Andrew Bostom exposes the roots of its anti-Semitism.
In the wake of the farcically mislabeled “Arab Spring,” we are witnessing a swelling tide of Jew-hatred emanating from the triumphant Islamists throughout the Middle East who don’t even bother to conceal it. And why should they? Our own willfully blind and/or complicit media downplay it or ignore it altogether.
Some argue that what is mistaken for contemporary Islamic anti-Semitism is just a reaction to Israel’s “occupation” and “genocidal oppression” of the Palestinians. Or that it is not intrinsic to Islam but derives from the influence of Nazism. Or that it is a perversion of Islam on the part of a tiny minority of extremists. What are the true roots of Islamic Jew-hatred?
Andrew Bostom, M.D., M.S., has documented the answer. An Associate Professor of Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital, the major teaching affiliate of Brown University Medical School, he is the author of two essential, extraordinary, and meticulously documented works of scholarship, The Legacy of Jihad and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, and of the upcoming Sharia versus Freedom (with a foreword by the incomparable Andrew C. McCarthy). He has published articles and commentary on Islam here on FrontPage and in the Washington Times, National Review Online, Revue Politique, American Thinker, and elsewhere in print and online.
This Tuesday in Los Angeles, Mr. Bostom will present “Understanding the Islam in Muslim Jew-Hatred.” See here for information about attending.
Mark Tapson: Dr. Bostom, what inspired you as a scholar to focus on Islam?
Andrew Bostom: It’s pretty straightforward. The stimulus was 9/11/2001. Until then I was simply a medical academic at Rhode Island Hospital (the major teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University), and an average citizen trying to keep abreast of world events. I am not particularly religious as a Jew though I certainly support the state of Israel. But I grew up in New York, living in Queens most of my life, and I went to medical school in Brooklyn. My wife and I still have family in New York City, so the day of 9/11/2001 itself was traumatic, trying to make sure everyone was OK. A colleague’s wife was in the second tower. She was very lucky, barely getting out before it collapsed.
On the way home I grabbed a book by Karen Armstrong about Islam. I was reading it and commenting to my wife that it just didn’t seem to jibe. (I learned later that Armstrong is a notorious apologist.) As I read it out loud my wife was just laughing. I didn’t find it particularly funny. Nor the news reports over the next days that were transparently apologetic. And I was alarmed at stories that appeared in the New York Times (and other New York area newspapers) about an Egyptian Imam who was preaching at a large Mosque in Manhattan, and spreading conspiracy theories about Jews leaving the World Trade Center in advance of the attacks, due to their “prior knowledge.”
So I started reading independently. A small book by Yossef Bodansky, a terrorism expert, discussed Islamic anti-semitism as a political instrument, and referenced the work of Bat Ye’or on the dhimmi. I got that book by Bat Ye’or, and everything else she has written in English—all her books, essays, and published lectures. I met Bat Ye’or after a correspondence with Daniel Pipes, and brought her to Brown University to give a guest lecture. She became a very close mentor, and introduced me to Ibn Warraq and that’s how things started. I had begun writing short essays within a year of 9/11. Ibn Warraq resided with us in 2003, for a time, and he encouraged me to consider a book project. I was increasingly interested in the Jihad and it was with Warraq’s support that I put that first book, The Legacy of Jihad, together.
MT: What do you say to the common defense that Islam preaches tolerance toward Christians and Jews – “the people of the book” – and that Jew-hatred is not inherent within it?
AB: Although often invoked, these apologetic canards are diametrically opposed to Islamic doctrine and the sad, if predictable historical realities this sacralized hatred has engendered.
What has always been the nature of the system of governance imposed upon indigenous non-Muslims conquered by Islam’s timeless, institutionalized jihad wars?
In his seminal The Laws of Islamic Governance, al-Mawardi (d. 1058) — a renowned jurist of Baghdad — examined the regulations pertaining to the lands and infidel populations subjugated by jihad. This is the origin of the system of dhimmitude. The native infidel “dhimmi” (which derives from both the word for “pact” and also “guilt” — guilty of religious errors) population had to recognize Islamic ownership of their land, submit to Islamic law, and accept payment of the Koranic poll tax (jizya, the tax paid in lieu of being slain) based on Koran 9:29. Al-Mawardi notes: “The enemy makes a payment in return for peace and reconciliation. … Reconciliation and security last as long as the payment is made. If the payment ceases, then the jihad resumes.” A treaty of reconciliation may be renewable, but must not exceed 10 years.
