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From Islamic Eschatology to Annihilationist Muslim Jew Hatred

Part 3 focuses on the Antisemitic motifs in Islamic eschatology and how they have become enmeshed with the "corporeal" Antisemitism from Islam’s foundational texts to engender a contemporary atmosphere of genocidal Muslim Jew hatred. This third and final installment also … Read More

By / November 19, 2008

Part 3 focuses on the Antisemitic motifs in Islamic eschatology and how they have become enmeshed with the "corporeal" Antisemitism from Islam’s foundational texts to engender a contemporary atmosphere of genocidal Muslim Jew hatred. This third and final installment also illustrates the interaction between indigenous Islamic Antisemitism, and two salient "imports" from colonial Europe-specifically, the blood libel, and Nazism. Concluding observations illustrate the scope of contemporary Muslim Jew hatred fueled by orthodox motifs in Islam’s foundational texts, and reinforced by Islam’s central religious educational shrine, i.e., Al Azhar University, and its Muslim Pope equivalent, to textbooks widely used in Islamic schools across the globe, even those within the United States.

The recent annihilationist sentiments regarding Jews, as expressed by Hamas cleric al-Zarad, and incorporated permanently into the foundational 1988 Hamas Charter, are also rooted in Islamic eschatology [end of times theology]. As characterized in the hadith, Muslim eschatology highlights the Jews’ supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl-the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ-or according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered- everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree, as per the canonical hadith included in the 1988 Hamas Charter (in article 7). Another hadith variant, which takes place in Jerusalem, has Isa (the Muslim Jesus) leading the Arabs in a rout of the Dajjâl and his company of 70,000 armed Jews. And the notion of jihad "ransom" extends even into Islamic eschatology-on the day of resurrection the vanquished Jews will be consigned to Hellfire, and this will expiate Muslims who have sinned, sparing them from this fate. Moshe Sharon recently provided a very lucid summary of the unique features of Shi’ite eschatology, its key point of consistency with Sunni understandings of this doctrine, and Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s deep personal attachment to "mahdism":

Since the late ninth century, the Shi’ites have been expecting the emergence of the hidden imam-mahdi, armed with divine power and followed by thousands of martyrdom-seeking warriors. He is expected to conquer the world and establish Shi’ism as its supreme religion and system of rule. His appearance would involve terrible war and unusual bloodshed.

Ahmadinejad, as mayor of Teheran, built a spectacular boulevard through which the mahdi would enter into the capital. There is no question that Ahmadinejad believes he has been chosen to be the herald of the mahdi.

Shi’ite Islam differs from Sunni Islam regarding the identity of the mahdi. The Sunni mahdi is essentially an anonymous figure; the Shi’ite mahdi is a divinely inspired person with a real identity.

However both Shi’ites and Sunnis share one particular detail about "the coming of the hour" and the dawning of messianic times: The Jews must all suffer a violent death, to the last one. Both Shi’ites and Sunnis quote the famous hadith [Sahih Muslim, Book 40, Number 6985] attributed to Muhammad: The last hour will not come unless the Muslims fight against the Jews, and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and the stone or the tree would say: "Muslim! Servant of Allah! Here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!" Not one Friday passes without this hadith being quoted in sermons from one side of the Islamic world to the other.

Here I think it is helpful (and sobering) to illustrate the still dominant understanding of so-called "Islamic" Antisemitism that persists in the public domain, as expressed, for example, in the brief Michael Ezra posting, and by journalist Lawrence Wright in The Looming Tower, his widely acclaimed investigative account of the events leading to the cataclysmic acts of jihad terrorism on September 11, 2001.

Until the end of World War II…Jews lived safely -although submissively-under Muslim rule for 1,200 years, enjoying full religious freedom; but in the 1930s, Nazi propaganda on Arabic-language shortwave radio, coupled with slanders by Christian missionaries in the region, infected the area with this ancient Western prejudice [antisemitism]. After the war, Cairo became a sanctuary for Nazis, who advised the military and the government. The rise of the Islamist movement coincided with the decline of fascism, but they overlapped in Egypt, and the germ passed into a new carrier.

