Understanding the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism (Part 1)
summary: this is the first in a series of three articles, all of which should be read by all non-Muslims in order to understand the Muslim view of the world’s peoples and the place of Islam as the dominant force on the planet - Islam views Jews as the worst of all mankind, closely followed by Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, and pagan; thus, all are in danger
November 17, 2008
Understanding the Islam in Islamic Anti-Semitism
A three part series by the author of “The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism”
by Andrew G. Bostom
From this Series:
Understanding the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism
Antisemitism in Islam’s Foundational Texts
From Islamic Eschatology to Annihilationist Muslim Jew Hatred
Recently Jewcy posted a short opinion piece “On Islamic Antisemitism” which consisted almost entirely of extracts from brief, superficial works on the subject by Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, Robert Wistrich, and Efraim Karsh–none of whom, despite their other areas of expertise, have ever studied Islamic Antisemitism in a serious, comprehensive manner. The glib conceptions of these authors–which are simply affirmed without ever giving any substantive proofs (perhaps because the relevant doctrinal and historical data provides negative proofs), and repeated verbatim and uncritically in the posting by Michael Ezra–remind me, as a clinical investigator in medicine, of a scene from Woody Allen’s film “Sleeper.”
In the film Allen portrays Miles Monroe, owner of a health
food store in
There are incontrovertible and overwhelming hard data-pathological and epidemiological-which demonstrate a major causative role for smoking in both the predominant form of lung cancer (I.e., adenocarcinoma), and premature coronary heart disease. Smoking is to these diseases as the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism is to this scourge of Jew-hatred, past and present. It is as destructive to our social and moral health to deny this reality, as it is to human public health disease prevention efforts to deny the causative link between cigarette smoking and adenocarcinoma of the lung, or premature coronary heart disease.
What is the basis for my claim? Contra the shallow contemporary works quoted by Michael Ezra, serious scholars of Islamic Antisemitism — S.D. Goitein, Hartwig Hirschfeld, Georges Vajda, and Haggai Ben-Shammai — have demonstrated all of the following: clear historical evidence of specific Islamic antisemitism, from the Geniza record of the high Middle Ages (including the coinage of a unique Hebrew word to characterize such Muslim Jew hatred, I.e., sin’ūth), published in full by Goitein as of 1971; the content of foundational Muslim sources detailing the sacralized rationale for Islam’s anti-Jewish bigotry, including Hartwig Hirschfeld’s mid 1880s essay series on Muhammad’s subjugation of the Jews of Medina, based upon the earliest pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad; George Vajda’s elegant, comprehensive 1937 analysis focusing primarily on the hadith (the putative words and deeds of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, as recorded by pious transmitters); and much more recently, Haggai Ben-Shammai’s concise 1988 study of key examples of Jew-hatred in the Koran and Koranic exegesis.
My 3-part presentation will introduce evidence compiled from the seminal works of these scholars, Islam’s foundational texts, and historical eyewitness accounts-adduced to considerably greater extent in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism — which elucidate how the living legacy of Islam’s primal anti-Jewish animus, I.e., specific Antisemitic motifs in Islamic theology, including Islamic eschatology, the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad war, and its corollary institution, dhimmitude — operate in tandem with regard to the annihilationist Muslim Jew-hatred directed at the Jews of Israel, in particular.
Part 1: From Jihad to Dhimmitude
In April 1948, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Muhammad
Mahawif, issued a fatwa declaring jihad in
Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have
[as] Jews have taken a part of
Everyone knows that from the early days of Islam to the
present day the Jews have been plotting against Islam and Muslims and the
Islamic homeland. They do not propose to be content with the attack they made
On Friday May 16, 2008 Osama Bin Laden’s latest reputed audio message proclaimed, the “Jihad [holy war]” which he emphasized “is a duty to free Palestine…is the most important issue for the Islamic nation,” and he urged “iron and fire” to end Israel’s self-defensive blockade of Gaza.