This same basic formulation was reiterated during a January 8, 1998, interview by Muslim Brotherhood “Spiritual Guide,” and immensely popular Al-Jazeera television personality Yusuf al-Qaradawi, confirming how jihad continues to regulate the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims to this day. 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 and 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
– The prohibition 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
– 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 Sharia. 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 Sharia:
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 by the great historian of Muslim and non-Muslim (especially Jewish) relations during classical Islam, S.D. Goitein, in 1970 :
Taxation [by the Muslim government] was merciless, and a very large section of the population must have lived permanently at the starvation level. From many Geniza letters [a trove of Oriental Jewish correspondence etc., particularly from the Middle Ages, discovered in Egypt] one gets the impression that the poor were concerned more with getting money for the payment of their taxes than for food and clothing, for failure of payment usually induced cruel punishment. … The Muslim state was quite the opposite of the ideals … embedded in the constitution of the United States. An Islamic state was part of or coincided with dar al-Islam, the House of Islam. Its treasury was … the money of the Muslims. Christians and Jews were not citizens of the state, not even second class citizens. They were outsiders under the protection of the Muslim state, a status characterized by the term dhimma … They were also exposed to a great number of discriminatory and humiliating laws. … As it lies in the very nature of such restrictions, soon additional humiliations were added, and before the second century of Islam was out, a complete body of legislation in this matter was in existence. … In times and places in which they became too oppressive they lead to the dwindling or even complete extinction of the minorities.
Important scholars of Islamic Antisemitism — from Hartwig Hirschfeld in the mid-1880s, Georges Vajda in the late 1930s, S.D. Goitein in 1971, and Haggai Ben-Shammai in 1988 — have demonstrated, collectively, all of the following:
– Clear historical evidence of specific Islamic anti-semitism, from the Geniza record of the high Middle Ages — including the coinage of a unique Hebrew word to characterize such Muslim Jew hatred, sinuth — 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 his earliest pious Muslim companions)
– Haggai Ben-Shammai’s concise 1988 study of key examples of Jew-hatred in the Koran and Koranic exegesis
For example, Koran 3:112 is featured before the pre-amble to Hamas’ foundational Covenant—it is literally part of the very first statement of the document. Here is the standard Arberry translation of 3:112:
Abasement shall be pitched on them, wherever they are come upon, except they be in a bond of God, and a bond of the people; they will be laden with the burden of God's anger, and poverty shall be pitched on them; that, because they disbelieved in God's signs, and slew the Prophets without right; that, for that they acted rebelliously and were transgressors.
In classical and modern Koranic exegeses by seminal, authoritative Islamic theologians this central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and pigs (5:60), or simply apes, (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been “...cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” (5:78). Muhammad himself — Islam’s founding prophet — repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadith (Sunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322), “He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ‘...curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary’”. And the related verse, 5:64, accuses the Jews—as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did in a January 2007 speech, citing Koran 5:64—of being “spreaders of war and corruption,” a sort of ancient Koranic antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The Koranic curse (verses 2:61/3:112) upon the Jews for (primarily) rejecting, even slaying Allah’s prophets, including Isa, the Muslim Jesus (or at least his “body double” 4:157-4:158), is updated with perfect thematic logic in the canonical hadith: following the Muslims’ initial conquest of the Jewish farming oasis of Khaybar, one of the vanquished Jewesses reportedly served Muhammad poisoned mutton (or goat), which resulted, ultimately, in his protracted, agonizing death. And Ibn Saad’s sira account—the sira being the earliest pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad—maintains that Muhammad’s poisoning resulted from a well-coordinated Jewish conspiracy.
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, or Jerusalem, 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 (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) included in the 1988 Hamas Covenant (in article 7). This hadith is cited in the Covenant as a sacralized, obligatory call for a Muslim genocide of the Jews:
...the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah's prayer and peace be upon him, says: “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985)
Moreover, findings reported by the politically left Israel Foundation, July 15, 2011, from an “intensive, face-to-face survey in Arabic of 1,010 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” revealed that 73% of this representative statistical sample of Palestinians surveyed agree with the dictates of the annihilationist canonical hadith (i.e., Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) quoted in the Hamas Covenant.
Unfortunately, Hamas’ views on Islamic Jew hatred, are entirely concordant with those of the most authoritative religious educational institution within Sunni Islam for over 1000 years, since the late 10th century—Al Azhar University, in Cairo, Egypt. Consider a fatwa written January 5, 1956 by then Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Hasan Ma’moun, and signed by the leading members of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar, and the major representatives of all four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. [English translation from State Department Telegram 1763/ Embassy (Cairo) Telegram 1256 D441214] This ruling elaborated the following key initial point: that all of historical Palestine—modern Jordan, Israel, and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza—having been conquered by jihad, was a permanent possession of the global Muslim umma (community), “fay territory”—booty or spoils—to be governed eternally by Islamic Law. The January, 1956 Al Azhar fatwa’s language and arguments are indistinguishable from those employed by Hamas (in its Covenant), revealing the same conjoined motivations of jihad, and conspiratorial Islamic Jew hatred:
Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have usurped the territory of Palestine and attacked its people and their property in any manner which allows the Jews to continue as a state in that sacred Muslim territory.
[as] Jews have taken a part of Palestine and there established their non-Islamic government and have also evacuated from that part most of its Muslim inhabitants... Jihad... to restore the country to its people.. is the duty of all Muslims, not just those who can undertake it. And since all Islamic countries constitute the abode of every Muslim, the Jihad is imperative for both the Muslims inhabiting the territory attacked, and Muslims everywhere else because even though some sections have not been attacked directly, the attack nevertheless took place on a part of the Muslim territory which is a legitimate residence for any Muslim.
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 Palestine and Al Aqsa Mosque, but they plan for the possession of all Islamic territories from the Nile to the Euphrates.
The continual, monotonous invocation by Al Azhar clerics of such jihadist and antisemitic motifs from the Koran (or other foundational Muslim texts) is entirely consistent with the published writings and statements of the late Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi—Grand Imam of this pre-eminent Islamic religious institution from 1996, till his death in March 2010.
My book The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism includes extensive first time English translations of Tantawi’s academic magnum opus, Jews in the Koran and the Traditions. Tantawi wrote these words rationalizing Muslim Jew-hatred, in his 700 page treatise:
[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], 41 the bad ones do not.
Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by being named Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, a position he held for 14-years. These were 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 85 to 90% of the world’s Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi never mollified such hatemongering beliefs after 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.
Here is but a very incomplete sampling of barely known pogroms and mass murderous violence against Jews living under Islamic rule, across space and time, all resulting from the combined effects of jihadism, general anti-dhimmi, and/or specifically Antisemitic motifs in Islam: 6,000 Jews massacred in Fez in 1033; hundreds of Jews slaughtered in Muslim Cordoba between 1010 and 1015; 4,000 Jews killed in Muslim riots in Grenada in 1066, wiping out the entire community; the Berber Muslim Almohad depredations of Jews (and Christians) in Spain and North Africa between 1130 and 1232, which killed tens of thousands, while forcibly converting thousands more, and subjecting the forced Jewish converts to Islam to a Muslim Inquisition; the 1291 pogroms in Baghdad and its environs, which killed (at least) hundreds of Jews; the 1465 pogrom against the Jews of Fez; the late 15th century pogrom against the Jews of the Southern Moroccan oasis town of Touat; the 1679 pogroms against, and then expulsion of 10,000 Jews from Sanaa, Yemen to the unlivable, hot and dry Plain of Tihama, from which only 1,000 returned alive, in 1680, 90% having died from exposure; recurring Muslim anti-Jewish violence—including pogroms and forced conversions—throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which rendered areas of Iran (for example, Tabriz) Judenrein; the 1834 pogrom in Safed where raging Muslim mobs killed and grievously wounded hundreds of Jews; the 1888 massacres of Jews in Isfahan and Shiraz, Iran; the 1910 pogrom in Shiraz; the pillage and destruction of the Casablanca, Morocco ghetto in 1907; the pillage of the ghetto of Fez Morocco in 1912; the government sanctioned anti-Jewish pogroms by Muslims in Turkish Eastern Thrace during June-July, 1934 which ethnically cleansed at least 3000 Jews; and the series of pogroms, expropriations, and finally mass expulsions of some 900,000 Jews from Arab Muslim nations, beginning in 1941 in Baghdad (the murderous “Farhud,” during which 600 Jews were murdered, and at least 12,000 pillaged)—eventually involving cities and towns in Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Syria, Aden, Bahrain, and culminating in 1967 in Tunisia—that accompanied the planning and creation of a Jewish state, Israel, on a portion of the Jews’ ancestral homeland.
Part 2, tomorrow: Dr. Bostom discusses the nexus of Islam and Nazism and describes his forthcoming book.
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