Wright’s statement was not accompanied by documentation-this was the accepted "wisdom" after all, promoted, sadly, even by historian Bernard Lewis. And on Thursday, June 5, 2008 during an interview on the National Public Radio Boston affiliate (WBUR) program "Here and Now," with Robin Young, author James Carroll opined with distressingly ignorant certitude, "The Christian tradition of antisemitism has spread like a virus and it has been picked up-caught by segments of Arab, Islamic culture but one of the things to be quite aware of is that there is nothing endemic to the religion of Islam or to certainly the text of the Koran that leads to Antisemitism." [emphasis added].

Why are these (admittedly) imported motifs considered "Islamic," and what is their impact, relative to the Jew-hatred engendered amongst Muslims, for over a millennium, by indigenous, motifs from Islam’s foundational texts?

The infamous 1840 Damascus blood libel represents a classic Christian Antisemitic motif transferred to the Islamic world. One cannot simply affirm (while grossly exaggerating) the "catastrophic effect" of Christian motifs "at work" in Islamdom, relative to Islam’s own intrinsic Antisemitic motifs-the impact of the former has to be proven, and the historical "proof" is a negative proof, by any objective standard.

For example, morbid as such comparisons may be, the actual body count from the "watershed" 1840 Damascus event was paltry in comparison to the numerous Muslim anti-Jewish pogroms precipitated by purely Islamic motifs, like Koran 2:61 and the related apes (2:65 and 7:166) or apes/pigs (5:60) verses used to incite great massacres in Granada (1066), Baghdad (1291), and Touat, Morocco (~1490). Hundreds to thousands died in these earlier pogroms; despite the heinous accusations of the Damascus blood libel, only four of the thirteen Jews imprisoned for the 1840 Damascus blood libel died during their incarceration and torture. The other nine were released unconditionally, and one of these survivors, Moses Abulafia, became a Muslim in order to escape his torture.

Historical analyses of the 1840 Damascus blood libel by Tudor Parfitt and Jonathan Frankel emphasize these two key features which were independent of Christian anti-Jewish motifs, per se: the general support that the persecution of the Jews was given by the Arab Muslim population at large, in reaction against the various reforms introduced (under Muhammad Ali) which sought to ameliorate some of the most oppressive aspects of dhimmitude; the fact that this negative reaction by the Muslim masses to these reforms had much more serious repercussions-against Christians-during the anti-Christian pogroms which marred Damascus in the 1860s. Indeed as Frankel observes, despite their own bigoted anti-Jewish attitudes, it was the European consuls who drew the line in 1840,

… when it came to the threat of wholesale massacre…advising that the Jewish communities receive military protection. Just how real that danger was would become apparent twenty years later, when the Christian population of Damascus was decimated in a Muslim, primarily Druse, slaughter

With regard to the later impact of Nazism in the Muslim Middle East, thirty-fours years ago (in 1974) Bat Ye’or published a remarkably foresighted analysis of the Islamic Antisemitism and resurgent jihadism in her native Egypt, being packaged for dissemination throughout the Islamic world. (A full English translation of this book chapter, till now only available in Hebrew, is included in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.) Bat Ye’or demonstrated that the primary, core Antisemitic and jihadist motifs were Islamic, derived from Islam’s foundational texts, on to which European, especially Nazi elements were grafted.

The pejorative characteristics of Jews as they are described in Muslim religious texts are applied to modern Jews. Anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism are equivalent-due to the inferior status of Jews in Islam, and because divine will dooms Jews to wandering and misery, the Jewish state appears to Muslims as an unbearable affront and a sin against Allah. Therefore it must be destroyed by Jihad. Here the Pan-Arab and anti-Western theses that consider Israel as an advanced instrument of the West in the Islamic world, come to reinforce religious anti-Judaism. The religious and political fuse in a purely Islamic context onto which are grafted foreign elements. If, on the doctrinal level, Nazi influence is secondary to the Islamic base, the technique with which the Antisemitic material has been reworked, and the political purposes being pursued, present striking similarites with Hitler’s Germany.

That anti-Jewish opinions have been widely spread in Arab nationalist circles since the 1930s is not in doubt. But their confirmation at [Al] Azhar [University] by the most important authorities of Islam enabled them to be definitively imposed, with the cachet of infallible authenticity, upon illiterate masses that were strongly attached to religious traditions.

