religion of peace; on the other, its adherents are responsible for the majority of terror attacks around the world. Apologists for Islam emphasize that it is a faith built upon high ethical standards; others stress that it is a religion of the law. Islam's dual notions of truth and falsehood further reveal its paradoxical nature: While the Qur'an is against believers deceiving other believers—for "surely God guides not him who is prodigal and a liar"—deception directed at non-Muslims, generally known in Arabic as taqiyya, also has Qur'anic support and falls within the legal category of things that are permissible for Muslims.
Muslim deception can be viewed as a slightly less than noble means to the glorious end of Islamic hegemony under Shari'a, which is seen as good for both Muslims and non-Muslims. In this sense, lying in the service of altruism is permissible. In a recent example, Muslim cleric Mahmoud al-Masri publicly recounted a story where a Muslim lied and misled a Jew into converting to Islam, calling it a "beautiful trick."
Taqiyya offers two basic uses. The better known revolves around dissembling over one's religious identity when in fear of persecution. Such has been the historical usage of taqiyya among Shi'i communities whenever and wherever their Sunni rivals have outnumbered and thus threatened them. Conversely, Sunni Muslims, far from suffering persecution have, whenever capability allowed, waged jihad against the realm of unbelief; and it is here that they have deployed taqiyya—not as dissimulation but as active deceit. In fact, deceit, which is doctrinally grounded in Islam, is often depicted as being equal—sometimes superior—to other universal military virtues, such as courage, fortitude, or self-sacrifice.
Yet if Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, how can deceit not only be prevalent but have divine sanction? What exactly is taqiyya? How is it justified by scholars and those who make use of it? How does it fit into a broader conception of Islam's code of ethics, especially in relation to the non-Muslim? More to the point, what ramifications does the doctrine of taqiyya have for all interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims?
The Doctrine of Taqiyya
According to Shari'a—the body of legal rulings that defines how a Muslim should behave in all circumstances—deception is not only permitted in certain situations but may be deemed obligatory in others. Contrary to early Christian tradition, for instance, Muslims who were forced to choose between recanting Islam or suffering persecution were permitted to lie and feign apostasy. Other jurists have decreed that Muslims are obligated to lie in order to preserve themselves, based on Qur'anic verses forbidding Muslims from being instrumental in their own deaths.
This is the classic definition of the doctrine of taqiyya. Based on an Arabic word denoting fear, taqiyya has long been understood, especially by Western academics, as something to resort to in times of religious persecution and, for the most part, used in this sense by minority Shi'i groups living among hostile Sunni majorities. Taqiyya allowed the Shi'a to dissemble their religious affiliation in front of the Sunnis on a regular basis, not merely by keeping clandestine about their own beliefs but by actively praying and behaving as if they were Sunnis.
However, one of the few books devoted to the subject, At-Taqiyya fi'l-Islam (Dissimulation in Islam) makes it clear that taqiyya is not limited to Shi'a dissimulating in fear of persecution. Written by Sami Mukaram, a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam, the book clearly demonstrates the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya:
Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.Taqiyya is, therefore, not, as is often supposed, an exclusively Shi'i phenomenon. Of course, as a minority group interspersed among their Sunni enemies, the Shi'a have historically had more reason to dissemble. Conversely, Sunni Islam rapidly dominated vast empires from Spain to China. As a result, its followers were beholden to no one, had nothing to apologize for, and had no need to hide from the infidel nonbeliever (rare exceptions include Spain and Portugal during the Reconquista when Sunnis did dissimulate over their religious identity). Ironically, however, Sunnis living in the West today find themselves in the place of the Shi'a: Now they are the minority surrounded by their traditional enemies—Christian infidels—even if the latter, as opposed to their Reconquista predecessors, rarely act on, let alone acknowledge, this historic enmity. In short, Sunnis are currently experiencing the general circumstances that made taqiyya integral to Shi'ism although without the physical threat that had so necessitated it.
The Articulation of Taqiyya
Qur'anic verse 3:28 is often seen as the primary verse that sanctions deception towards non-Muslims: "Let believers [Muslims] not take infidels [non-Muslims] for friends and allies instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with God—unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions."
Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923), author of a standard and authoritative Qur'an commentary, explains verse 3:28 as follows:
If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … [know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.Regarding Qur'an 3:28, Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), another prime authority on the Qur'an, writes, "Whoever at any time or place fears … evil [from non-Muslims] may protect himself through outward show." As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's close companion Abu Darda, who said, "Let us grin in the face of some people while our hearts curse them." Another companion, simply known as Al-Hasan, said, "Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the Day of Judgment [i.e., in perpetuity]."
Other prominent scholars, such as Abu 'Abdullah al-Qurtubi (1214-73) and Muhyi 'd-Din ibn al-Arabi (1165-1240), have extended taqiyya to cover deeds. In other words, Muslims can behave like infidels and worse—for example, by bowing down and worshiping idols and crosses, offering false testimony, and even exposing the weaknesses of their fellow Muslims to the infidel enemy—anything short of actually killing a Muslim: "Taqiyya, even if committed without duress, does not lead to a state of infidelity—even if it leads to sin deserving of hellfire."
Deceit in Muhammad's Military Exploits
Muhammad—whose example as the "most perfect human" is to be followed in every detail—took an expedient view on lying. It is well known, for instance, that he permitted lying in three situations: to reconcile two or more quarreling parties, to placate one's wife, and in war. According to one Arabic legal manual devoted to jihad as defined by the four schools of law, "The ulema agree that deception during warfare is legitimate … deception is a form of art in war." Moreover, according to Mukaram, this deception is classified as taqiyya: "Taqiyya in order to dupe the enemy is permissible."
Several ulema believe deceit is integral to the waging of war: Ibn al-'Arabi declares that "in the Hadith [sayings and actions of Muhammad], practicing deceit in war is well demonstrated. Indeed, its need is more stressed than the need for courage." Ibn al-Munir (d. 1333) writes, "War is deceit, i.e., the most complete and perfect war waged by a holy warrior is a war of deception, not confrontation, due to the latter's inherent danger, and the fact that one can attain victory through treachery without harm [to oneself]." And Ibn Hajar (d. 1448) counsels Muslims "to take great caution in war, while [publicly] lamenting and mourning in order to dupe the infidels."
This Muslim notion that war is deceit goes back to the Battle of the Trench (627), which pitted Muhammad and his followers against several non-Muslim tribes known as Al-Ahzab. One of the Ahzab, Na'im ibn Mas'ud, went to the Muslim camp and converted to Islam. When Muhammad discovered that the Ahzab were unaware of their co-tribalist's conversion, he counseled Mas'ud to return and try to get the pagan forces to abandon the siege. It was then that Muhammad memorably declared, "For war is deceit." Mas'ud returned to the Ahzab without their knowing that he had switched sides and intentionally began to give his former kin and allies bad advice. He also went to great lengths to instigate quarrels between the various tribes until, thoroughly distrusting each other, they disbanded, lifted the siege from the Muslims, and saved Islam from destruction in an embryonic period. Most recently, 9/11 accomplices, such as Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, rationalized their conspiratorial role in their defendant response by evoking their prophet's assertion that "war is deceit."
A more compelling expression of the legitimacy of deceiving infidels is the following anecdote. A poet, Ka'b ibn Ashraf, offended Muhammad, prompting the latter to exclaim, "Who will kill this man who has hurt God and his prophet?" A young Muslim named Muhammad ibn Maslama volunteered on condition that in order to get close enough to Ka'b to assassinate him, he be allowed to lie to the poet. Muhammad agreed. Ibn Maslama traveled to Ka'b and began to denigrate Islam and Muhammad. He carried on in this way till his disaffection became so convincing that Ka'b took him into his confidence. Soon thereafter, Ibn Maslama appeared with another Muslim and, while Ka'b's guard was down, killed him.
Muhammad said other things that cast deception in a positive light, such as "God has commanded me to equivocate among the people just as he has commanded me to establish [religious] obligations"; and "I have been sent with obfuscation"; and "whoever lives his life in dissimulation dies a martyr."
In short, the earliest historical records of Islam clearly attest to the prevalence of taqiyya as a form of Islamic warfare. Furthermore, early Muslims are often depicted as lying their way out of binds—usually by denying or insulting Islam or Muhammad—often to the approval of the latter, his only criterion being that their intentions (niya) be pure. During wars with Christians, whenever the latter were in authority, the practice of taqiyya became even more integral. Mukaram states, "Taqiyya was used as a way to fend off danger from the Muslims, especially in critical times and when their borders were exposed to wars with the Byzantines and, afterwards, to the raids [crusades] of the Franks and others."
Taqiyya in Qur'anic Revelation
The Qur'an itself is further testimony to taqiyya. Since God is believed to be the revealer of these verses, he is by default seen as the ultimate perpetrator of deceit—which is not surprising since he is described in the Qur'an as the best makar, that is, the best deceiver or schemer (e.g., 3:54, 8:30, 10:21).
While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Qur'an is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts which occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Qur'an, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari'a worldview—the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad's career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Qur'an's verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa'l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).
But why the contradiction in the first place? The standard view is that in the early years of Islam, since Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by their infidel competitors while living next to them in Mecca, a message of peace and coexistence was in order. However, after the Muslims migrated to Medina in 622 and grew in military strength, verses inciting them to go on the offensive were slowly "revealed"—in principle, sent down from God—always commensurate with Islam's growing capabilities. In juridical texts, these are categorized in stages: passivity vis-á-vis aggression; permission to fight back against aggressors; commands to fight aggressors; commands to fight all non-Muslims, whether the latter begin aggressions or not. Growing Muslim might is the only variable that explains this progressive change in policy.
Other scholars put a gloss on this by arguing that over a twenty-two year period, the Qur'an was revealed piecemeal, from passive and spiritual verses to legal prescriptions and injunctions to spread the faith through jihad and conquest, simply to acclimate early Muslim converts to the duties of Islam, lest they be discouraged at the outset by the dramatic obligations that would appear in later verses. Verses revealed towards the end of Muhammad's career—such as, "Warfare is prescribed for you though you hate it"—would have been out of place when warfare was actually out of the question.
However interpreted, the standard view on Qur'anic abrogation concerning war and peace verses is that when Muslims are weak and in a minority position, they should preach and behave according to the ethos of the Meccan verses (peace and tolerance); when strong, however, they should go on the offensive on the basis of what is commanded in the Medinan verses (war and conquest). The vicissitudes of Islamic history are a testimony to this dichotomy, best captured by the popular Muslim notion, based on a hadith, that, if possible, jihad should be performed by the hand (force), if not, then by the tongue (through preaching); and, if that is not possible, then with the heart or one's intentions.
War Is Eternal
That Islam legitimizes deceit during war is, of course, not all that astonishing; after all, as the Elizabethan writer John Lyly put it, "All's fair in love and war." Other non-Muslim philosophers and strategists—such as Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Thomas Hobbes—justified deceit in warfare. Deception of the enemy during war is only common sense. The crucial difference in Islam, however, is that war against the infidel is a perpetual affair—until, in the words of the Qur'an, "all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to God." In his entry on jihad from the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Emile Tyan states: "The duty of the jihad exists as long as the universal domination of Islam has not been attained. Peace with non-Muslim nations is, therefore, a provisional state of affairs only; the chance of circumstances alone can justify it temporarily."
Moreover, going back to the doctrine of abrogation, Muslim scholars such as Ibn Salama (d. 1020) agree that Qur'an 9:5, known as ayat as-sayf or the sword verse, has abrogated some 124 of the more peaceful Meccan verses, including "every other verse in the Qur'an, which commands or implies anything less than a total offensive against the nonbelievers." In fact, all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence agree that "jihad is when Muslims wage war on infidels, after having called on them to embrace Islam or at least pay tribute [jizya] and live in submission, and the infidels refuse."
Obligatory jihad is best expressed by Islam's dichotomized worldview that pits the realm of Islam against the realm of war. The first, dar al-Islam, is the "realm of submission," the world where Shari'a governs; the second, dar al-Harb (the realm of war), is the non-Islamic world. A struggle continues until the realm of Islam subsumes the non-Islamic world—a perpetual affair that continues to the present day. The renowned Muslim historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) clearly articulates this division:
In the Muslim community, jihad is a religious duty because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the jihad was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense. But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.Finally and all evidence aside, lest it still appear unreasonable for a faith with over one billion adherents to obligate unprovoked warfare in its name, it is worth noting that the expansionist jihad is seen as an altruistic endeavor, not unlike the nineteenth century ideology of "the white man's burden." The logic is that the world, whether under democracy, socialism, communism, or any other system of governance, is inevitably living in bondage—a great sin, since the good of all humanity is found in living in accordance to God's law. In this context, Muslim deception can be viewed as a slightly less than noble means to a glorious end—Islamic hegemony under Shari'a rule, which is seen as good for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
This view has an ancient pedigree: Soon after the death of Muhammad (634), as the jihad fighters burst out of the Arabian peninsula, a soon-to-be conquered Persian commander asked the invading Muslims what they wanted. They memorably replied as follows:
God has sent us and brought us here so that we may free those who desire from servitude to earthly rulers and make them servants of God, that we may change their poverty into wealth and free them from the tyranny and chaos of [false] religions and bring them to the justice of Islam. He has sent us to bring his religion to all his creatures and call them to Islam. Whoever accepts it from us will be safe, and we shall leave him alone; but whoever refuses, we shall fight until we fulfill the promise of God.Fourteen hundred years later— in March 2009—Saudi legal expert Basem Alem publicly echoed this view:
As a member of the true religion, I have a greater right to invade [others] in order to impose a certain way of life [according to Shari'a], which history has proven to be the best and most just of all civilizations. This is the true meaning of offensive jihad. When we wage jihad, it is not in order to convert people to Islam, but in order to liberate them from the dark slavery in which they live.And it should go without saying that taqiyya in the service of altruism is permissible. For example, only recently, after publicly recounting a story where a Muslim tricked a Jew into converting to Islam—warning him that if he tried to abandon Islam, Muslims would kill him as an apostate—Muslim cleric Mahmoud al-Masri called it a "beautiful trick." After all, from an Islamic point of view, it was the Jew who, in the end, benefitted from the deception, which brought him to Islam.
Treaties and Truces
The perpetual nature of jihad is highlighted by the fact that, based on the 10-year treaty of Hudaybiya (628), ratified between Muhammad and his Quraysh opponents in Mecca, most jurists are agreed that ten years is the maximum amount of time Muslims can be at peace with infidels; once the treaty has expired, the situation needs to be reappraised. Based on Muhammad's example of breaking the treaty after two years (by claiming a Quraysh infraction), the sole function of the truce is to buy weakened Muslims time to regroup before renewing the offensive: "By their very nature, treaties must be of temporary duration, for in Muslim legal theory, the normal relations between Muslim and non-Muslim territories are not peaceful, but warlike." Hence "the fuqaha [jurists] are agreed that open-ended truces are illegitimate if Muslims have the strength to renew the war against them [non-Muslims]."
Even though Shari'a mandates Muslims to abide by treaties, they have a way out, one open to abuse: If Muslims believe—even without solid evidence—that their opponents are about to break the treaty, they can preempt by breaking it first. Moreover, some Islamic schools of law, such as the Hanafi, assert that Muslim leaders may abrogate treaties merely if it seems advantageous for Islam. This is reminiscent of the following canonical hadith: "If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then you should expiate your oath and do what is better." And what is better, what is more altruistic, than to make God's word supreme by launching the jihad anew whenever possible?
Traditionally, Muslim rulers held to a commitment to launch a jihad at least once every year. This ritual is most noted with the Ottoman sultans, who spent half their lives in the field. So important was the duty of jihad that the sultans were not permitted to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, an individual duty for each Muslim. Their leadership of the jihad allowed this communal duty to continue; without them, it would have fallen into desuetude.
In short, the prerequisite for peace or reconciliation is Muslim advantage. This is made clear in an authoritative Sunni legal text, Umdat as-Salik, written by a fourteenth-century Egyptian scholar, Ahmad Ibn Naqib al-Misri: "There must be some benefit [maslaha] served in making a truce other than the status quo: 'So do not be fainthearted and call for peace when it is you who are uppermost [Qur'an 47:35].'"
More recently, and of great significance for Western leaders advocating cooperation with Islamists, Yasser Arafat, soon after negotiating a peace treaty criticized as conceding too much to Israel, addressed an assembly of Muslims in a mosque in Johannesburg where he justified his actions: "I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca." In other words, like Muhammad, Arafat gave his word only to annul it once "something better" came along—that is, once the Palestinians became strong enough to renew the offensive and continue on the road to Jerusalem. Elsewhere, Hudaybiya has appeared as a keyword for radical Islamists. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front had three training camps within the Camp Abu Bakar complex in the Philippines, one of which was named Camp Hudaybiya.
Hostility Disguised As Grievance
In their statements directed at European or American audiences, Islamists maintain that the terrorism they direct against the West is merely reciprocal treatment for decades of Western and Israeli oppression. Yet in writings directed to their fellow Muslims, this animus is presented, not as a reaction to military or political provocation but as a product of religious obligation.
For instance, when addressing Western audiences, Osama bin Laden lists any number of grievances as motivating his war on the West—from the oppression of the Palestinians to the Western exploitation of women, and even U.S. failure to sign the environmental Kyoto protocol—all things intelligible from a Western perspective. Never once, however, does he justify Al-Qaeda's attacks on Western targets simply because non-Muslim countries are infidel entities that must be subjugated. Indeed, he often initiates his messages to the West by saying, "Reciprocal treatment is part of justice" or "Peace to whoever follows guidance"—though he means something entirely different than what his Western listeners understand by words such as "peace," "justice," or "guidance."
It is when bin Laden speaks to fellow Muslims that the truth comes out. When a group of prominent Muslims wrote an open letter to the American people soon after the strikes of 9/11, saying that Islam seeks to peacefully coexist, bin Laden wrote to castigate them:
As to the relationship between Muslims and infidels, this is summarized by the Most High's Word: "We [Muslims] renounce you [non-Muslims]. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us—till you believe in God alone" [Qur'an 60:4]. So there is an enmity, evidenced by fierce hostility from the heart. And this fierce hostility—that is, battle—ceases only if the infidel submits to the authority of Islam, or if his blood is forbidden from being shed [i.e., a dhimmi, or protected minority], or if Muslims are at that point in time weak and incapable. But if the hate at any time extinguishes from the heart, this is great apostasy! ... Such then is the basis and foundation of the relationship between the infidel and the Muslim. Battle, animosity, and hatred—directed from the Muslim to the infidel—is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them.Mainstream Islam's four schools of jurisprudence lend their support to this hostile Weltanschauung by speaking of the infidel in similar terms. Bin Laden's addresses to the West with his talk of justice and peace are clear instances of taqiyya. He is not only waging a physical jihad but a propaganda war, that is, a war of deceit. If he can convince the West that the current conflict is entirely its fault, he garners greater sympathy for his cause. At the same time, he knows that if Americans were to realize that nothing short of their submission can ever bring peace, his propaganda campaign would be quickly compromised. Hence the constant need to dissemble and to cite grievances, for, as bin Laden's prophet asserted, "War is deceit."
Taqiyya presents a range of ethical dilemmas. Anyone who truly believes that God justifies and, through his prophet's example, even encourages deception will not experience any ethical qualms over lying. Consider the case of 'Ali Mohammad, bin Laden's first "trainer" and long-time Al-Qaeda operative. An Egyptian, he was initially a member of Islamic Jihad and had served in the Egyptian army's military intelligence unit. After 1984, he worked for a time with the CIA in Germany. Though considered untrustworthy, he managed to get to California where he enlisted in the U.S. Army. It seems likely that he continued to work in some capacity for the CIA. He later trained jihadists in the United States and Afghanistan and was behind several terror attacks in Africa. People who knew him regarded him with "fear and awe for his incredible self-confidence, his inability to be intimidated, absolute ruthless determination to destroy the enemies of Islam, and his zealous belief in the tenets of militant Islamic fundamentalism." Indeed, this sentence sums it all up: For a zealous belief in Islam's tenets, which legitimize deception in order to make God's word supreme, will certainly go a long way in creating "incredible self-confidence" when lying.
Yet most Westerners continue to think that Muslim mores, laws, and ethical constraints are near identical to those of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Naively or arrogantly, today's multiculturalist leaders project their own worldview onto Islamists, thinking a handshake and smiles across a cup of coffee, as well as numerous concessions, are enough to dismantle the power of God's word and centuries of unchanging tradition. The fact remains: Right and wrong in Islam have little to do with universal standards but only with what Islam itself teaches—much of which is antithetical to Western norms.
It must, therefore, be accepted that, contrary to long-held academic assumptions, the doctrine of taqiyya goes far beyond Muslims engaging in religious dissimulation in the interest of self-preservation and encompasses deception of the infidel enemy in general. This phenomenon should provide a context for Shi'i Iran's zeal—taqiyya being especially second nature to Shi'ism—to acquire nuclear power while insisting that its motives are entirely peaceful.
Nor is taqiyya confined to overseas affairs. Walid Phares of the National Defense University has lamented that homegrown Islamists are operating unfettered on American soil due to their use of taqiyya: "Does our government know what this doctrine is all about and, more importantly, are authorities educating the body of our defense apparatus regarding this stealthy threat dormant among us?" After the Fort Hood massacre, when Nidal Malik Hasan, an American-Muslim who exhibited numerous Islamist signs which were ignored, killed thirteen fellow servicemen and women, one is compelled to respond in the negative.
This, then, is the dilemma: Islamic law unambiguously splits the world into two perpetually warring halves—the Islamic world versus the non-Islamic—and holds it to be God's will for the former to subsume the latter. Yet if war with the infidel is a perpetual affair, if war is deceit, and if deeds are justified by intentions—any number of Muslims will naturally conclude that they have a divinely sanctioned right to deceive, so long as they believe their deception serves to aid Islam "until all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to God." Such deception will further be seen as a means to an altruistic end. Muslim overtures for peace, dialogue, or even temporary truces must be seen in this light, evoking the practical observations of philosopher James Lorimer, uttered over a century ago: "So long as Islam endures, the reconciliation of its adherents, even with Jews and Christians, and still more with the rest of mankind, must continue to be an insoluble problem."
In closing, whereas it may be more appropriate to talk of "war and peace" as natural corollaries in a Western context, when discussing Islam, it is more accurate to talk of "war and deceit." For, from an Islamic point of view, times of peace—that is, whenever Islam is significantly weaker than its infidel rivals—are times of feigned peace and pretense, in a word, taqiyya.
Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum. Qur'an 40:28.
 Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi, At-Tafsir al-Kabir (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiya, 2000), vol. 10, p. 98.
 Qur'an 2:195, 4:29.
 Paul E. Walker, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam in the Modern World, John Esposito, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), vol. 4, s.v. "Taqiyah," pp. 186-7; Ibn Babuyah, A Shi'ite Creed, A. A. A. Fyzee, trans. (London: n.p., 1942), pp. 110-2; Etan Kohlberg, "Some Imami-Shi'i Views on Taqiyya," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 95 (1975): 395-402.
 Sami Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam (London: Mu'assisat at-Turath ad-Druzi, 2004), p. 7, author's translation.
 Devin Stewart, "Islam in Spain after the Reconquista," Emory University, p. 2, accessed Nov. 27, 2009.
 See also Quran 2:173, 2:185, 4:29, 16:106, 22:78, 40:28, verses cited by Muslim jurisprudents as legitimating taqiyya.
 Abu Ja'far Muhammad at-Tabari, Jami' al-Bayan 'an ta'wil ayi'l-Qur'an al-Ma'ruf: Tafsir at-Tabari (Beirut: Dar Ihya' at-Turath al-'Arabi, 2001), vol. 3, p. 267, author's translation.
 'Imad ad-Din Isma'il Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiya, 2001), vol. 1, p. 350, author's translation.
 Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam, pp. 30-7.
 Imam Muslim, "Kitab al-Birr wa's-Salat, Bab Tahrim al-Kidhb wa Bayan al-Mubih Minhu," Sahih Muslim, rev. ed., Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, trans. (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2000).
 Ahmad Mahmud Karima, Al-Jihad fi'l Islam: Dirasa Fiqhiya Muqarina (Cairo: Al-Azhar, 2003), p. 304, author's translation.
 Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam, p. 32.
 Raymond Ibrahim, The Al Qaeda Reader (New York: Doubleday, 2007), pp. 142-3.
 Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam, pp. 32-3.
 Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 367-8.
 Shihab ad-Din Muhammad al-Alusi al-Baghdadi, Ruh al-Ma'ani fi Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Azim wa' l-Saba' al-Mithani (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiya, 2001), vol. 2, p. 118, author's translation.
 Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam, pp. 11-2.
 Ibid., pp. 41-2.
 Ibn Qayyim, Tafsir, in Abd al-'Aziz bin Nasir al-Jalil, At-Tarbiya al-Jihadiya fi Daw' al-Kitab wa 's-Sunna (Riyahd: n.p., 2003), pp. 36-43.
 Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi 'l-Islam, p. 20.
 Qur'an 2: 216.
 Yahya bin Sharaf ad-Din an-Nawawi, An-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths, p. 16, accessed Aug. 1, 2009.
 John Lyly, Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (London, 1578), p. 236.
 Qur'an 8:39.
 Emile Tyan, The Encyclopedia of Islam (Leiden: Brill, 1960), vol. 2, s.v. "Djihad," pp. 538-40.
 David Bukay, "Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam," Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2007, pp. 3-11, f.n. 58; David S. Powers, "The Exegetical Genre nasikh al-Qur'an wa-mansukhuhu," in Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur'an, Andrew Rippin, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), pp. 130-1.
 Jalil, At-Tarbiya al-Jihadiya fi Daw' al-Kitab wa ' s-Sunna, p. 7.
 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqadimmah. An Introduction to History, Franz Rosenthal, trans. (New York: Pantheon, 1958), vol. 1, p. 473.
 Hugh Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests (Philadelphia: Da Capo, 2007), p. 112.
 "Saudi Legal Expert Basem Alem: We Have the Right to Wage Offensive Jihad to Impose Our Way of Life," TV Monitor, clip 2108, Middle East Media Research Institute, trans., Mar. 26, 2009.
 "Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri Recommends Tricking Jews into Becoming Muslims," TV Monitor, clip 2268, Middle East Media Research Institute, trans., Aug. 10, 2009.
 Denis MacEoin, "Tactical Hudna and Islamist Intolerance," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2008, pp. 39-48.
 Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1955), p. 220.
 Ahmad Mahmud Karima, Al-Jihad fi'l Islam: Dirasa Fiqhiya Muqarina, p. 461, author's translation.
 Ibid., p. 469.
 Muhammad al-Bukhari, "Judgements (Ahkaam)," Sahih al-Bukhari, book 89, M. Muhsin Khan, trans., accessed July 22, 2009.
 Michael Bonner, Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practice (Princeton: Woodstock Publishers, 2006), p. 148.
 Ahmed Akgündüz, "Why Did the Ottoman Sultans Not Make Hajj (Pilgrimage)?" accessed Nov. 9, 2009.
 Ahmad Ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Beltsville: Amana Publications, 1994), p. 605.
 Daniel Pipes, "Lessons from the Prophet Muhammad's Diplomacy," Middle East Quarterly, Sept. 1999, pp. 65-72.
 Arabinda Acharya, "Training in Terror," IDSS Commentaries, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, May 2, 2003.
 "Does hypocrite have a past tense?" for clip of Osama bin Laden, accessed Aug. 1, 2009.
 Ibrahim b. Muhammad al-Shahwan, et al, "Correspondence with Saudis: How We Can Coexist," AmericanValues.org, accessed July 28, 2009.
 Ibrahim, The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 43.
 Steven Emerson, "Osama bin Laden's Special Operations Man," Journal of Counterterrorism and Security International, Sept. 1, 1998.
 For lists of other infiltrators of U. S. organizations, see Daniel Pipes, "Islamists Penetrate Western Security," Mar. 9, 2008.
 Walid Phares, "North Carolina: Meet Taqiyya Jihad," International Analyst Network, July 30, 2009.
 Qur'an 8:39.
 James Lorimer, The Institutes of the Law of Nations: A Treatise of the Jural Relations of Separate Political Communities (Clark, N.J.: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2005), p. 124.
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Geller: Jihadi echoes Obama
Jihadi echoes Obama
At The American Thinker today, Pamela Geller notes some interesting similarities between jihadist Zarein Ahmedzay's prescription for peace and Barack Obama's:
If you close your eyes and listen to Zarein Ahmedzay, the jihadist convicted Friday for his role in unleashing a bomb in the New York City subway system on the anniversary of the 9/11 Islamic jihad attacks on America, you would here disturbing echoes of the policy of Barack Obama and his dhimmi administration: "I strongly urge the American people to stop supporting the war against Islam. And this will be in their own interest. ... The real enemy of this country are the ones destroying the country from within ... I believe it's a special group, Zionist Jews, who want a permanent shadow government." Obama hasn't spoken about "Zionist Jews," but the underlying sentiments are similar.
Bat Ye'or, the world's leading scholar of Islamic antisemitism -- full interview
Bat Ye'or, the world's leading scholar of Islamic antisemitism -- full interview
The World’s Oldest Sickness »
The World’s Oldest Sickness
The Gaza flotilla incident reminds us that the destiny of the Jew is to be eternally unsafe in this world
by David Solway
The world is sick again with an old disease for which no cure has ever been found. It tends to go into remission here and there at various times but it invariably reappears, as virulent as ever, developing new strains as the bacillus adapts to the antibiotics of reason, shame or distraction. The disease is called anti-Semitism and it can afflict even those who would seem best prepared to resist it. Few are immune.
It can assume racial forms, the Jew regarded as a quasi-human deformity, as rodent, monkey or untermensch. International jurist Jacques Gautier, who finds it “shameful” that under the dispensation of the Human Rights community it is understood that Arabs will have legal and political rights in Israel while it is accepted that Arab countries can be judenrein, concludes that Jews do not enjoy human rights because they are not reckoned as human. Why extend the norms and principles that presumably govern human behavior and the relations between states to a people and a state tacitly considered as beyond the pale, as not quite “like us”? This is how double standards are implicitly justified. Judaism has also been condemned as a cultural and economic perversion that contorts the structure of society. This is a very old story. Indeed, whatever manifestation it assumes, anti-Semitism has been with us almost as far back as human memory goes. What historian Robert Wistrich has called the world’s longest hatred is also the world’s oldest sickness.
It is, in fact, best construed as a universal epidemic, the emotional and intellectual equivalent of the Black Death that decimated Europe in the fourteenth century. The difference is that those who have contracted this septicemia of the mind do not die, except inwardly. Ironically, their victims are precisely those who do not suffer from the plague that has contaminated its bearers—except, of course, for those apostate Jews who are sick with the same morbid distemper. The list of such despicables would fill the devil’s Rolodex. But they too must eventually succumb to the fury of the demented carriers of the pathology. Unfortunately, the Israeli pharmaceutical firm Teva, one of the world’s largest suppliers of antibiotic medicines, has no psychic or endocrinal equivalent to treat the malady.
In Anti-Semite and Jew, Jean-Paul Sartre argues that anti-Semitism is not an idea but “first of all a passion” that is akin to hysteria. This passion connects schematically with “the idea of the Jew” to which individual Jews are made to conform irrespective of their personal attributes. For Sartre, anti-Semitism is founded in the “fear of the human condition”—of solitude, responsibility for oneself, and the terror of contingency. The Jew is made responsible for the inescapable distress of being human along the entire spectrum from the empirical to the ontological—an excuse for failure, a means of false absolution and a convenient repository of all we are unwilling to acknowledge about ourselves. As such he has been zoned for apartheid, whether metaphysical or social. Sartre concludes that “If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him.”
For all his innovative phrasing, Sartre is really playing variations on the grizzled notion of the Jew as scapegoat, derived from Leviticus 16, which is true enough—witness the current U.S. administration’s treatment of Israel which, as historian Moshe Dann suggests, is a species of collective scapegoating to cover its own foreign policy failures. Philosopher René Girard adds a certain twist to the etiology of this recurrent sickness and proposes the concept of “ritual mimesis” or “mimetic victimage,” an ironic conflict-management elucidation of the scapegoat philosophy. In Girard’s thinking, the violence between groups in a given society is resolved by projecting it upon a third party—the Jew—who is then expelled.
In T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism, and Literary Form, Anthony Julius suggests an interesting comparison/contrast between Homeric mythology and anti-Semitism. They both “offer explanations intended to make sense of puzzling misfortunes in human life, the one by the intervention of the gods, the other by the intervention of the Jews.” The trouble is that “Jews are not malign Olympians who dispose of humankind by manipulative wizardry.” But tell that to the anti-Semite, who craves an easy explanation for what he does not comprehend in the larger world or cannot resolve in his own circumscribed life. By making the Jew responsible for all he cannot clarify, come to terms with or vanquish, the anti-Semite forfeits both courage and morality. What will he do when the Jew is no longer there? He would be like the parasite that has devoured its host and now faces starvation.
This suggests another definition of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a form of spiritual parasitism, the always tempting resort of the human leech who feeds his appetite for security, justification and self-acquittal from the life-blood of others—in this case, of course, from the body of the Jewish people. Put less offensively, anti-Semitism is blind ignorance, both of the world and the self. Psychologists like to call this psycho-reflex “projection” or “cathexis,” but these terms don’t even begin to cover the malice inherent in so invidious an emotional investment or to parry what Wistrich in his recent book, A Lethal Obsession, has identified as a “Judeophobic virus.”
Today, anti-Semitism has adopted a new expression, dubbed by Robin Shepherd in A State Beyond The Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel as “neo-anti-Semitism” which is “virulently anti-Israeli”. The Neurozone is gravely compromised, but the syndrome is making significant inroads on this side of the Atlantic as well. While not entirely ridding itself of its racial and socioeconomic baggage, neo-anti-Semitism converges on the Jew-as-Zionist, associated with the state of Israel as the modern embodiment of a discredited colonial enterprise. The purveyors of this claim affect not to be anti-Semitic, but their protestations are not convincing. It looks more like lying by ancillary focus.
The proof resides not only in the fact that Israel is unfairly and disproportionately singled out for opprobrium while flagrant and undoubted human rights offenders are generally given a free pass. It is also evident in the fact that Israel is conceived as no ordinary colonialist power. Israeli Jews are regarded as reviving the pestilence of Nazism, cleansing, or approving of the cleansing, of ethnic populations, aka the Palestinians—which is nothing short of a gross misreading of the historical archive and a wrenching misrepresentation of the present circumstance. For despite the fictions of a perjurious world, there can be no question that the Jewish people enjoy a religious, historical and legal right to their homeland, as Jacques Gautier, who spent twenty years studying the issue of ownership, as attorney and legal specialist Howard Grief in his The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law, and as many others have established beyond the slightest doubt. The effort to deny what is the cadastral address of the Jewish people is a pattern of what Melanie Phillips has called, in her new book of that title, The World Turned Upside Down.
Interestingly, the accusation that Israel is the new SS is the contemporary distortion of the theme of Albert Camus’ The Plague, an obvious allegory of the Nazi invasion of Europe and North Africa. The wrinkle added to this fabric of defamation is that Jews have no right to any kind of power or authority. As Bernard Lewis writes in Semites & Anti-Semites, Jews have no business being anything other than, at best, “a tolerated subject minority.” Therefore, “by appearing as conquerors and rulers the Jews have subverted God’s order in the universe.” This calumny, says Lewis, is both the Muslim and “the fashionable leftist or progressive line.” But it is only a symptom or manifestation of the same old sickness. To paraphrase Stephen Toulmin in Cosmopolis, it is, in effect, “the narrative of a past episode reflected in a more recent mirror.”
And yet the mystery persists. But whatever theory we advance to decrypt what may be largely unfathomable or at least not wholly explicable, one thing is certain. Anti-Semitism is here to stay. Jessica may elope with Lorenzo but she or her children or grandchildren will one day be forced to accept the indelible fact of origins. Anti-Semitism is not a contagion that, like Daniel Defoe’s description in A Journal of the Plague Year of the catastrophe that visited London in the year 1665, will ever be “enervated and its malignity spent.” This is because anti-Semitism is unlike other forms of irrational hatred and operates under a different set of laws, which appear to be immutable.
Indeed, today once again, as we confront a new world-generation of venomous and commissurotomized anti-Semites, we might plausibly conclude that anti-Semitic sentiments and irruptions, in virtue of their millennial repeatability, have become entrenched in human consciousness as a natural inevitability. As I have written before, “It is something that it is perceived in the depths of the psyche to have moved from the dimension of history over into the structure of nature. It is as if anti-Semitism has now become part of our synaptic equipment.”
As a result, the destiny of the Jew is to be eternally unsafe in this world, despite the narcotic of assimilation or the illusion of self-rejection. The time seems invariably to come when the Jew is thrown back on his identity and regarded not as a human being or as an ordinary citizen but as, ab ovo, a Jew. After which, measures are adopted. Of no other people can this be said. And this is why the Jewish people cannot afford the luxury of historical amnesia, self-betrayal or the hallucination of ultimate security, but must remain vigilant, conscious and always prepared for the resurgence of the plague.
Israel’s Critics and Hollow Lies »
In the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla incident, we have witnessed a tsunami of virulent, over-the-top criticism of the state of Israel for its actions in interdicting the so-called “peace activists” before they could dock at the port of Gaza.
Reasonable people can argue whether the decision on the methods used to stop the ships was the correct course for the Israeli government to take. Indeed, there is ahealthy debate within Israel itself over this very issue, including questions about intelligence, tactics, and whether the propaganda victory handed to pro-Palestinian activists could have been avoided while still maintaining the blockade.
Even the efficacy of the blockade itself is being discussed in Israel, as it has been since the quarantine was intensified nearly 3 years ago. For these internal critics, and those elsewhere who do not wish to see the state of Israel or its people destroyed, it is much too glib to ascribe their opposition as anti-Semitic or even anti-Israeli. But we can certainly put a reasonable question to these critics that never seems to get answered amidst the bombast and posturing from both the Jew haters and genuine “peace” seekers alike.
What is it you would have the Israeli government do to protect itself?
Indeed, what marks the critic of Israeli policy is a disconnect between the perilous reality of Israel’s exposed position vis-a-vis the Palestinians and those nations that support them. They hold a pie-in-the-sky belief that if Israel would only remove the irritants the Palestinians suffer on a daily basis, that the animosity felt by Israel’s enemies would magically disappear.
Consider what these critics have been harping on for years:
Israeljustifies its blockade of Gaza under recognized treaties regarding the Laws of the Sea. This includes interdiction of ships in international waters, as anyone who has read anything about the US blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis can attest.
But let’s ignore all of that and grant Israel’s critics their wish and raise the blockade. What would be the probable outcome?
Judging by what happened on Israel’s southern border following their war with Hezbollah, it would be a military calamity and a security nightmare. Without inspecting each and every ship that docked at the Port of Gaza (and if Egypt allowed the free flow of goods and people into Rafah), the likelihood that the Palestinians would be supplied by Iran and Syria with much more sophisticated and deadly arms would be assured.
Why? Because of the spectacular failure of the United Nations International Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) whose job after the war was to prevent the resupply of Hezbollah. Their mission was to guard the border with Syria to keep Iran’s puppet Bashar Assad from moving arms into Lebanon to replace (and as it turned out, augment) Hezballah’s ****nal of 40,000 rockets. Not only were the terrorists easily resupplied, but it appears that recent additions to Hezballah’s ****nal include medium range ballistic missiles capable of hitting every major city in Israel.
Given such incompetence on the part of the UN, are Israel’s critics seriously suggesting that, 1) lifting the blockade would not result in an avalanche of sophisticated weapons pouring into Gaza; and 2) any other party would do as good a job as the Israelis themselves in keeping these weapons out?
Israel controls the Port of Gaza as a result of the Oslo accords. They have a legal right to self defense, and a legal justification for the blockade, including the right to interdict shipping in international waters – as the Americans did during the Cuban Missile Crisis. If Israel’s overwrought critics could assure the Israeli government that lifting the blockade would not result in Hamas improving their capability of murdering a lot of innocent Israeli citizens, I am sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu would be interested in hearing how they would propose doing so.
It doesn’t matter to critics what Israel is trying to keep out by building a 450 mile fence largely along what was once known as the “Green Line” that separated the West Bank from Israel. Rarely does one come across criticism of the barrier that gives the Israeli rationale for constructing it in the first place. There have been all sorts of fantastical claims about why Israel is building the Fence, ignoring the most obvious reason; it will save the lives of Israeli citizens.
Again, there appears to be a disconnect on the part of critics who can safely catalog Israeli concerns and shuffle them off to the side somewhere, while railing against the purported effects of the fence on Palestinians.
Most observers would agree that the barrier imposes burdens on the Palestinians. The way the wall is being constructed creates enclaves of Palestinians who will be isolated from their neighbors and the rest of the West Bank. But for critics, military necessity and the security of innocent Israeli citizens just never seems to make much of an impression. Otherwise intelligent, discerning analysts bewail the plight of Palestinians – and, in some cases, it is indeed tragic that families are separated, commerce affected, and property expropriated.
But we come back to the question that critics of Israeli policy refuse to even consider; what is the government supposed to do to protect their citizens from such an implacable, deadly enemy? The fence is a far less draconian and brutal solution than other governments have chosen in the past in a similar situation – namely, mass slaughter of their enemies. If that is Israel’s goal, they are doing a horrible job of achieving it.
Instead, the fence inoculates Israel from most of the terrorist acts that would kill many of its citizens while advancing the least obnoxious alternative that places the smallest possible burden on the Palestinian people. In fact, building the Fence has resulted in far fewer terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis. The three years prior to building the fence saw 117 terrorist attacks resulting in the loss of 477 civilians while wounding thousands of others. In areas where the Fence has been completed, the number of attacks has dropped to near zero.
Critics also rarely mention that some Israeli citizens in the settlements oppose the fence because it separates them from the rest of Israel.
The “Proportionate Response” Canard
Perhaps no complaint of Israel’s critics reveals the massive disconnect between reality and sophistry as much as the idea that because the Palestinians are weak militarily, and fewer in number, that it is the responsibility of Israel to pull its punches and react “proportionately” to Palestinian provocations; or, in the case of the Gaza raid, provocations from anyone.
First, Michael Rubin writing at The Corner demolishes this nonsense:
But why should any democratic government empowered to defend its citizenry accept Europe’s idea of proportion? When attacked, why should not a stronger nation or its representatives try to both protects its own personnel at all costs and, in the wider scheme of things, defeat its adversaries?I have never heard of “proportionality” applied to any other nations except Israel and the United States. I don’t recall such arguments when Russia invaded Georgia, destroying several towns with massive artillery bombardments, ripping up rail centers, and killing wantonly. They may have been criticized for the invasion but the words “disproportionate response” were not used, as far as I can recall, to describe their action. Even if the phrase was used, there would be no comparison with the frequency with which that criticism is directed against Israel.
Neither am I aware of anyone criticizing Pakistan for using tanks and helicopters to engage Taliban fighters armed only with AK-47’s and a few outdated mortars.
But the idea of “proportionality” in war is very important to people like Andrew Sullivan:
Kudos to Michael Rubin for conceding that the Cheney-Netanyahu approach to terrorism is exactly a question of deliberate disproportion…Note the towering straw men set up by Sullivan. Is he accusing Israel of doing all of that? Or is he saying that Israel is capable of doing those things? Or is he positing the notion that commando raids using much restrained force until the “peace” activists put the lives of the soldiers at risk automatically escalates into “torture, mass murder, and an abandonment of basic principles of the rules of law?”
In fact, the reason there were not hundreds killed on that ship was because Israel did, indeed, engage in a proportional response to the violence directed against them. They didn’t have to. They could have rappelled down those ropes armed with automatic rifles instead of paint guns and at the first sign of trouble, blazed away, killing dozens. I daresay that most nations would have taken that route. It is much safer for the attacker, and success is more assured, if the IDF had gone Sullivan’s “mass murder” route.
But they didn’t. They couldn’t. Israel is a civilized nation engaged with barbarians whose blood-lust against the Jews is so profoundly ingrained that many of the activists fervently sang and chanted about martyrdom prior to their little cruise. Willing to give their lives for a propaganda stunt? What is “proportional” when engaging people like that?
Did Sullivan and his ilk expect the commandos to rappel down to the deck armed with knives, steel bars, and baseball bats? Would that have been a “proportional response?” Yes, it’s as silly as that.
It really doesn’t matter to Israel’s critics. Like the blockade and the Fence, the commando raid is beside the point. What matters is finding a way to place Israel in the weakest moral position possible in the eyes of the world. In order to do this, critics will go to astonishing lengths, twisting their arguments into pretzels of logic, salted with half truths, while ignoring the entire issue of Israel’s necessary self defense against those who wish to destroy her and her people. And through all of that virulent, off-balance criticism, not one word about alternatives that they would recommend the Jewish state employ except near total surrender to their enemies.
Perhaps we shouldn’t ask what critics want Israel to do. The answer might very well horrify all of us.
The Islamist way of war
The Islamist way of war
The Islamist way of war is all about war crimes. Hiding behind civilians, including children; hiding among civilian crowds; not wearing uniforms; using civilian vehicles for attack; hiding in protected-status places like mosques, churches, hospitals and schools; using protected-status vehicles like ambulances to transport weapons and even using them for attack; using UN bases and peacekeepers as cover; taking hostages; denying Red Cross access to POWs, torturing and executing POWs; false surrenders; killing medics who come to help their wounds; and of course targeting civilians, schools, churches, mosques, hospitals, ambulances, buses, shops, restaurants, weddings, funerals, journalists and aid workers - all of these are just standard Islamist warfare, as we have seen in Palestine and Iraq. These things are not part of US or Israeli warfare, because their morality is superior to Islamist morality.
Anything goes in Islamism. Islamism has no honour, no decency and no morality, and is as depraved as any idea that humanity has ever followed.
Classics of the Islamist way of war:
The Islamist way of war.
Picture credit unknown. Tell me here.
Cox and Forkum sum up the shameful, dishonourable Islamist way of war.
Cartoon from here. See Cartoon Use Policy.
Beslan, Russia, Sept 2004
The Islamist animals that took children hostage at the school in Beslan, Russia, in 2004, sum up the Islamist way of war: Taking civilian hostages (including children and infants). Starving, raping and torturing them. Forcing, like Nazi guards, crying mothers to choose one child to live and one child to die. Having terrified children running naked and bleeding from the building. Shooting the escaping children in the back.
Islamism is the modern Nazism and anyone who supports it is a Nazi. And anyone who opposes war against Islamism is no different morally from those that were neutral in World War Two.
"His heart did not fail him when they were torturing children"
- Rita Sidakova, mother of murdered 9 year old Alla Sidakova,
on the handsome young Islamist butcher of children, 24 year old Nur-Pashi Kulayev.
Picture credit Associated Press.
The Islamist way of war:
The torture, bombing and shooting of naked children by Islamist savages at the school in Beslan, Russia, 2004.
Left: Picture credit Reuters.
Right: Picture credit Reuters.
These children were actually kept hostage by the Islamist savages, and were starved, raped and tortured, denied food and water in roasting hot conditions, with hundreds of others. It was like something from a Nazi concentration camp, with naked, frightened children being herded back and forth by heartless guards. Over 150 innocent children were tortured and killed, and hundreds of other children tortured and horribly injured, in one operation by the Chechen and foreign Islamists - in their heroic campaign to establish an Islamic fundamentalist fascist tyranny. The school in Beslan was a glimpse of the future - of the Auschwitz that Islamists will set up for infidels if they ever get the chance.
In total in Beslan, over 300 innocent men, women and children were tortured and killed by the Islamist savages - the worst terrorist killing since 9/11 - which was also carried out by Islamist savages.
The Beslan jihadis: Forcing, like Nazi guards, crying mothers to choose one child to live and one child to die.
Sophie is forced to choose which of her children will be gassed, in the movie Sophie's Choice (1982).
Islamism is the modern Nazism and anyone who supports it is a Nazi.
Islamist terror attacks
We are entering an age of super-terrorism. This is merely a preview of the age of nuclear terrorism that awaits us in this century if we do not end all tyrannies in the world soon.
New York, Sept 2001
Every day, at every airport in the world, the ancient desert religion of Islam imposes itself on millions of people who don't believe in it.
Richard Reid, the shoe bomber.
Millions of people have to take their shoes off every day at airports because of this asshole.
The Nicholas George case illustrates both the Islamist way of war, and the huge gulf between those who protect us from it, and the ungrateful public like Nicholas George.
Muslim cleric says the Jews were slaughtered for trying to destroy Germany and the wo
On Arabic TV, he encourages Muslims to repeat what the Germans did as he joyfully shows actual graphic footage from the Nazi death camps.
Mein Kampf is still one of the best-selling books in the Middle East.
Going on Offensive to Expose World Hypocrisy vs. Israel
Going on Offensive to Expose World Hypocrisy vs. Israel
If you heard about an attack on a Palestinian refugee camp in which hundreds of civilians were killed, would you assume that the attack had been perpetrated by Israel? According to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, you very likely would - and you'd be wrong.
In an op-ed that appears today in the Wall Street Journal, Deputy Minister Ayalon had harsh words for an international community which berates Israel for its actions, while ignoring similar actions by other countries in a multitude of conflicts.
Vividly describing a brutal attack on a Palestinian refugee camp where 500 people were killed, Ayalon writes, "While most will assume that the events described above took place in the West Bank or Gaza, they actually took place in Lebanon in the summer of 2007, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Lebanese Army, which struck back with deadly force."
Ayalon highlights the fact that when Israel is not involved, the world is silent. "At the time, there was little international outcry," he writes. "No world leader decried the 'prison camps' in Lebanon. No demonstrations took place around the world; no U.N. investigation panels were created and little media attention was attracted. In fact, the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon garners very little attention internationally."
According to Ayalon, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, lacking basic resources and deprived of their rights. And therefore, he writes, "It is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza."
Ayalon goes on to expose the truth about Gaza, that instead of being a poverty-stricken region with a major humanitarian crisis, its markets are actually brimming with food. "This is the same Gaza that just opened a sparkling new shopping mall that would not look out of place in any capital in Europe. Gaza, where a new Olympic-sized swimming pool was recently inaugurated and five-star hotels and restaurants offer luxurious fare."
All this comes to expose the hypocrisy of the flotilla missions, says Ayalon. "Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy."
Ayalon's senior advisor, Ashley Perry, explained Ayalon's motivation for the article to Israel National News. "The purpose was to expose the hypocrisy of many of the so-called human rights activists who try single out our conflict and Israel from the many conflicts around the world," said Perry.
"The flottila exposes something we aways knew, but just makes it more obvious. The Lebanese perpetrated injustices against its own Palestinians, and have left them in second class status. It really exposes the hypocrisy of the whole flotilla exercise."
Ayalon and Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman have stated in recent months that now is the time for Israel to stop being defensive and to go on the offensive when it comes to international PR. Ayalon's piece in the Wall Street Journal appears to be a step in that direction.
Arabs Silence One Another
Arabs Silence One Another
Palestinian Authority human rights groups are reporting that both the PA government in Judea and Samaria as well as the Hamas government in Gaza inflict abuse on one another, as each side clamps down on its opponents and critics.
An AP report suggested that the rivalry between the governments could prevent the formation of a Palestinian state, even if direct peace talks with Israel scheduled to begin this Thursday succeed.
According to rights groups quoted in the report, both governments carry out arbitrary arrests, ban rivals from travel, exclude them from civil service jobs and suppress opposition media, the rights groups say. Governments in both Judea and Samaria and in Gaza use torture against opponents, which includes beatings and tying up detainees in painful positions.
Despite the claims by PA President Abbas’ government that it only targets militants who pose a security threat, last week security forces in Judea and Samaria broke up a meeting of independents who are opposed to Abbas' decision to resume peace talks with Israel.
Members of the PA General Intelligence Service reportedly also assaulted two field workers from Palestinian rights group Al-Haq as they documented the quashing of a rally protesting the return to peace talks, reported the Maan News Agency.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the attack on the Al-Haq members, saying that “it is important that the Palestinian security forces respect the work of human rights organizations and to ensure protection to their personnel in all circumstances,” and adding that PCHR “points with concern to the recurrence of attacks on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly. PCHR stresses that these two rights are guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law and by international human rights instruments.
According to reports, PA forces also attacked a local television crew at the same rally. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemned the attack on the television crew
Meanwhile in Gaza, Hamas is pushing legislation that is seen as an attempt to take over the Independent Palestinian Commission for Human Rights.
Another example is of 21 year-old Gaza resident Assad Saftawi, who has been thrown in detention four times after he wrote an article criticizing Hamas for taxing cigarettes. Also in Gaza, a heart patient who is also a Fatah official said that Hamas prevented him from leaving Gaza for a medical checkup in Jordan, even after he obtained Israeli permission to leave Gaza for the checkup.
Shahwan Jabareen of Al-Haq told AP that in both areas "we are going toward a ... regime in which the security forces intervene in everything."
AP explained that the reasoning for Abbas’ crackdown on his opponents stems from his fears of a Hamas takeover of Judea and Samaria as well as his need to keep militants in check to maintain international support. Hamas, meanwhile, is targeting independents and civil groups which provide a key alternative voice in the territory.
While the upcoming direct talks will be aimed at creating a Palestinian state, the AP report said that “it appears unlikely any deal could be implemented as long as the split persists, particularly if Hamas — shunned by Israel and the West as a terror organization — remains in charge in Gaza.”
Palestinian Authority human rights groups are reporting that both the PA government in Judea and Samaria as well as the Hamas government in Gaza inflict abuse on one another, as each side clamps down on its opponents and critics.
An AP report suggested that the rivalry between the governments could prevent the formation of a Palestinian state.
There can never be a 'Palestinian' state, and there will never ever be one.
It is totally impossible to 'create' a country called 'Palestine' out of two geographical seperated land areas ( West Bank & Gaza Strip).
Especially since the two seperate Islamic fundamentalist groups of 'jihadi nutters' that run each seperate land areas hate each others guts, and neither side has any remorse of killing/ murdering each other at the slightous oportunity.
There has NEVER been a country called Palestine, so in all reality their can not be any 'Palestinians'.
But what do we have 'millions' of these self-claimed Palestinians who in all fact are just an other Arab, and not only that have been born and bred in other Arab countries, demanding the 'right' to return to their self-claimed non-existent homeland.
What a bloody joke.
As has been openly stated time and time again by these 'Palestinian's', the attempt to create a 'Palestine' is only a means to an end for the SOLE PURPOSE to destroy Israel.
And lets not forget, the 'Leaders' of these self-claimed 'Palestinians' are not only totally corrupt but make very well paid lifestyles out of the overseas 'funds' that just happen to fall in to their pockets.
Any time 'peace' breaks out between Israli and 'Palestine' these thieves will be out of a job, and that will never happen, these thieves have no regard whatsoever for the 'Palestinian refugees', just their own extremely rich lifestyles.
What is moderate Islam? WSJ panelists mostly have no clue
What is moderate Islam? WSJ panelists mostly have no clue
The WSJ asked Anwar Ibrahim, Bernard Lewis, Ed Husain, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Tawfik Hamid and Akbar Ahmed to reflect on the nature that ever-elusive unicorn, moderate Islam."A Symposium: What Is Moderate Islam?," from the Wall Street Journal, September 1:
Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's opposition leader, makes this admission:
Skeptics and cynics alike have said that the quest for the moderate Muslim in the 21st century is akin to the search for the Holy Grail. It's not hard to understand why. Terrorist attacks, suicide bombings and the jihadist call for Muslims "to rise up against the oppression of the West" are widespread. The radical fringe carrying out such actions has sought to dominate the discourse between Islam and the West. In order to do so, they've set out to foment anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. They've also advocated indiscriminate violence as a political strategy. To cap their victory, this abysmal lot uses the cataclysm of 9/11 as a lesson for the so-called enemies of Islam.Countering this, he invokes the undeniable existence of Muslims who are just trying to live ordinary lives:
These are the Muslims who go about their lives like ordinary people--earning their livings, raising their families, celebrating reunions and praying for security and peace. These are the Muslims who have never carried a pocketknife, let alone explosives intended to destroy buildings. These Muslims are there for us to see, if only we can lift the veil cast on them by the shadowy figures in bomb-laden jackets hell-bent on destruction.In the end he does not posit the existence of a Moderate Islam, but calls for its creation:
Yet Muslims must do more than just talk about their great intellectual and cultural heritage. We must be at the forefront of those who reject violence and terrorism. And our activism must not end there. The tyrants and oppressive regimes that have been the real impediment to peace and progress in the Muslim world must hear our unanimous condemnation. The ball is in our court.The renowned scholar Bernard Lewis makes a similar admission:
A form of moderation has been a central part of Islam from the very beginning. True, Muslims are nowhere commanded to love their neighbors, as in the Old Testament, still less their enemies, as in the New Testament. But they are commanded to accept diversity, and this commandment was usually obeyed. The Prophet Muhammad's statement that "difference within my community is part of God's mercy" expressed one of Islam's central ideas, and it is enshrined both in law and usage from the earliest times.However, he then trots out the familiar claim that historically Muslims were more tolerant than Christians:
This principle created a level of tolerance among Muslims and coexistence between Muslims and others that was unknown in Christendom until after the triumph of secularism. Diversity was legitimate and accepted. Different juristic schools coexisted, often with significant divergences.Even if this is true, and there is a lot of evidence that it isn't (why were 17 million Jews living in Europe and only one million in the Islamic world at the dawn of the twentieth century?), it establishes nothing. Laws of any kind can and will be relaxed, ignored, and broken. But if they remain on the books, they will likely be enforced again by someone with the will to do so. And so if Islam has no command to love one's neighbor, Muslims will generally not be loving to their neighbors, except when human nature gets the better of what they're taught.
Even after retailing this soothing nonsense, Lewis tells the truth:
For the moment, there does not seem to be much prospect of a moderate Islam in the Muslim world. This is partly because in the prevailing atmosphere the expression of moderate ideas can be dangerous--even life-threatening. Radical groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban, the likes of which in earlier times were at most minor and marginal, have acquired a powerful and even a dominant position.In that, Lewis contradicts his earlier statement. Practice, yes. Theory, no. As Lewis himself pointed out.
Then Ed Husain, who is just another deceiver, chimes in with a tissue of detours entitled "Don't Call Me Moderate, Call Me Normal":
[...] The Prophet Muhammad warned us against ghuluw, or extremism, in religion. The Quran reinforces the need for qist, or balance. For me, Islam at its essence is the middle way in all matters. This is normative Islam, adhered to by a billion normal Muslims across the globe.Nothing about dhimmitude. Nothing about the deprivations, discrimination and harassment suffered by non-Muslims in Islamic societies for centuries. For a corrective, complete with numerous primary source documents showing what actually went on behind the facade of Islam's history of "pluralism," see Bat Ye'or's Islam and Dhimmitude and The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam.
Reuel Marc Gerecht then explains that "moderate Islam is the faith practiced by the parents of my Pakistani British roommate at the University of Edinburgh--and, no doubt, by the great majority of Muslim immigrants to Europe and the United States." They were very nice to him, you see, and were "devout Muslims." He confuses, as do so many, the individual practitioner of the religion with the teachings of the religion itself. Yet people behave in all sorts of ways for all sorts of reasons; the behavior of any given Muslim no more changes the teachings of Islam than the behavior of a non-practicing Catholic means that the Catholic Church doesn't teach what it teaches.
Only Tawfik Hamid gets to the heart of the matter:
Moderate Islam should be defined as a form of Islam that rejects these violent and discriminatory edicts. Furthermore, it must provide a strong theological refutation for the mainstream Islamic teaching that the Muslim umma (nation) must declare wars against non-Muslim nations, spreading the religion and giving non-Muslims the following options: convert, pay a humiliating tax, or be killed. This violent concept fuels jihadists, who take the teaching literally and accept responsibility for applying it to the modern world.Ed Husain just above is an example of the tendency Hamid refers to here.
Akbar Ahmed, following Hamid, is smooth but empty. And so after all that, what is moderate Islam? None of these analysts seem to know, or to be able to point to it. One would think that would lead to some rather obvious conclusions for the WSJ, the nation, and the world. But it doesn't.
New Jihadi Book Permits Murdering Civilians
New Jihadi Book Permits Murdering Civilians
by IPT News • Oct 3, 2011
Jihadi forum Ansar al-Mujahideen recently published a new e-book, The Just Scale – On the Permissibility of Killing the Infidels' Children and Women, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Each of its eight chapters presents alleged proof from the Quran and Islam's legal tradition, in an attempt to refute mainstream arguments against killing certain types of civilians.
"When the infidels, the enemies of the faith, [began] to harm the Muslims and rushed to [perpetrate] evil and tyranny, violate taboos, and kill women and children, to the extent that things could not get any worse... a band of believers stood up to end this hostility and pay [the infidels] back for it many times over, with justice and fairness..." claims Sheikh Abu Al-Hassan Al-Azdi in the introduction. Muslim warriors today still are commanded to act in this fashion, the author goes on to say.
Although al-Qaida has already murdered tens of thousands of Iraqis and other Muslim civilians, the book is meant to strengthen the weak theological argument for such attacks. Al-Qaida currently justifies its attacks as the necessary elimination of apostates and heretics, or denies collateral damage to civilians.