Earlier remarks of Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, which aired on Palestinian Al-Aqsa TV April 11, 2008 provide complementary, and even more revealing context:
Very soon, Allah willing,
These words debunk widely accepted tropes that Hamas is
merely a nationalist movement, albeit religious, desiring a “Palestinian
homeland” in the territories of
Apparently even the still apposite lessons from
... that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.
Thus an aggressive jihad was already being waged against the
It is also worth noting these contemporaneous, early 19th century observations by William Shaler, American Consul General in Algiers (1816-1828), on the plight of the North African Jews of Algiers under the Islamic system of dhimmitude, influenced further by Islam’s own innate Antisemitism-prior to French colonization, and more than a century before the advent of Nazism:
Independent of the legal disabilities of the Jews, they are in Algiers a most oppressed people; they are not permitted to resist any personal violence of whatever nature, from a Mussulman; they are compelled to wear clothing of a black or dark color; they cannot ride on horseback, or wear arms of any sort, not even a cane; they are permitted only on Saturdays and Wednesdays to pass out of the gates of the city without permission; and on any unexpected call for hard labor, the Jews are turned out to execute it. In the summer of 1815, this country was visited by incredible swarms of locusts, which destroyed every green thing before them; …several hundred Jews were ordered out to protect the Bashaw’s [local ruler’s] gardens, where they were obliged to watch and toil day and night, as long as these insects continued to infest the country.
Shaler goes on to cite, in addition, violent outbreaks during which, ..the Jews have been indiscriminately plundered, and they lived in the perpetual fear of a renewal of such scenes; they are pelted in the streets even by children, and in short, the whole course of their existence here, is a state of the most abject oppression and contumely. The children of Jacob bear these indignities with wonderful patience; they learn submission from infancy, and practice it throughout their lives, without ever daring to murmur at their hard lot.
There is just one historically relevant meaning of jihad
despite contemporary apologetics. The root of the word Jihad, appears 40 times
in the Koran and in subsequent Islamic understanding to both Muslim
luminaries-from the greatest jurists and scholars of classical Islam (including
Abu Yusuf, Averroes, Ibn Khaldun, and Al Ghazzali), to ordinary people-meant
and means “he fought, warred or waged war against unbelievers and the like.” As
described by the seminal Arabic lexicographer
…the words Al Jihad, Al Mojahadah, or even “striving against enemies” are equivalents and they do not mean especially fighting with the atheists…they mean fighting in the general sense…
Muhammad himself waged a series of proto-jihad campaigns to
subdue the Jews, Christians and pagans of
Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), jurist, renowned philosopher, historian, and sociologist, summarized these consensus opinions from five centuries of prior Muslim jurisprudence with regard to the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad:
In the Muslim community, the holy war 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 holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense… Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.
Classical Islamic jurists such as Ibn Khaldun also formulated the concepts Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb (Arabic for, “The House of Islam and the House of War”). As described by the great 20th century scholar of Islamic Law, Joseph Schacht,
A non-Muslim who is not protected by a treaty is called harbi, ‘in a state of war’, ‘enemy alien’; his life and property are completely unprotected by law…
Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, “spiritual” leader of the Muslim
Brotherhood, head of the “European Council for Fatwa and Research”, and popular
Al-Jazeera television personality, reiterated almost this exact formulation of
Dar al Harb during July 2003, both in conceptual terms, and with regard to
The essential pattern of the jihad war is captured in the classical Muslim historian al-Tabari’ s recording of the recommendation given by Umar b. al-Khattab (the second “Rightly Guided Caliph”) to the commander of the troops he sent to al-Basrah (636 C.E.), during the conquest of Iraq. Umar reportedly said:
Summon the people to God; those who respond to your call, accept it from them, but those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. (Koran 9:29) If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.