In The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, I have elaborated on how the earlier tragic mass killings-in Bat Ye’or’s accurate parlance, these decimations by Jihad-for "breaching" the dhimma, which afflicted the Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire (Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Armenians) throughout the 19th century, culminating in the jihad genocide of the Armenians during World War I (and documented, by historian Vahakn Dadrian [pp. 403ff] to have inspired Hitler to express the notion of predictable impunity with regard to future genocides), were nearly replicated in historical Palestine, but for the advance of the British army.

During World War I in Palestine, between 1915 and 1917, the New York Times published a series of reports on Ottoman-inspired and local Arab Muslim assisted antisemitic persecution which affected Jerusalem, and the other major Jewish population centers. For example, by the end of January, 1915, 7000 Palestinian Jewish refugees-men, women, and children-had fled to British-controlled Alexandria, Egypt. Three New York Times accounts from January/February, 1915 (reproduced in the book) provide details of the earlier (i.e., 1915) period.

By April of 1917, conditions deteriorated further for Palestinian Jewry, which faced threats of annihilation from the Ottoman government. Many Jews were in fact deported, expropriated, and starved, in an ominous parallel to the genocidal deportations of the Armenian dhimmi communities throughout Anatolia. Indeed, as related by historian Yair Auron,

Fear of the Turkish actions was bound up with alarm that the Turks might do to the Jewish community in Palestine, or at least to the Zionist elements within it, what they had done to the Armenians. This concern was expressed in additional evidence from the early days of the war, from which we can conclude that the Armenian tragedy was known in the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine]

A mass expulsion of the Jews of Jerusalem, although ordered twice by Djemal Pasha, was averted only through the efforts of [the Ottoman Turks World War I allies] the German government which sought to avoid international condemnation. The 8000 Jews of Jaffa, however, were expelled quite brutally, a cruel fate the Arab Muslims and the Christians of the city did not share. Moreover, these deportations took place months before the small pro-British Nili spy ring of Zionist Jews was discovered by the Turks in October, 1917, and its leading figures killed. A report by United States Consul Garrels (in Alexandria, Egypt) describing the Jaffa deportation of early April 1917 (published in the June 3, 1917 New York Times), included details of the Jews plight, and this ominous warning:

The same fate awaits all Jews in Palestine. Djemal Pasha is too cunning to order cold-blooded massacres. His method is to drive the population to starvation and to death by thirst, epidemics, etc, which according to himself, are merely calamities sent by God.

Yair Auron cites a very tenable hypothesis put forth at that time in a journal of the British Zionist movement as to why the looming slaughter of the Jews of Palestine did not occur-the advance of the British army (from immediately adjacent Egypt) and its potential willingness "..to hold the military and Turkish authorities directly responsible for a policy of slaughter and destruction of the Jews"-may have averted this disaster.

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in the area of Palestine-anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The Congressional Record contains a statement of support from New York Rep. Walter Chandler which includes an observation, about "Turkish and Arab agitators… preaching a kind of holy war [jihad] against…the Jews" of Palestine. Earlier, in 1921, leaders of the Indian Khilafat (Caliphate) movement made clear at conferences held in (far removed) India that Islamic suzerainty must prevail over all of historical Palestine. And in 1920, at the local level, within British controlled Palestine, Musa Kazem el-Husseini, former governor of Jaffa during the final years of Ottoman rule, and president of the Arab (primarily Muslim) Palestinian Congress, in a letter to the British High Commissioner, Herbert Samuels, demanded restoration of the Shari’a-which had only been fully abrogated two years earlier when Britain ended four centuries of Ottoman Muslim rule of Palestine-stating that this Religious Law, was "… engraved in the very hearts of the Arabs and has been assimilated in their customs and that has been applied …in the modern [Arab] states…" During this same era within Palestine, a strong Arab Muslim irredentist current -epitomized by both Hajj Amin el-Husseini and shortly afterward, Izz ad din al-Qassam-promulgated the forcible restoration of Shari’a-mandated dhimmitude via jihad. Indeed, two years before he orchestrated the murderous anti-Jewish riots of 1920, i.e., in 1918-ten years before the advent of the Muslim Brotherhood-Hajj Amin el-Husseini stated plainly to a Jewish co-worker (at the Jerusalem Governorate), I.A. Abbady, "This was and will remain an Arab land…the Zionists will be massacred to the last man…Nothing but the sword will decide the future of this country."

Nazi academic and propagandist of extermination Johannes von Leers’ writings and personal career trajectory-as a favored contributor in Goebbel’s propaganda ministry, to his eventual adoption of Islam (as Omar Amin von Leers) while working as an anti-Western, and antisemitic/anti-Zionist propagandist under Nasser’s regime from the mid-1950s, until his death in 1965-epitomizes this convergence of jihad, Islamic antisemitism, and racist, Nazi antisemitism, as described by Bat Ye’or, in 1974. Already in essays published during 1938 and 1942, the first dating back almost two decades before his formal conversion to Islam while in Egypt, von Leers produced analyses focused primarily on Muhammad’s interactions with the Jews of Medina. These essays reveal his pious reverence for Islam and its prophet, and a thorough understanding of the sacralized Islamic sources for this narrative, i.e., the Koran, hadith, and sira, which is entirely consistent with standard Muslim apologetics.

Citing (or referring to) the relevant foundational text sources (i.e., Koran 13:36; 8:55-58; 59:1-15; the sira and canonical hadith descriptions of the fate of individual Jews such as Abu Afak and Ka’b ibn Ashraf, and the Jewish tribes Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayzah, as well as the Jews of the Khaybar oasis), von Leers in his 1942 essay "Judiasm and Islam as Opposites,"-fully translated and annotated for the first time in English in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism-chronicles Muhammad’s successful campaigns which vanquished these Jews, killing and dispersing them, "…or at most allow[ing] them to remain in certain places if they paid a poll tax." Von Leers further describes the accounts (from the hadith, and more elaborately, the sira) of Muhammad’s poisoning by a Khaybar Jewess, and also notes the canonical hadith which records Caliph Umar’s rationale for his putative expulsion from northern Arabia of those remaining Jews who survived Muhammad’s earlier campaigns:

On his deathbed Mohammed is supposed to have said: "There must not be two religions in Arabia." One of his successors, the caliph Omar, resolutely drove the Jews out of Arabia.

And von Leers even invokes the apocalyptic canonical hadith which 46 years later became the keystone of Hamas’ 1988 charter sanctioning a jihad genocide against the Jewish State of Israel:

Ibn Huraira even communicates to us the following assertion of the great man of God: "Judgment Day will come only when the Moslems have inflicted an annihilating defeat on the Jews, when every stone and every tree behind which a Jew has hidden says to believers: ‘Behind me stands a Jew, smite him.’"

Von Leers’ 1942 essay concludes by simultaneously extolling the "model" of oppression the Jews experienced under Islamic suzerainty, and the nobility of Muhammad, Islam, and the contemporary Muslims of the World War II era, foreshadowing his own conversion to Islam just over a decade later:

They [the Jews] were subjected to a very restrictive and oppressive special regulation that completely crippled Jewish activities. All reporters of the time when the Islamic lands still completely obeyed their own laws agree that the Jews were particularly despised…

Mohammed’s opposition to the Jews undoubtedly had an effect-oriental Jewry was completely paralyzed by Islam. Its back was broken. Oriental Jewry has played almost no role in Judaism’s massive rise to power over the last two centuries. Scorned, the Jews vegetated in the dirty alleys of the mellah, and were subject to a special regulation that did not allow them to profiteer, as they did in Europe, or even to receive stolen goods, but instead kept them fearful and under pressure. Had the rest of the world adopted a similar method, today we would have no Jewish question-and here we must absolutely note that there were also Islamic rulers, among them especially the Spanish caliphs of the House of Muawiyah, who did not adhere to Islam’s traditional hostility to Jews-to their own disadvantage. However, as a religion Islam has performed the immortal service of preventing the Jews from carrying out their threatened conquest of Arabia and of defeating the dreadful doctrine of Jehovah through a pure faith that opened the way to higher culture for many peoples and gave them an education and humane training, so that still today a Moslem who takes his religion seriously is one of the most worthy phenomena in this world in turmoil.

And even earlier, in a 1938 essay, von Leers further sympathized with, "the leading role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem [Hajj Amin el-Husseini] in the Arabians’ battles against the Jewish invasion in Palestine." Von Leers observes that to the pious Muslim, "…the Jew is an enemy, not simply an ‘unbeliever’ who might perhaps be converted or, despite the fact that he does not belong to Islam, might still be a person of some estimation. Rather, the Jew is the predestined opponent of the Muslim, one who desired to bring down the work of the Prophet." Leers’ description of the origins of the Muslim "forename," Omar Amin he adopted as part of his formal conversion to Islam in a November, 1957 letter to American Nazi H. Keith Thompson, highlights his personal and doctrinal connections to the Mufti, with whom he engaged in a longstanding collaboration:

I myself have embraced Islam and accepted the new forename Omar Amin, Omar according to the great Caliph Omar who was a grim enemy of the Jews, Amin in honor of my friend Hadj Amin el Husseini, the Grand Mufti.

This October 1957 US intelligence report on von Leers’ writings and activities for Egypt and the Arab League confirmed his complete adoption of the triumphalist Muslim worldview, desirous of nothing less than the destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization by jihad-a vision all too prevalent today:

He [Dr. Omar Amin von Leers] is becoming more and more a religious zealot, even to the extent of advocating an expansion of Islam in Europe in order to bring about stronger unity through a common religion. This expansion he believes can come not only from contact with the Arabs in the Near East and Africa but with Islamic elements in the USSR. The results he envisions as the formation of a political bloc against which neither East nor West could prevail.

The hypothesis that Nazism, as imbibed and promulgated by the Muslim Brotherhood is somehow the penultimate source of all "genocidal" Jew hatred in the modern Middle East, is completely untenable, as revealed in this simple exchange. I posed the following basic question to one of the champions of this Nazi-centric viewpoint, and recorded their reply:

[Question] "…what would have happened, say in late 1922-the Muslim Brothers were not formed until 1928; the Nazis do not come to power until 1933-with regard to Islamic jihad and Islamic Jew hatred, specifically, if the British had created some rump state Jewish homeland, actually governed by Jews, and rapidly departed, bearing in mind both the fate of other dhimmi nationalisms in the 19th and early 20th centuries (Serb, Greek, Bulgarian, Armenian), and the special place occupied by dhimmi Jews in Islamic eschatology?"

[Reply] "Yes. They [the Jews] would have been slaughtered, possibly to the last man, woman and child."

The rise of Jewish nationalism-Zionism-posed a predictable, if completely unacceptable challenge to the Islamic order-jihad-imposed chronic dhimmitude for Jews-of apocalyptic magnitude.

This is exactly the Islamic context in which the widespread, "resurgent" use of Jew annihilationist apocalyptic motifs-exemplified by the Hamas charter, the utterances by Hamas cleric al-Zarad, and the messianic beliefs of Ahmadinejad-would be an anticipated, even commonplace occurrence. The Shi’ite jihadist organization Hezbollah, not surprisingly, proclaims these sentiments with triumphant exuberance. Hezbollah is viscerally opposed to Judaism and the existence of Israel, stressing the eternal conflict between the Jews and Islam. Eradicating Israel represents an early stage of Hezballah’s Pan-Islamic ambitions, and its jihad against the rest of the non-Muslim world.

The most senior clerical authority for Hezbollah, Husayn Fadlalah has stated, "We find in the Koran that the Jews are the most aggressive towards the Muslims…because of their aggressive resistance to the unity of the faith." Fadlallah repeatedly refers to anti-Jewish archetypes in the Koran, hadith, and sira: the corrupt, treacherous and aggressive nature of the Jews; their reputation as killers of prophets, who spread corruption on earth; and the notion that the Jews engaged in conspiratorial efforts against the Muslim prophet. Fadlallah argues, ultimately, "Either we destroy Israel or Israel destroys us."

Muhammad. Hassan Nasrallah, current Secretary General of Hezbollah, and a prote?ge of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, presently Iran’s highest ranking political and religious authority (i.e., its "Guardian Jurisprudent"), has reiterated these antisemitic and annihilationist views with particular vehemence. Invoking motifs from Islam’s foundational texts, Nasrallah has characterized Jews as the "grandsons of apes and pigs," and as "Allah’s most cowardly and greedy creatures." He elaborates these themes into an annihilationist animus against all Jews, not merely Israelis.

Anyone who reads the Koran and the holy writings of the monotheistic religions sees what they did to the prophets, and what acts of madness and slaughter the Jews carried out throughout history…

Anyone who reads these texts cannot think of co-existence with them, of peace with them, or about accepting their presence, not only in Palestine of 1948 but even in a small village in Palestine, because they are a cancer which is liable to spread again at any moment…There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel.

If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli…[I]f they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.

Unfortunately, the orthodox Islamic archetypes of Jew hatred promulgated by Hamas and Hezbollah, are also being disseminated by the most respected, mainstream Islamic institutions. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi wrote these words in his 700 page treatise rationalizing Muslim Jew hatred, Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna [Jews in the Koran and the Traditions], originally published in 1968/69, and then re-issued in 1986:

[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [Koran 2:61/ 3:112], corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness…only a minority of the Jews keep their word….[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims {Koran 3:113], the bad ones do not.

Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by being named Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in 1996, a position he still holds. These are the expressed, "carefully researched" views on Jews held by the nearest Muslim equivalent to a Pope-the head of the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, which represents some 90% of the world’s Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi has not mollified such hatemongering beliefs since becoming the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his statements on "dialogue" (January 1998) with Jews, the Jews as "enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs" (April 2002), and the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews (April 2002) make clear.

Tantawi’s statements on dialogue, which were issued shortly after he met with the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Israel Meir Lau, in Cairo, on December 15, 1997, provided him another opportunity to re-affirm his ongoing commitment to the views expressed about Jews in his Ph.D. thesis:

…anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward. My stance stems from Allah’s book [the Koran], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews…[I] wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah. I still believe in everything written in that dissertation. [i.e., Jews in the Koran and the Traditions, cited above]

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Tantawi’s case illustrates the prevalence and depth of sacralized, "normative" Jew hatred in the contemporary Muslim world. Arnon Groiss’ thorough examination of modern Egyptian school textbooks, published in April 2004, reveals that that this sacralized hatred continues to be inculcated among future generations of Egyptian Muslims. Groiss observed, regarding the critical depiction of Muhammad’s interactions with the Jews of Arabia,

The Jews are stereotyped and presented in a prejudiced manner, and the themes of treachery and hostility on the part of the Jews toward the Muslims are present here…

Once again, in this context Koran 5:82 ("Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews.." is invoked to remind these students, what "God Almighty says about the Jews’ hatred toward the Muslims."

And a 3-month long NY Daily News investigation of textbooks widely used in New York city area Islamic schools published March 30, 2003, demonstrated that the same Antisemitic archetypes-based on central motifs in the Koran, hadith, and sira-are being taught to American Muslim students. The report provided these examples:

In Long Island City, Queens, for example, fifth- and sixth-graders at the Ideal Islamic School on 12th St. learn that Allah has revealed [pace Koran 2:61/3:112] that "the Jews killed their own prophets and disobeyed Allah."…Yet a third book, in use at the Ideal school, describes the hostile relations between Jews and the [Muslim prophet] Muhammad in Medina in the 7th century. "The reasons for Jewish hostility lies in their general characteristics," the book says. Numerous Koranic citations follow with negative references to Jews – for example, "You will ever find them deceitful, except for a few of them." [3:71; 4:46]

On Jewish hostility to Islam: "The reasons for Jewish hostility toward the Muslims of 7th century Medina lies in their general characteristics described in the Koran." Example: "You will find the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews and the pagans." [Koran 5:82; from a textbook "The Messenger of Allah," p. 34; targeting Grades 6-9]

Finally a review of textbooks from the Islamic Saudi Academy of Fairfax, VA published in October 2007 by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, concluded, according to commissioner Nina Shea, that they contain "…blatant Antisemitism, blaming the Jews even for divisions within Islam.." The latter charge is an allegation made continuously for over a millennium since the earliest Sunni historiographies (for example by al-Tabari, d. 923) that a renegade Yemenite Jew, Abdallah b. Saba, is responsible-identified as a Jew-for promoting the Shi’ite heresy and fomenting the rebellion and internal strife associated with this primary breach in Islam’s "political innocence," culminating in the assassination of the third Rightly Guided Caliph Uthman, and the bitter, lasting legacy of Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian strife.