Murdering women and children has also been a prevalent part of terror campaigns by nationalist terrorist groups, particularly Palestinian groups. Hamas and clerics supporting Palestinian suicide bombing argue that Israelis are not really civilians, because the vast majority serve in Israel's army.
Islamic Ethnic Cleansing of Jews
The Jews who fled the Muslim world left many things behind. They left behind their homes and their possessions. Their synagogues, their neighborhoods, and much of their history remained in the alleys of Aleppo, the neighborhoods of Cairo and the streets of Baghdad.
Today when their history isn’t being ignored, while that of the Arabs who fled Israel after their failed attempts at genocide of the country’s Jewish population in 1948 and 1967 is lionized, it’s being lied about.
Every Muslim country constructs its own myths of a “Golden Age” where Jews were taken care of by their Muslim masters. Even when, like Al-Andalus, they are countries that no longer exist.
Confederate apologists defend slavery by claiming that the slaves were happy until the abolitionists disrupted the status quo. Apologists for the treatment of Jews in the Arab world sing the same song. Everyone was united, everyone was happily Syrian, Iraqi or Egyptian, until the creation of Israel ruined everything.
In response to a David Horowitz Freedom Center ad in the GW Hatchet, an email came in from an Iraqi student claiming that “long before Israel was even a thought, Iraq (my home country), had been a shining example of unity while simultaneously celebrating the diversity of cultures” and that “Jewish populations began to leave Iraq; not because of religious discrimination but because they felt obligated to support a country of their faith.”
This narrative blames the treatment of the Jewish minority in the Arab world on the Jews, by claiming that there was a Zionist conspiracy to drive them out, e.g. the Lavon Affair. These conspiracy theories allow Muslims to avoid coming to terms with their national persecution of Jewish minorities by blaming Jews for their own ethnic cleansing.
The Arab world prior to 1949 was not a tolerant multicultural paradise. Iraq certainly wasn’t. After the Ottoman Empire it was in a state of conflict, torn by ethnic and religious divisions. The current tensions between Shiite and Sunni, and between Arab and Kurd did not begin yesterday. And Jews were often the targets.
After Iraqi Jews were freed from Ottoman rule and its Islamic law that branded them “Dhimmis,” legal and social inferiors, they gained new opportunities under British rule and a measure of equality. But the rights they gained were not only eroded under succeeding Iraqi governments, but their achievements made them the targets of bigotry and hate.
This is the process that turned the community of over a 100,000 Jews in Baghdad into a series of empty houses and distant memories. When Iraqi Arabs chose to listen to the incitement of hate, rather than to their common humanity, and chose to use violence against the Jews of Baghdad— that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish life in Iraq.
The Iraqi letter writer speaks of a “shining example of unity,” but that is generally code for a time when everyone knew their place. When the Jews forgot their place as Dhimmis, they broke that unity and as the Caliphate shifted to Pan-Arabism, the Jews of Iraq found themselves once again on the outside. They had not been Muslims and they were not Arabs. Once again they were outsiders, and to the newspapers that promoted the unity of Pan-Arabism, they were ripe targets to be denounced as outsiders, enemies and spies.
Anti-Semitic mob violence had existed in Baghdad throughout the 20th century, with Jews being assaulted in 1908 as supporters of the Young Turks and then as British spies, in the 1940s as supporters of the Iraqi monarchy and then finally as supporters of Israel. But the issue was always the need for a minority to transform into the scapegoat. A role that Israel still plays in the Muslim Middle East.
What began with anti-Semitism in the Iraqi press in the 1920s turned into overt discrimination and violence in the 1930s. As in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Jews were purged from the civil service, Jewish businesses were ransacked, and Jewish homes looted. Restrictions on traveling abroad were imposed, as well as educational quotas.
Anti-Semitism in the school system came down from the director general of education and the growing collaboration between Arab nationalists and the Nazis turned Iraq into a haven for Third Reich ideology, especially when it came to the Jews.
The Nazi-backed coup and its aftermath brought on the Farhud massacre of Jews during the holiday of Shavuot and began the exodus of Iraqi Jews. The attackers were Iraqi soldiers and police in an exact duplicate of what was taking place in Europe.
No matter how much Iraqi Jews tried to claim that they had nothing to do with Zionism, they went on being persecuted, attacked and murdered. The establishment of Israel gave Iraqi Jews a place to go to escape the violence and the hate. Those who didn’t or couldn’t get out experienced even worse abuse, torment and terror in the decades to come.
This is the “shining example of unity” in Iraq. And the story is not too different from the shining examples in Egypt and Syria and throughout the Arab world. The problem with so much of the Muslim world is that its unity only exists under tyranny.
Christians who attempted to join in Pan-Arabism could only do so by excluding non-Arabs which made their unity into another narrow exclusionary coalition. But Pan-Arabism was always doomed to give way to Pan-Islamism and exclude the Christians. And Pan-Islamism divides down into sects, Sunni and Shiite, and internally into subgroups such as the Salafis and the Alawites. The endless divisions mean that even Pan-Islamism could always be disrupted through Takfir.
If Muslims cannot even grant equal rights and find national unity with other Muslims, what hope was there for the Jews?
Today the Muslim world is more Judenrein than post-war Europe because the Muslim world made it clear that Jews had no future there. Baghdad is a reminder of the history that the Jews have left behind and the continuing denial and deception of the Muslim world about the fate of their Jewish neighbors.
The Problem of Muslim Anti-Semitism: Its Past and Present
The Problem of Muslim Anti-Semitism: Its Past and Present
Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C. Headquarters
Andrew Bostom and Hillel Fradkin
The Problem of Muslim Anti-Semitism:Its Past and Present
What are the sources of contemporary Muslim anti-Semitism? Are they primarily ancient or modern? What are its implications for the analysis of contemporary issues and especially the challenge of radical Islam? What liabilities does it present not only to Jews and other non-Muslims but for Muslims themselves? These and related questions have become increasingly important for policy analysis and formulation. A new book by Dr. Andrew Bostom, entitled The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism, is the most recent contribution to addressing these issues. It provides an anthology of scholarly reviews, essays, and primary sources that relate to this subject, including an extensive introductory analysis by Dr. Bostom presenting his conclusions. Dr. Bostom presented his new book and his views at a seminar of the Hudson Institute. The seminar was moderated by Dr. Hillel Fradkin, who will also provide comments.
Andrew G. Bostom, M.D., M.S. (Providence, RI), is the author of The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Renal Diseases at Rhode Island Hospital, the major teaching affiliate of Brown University Medical School. Dr. Bostom has published numerous articles and commentaries on Islam in the Washington Times, National Review Online, Revue Politique, FrontPage Magazine.com, American Thinker, and other print and online publications.
Dr. Fradkin is a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, where he directs its Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World. He earned his degree in Islamic Studies from the Univ. of Chicago under the direction of the late Pakistani scholar and theologian Fazlur Rahman. He is the founder of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, the leading journal on contemporary Islamism which he co-edits with Hudson scholars Husain Haqqani and Eric Brown. Dr. Fradkin is also general editor of Hudson's monograph series on contemporary Islam and Islamism as well as the center's website – www.futureofmuslimworld.com.
The Problem Of Muslim Anti-Semitism
The Problem Of Muslim Anti-Semitism
By: Irfan Khawaja
If you raise the issue of Arab or Muslim anti-Semitism with the average Arab/Muslim leader, you will, with just a few exceptions, get a predictable set of responses. Some of them will shamefacedly acknowledge that the problem exists, and having done so, will then abruptly change the subject to racial profiling, American imperialism, or the evils of Israel. Others will admit the existence of the problem, but insist that it survives only on the "fringes" of Arab/Muslim society, and is thus an issue of marginal concern. Some will simply fall silent. And others will tell you with disarming candor that the "problem" of anti-Semitism is no "problem" at all, because the Jews are after all a scheming and diabolical race who deserve all the abuse that can be directed at them. Multiply such leaders by the hundreds, and do so over the course of decades, and you will get some sense of why the problem of anti-Semitism has assumed the proportions it currently has in the Arab-Muslim community.
So how big a problem is Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism? Reasonable people may reasonably disagree about its scope, but no reasonable person, I think, can claim that the problem is a marginal one. As Bernard Lewis of Princeton put the point in his book Semites and Anti-Semites (1986):
"The volume of anti-Semitic books and articles published, the size and number of editions and impressions, the eminence and authority of those who write, publish and sponsor them, their place in school and college curricula, their role in the mass media, would all seem to suggest that classical anti-Semitism is an essential part of Arab [and I would add, Muslim] intellectual life at the present time…"
Lewis's assessment tallies well with my own personal experience. Contempt for Jews was a ubiquitous and inescapable phenomenon in the Arab/Muslim community in which I grew up in New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s; the bigotry there was such that my brother jokingly referred to the community as "The Fourth Reich." And such attitudes remain in place today. Recently, The Arab Voice, an Arab-language newspaper in Paterson, N.J., was discovered serializing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a notorious anti-Semitic forgery) in its pages. To the best of my knowledge, not a single local Arab/Muslim leader condemned them for it. To make matters worse, local leaders not only defended the newspaper, but openly affirmed their belief in the Protocols! A depressing example, but not a unique one: I could multiply such examples further if I had the space.
Are my experiences unique? I don't think so, but those unwilling to trust mere anecdotes can consult the ample resources of the documentary record. Besides Lewis's book mentioned above, the interested reader can consult the last third of Robert Wistrich's Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (1991), the Arab Antisemitism
Documentation Project of the Middle East Research Institute:
(http://www.memri.org/antisemitism.html), or the various relevant publications of the Anti-Defamation League (http://www.adl.org/main_as_arab.asp).
There are, in addition, several important essays on the subject by the Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes:
and several in recent issues of Commentary (http://www.commentarymagazine.com),
The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com),
The New York Times (http://www.hvk.org/articles/0402/239.html),
and the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0417/p06s01-woeu.htm).
Yet another resource is the website of the British cultural historian Richard Webster, which includes ten major essays on the subject:
Though most of the criticism of Muslim anti-Semitism has come from non-Muslims, it's heartening to report that some Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians have begun to acknowledge the problem and to combat it. Richard Webster's site includes important essays by such Muslim writers as Qais Saleh and Tariq Ramadan , who condemn anti-Semitism while providing eloquent testimony from "the inside" as to the extent of the problem.
Equally notable are essays and statements on the subject by the journalist Asma Agbarieh http://www.hanitzotz.com/challenge/67/asma.html; by scholars Harun Yahya:
http://www.harunyahya.com/32terrorism_antisemitism_soc06.php, Sayyid Hossain Nasr, and Ibn Warraq; by Salman Rushdie
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/02/opinion/02RUSH.html; and by James Zogby of the Arab-American Institute http://www.danielpipes.org/499.php.
It's also something of a relief to hear that some repentant ulema have publicly confessed to their past anti-Jewish indulgences (e.g., Cleveland's Fawaz Damra
http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/jan/imam/020118.imam.html and Hamza Yusuf http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,564960,00.html of the Zeytouna Institute in California). On the other hand, those of us who have heard our share of anti-Jewish rhetoric over the years at the Eid khutbah may also wonder how many of the ulema have indulged in the vice without bothering to confess it.
I'll therefore take for granted that there is a problem here requiring a solution. Obviously, then, to solve it, we need to identify its sources. I'll mention just three. The first, and most delicate, is the text of the Quran. Any thinking Muslim must wrestle with the fact that the Quran occasionally refers to Jews in a negative light, and acknowledge that Muslims have exploited these Quranic verses for anti-Semitic purposes. The question then becomes one of ijtihad—the proper interpretation of the relevant verses.
There are two possible interpretations.
(1) The first is to see the Quran as condemning the Jews collectively and eternally for their failure to embrace Islam. On this interpretation, the differences between Judaism and Islam are more important than any similarities; thus, we should ignore the similarities and focus on the differences, regarding the Jews as enemies of Islam, whom Muslims are commanded to fight until the Day of Judgment.
(2) A second, more traditional interpretation holds that in criticizing Jews, the Quran is condemning specific transgressions by specific Jewish individuals or tribes, not collective sins committed by a race, ethnicity or creed. On this interpretation, the similarities between Judaism and Islam outweigh the differences; thus, Muslims should use the similarities as the basis for harmony between the two faiths, settling any remaining differences by discourse rather than violence. Obviously, these two interpretations of the Quran contradict one another, and Muslims must choose between them.
A second source of Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism is a skewed understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Far too many Arabs and Muslims grow up with the belief that God commands them to side with the Palestinians against the Israelis in that conflict. Thus without bothering to acquaint themselves with facts or context, such people come to believe that the history of the dispute consists of nothing but Israeli atrocities against Arabs.
In this view of things, the Arabs are nothing but victims, and the Israelis nothing but aggressors; the Arabs are responsible for nothing, and the Israelis are responsible for everything. From such a view, it's easy enough to slide into conspiracy theorizing, and from there to the belief that the Jews are a corrupt and diabolical race, while the Arabs are a noble and pure one. Unfortunately, this view of history has less to do with the pursuit of Palestinian rights than it does with role-playing, and does no one any real good, much less the Palestinians.
A third source of Muslim anti-Semitism is what I call "retaliatory bigotry," i.e., Arab/Muslim retaliation for bigotry suffered at the hands of Jews. In raising this issue, I don't mean to be making excuses for Muslim anti-Semites or to be blaming their victims. Bigotry is a moral failing for which its practitioners alone are responsible; nothing excuses it, and no one deserves it. But in criticizing Arabs and Muslims for their failings, we should not imagine that the sources of Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism lie exclusively within the Arab/Muslim community.
In thirty-odd years of life, I've been on the receiving end of a good deal of bigotry, much of it directed at me by Jews. As both victim of and witness to such bigotry, I resolved not to fall into the cycle of responding in kind to those who had perpetrated it. I did, however, watch others fail in that struggle, succumbing to the need to hit back at bigots by becoming bigots themselves. It's clear to me that such "retaliatory bigotry" is a large source of Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism. To combat it, we must see—and get others to see—that anti-Semitism does not exist in a vacuum; it's part of a vicious cycle in which anti-Muslim bigotry plays a role. We should, then, commit no trespasses against others, but overlook none against ourselves. Our task is to fight anti-Semitism from a spirit of justice, not of turning the other cheek.
Bigotry is a dispiriting thing, but I remain an optimist about the prospects of eradicating it. Anti-Semitism will, I think, finally wither away when those who indulge it are refused the tolerance they have so long enjoyed, and those who tolerate it recognize that the malice and stupidity that motivates it are a threat to all of us. We should remember that a moral environment can suffer from pollution, as can a physical one. Anti-Semitism has fouled our moral environment for far too long—and done so with our acquiescence. Self-respect, justice, and sheer safety demand that we drive it from our homes, our neighborhoods, and above all, our hearts.
A history of Muslim antisemitism and anti-Zionism
A history of Muslim antisemitism and anti-Zionism
Books, articles, and TV documentaries about anti-Semitism abound. Yet, in almost all of these and in public understanding generally, the problem is defined as a Western Christian prejudice that later gave way to extreme right-wing bigotry that reached its full flowering in the Holocaust and exists today in small pockets within the far-right and, in a milder form, among the less well educated sections of society. And that's about it.
Not only does this portrayal miss the growing evil of left-wing anti-Semitism in the West, more importantly it leaves most people — including many Jews — in blissful ignorance of the massive range of Muslim anti-Semitism in the Middle East and beyond. No Islamic society is wholly free of this problem, and in some countries it is so ubiquitous as to form a major part of social discourse. Muslim anti-Semitism can be found in the mainstream press, on national TV channels, and in books and pamphlets on sale everywhere. How did this start, and how did it take its present form?
Modern radical Islam, particularly in the form developed by its two most prominent exponents, the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb and the Indian/Pakistani Abu'l-A'la Mawdudi, is most often termed Salafi. The Salaf were the first generation of Muslims, and modern Salafis aim to reconstruct society in imitation of their practice. Above all, the Qur'an, the Hadith (pl. ahadith), and the life of the Prophet (described in the Qur'an as a perfect model for mankind) serve as the primary inspiration for all aspeects of human behaviour. In essence, this is what most Muslims believe anyway, but the Salafiyun aim to create a new society, whose government, laws, and social interactions will conform perfectly to the first-generation template. It's worth adding here that development in Muslim societies has regularly been held back because of a deeply ingrained belief that innovation (bid'a) is, by definition, a form of heresy.
What does the Qur'an say about Jews?
Let's begin (and I ask your indulgence in doing so, but this is all entirely relevant) by pointing out a basic factor in any commentary on the Qur'an: the book is organized achronologically. Its earliest redactors adopted a simple solution to the collection of verses that had been written (Muslims would say 'revealed') over a period of 22 years: they put the longest chapters (suras) first and the shortest last (with the exception of the very first, a short sura called al-Fatiha, the Opening). The only concession to chronology is in the sub-heading of chapters as 'Meccan' or 'Medinan', referring to the Prophet's residence in Mecca (up to 622 CE) and Medina (to 632, the year of his death).
Later commentators (and, more recently, some Western scholars) attempted to refine this crude division. What they did was to refer to what was known of the Prophet's life and identify this verse or that (or, often, whole suras) according to the 'Occasions of Revelation'. This isn't an exact science, since there are remarkably few historical references in the Qur'an. But once it was done, scholars were able to say that this late verse abrogated an early one, or that this early verse was abrogated by a later.
This has an immense bearing on practical issues. For our present purposes, it explains why you will find in the Qur'an both positive and negative references to Jews (and Christians).
As his prophetic career developed, Muhammad fell under the influence of Arabian Jews and Christians, including the Jews in and around the city of Yathrib, to which he fled in 622, and which he came to control within a few years (since when it has been known as Madinat al-Nabi, the city of the Prophet, or, more simply, Madina). The Jews and Christians possessed scriptures that were claimed to be the Word of God, and Muhammad, who had been formulating a monotheism of his own, was deeply impressed by this. From this, he came to see himself as a prophet to the Arabs, a 'middle' people who had not previously received a divine revelation. He saw himself, too, as the latest (and last) in a long line of prophets, beginning with Adam, down through Noah, Abraham and Moses, then Jesus. Oddly enough, most of the lesser prophets don't get a look in.
As time passed, however, Muhammad (who was by now growing in political and military strength) came to resent the Jews and Christians for their obduracy in face of his revelation. They were People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) because they had been sent scriptures, and, as such, were to be protected by the new guys in town. But there is a distinct move from verses that describe the former scriptuaries as the best friends of Muslims to those that condemn them for their rejection of the prophets, and that claim they have corrupted their own scriptures by distorting the words (tahrif). It seems quite possible that this position owes something to early Christian versions of supersessionist/replacement theology. It remains to be seen how modern Christian exponents of supersessionism, who see the Palestinians as the new Jews and the Israeli state as a 'crucifixion apparatus' will find theological partners in Muslims.
Muhammad's growing animosity towards the Jews is mirrored, first in the Qur'anic text, and secondly, in actions taken by the Prophet against Jewish tribes, culminating in their complete expulsion (along with all Christians) from the Arabian Peninsula. When Muhammad arrived in Yathrib/Medina in 622 , he chose for the qibla (the direction of formal prayer) the city of Jerusalem, thereby identifying himself strongly with the Jewish prophetic tradition. Within two years of his arrival (February 624), he abruptly shifted the qibla in the midst of prayers, turning towards his home town of Mecca and the cube-shaped building in its centre, the Ka'ba.
At that time, there were about twenty Jewish clans in the vicinity of Medina or in the citry itself, of which three were pre-eminent: the Banu Nadir, the Banu Qaynuqa' and the Banu Qurayza. Before long, both the Nadir and the Qaynuqa' had been banished. In March 627, for their alleged treachery prior to the Battle of al-Khandaq, Muhammad had all the men (between 700 and 900) of the Qurayza executed and the women and children sold into slavery. (For a reasonable account of these events, go to:
http://answering-islam.org.uk/Authors/Arlandson/jews.htm For a more academic study, read W. M. Watt Muhammad at Medina.)
By now, the Qur'an had nothing good to say about the Jews. 'The most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews' (Qur'an 5:82)
What exactly were the Jews meant to be guilty of? For a full answer, I suggest you read the following list, taken from the fatwa database of a well-known Islamic website, Islam Online. I have never seen a more complete (or more disturbing) tabulation of the Qur'anic case against the Jews.
'Dear Sheikh! As-Salam `Alaykum. What, according to the Qur’an, are the main characteristics and qualities of Jews?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, we are really pleased to have your question and we pray to Allah to make our humble efforts, exerted solely for His Sake, come up to your expectation.
As regards the question you posed, the following is the fatwa issued by Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former Head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, in which he states the following:
“The Qur’an has specified a considerable deal of its verses to talking about Jews, their personal qualities and characteristics. The Qur’anic description of Jews is quite impartial; praising them in some occasions where they deserve praise and condemning them in other occasions where they practice blameworthy acts. Yet, the latter occasions outnumbered the former, due to their bad qualities and the heinous acts they used to commit.
The Qur’an praises them on the verse that reads: “ And verily We gave the Children of Israel the Scripture and the Command and the Prophethood, and provided them with good things and favored them above (all) peoples.” (Al-Jathiyah:16) i.e. the peoples of their time.
Among the bad qualities they were characterized with are the following:
1. They used to fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah. Allah Almighty says: “ That is because they say: We have no duty to the Gentiles. They speak a lie concerning Allah knowingly.” (Al-`Imran:75) Also: “The Jews say: Allah's hand is fettered. Their hands are fettered and they are accursed for saying so. Nay, but both His hands are spread out wide in bounty. He bestoweth as He will.” (Al-Ma`idah:64)
In another verse Almighty Allah says: “Verily Allah heard the saying of those who said, (when asked for contributions to the war): "Allah, forsooth, is poor, and we are rich! We shall record their saying with their slaying of the Prophets wrongfully and We shall say: Taste ye the punishment of burning!” (Al-`Imran:181)
2. They love to listen to lies. Concerning this Allah says: “and of the Jews: listeners for the sake of falsehood, listeners on behalf of other folk” (Al-Ma’idah: 41)
3. Disobeying Almighty Allah and never observing His commands. Allah says: “And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts.” (Al-Ma’idah: 13)
4. Disputing and quarreling. This is clear in the verse that reads: “Their Prophet said unto them: Lo! Allah hath raised up Saul to be a king for you. They said: How can he have kingdom over us when we are more deserving of the kingdom than he is, since he hath not been given wealth enough?” (Al-Baqarah: 247)
5. Hiding the truth and standing for misleading. This can be understood from the verse that reads: “…distort the Scripture with their tongues, that ye may think that what they say is from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture.” (Al-`Imran: 78)
6. Staging rebellion against the Prophets and rejecting their guidance. This is clear in the verse: “And when ye said: O Moses! We will not believe in thee till we see Allah plainly.” (Al-Baqarah: 55)
7. Hypocrisy. In a verse, we read: “And when they fall in with those who believe, they say: We believe; but when they go apart to their devils they declare: Lo! we are with you; verily we did but mock.” (Al-Baqarah: 14) In another verse, we read: “Enjoin ye righteousness upon mankind while ye yourselves forget (to practice it)? And ye are readers of the Scripture! Have ye then no sense?” (Al-Baqarah: 44)
8. Giving preference to their own interests over the rulings of religion and the dictates of truth. Allah says: “…when there cometh unto you a messenger (from Allah) with that which ye yourselves desire not, ye grow arrogant, and some ye disbelieve and some ye slay?” (Al-Baqarah: 87)
9. Wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them. This is clear in the verse that reads: “Many of the People of the Scripture long to make you disbelievers after your belief, through envy on their own account, after the truth hath become manifest unto them.” (Al-Baqarah: 109)
10. They feel pain to see others in happiness and are gleeful when others are afflicted with a calamity. This is clear in the verse that reads: “If a lucky chance befall you, it is evil unto them, and if disaster strike you they rejoice thereat.” (Al-`Imran:120)
11. They are known of their arrogance and haughtiness. They claimed to be the sons and of Allah and His beloved ones. Allah tells us about this in the verse that reads: “The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones.” (Al-Ma’idah: 18)
12. Utilitarianism and opportunism are among their innate traits. This is clear in the verse that reads: “And of their taking usury when they were forbidden it, and of their devouring people's wealth by false pretences.” (An-Nisa’: 161)
13. Their impoliteness and indecent way of speech is beyond description. Referring to this, the Qur’anic verse reads: “Some of those who are Jews change words from their context and say: "We hear and disobey; hear thou as one who heareth not" and "Listen to us!" distorting with their tongues and slandering religion. If they had said: "We hear and we obey; hear thou, and look at us" it had been better for them, and more upright. But Allah hath cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, save a few.” (An-Nisa’:46)
14. It is easy for them to slay people and kill innocents. Nothing in the world is dear to their hearts than shedding blood and murdering human beings. They never give up this trait even with the Messengers and the Prophets. Allah says: “…and slew the prophets wrongfully.” (Al-Baqarah: 61)
15. They are merciless and heartless. In this meaning, the Qur’anic verse explains: “Then, even after that, your hearts were hardened and became as rocks, or worse than rocks, for hardness.” (Al-Baqarah: 74)
16. They never keep their promises or fulfill their words. Almighty Allah says: “Is it ever so that when ye make a covenant a party of you set it aside? The truth is, most of them believe not.” (Al-Baqarah: 100)
17. They rush hurriedly to sins and compete in transgression. Allah says: “They restrained not one another from the wickedness they did. Verily evil was that they used to do!” (Al-MA’idah:79)
18. Cowardice and their love for this worldly life are their undisputable traits. To this, the Qur’an refers when saying: “Ye are more awful as a fear in their bosoms than Allah. That is because they are a folk who understand not. They will not fight against you in a body save in fortified villages or from behind walls. Their adversity among themselves is very great. Ye think of them as a whole whereas their hearts are divers.” (Al-Hashr:13-14) Allah Almighty also says: “And thou wilt find them greediest of mankind for life and (greedier) than the idolaters.” (Al-Baqarah:96)
19. Miserliness runs deep in their hearts. Describing this, the Qur’an states: “Or have they even a share in the Sovereignty? Then in that case, they would not give mankind even the speck on a date stone.” (An-Nisa’:53)
20. Distorting Divine Revelation and Allah’s Sacred Books. Allah says in this regard: “Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands anthem say, "This is from Allah," that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby.” (Al-Baqara: 79)
After this clear explanation, we would like to note that these are but some of the most famous traits of the Jews as described in the Qur’an. They have revolted against the Divine ordinances, distorted what has been revealed to them and invented new teachings which, they claimed, were much more better than what has been recorded in the Torah. It was for these traits that they found no warm reception in all countries where they tried to reside. Rather, they would either be driven out or live in isolation. It was Almighty Allah who placed on them His Wrath and made them den of humiliation due to their transgression. Almighty Allah told us that He’d send to them people who’d pour on them rain of severe punishment that would last till the Day of Resurrection. All this gives us glad tidings of the coming victory of Muslims over them once Muslims stick to strong faith and belief in Allah and adopt the modern means of technology.'
The traditional Dhimmi status of Jews meets Nazi ideals
Let's move on. One odd thing, given the abrogation of early verses and the treatment of the Jews of Arabia, is that Jews and Christians continued to enjoy the status of 'protected people' (ahl al-dimma), a status conferred on them as 'people of the Book' (ahl al-kitab). Pagans (which, strictly speaking, means anyone not a Jew, Christian, or Muslim, or, in some later interpretations, anyone who does not profess a monotheistic belief) had a simple choice: Islam or death. People of the Book were offered a choice between Islam and the status of Dhimmi. In return for a poll-tax (jizya), their lives would be spared (during an invasion, for example). As most of you will be aware, conditions for Dhimmis varied considerably across the Muslim world, from the tolerance of Islamic Spain and Portugal (al-Andalus) to the periodic pogroms of Iran and the Middle East.
Because Jews and Christians were not full citizens of the Muslim state, they had few privileges and suffered many restrictions. The overall aim was to humiliate them in order to bring home to them the consequences of their obduracy, and in the hope they might convert to Islam. There are many cases of converts and slaves rising to the highest positions of state. In this respect, Islam is an unusual religion in its relative lack of racial prejudice and its willingness to embrace the newcomer. Becoming a Muslim opens everything to the convert, the main disadvantage being that the punishment for changing your mind is death.
The Dhimmi concept reached its apogee in the Ottoman millet (Ar. Milla, community) system, whereby Jews and Christians of numerous denominations were granted autonomy in personal matters (laying the basis for later religious courts in the Middle East). Despite this, Muslims continued to view Dhimmis as their religious and social inferiors, and to this day non-Muslims in Muslim countries are treated as second-class people, sometimes persecuted, and often denied basic civil rights. Groups like the Baha'is, who are neither Jews nor Christians, and who have broken decisively with Islam, have no rights at all.
But let me stress again: there is a huge difference between the Islamic treatment of the Jews and the type of anti-Semitism that developed in Europe from Gobineau onward. For Muslims, traditionally at least, there is a 'cure' for being Jewish: conversion. For the Nazis, there was only one 'final solution'.
And here's the rub. In the 1920s and 30s, many Muslims, inspired by Hajj Amin al-Husayni (see this website), the Mufti of Jerusalem, grew besotted with Nazi racist ideology and grafted it to the existing Muslim prejudice about Jews. With the influx of Jews to mandated Palestine and the establishment of the Israeli state, Muslims in the region and elsewhere were discombobulated out of all proportion and, in consequence, fell back even more heavily on the theories of European-style right-wing anti-Semitism.
Why was this different to what had gone before? A good starting-point for any understanding of this problem is Bernard Lewis's authoritative but readable guide to the predicament of Islam, What Went Wrong?.Up until the 16th century or so, Muslims had enjoyed the belief (correct, in the main) that theirs was the greatest civilization in the world, and that unbelievers were wretched creatures of the half-light. They knew little of conditions in Europe, and judged non-believers by the poor state of their own ahl al-dhimma. The first breaches in that perception came when Europeans showed up with superior military technology. By the 18th century, these Europeans were not just winning battles against Muslim armies, they were invading Muslim countries. Between then and the early 20th century, country after country fell to European arms. Even a country like Iran, which was never conquered, was in 1907 divided into two spheres of influence by the British and Russians. There could not have been a greater humiliation: to be conquered and ruled (directly, or as a protectorate) by the very people Muslims had for so many centuries despised.
Nor did it stop there. The Europeans, it gradually appeared, did not just have better arms and armies. They had modern science and medicine, rapidly-evolving technologies, factories from which all manner of products emerged in astounding quantities, printing presses, and, as time passed, motor cars, steel battleships, radios, TVs, movies — an entire Aladdin's cave of treasures that left Muslims far behind. Not only that, but the more reform-minded stood in open-mouthed admiration at European institutions: democratically-elected parliaments, constitutions, constitutional monarchies, secularized legal systems, law courts largely free of corruption, universities, military academies, and so on.
For many — and this is possibly more true today than it was one hundred years ago — the disparity between what was supposed to happen (Islam in the ascendancy, Muslims possessed of a civilization that would render all others insignificant and pointless) and where things actually stood was unbearable. Today, things are as bad as ever: Muslim nations among the world's least developed countries, rich Muslim countries that owe their wealth to oil and little else, no democracy to speak of, Western powers capable of invading and conquering parts of the Islamic world with relative ease.
The state of Israel - a humiliation to some
The state of Israel came into this like a slap on the face of every Muslim. Here were the Jews, a despised people whom God had abandoned, whose very existence had depended so heavily on the toleration extended to them by Muslim states, turning up in force and receiving at the hands of the infidel powers a land that had been part of the Islamic umma for almost fourteen hundred years. Despite their supposed abjectness and the fact that 6 million of them had been killed by the Nazis, despite their military weakness and their lack of arms, these hated Jews fought off five Arab armies and sent them running with their tails between their legs.
As time passed, the Israelis fought off their enemies in a succession of wars. They possessed nuclear weapons. And their scientific and technological know-how put them in the front rank of developed nations. With a population of some 1.3 billion, Muslims number six Nobel prizewinners (one of them the well-known peacemaker Yassir Arafat). The Irish, with a population of about 4 million, had more. Not only that, Ireland, a poor and divided agricultural country, moved itself in a matter of years to third place among nations in respect of per capita income. And the Jews? Out of 12 million, they had over 230 Nobels.
The humiliation Muslims feel has to be intense. And, as anyone who has studied the rise of Nazism, it was humiliation that acted as a powerful goad towards the simplistic promises of National Socialism.
Nazi anti-Semitism was, of course, markedly different from traditional Christian or Muslim anti-Semitism, both of which had a religious basis. A Jew in Germany or conquered Europe could not escape deportation by converting to Christianity. The Nazis did not think that way, basing their definition of Jewishness on a naïve racist formula that created all the absurdities of mischlings and the rest. Muslims, as we have seen, took this Nazi anti-Semitism to their bosom, but they retained their own religious basis for Judeophobia.
Islamic antisemitism today and the Case of Palestine
Today, that combination still works its spell. Jews are doubly hated. First, because they are Jews and despised by God, secondly because some of them are Israelis (and all of them are potential Israelis), which is a purely nationalist and racist matter. It is from this that Palestinian anti-Semitism takes it strength, and it is from the Palestinian formula that modern left-wing activists in Europe and America take their cue, calling for boycotts of Israel, its universities, and its industries while claiming they are not anti-Jewish.
For most Muslims today, anti-Semitic feeling centres in the existence of the state of Israel. From this perspective, there are only two solutions: the elimination of Israel (and, ideally, the slaughter of all Jewish Israelis) or the wholesale conversion of Israeli Jews to Islam, thereby bringing the land back within the fold of Islam.
One of the chief characterstics of modern Islamic anti-Semitism is its all-pervasive character. For all that there is widespread anti-Semitism in the left-wing press in Europe and elsewhere, it is rare to find an anti-Semitic statement that is not dressed up as anti-Israelism. Ken Livingstone's comparison of a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard actually stands out in its ineptness. No-one but the far right calls for the death of Jews or the desecration of synagogues. Holocaust denial is a crime in many countries, and deniers have been successfully prosecuted. Things are very different in the Muslim world, where academics include outright anti-Jewish statements in their books and articles, the mainstream press portrays Jews in the vilest terms, national TV channels beam out soap operas based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and schools and universities teach the hatred of Jews as part of normative educational discourse.
This material is not hard to find. Any Arab bookshop will do. The collection at MEMRI is comprehensive. Israel's Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has some excellent material on its website, and a CD entitled “The Hate Industry” can be obtained from them or the Israeli Embassy.
It remains a disgrace, not only that this material is virtually unknown outside Jewish communities in the West, but that someone like Ken Livingstone can go on record, saying that MEMRI is unreliable and inaccurate. For a non-Arabic-speaking politician to comment so 'authoritatively' on Arabic materials and get away with it is in itself a large indication of how simple-minded the public has become on the issue of anti-Semitism.
As the numbers of Muslims in Europe and North America grow, hate speech and literature grows at an equal pace. It remains to be seen what will happen in the UK if such material is challenged under the coming religious hatred law.
The future - a need for moderate Islam, nothing less will do
Can we envisage a solution to this problem? It's hard enough to imagine anti-Semitism going away entirely, even in liberal and tolerant societies like our own. In the case of Islam, it's very hard to see how substantial change can be made. The text of the Qur'an is explicit, and cannot be altered or interpreted away. The same is true of the ahadith. Likewise, the books of Shari'a law have so far been very hard to challenge, much less marginalize.
For change to take place, we have to depend on the possibility of reform. Salman Rushdie recently called for a Reformation within the Islamic world, and I think we would all back him in trying to stimulate the sort of thinking that might lead to one. There are, indeed, growing numbers of younger Muslims — including several courageous women — who have set out to work for the same goal.
But the history of Islamic reform so far has been less than glorious. Even today, after over a century of tentative efforts, the mildest suggestions for, say, a less literal interpretation of the Qur'anic, are met with opposition, not just from the Islamic clergy, the 'ulama, but from state bodies. In Egypt or Saudi Arabia, say, an academic or a reform-minded cleric takes his life in his hands if he (it's mainly a he) so much as a twitch of change to Qur'an-based legislation or traditional thought. Innovation, as I said, is heresy.
The only thing that has ever served to liberalize Islamic states has been the imposition of secularization from above. Atatürk did this with relative success in Turkey, and, for all the recent successes of Islamist parties there, the secularist principle remains strong and, should Turkey be admitted to the EU, may get stronger. Iran made considerable progress in a secular direction under Reza Shah and his son Muhammad Reza (the one who was deposed in 1979). What ruined it for Iranians were two things: both kings turned out to be despots, and the US and Great Britain interfered too readily in the country's internal affairs. Oppression and the weakness of the Left forced rebellion into religious channels, with frightening results, not just for Iran, but the rest of the world.
One major obstacle in the path of a secularized (and, one has to hope, democratized, tolerant, and human rights conscious) Islam is the lack of many of the factors that are generally thought to engender a secularist outlook: industrialization, freedom of speech, a higher education sector outside government or religious control, a free intelligentsia, an independent legal system, and so on. This presents us with a vicious circle that may prove very hard to break.
The great exception to the theory of secularization is, of course, the United States, which has much higher rates of religious attendance and belief than anywhere in Europe, say, or Japan. It may provide a better model in some ways, much as we may dislike the political influence of evangelical Christianity there. Americans (the evangelicals apart) seem to be capable of being religious without letting that interfere with the overall secularity of the state.
Unfortunately, the Christian (or neo-Christian, denominational) model doesn't work so well for Islam, where religion and politics sleep in the same bed — if not always in practice, certainly in theory.
The role of internationalism
In the end, the initiative has to rest with Western governments. They have, in the past, often turned a blind eye, not to just to Islamic anti-Semitism, but to human rights abuses in Muslim countries. Now, perhaps, they may see that many birds are coming home to roost. Muslim hatred of the West has been fuelled by many things, but it is, surely, undeniable that anti-Semitic words and images have played a large part. To whatever extent Western governments are serious about the war on terrorism, they have to get serious about human rights issues, including anti-Semitic hate speech. This will mean taking a tough attitude to Muslim governments who fail to take real action on women's rights, the rights of religious minorities, and much else. They should put suppression of anti-Semitism at the top of their agenda.
Passing and implementing laws against hate speech (the sort of laws Muslims are keen on when Islamophobia is the target) won't cost governments much, compared to the benefits that might come their way. Pakistan would be an ideal place to start.
A SHORT READING LIST - JEWS IN ISLAM
Arieh Stav, Peace: the Arabian Caricature - Study of Anti-Semitic Imagery
Mark Gabriel, Islam and the Jews: The Unfinished Battle
Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam
Bat Ye'or, The Dhimmi
Youssef Courbage, Philippe Fargues, Christians and Jews under Islam
Robert Spencer, Andrew Bosatom (eds.), The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims
Gordon Darnell Newby, A History of the Jews of Arabia
Lucien Gubbay, Sunlight and Shadow: The Jewish Experience of Islam
Daniel Frank, The Jews of Medieval Islam
Aron Rodrigue, Jews among Muslims
Bruce Masters, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World
A. Cohen, Jewish Life under Islam: Jerusalem in the Sixteenth Century
Steven Wasserstrom, Between Muslim and Jew: Problem of Symbiosis undser Early Islam
Mark Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: Jews in the Middle Ages
The Denial of Muslim Antisemitism
The Denial of Muslim Antisemitism
Amongst scholars, there is deep resistance to open analysis of hostility to Jews when it comes from Muslims and Arabs.
by Dr. Neil J. Kressel
A DUTCH PROFESSOR DARES
In a somewhat infamous incident in June 2006, Professor Pieter van der Horst of Utrecht University - a well-regarded senior Dutch scholar of early Christianity and Judaism - wanted to deliver his farewell address on what he called “the myth of Jewish cannibalism”; in this lecture, he planned to trace an antisemitic theme all the way from its pre-Christian roots to anti-Jewish blood libels in the Arab world today. Utrecht had no problem with van der Horst’s treatment of ancient Greeks, Christians, or modern Europeans. But the rector of the university, basing his decision on the report of a committee of some deans and a professor of human rights, told van der Horst - a member of the prestigious Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences - that he had twenty-four hours to remove references to Muslim antisemitism. Three grounds were provided: fear of violent reactions, unwillingness to thwart the university’s efforts at bridge-building between Muslims and non-Muslims, and concern that the lecture fell far below the university’s scholarly standards. At the time, and since, Utrecht refused to provide any concrete information about specific threats of violence. But inasmuch as he had to decide on short notice and was unable to disconfirm the rector’s contentions, van der Horst reluctantly edited his address. He was, however, understandably peeved by the attack on academic freedom and the unsubstantiated shots taken at his scholarly rigor. He later defended himself in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.
Van der Horst’s purportedly offensive statements would be regarded by most serious scholars of Muslim antisemitism as noncontroversial. These statements, for example, called attention to: 1) the close collaboration of World War II Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini with Hitler; 2) the contemporary demonization of the Jews in many Middle Eastern countries; and 3) the popularity of Mein Kampf in some Muslim nations. While direct and overt censorship is thankfully rare in Western universities, van der Horst’s experience calls attention to numerous more subtle - and frequently more effective - roadblocks obstructing those who strive to deal objectively with Jew-hatred in the overlapping Muslim and Arab worlds. Van der Horst was not the first to hear the academic quality of his work vaguely impugned by those who were really dismayed by the nature of his conclusions.
Scholars in this field often encounter a dismissive wave rather than a refutation. Thus, philosopher Bernard Harrison writes that: “As a non-Jew, I have found, on the whole, my fellow non-Jews altogether too prone to pooh-pooh ... Jewish attempts to sound the alarm [on “the new antisemitism”]. Charles Small, the founder of the Yale Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, considers himself a life-long member of the left, yet he reports that people frequently call him and the institute “neoconservative,” simply by virtue of its concern with antisemitism. Cartoonist and scholar Yaakov Kirschen argues that: “The minute you say antisemitism, you are delegitimized.... If I say ‘antisemitic,’ nobody looks at that [thing I am describing]. They look at me and say, ‘Oh, you’re saying it’s antisemitic. That means you must be right-wing.’ ” Kirschen might have added that still others discredit those calling attention to antisemitism paranoid Jews “yet again” crying wolf. In my own experience writing and speaking frequently about Islamic antisemitism, I have come to expect a great deal of resistance whenever the taboo on addressing the topic is broken. This holds true even when one limits the discussion to old-fashioned bigotry - which one might presume would be less controversial than the so called “new antisemitism,” grounded, as it is, in rejection and demonization of the Jewish state. Moreover, resistance to serious consideration of the roots and consequences of Muslim hostility to Jews comes not only from those on the left and, certainly, not only from non-Jews.
While it is a cornerstone of the search for truth that all academic works should be subjected to energetic criticism, the resistance of which I speak approaches denial and does not focus upon particular analyses; rather, it applies to all discussions of Muslim antisemitism premised on evidence, rather than ideology. Factual material supporting the existence of serious Muslim Jew-hatred, hatred that goes far beyond criticism of the Jewish state, can be found in many sources. Sometimes these sources disagree about the extent to which delegitimizing, demonizing, and double-standard based denunciations of Israel should be included in the definition of antisemitism. But even when we exclude Israel-based hostility altogether, massive levels of traditional bigotry remain.
Most people in the West are quite ready to denounce Jew-hatred when it comes from Nazis and other long-dead antisemites. To some extent, left-leaning scholars and human rights organizations also remain eager to oppose antisemitism when it emanates from traditional, sanctioned sources, especially on the far right. Some are even open to exposing resurgent Jew-hatred in Christian Europe, for example, in Poland and Hungary. But there is deep resistance to straight-speaking, unobstructed analysis of far more dangerous hostility to Jews - when it comes from Muslims and Arabs. Along with this resistance, one finds defensiveness, especially on the left, when discussion turns to seemingly antisemitic utterances that are sometimes associated with extreme anti-Zionism.
Consequently, it becomes important for scholars of antisemitism to understand not only the phenomena they are studying but also the reasons for resistance to arguments and evidence they marshal. Such resistance can be usefully divided into four categories: a) misguided counterarguments, b) dismissive ideology, c) systemic barriers, and d) fear-based resistance.
This is not the place to offer systematic refutations of the many attempts to shut down discussion of Muslim antisemitism before it starts. But we can enumerate a few misguided counterarguments that have frequently been raised. Some issues are definitional, suggesting that what we say is antisemitism is not really antisemitism. One version, of course, holds that Muslims cannot be antisemites because they are, in fact, Semites. It is surprising how many supposed serious academics deem this essentially ridiculous, unscientific, and ahistorical point worthy of consideration. (I have never spoken on the topic without someone raising it.) Some writers have attempted to overcome this objection by adopting new terminology such as “judeophobia” or “anti-Judaism,” but none of the replacements captures the essence and historical roots of the phenomenon as well as the word “antisemitism.”
Another argument holds that almost no Arabs or Muslim hate the Jews; they only hate the Zionists. An analysis of the content of anti-Jewish utterances and the targets of anti-Jewish deeds quickly reveals the limitations of this position.
The underlying rationale is that the accumulation of reliable Muslim allies requires that we sweep Jew-hatred under a rug.Some common counterarguments grow out of, or ostensibly grow out of, concern with civility, maintaining in one form or another that it is better to accentuate the positive aspects of Islamic and Arabic culture. Similarly, some maintain that nice people do not criticize other people’s religious beliefs. Both of these arguments rapidly become enemies of truth and offer a screen behind which evil-doers may operate.
Other scholars have suggested various justifications for the “benign neglect” of Muslim antisemitism. Thus, some claim that focusing on antisemitism is not a good idea if we hope to: 1) encourage Muslim moderates, 2) advance President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world, or 3) pursue America’s interest in the war on terror. The underlying rationale of all of these arguments is that the accumulation of reliable Muslim allies requires that we sweep Jew-hatred under a rug. Yet, it is at least debatable whether antisemites make trustworthy allies when historically (and presently) Jew-hatred has very frequently been tightly associated with anti-Americanism of the worst kind.
