Louis Farrakhan, the reliably anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam, claimed Tuesday at the Nation’s annual meeting in the Chicago area that Jews and Zionists were “trying to push the US into war” and – in a revival of hoary anti-Semitic clichés – that “Zionists dominate the government of the United States of America and her banking system.”
The elderly Jew-hater also directed a warning to the president not to move against the man Farrakhan called “my brother and my friend,” Muammar Gaddafi: “President Obama, if you allow the Zionists to push you, to mount a military offensive against Gaddafi and you go in and kill him and his sons, as you did with Saddam Hussein and his sons… I’m warning you this is a Libyan problem, let the Libyans solve their problem among themselves.”
Farrakhan at the same time denied that he was – despite appearances – “just somebody who’s got something out for the Jewish people.” Farrakhan directly addressed those who might get such a crazy idea: “You’re stupid.” And he explained: “Do you think I would waste my time if I did not think it was important for you to know Satan? My job is to pull the cover off of Satan so that he will never deceive you and the people of the world again.”
A rational analyst would be hard-pressed to explain why Zionists might wish the U.S. to embark upon a military operation to remove Gaddafi, when the successor to his odious regime is likely to be an Islamic state that is even more virulently anti-America and anti-Israeli than that of the aging rock star who is still quixotically holding the fort in Tripoli. But Farrakhan’s anti-Jewish conspiracy paranoia is not entirely irrational, either: it is founded in a book revered by Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, albeit not in a wholly conventional fashion: the Koran.
Neither Sunni nor Shi’ite Muslim authorities generally regard the Nation of Islam as an orthodox expression of Islam; nevertheless, its adherents identify themselves as Muslims and read the Koran. And the Koran, whether or not it really is, in the words of Michael Potemra, Deputy Managing Editor of National Review magazine, “one of the loveliest books ever written…full of spiritual wisdom,” is undeniably full of venomous hatred toward the Jews.
The Koran puts forward a clear, consistent image of the Jews: they are scheming, treacherous liars and the most dangerous enemies of the Muslims. This theological tenet provides a basis for Islam’s deeply rooted anti-Semitism, and illuminates Farrakhan’s latest outburst. For the Koran depicts the Jews as a gang of corrupt, deceitful cut-throats.
The Koran condemns Jews for speaking “a lie concerning Allah knowingly” (3:75). The Jews are “men who will listen to any lie” (5:41). They also spread them: “There is a party of them who 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. And they say: It is from Allah, when it is not from Allah; and they speak a lie concerning Allah knowingly” (3:78). They are so deceitful that they dare to distort “Divine Revelation and Allah’s Sacred Books. Allah says in this regard: ‘Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands and then 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’” (2:79).
The Jews in the Koran are so obstinate before Allah that they refuse to believe in the prophets Allah has sent them, even Moses, telling him: “O Moses! We will not believe in thee till we see Allah plainly” (2:55). They are hypocrites (2:14; 2:44) who “grow arrogant” before the messengers of Allah, refusing to believe in some and killing others (2:87). They are so arrogant and haughty that they “claimed to be the sons and of Allah and His beloved ones” – a fault they share with the Christians: “The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones” (5:18).
The Jews also try to lead others away from the truth: “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” (2:109). They rejoice in others’ ill-fortune: “If a lucky chance befall you, it is evil unto them, and if disaster strike you they rejoice thereat” (3:120).
And so when Farrakhan refers to Jews as Satanic deceivers, he is actually being more moderate than the Koran itself. For Farrakhan and his ilk, eliminating the Jewish state is not just a foreign policy goal; it is a religious imperative.