When questioned for the March, 30 2003 NY Daily News story on New York area Islamic school textbooks, Yahiya Emerick, head of a Queens-based nonprofit curriculum development project for the Islamic Foundation of North America, defended the language in these books, denying they were inflammatory. Emerick opined,

Islam, like any belief system, believes its program is better than others. I don’t feel embarrassed to say that…[The books] are directed to kids in a Muslim educational environment. They must learn and appreciate there are differences between what they have and what other religions teach. It’s telling kids that we have our own tradition.

Emerick’s triumphant denial at once affirms standard Islamic theological supremacism, while deliberately ignoring Islam’s intrinsic, virulent Antisemitism-the latter denial being pathognomonic of the mindset of its Jewish victims, past and present.

The uncomfortable examination of Islamic doctrines and history is required in order to understand the enduring phenomenon of Muslim Jew hatred, which dates back to the origins of Islam. Even if all non-Muslim Judeophobic themes were to disappear miraculously overnight from the Islamic world, the living legacy of anti-Jewish hatred, and violence rooted in Islam’s sacred texts-Koran, hadith, and sira-would remain intact. The assessment and understanding of Islamic antisemitism must begin with an unapologetic analysis of the anti-Jewish motifs contained in these foundational texts of Islam. We can no longer view Muslim Jew hatred-including annihilationist strains of this apocalyptic hatred-as a "borrowed phenomenon," seen primarily, let alone exclusively, through the prism of Nazism and the Holocaust, the tragic legacy of Judeophobic Christian traditions, or "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" from Czarist Russia.

Moreover, the jihad against the Jews is but one aspect-albeit primal-of the jihad to establish global Islamic hegemony.

Concluding Remarks

When the late 23 year-old Parisian Jew Ilan Halimi was being tortured to death in February 2006, his Muslim torturers, as Nidra Poller wrote in the Wall Street Journal "…phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Koran, while Ilan’s tortured screams could be heard in the background." In the heart of Western Europe, Ilan Halimi’s torturers/murderers did not invoke any non-Islamic sources of anti-Jewish hate, only the Koran.

And Halimi’s murder reflects this broader, ugly context: European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, who is the European Union official responsible "for combating racism and Antisemitism in Europe," as reported by The Jerusalem Post February 2 of this year, revealed that Muslims are responsible for fully half (50%) of the documented Antisemitic incidents on the European continent. Demographic data from 2007 indicate that the total number of Europeans is 494.8 million; estimates of the number of Muslims in Europe range from 15-20 million, or some ~3.0-4.0% of the total European population. Thus, on a population percentage basis, Muslims in Europe account for roughly 24.0 to 32.3 times the number of Antisemitic incidents as their non-Muslim European counterparts.

As a pre-condition to real dialogue-not its miserable simulacrum-Jews and their leadership-religious, political, and intellectual-must demand a mea culpa from their Muslim counterparts for the sacralized Islamic Jew hatred which is still being taught in Islamic schools, and contributed to Ilan Halimi’s death, and countless other similar atrocities across space and time, since the advent of Islam.

Almost 850 years ago, elaborating on the depth of Muslim hatred for the Jews in his era, Maimonides (in ~ 1172 C.E.) made this profound observation regarding the Jewish predilection for denial, a feature that he insists will hasten their destruction.

We have acquiesced, both old and young, to inure ourselves to humiliation…All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment [by Muslims] which well nigh crushes us. No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition.

The Jews and their communal leaders like Maimonides living under Islamic rule in the Middle Ages-vanquished by jihad, isolated, and well-nigh defenseless under the repressive system of dhimmitude-can be excused for their submissive denial. There is no such excuse in our era given the existence of an autonomous Jewish State of Israel, and a thriving Western Jewish diaspora, particularly here in the United States, living under the blanket of hard won protections for their religious freedom, physical security, and dignity.

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