Another pernicious but sometimes effective impediment to open discussion is the assertion, or implication, that criticizing Muslims - even for bigotry - is itself a form of Islamophobia. This argument usually asserts that hostility to Muslims - not hostility to Jews - is the real problem, as if the two forms of bigotry were somehow in competition. Some also denounce any mention of Muslim antisemitism as an attempt to stifle criticism of Israel; this position is essentially an attack on a straw man, as many scholars of Muslim and Arab Jew-hatred are themselves vocally critical of various Israeli policies and actions. Most scholars of antisemitism have been careful to articulate clear boundaries between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. One may disagree with these distinctions, but it is misguided to turn the fact that one also attacks Israel into a defense against charges of antisemitism.
There is clear evidence that hostility toward Jews - not just toward Israel - is widespread and not merely associated with a few extremist groups.A more subtle contention is that those who call attention to Islamic and Arab antisemitism are painting with too broad a brush. It is, of course, legitimate to inquire about just how many Muslims are hostile to Jews, why they are hostile, and how deeply they feel the hostility. It is important to note as well that many Muslims, especially in the West, show no signs of anti-Jewish bigotry. Yet, there is clear evidence that hostility toward Jews - not just toward Israel - is widespread and not merely associated with a few extremist groups. Recall, for example, the enthusiastic reception of Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohammed’s deeply bigoted address in 2003. Or, examine the Pew Global Attitudes Project opinion surveys, which have found consensual hostility to Jews in some Muslim and Arab countries.
Many critics suggest that the real problem is not antisemitism per se but rather a little “regrettable but unavoidable” spillover from the Arab-Israeli conflict. This argument comes in many forms, all of which attribute the rise in Muslim antisemitism to some aspect of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Usually, the root cause of the Jew-hatred is located in Israeli misdeeds. Though nation-states, including Israel, are rarely moral paragons, it is hard to maintain with any degree of intellectual honestly that Israel’s misdeeds have been commensurate with the scorn hurled against it.
Moreover, one might argue convincingly that Muslim anti-Jewish attitudes are as much a cause of the intractable quality of the Arab-Israeli conflict as they are a consequence of it.
When arguments deny the existence of substantial anti-Jewish sentiment in the pre-Zionistic period, they are misreading or misrepresenting the history and theology of Islam. Some ask how, when Muslims have always treated the Jews well, we can say what we are witnessing now is a serious instance of dangerous bigotry. The first answer to this argument is that even if the roots of antisemitism were all relatively recent, it would not negate or mitigate the current danger. A second, more important, answer is that Islam’s record of tolerance has been greatly overstated by many sources. At best, Islam’s historical treatment of the Jews has been a mixed bag; at worst, it was a long record of second-class citizenship, bigotry, and mistreatment. Some suggest that Christians have been the deeper enemies of the Jews - historically true (but not saying much) - and that it is inaccurate to suggest that Islam contains the roots of antisemitic belief - demonstrably false.
No one denies that the rise of Zionism and Israel have changed the way Muslims think about Jews. Yet, it is a complicated matter to specify the causal relationship between the rise of Muslim antisemitism and the progression of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The success of the state of Israel, after all, might have proved particularly difficult for Arabs to accept precisely because of the low regard in which Jews have traditionally been held. It is equally tricky to speculate about how Muslim-Jewish relations might have progressed had there never been a state of Israel. But, in sum, Israel’s existence and the Arab-Israeli conflict have surely contributed importantly to the rise in Muslim antisemitism. Explicating this relationship is an important goal of scholarship, but a problem arises when political scientists, psychologists, and others use the rise of Israel as an excuse and justification for religious and ethnic bigotry.
Moreover, we must remember that public anger is not necessarily - or even typically - directed at true sources of a problem. The many misfortunes, injustices, and “narcissistic wounds” experienced by large numbers of people in the many parts of the Arab world have a variety of sources, some of which are hard to identify. Most (but not all) of the time, blaming Israel has been little more than a form of irrational scapegoating (common in much bigotry) rather than an accurate direction of anger toward the genuine sources of Arab and Muslim troubles.
DISMISSIVE IDEOLOGY, SYSTEMIC BARRIERS, AND FEAR-BASED RESISTANCE
One might offer all manner of speculation about the underlying reasons observers often refuse to acknowledge the extent and danger of Muslim antisemitism. Many - including Jews themselves - simply have no seen enough of the evidence and, instead, extrapolate from their judgment that antisemitism is not a big problem in the West. Others react to what they see as overly defensive Jewish psychology; Jews, they imply, usually complain about antisemitism, perhaps as a consequence of their collective experience in the Holocaust. While this argument may have some merit with regard to assertions of antisemitism in the United States during the half-century following World War II, the wolf in the Muslim and Arab world has unfortunately arrived. There are also those who reason that, if so many Jewish scholars are themselves not concerned, how serious could the problem be? Nonetheless, Jews have not developed immunity to social, psychological, and political forces influencing Western populations in general, so it is wrong to presume that they, as a group, possess some magical expertise. Of course, other observers - who knows how many - may themselves dislike Jews, though they feel bound by the rules of social behavior that prevail in the West to keep such biases out of public discourse.
Many others are influenced mainly by sympathies and loyalties to Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim causes, which they feel may be tarnished by charges of antisemitism. No doubt many who empathize with the Palestinians may also dislike the antisemitism that has become associated with various Arab causes and hope that it will disappear when their objectives are realized. For these people, however, it is simply a matter of priorities, and Jews are lower on the list.
Muslim and Arab antisemitism poses certain intellectual inconveniences for parts of the intellectual left, though the left is a very diverse group and the situation varies tremendously depending on the particularities of allegiances and orientations. Political scientist Andrei Markovits has noted: “Anti-Americanism and antisemitism relate to each other and empirically are almost always in close proximity, even if not totally identical. The overlap between them has become more pronounced since the end of World War II.” Anti-Israel sentiments also correlate with antisemitism. Thus, to oppose antisemitism puts one in bed to some extent with the Americans and the Israelis, and this - for some on the far left - is not a comfortable place to be. Markovits further explains that:
Some others have a different agenda. They, understandably, hope to achieve a “just, peaceful, humane and sustainable world” by encouraging leading Islamic religious figures to broadcast statements of moderation.  Their objective, above all, is to keep the West from ending up in a conflict with Islam or Muslims. Unfortunately, gaining the cooperation of many Muslim religious leaders has proved far more difficult than expected and hostility toward the United States appears more broad-based than initially believed in the days following 9/11. In this context, to focus attention on bigotry emanating from large segments of the Muslim and Arab world is seen by some as fanning the flames of conflict by identifying negative characteristics of the community with which we seek to get along. There is a strong impulse to leave just this one stone unturned in the battle against bigotry. Even when antisemitism is unearthed, some - especially in Europe - try very hard to deflect blame from the Muslim community, though this may mean assigning it where it does not belong.
Another problem is that if we face squarely the existence of venomous Jew-hatred in Iran, then we need also to face what will happen when this bigotry becomes nuclear armed. The prospect is frightening, not only because such a weapon might well be used on Israel. The presence of extreme hatred in high places leads us to doubt the mental stability of the leaders who would control such weapons and to suspect that they might use newly acquired power to foment all sorts of trouble in the region. That such fear might beget denial of the threat, something some psychoanalysts might predict is a possibility. In any case, many on the left regard the use of military force by Israel in conjunction with Western powers as anathema, no matter what the reason - and they are afraid that thinking about an almost-nuclear-armed, genocidally antisemitic power might lead to calls for preventive war.
Universities are sometimes unwilling to address topics that might get in the way of bridge-building with Muslim students.SYSTEMIC BARRIERS
Above and beyond the ideological predilections of many academics, there are organizational and systemic forces working against those who seek to expose, study, and combat antisemitism in the Muslim and Arab world. For starters, most scholars and institutes in the field of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies - those ostensibly with the expertise to do the best research - show no serious interest in the topic. This is partly due to their political commitments and partly due to the way the field has been funded with money from Middle Eastern sources. Sociologists, psychologists and other social scientists also face a host of methodological limitations - language barriers, poor access to subjects, lack of cooperation from host countries, dangerous field conditions, and other restrictive factors. Universities, as the van der Horst case reveals, are sometimes unwilling to address topics that might get in the way of bridge-building with Muslim students. Jewish students even run the risk of creating inhospitable local conditions when they try to express their views. The reward system for faculty and sometimes for students - as the Columbia case demonstrates - sometimes discourages an outspoken position criticizing any aspect of Muslim culture, even its bigotry. Journal editorial policies and book publishing mores reinforce the prevailing reluctance to explore Muslim antisemitism.
Of course, it is not just barriers imposed by ideology and the structure of academia that get in the way of research. Fear plays a role at many levels. First of all, Jewish and pro-Israeli scholars seeking to study antisemitism know that doing so would put themselves at some risk in many parts of the Islamic world. Indigenous scholars do not appear eager to take up the task. The “Daniel Pearl effect” keeps many writers silent, even when very few are murdered. For those who doubt this impact, consider that no full-length, non-hagiographical biography of Muhammad has appeared since the Salman Rushdie incident, despite obvious public interest after 9/11. Publishers also act on their fears, perhaps recalling that Rushdie’s Norwegian publisher and his Japanese translator were attacked. Even without taking into account fear for one’s physical safety, owing to prevailing academic winds - especially in Europe - many scholars stay silent out of fear of professional isolation and associated economic consequences. Generally, self-censorship has had far more impact than actual censorship.
Thus, the battle to raise consciousness about Muslim antisemitism must contend with misguided counterarguments, antagonistic ideologies, systemic barriers, and fear. Together, they conspire to create a very odd and disturbing situation where many segments of the scholarly world, the human rights community, and the religious world - especially those parts that see themselves most opposed to racism “in all its forms” - have become fellow travelers in what Robert Wistrich aptly calls the world “longest hatred” and “a lethal obsession.”
BIO: Neil J. Kressel (PhD, Harvard University, social psychology) directs the Honors Program in the Social Sciences at William Paterson University. In 2008-2009, he served as visiting associate professor at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism. Kressel’s books include Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism and Mass Hate: The Global Rise of Genocide and Terror.
Please click here for the footnotes.
Comparing Islamic anti-Semitism to Nazi Germany at its worst
Comparing Islamic anti-Semitism to Nazi Germany at its worst
West largely turns blind eye to likely genocidal consequences of such a culture of hatred, much as it did 70 years ago.
By Robert S. Wistrich
On November 9, 1938, a massive nation-wide anti-Jewish pogrom took place during peacetime across the entire territory of the Third Reich.
The pretext for this orgy of violence against German Jews was the shooting in Paris two days earlier of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish-Jewish refugee.
The state-organized pogrom, instigated by Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, resulted in the burning or damaging of more than a thousand synagogues; the ransacking of about 7,500 businesses, the murder of at least 91 Jews, and the deportation of another 30,000 Jewish males to concentration camps in Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen.
This murderous onslaught against German Jewry, cynically described by the Nazis as the "Night of Broken Glass" (Kristallnacht), was a major turning point on the road to the Final Solution of the so-called Jewish Question.
It signified that the Nazi regime had crossed a Rubicon and would no longer be deterred by Western public opinion in its "war against the Jews."
The economic expropriation of German Jewry, its complete social ostracism and public humiliation swiftly followed. Jews were banned from public transport, from frequenting concerts, theaters, cinemas, commercial centers, beaches, or using public benches.
Only a fortnight after "Crystal Night," the SS journal, Das Schwarze Korps, chillingly prophesied the final end of German Jewry through "fire and sword" and its imminent complete annihilation.
Today, shocking to relate, the specter of such apocalyptic anti-Semitism has returned to haunt Europe and other continents, while often assuming radically new forms.
In the Middle East, it has taken on a particularly dangerous, toxic and potentially genocidal aura of hatred, closely linked to the "mission" of holy war or jihad against the West and the Jews.
Islamist anti-Semitism is thoroughly soaked in many of the most inflammatory themes that initially made possible the atrocities of Crystal Night and its horrific aftermath during the Holocaust.
For example, the pervasive use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with its perennial theme of the "Jewish conspiracy for world domination;" or the medieval blood-libel imported to the Muslim world from Christian Europe; or the vile stereotypical image of the Jews as a treacherous, rapacious, and bloodthirsty people engaged in a ceaseless plotting to undermine the world of Islam.
To these grotesque inventions one must add such more up-to-date libels like Holocaust denial which has become a state-sponsored project in Ahmadinejad's Iran and is increasingly pervasive in the Arab world.
Equally fashionable (and increasingly popular in Europe) is the slanderous identification of Israel with Nazism or the "ethnic cleansing" of the Palestinians. This modernized version of inverted anti-Semitism which sails under the mask of "anti-Zionism" and anti-Americanism, is today a global phenomenon, but it has special resonance in the Middle East as a result of the unresolved "Palestinian question."
The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.
Yet the Western world largely turns a blind eye to the likely genocidal consequences of such a culture of hatred, much as it did 70 years ago. My own extensive research into this phenomenon has, unfortunately, convinced me that the Holocaust did not truly succeed in neutralizing the scourge of anti-Semitism.
In a sinister and sometimes devious manner, the widespread defamation and demonization of Israel has in effect revived fantasies of completing the murderous work of the Third Reich. This is especially palpable in the case of Iran. Hence, the anniversary of Crystal Night raises two fundamental moral questions for the future of human civilization. Are we at all capable of learning from history, and will the Jewish people once again have to stand alone in the face of concrete threats to annihilate it? On the answer to these questions much may depend.
Muslim Scholars Who Acknowledge Muslim Antisemitism
Muslim Scholars Who Acknowledge Muslim Antisemitism
by Daniel Pipes
March 16, 2004
How deep runs Muslim antisemitism today? Listen to the loud voices of militant Islam and you will here it disparaged as a non-issue. But at least two informed insiders are saying otherwise.
Khaleel Mohammed, assistant professor of religion at San Diego State University, addressed a conference on anti-Semitism taking place in Montreal, according to a report in today's Montreal Gazette:
Anti-Semitism has become an entrenched tenet of Muslim theology, taught to 95 per cent of the religion's adherents in the Islamic world, a U.S. scholar said yesterday at an international conference in Montreal. …
In an interview after his talk, Mohammed, a Muslim who is assistant professor of religion at San Diego State University, said anti-Semitic sentiments have become endemic in Muslim religious teachings. "It has become part of Islamic theology, so the average Muslim learns anti-Semitism in probably a subtler form, not overt anti-Semitism, but learns it as part of his theology," he said.
Although the Muslim holy book, the Koran, preaches respect for Judaism, the Hadith, a collection of the prophet Mohammed's oral proclamations, contains anti-Semitic passages widely quoted by Muslim clerics, Mohammed said. "In Hadith literature ... which Muslims have made to be part and parcel of Islamic teaching, you cannot respect the Jew, the Jew is God's enemy until the end of time. And that's ingrained."Irfan Khawaja, an adjunct professor of philosophy at The College of New Jersey, wrote a remarkable article in Pakistan Today; just over a year ago, on "The Problem of Muslim Anti-Semitism."
Contempt for Jews was a ubiquitous and inescapable phenomenon in the Arab/Muslim community in which I grew up in New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s; the bigotry there was such that my brother jokingly referred to the community as "The Fourth Reich." And such attitudes remain in place today.In the interesting discussion that follows, Khawaja considers several sources of antisemitism in Islamic tradition and muses on the his own experiences.
Once again, I hold that "militant Islam is the problem and moderate is the solution." If Muslim antisemitism is to be addressed, it will have to be done by Muslims. At least we can see the first wisps of a solution in this area. (March 16, 2004)