By the time of al-Tabari’s death in 923, jihad wars had
expanded the Muslim empire from
And this classical formulation of jihad is very much a
living doctrine today. For example, one can read the openly espoused views, and
sound Islamic arguments which conclude the contemporary work “Islam and
Modernism,” written by a respected modern Muslim scholar Justice Muhammad Taqi
Usmani. Mr Usmani, aged 65, sat for 20 years as a Shari’a judge in
For Mr Usmani, “the question is whether aggressive battle is
by itself commendable or not.” “If it is, why should the Muslims stop simply
because territorial expansion in these days is regarded as bad? And if it is
not commendable, but deplorable, why did Islam not stop it in the past?” He
answers his own question as follows: “Even in those days . . . aggressive
jihads were waged . . . because it was truly commendable for establishing the
grandeur of the religion of Allah.” Usmani argues that Muslims should live
peacefully in countries such as
And what was the nature of the system of governance imposed
upon those indigenous non-Muslims conquered by jihad? In his seminal The Laws
of Islamic Governance al-Mawardi (d. 1058), a renowned jurist of
The “contract of the jizya”, or “dhimma” encompassed other obligatory and recommended obligations for the conquered non-Muslim “dhimmi” peoples. Collectively, these “obligations” formed the discriminatory system of dhimmitude imposed upon non-Muslims-Jews, Christians, [as well as Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists]-subjugated by jihad. Some of the more salient features of dhimmitude include: the prohibition of arms for the vanquished dhimmis, and of church bells; restrictions concerning the building and restoration of churches, synagogues, and temples; inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims with regard to taxes and penal law; the refusal of dhimmi testimony by Muslim courts; a requirement that Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims, including Zoroastrians and Hindus, wear special clothes; and the overall humiliation and abasement of non-Muslims It is important to note that these regulations and attitudes were institutionalized as permanent features of the sacred Islamic law, or Shari’ a. The writings of the much lionized Sufi theologian and jurist al-Ghazali (d. 1111) highlight how the institution of dhimmitude was simply a normative, and prominent feature of the Shari’a:
…the dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle.. .Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]…on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]… They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells…their houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle-work is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths…[dhimmis] must hold their tongue.
The practical consequences of such a discriminatory system were summarized in A.S. Tritton’s 1930 The Caliphs and their Non-Muslim Subjects, a pioneering treatise on the status of the dhimmis:
…[C]aliphs destroyed churches to obtain materials for their buildings, and the mob was always ready to pillage churches and monasteries…dhimmis…always lived on sufferance, exposed to the caprices of the ruler and the passions of the mob…in later times..[t]hey were much more liable to suffer from the violence of the crowd, and the popular fanaticism was accompanied by an increasing strictness among the educated. The spiritual isolation of Islam was accomplished. The world was divided into two classes, Muslims and others, and only Islam counted…Indeed the general feeling was that the leavings of the Muslims were good enough for the dhimmis.
It is within this overall historical context that one must view contemporary Muslim pronouncements regarding the status of non-Muslims-under past, present, and future Islamic rule.
For example, during a Friday sermon broadcasted live on June 6, 2001 on PA TV, from the Sheik ‘Ijlin Mosque in Gaza, Palestinian Authority employee Sheik Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Madhi reiterated these sentiments with regard to Jews:
We welcome, as we did in the past, any Jew who wants to live in this land as a Dhimmi, just as the Jews have lived in our countries, as Dhimmis, and have earned appreciation, and some of them have even reached the positions of counselor or minister here and there. We welcome the Jews to live as Dhimmis, but the rule in this land and in all the Muslim countries must be the rule of Allah.
Five years ago (i.e., in 2003, prior to Hamas’ electoral
victory in 2006), during a briefing for a visiting United States congressional
delegation, then Vatican representative to Israel, Archbishop Pietro Sambi,
informed US lawmakers that the Palestinian Authority’s new approved state
constitution, funded by the US Agency for International Development, provided
no juridical status for any religion other than Islam in the emerging
Palestinian Arab entity. The Papal Nuncio warned, in addition, that the
Palestinian Authority (PA) had adopted Shari’a as the overarching guiding
principle of their legal code, thus mandating the absolute supremacy of Muslims
over non-Muslims as a matter of law. Archbishop Sambi also initiated a study of
the new PA textbooks, which the
But how are the jihad and its corollary institution, dhimmitude conjoined to Islamic Antisemitism? These phenomena will be examined, beginning in Part 2.
Please report any
broken links to
Copyright © 1988-2012 irfi.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer