Moderate Muslim Raheel Raza published a heartwarming story in Canada’s National Post Monday, entitled “I’m a Muslim and I love Israel. Here’s why.” In it, she notes that “every moment of my first trip to the Jewish state was an awakening about the misinformation I had been fed.” Raza tells numerous stories about the kindness shown to her by Jews and Israelis, and in this torn and weary world, that is heartwarming indeed. In the course of her lengthy article, however, she writes: “
Hate is a terrible ideology, and it feeds antisemitism, which is rampant in some parts of the Muslim world. Much of this is based on ignorance of facts and misinterpretation of the faith.”
Unfortunately, this is not only false but likely to foster a dangerous complacency in the face of a genuine threat.
This is because, much as Islamic spokesmen in the West deny the fact, hatred of Jews is deeply embedded in Islam’s holy texts. There is a strong native strain of anti-Semitism in Islam, rooted in the Qur’an. The Qur’an puts forward a clear, consistent image of the Jews: they are scheming, treacherous liars and the most dangerous enemies of the Muslims.
The Qur’an presents Muhammad as the last and greatest in the line of Biblical prophets, preaching a message identical to theirs. The identical character of their messages may seem odd to those who know very well that the Qur’an’s contents are quite different in character from those of the Bible, but the Qur’an has an ingenious explanation for this: the original message of all the Biblical prophets was Islam, and they were all Muslims. Only later did their followers corrupt their messages to create Judaism and Christianity.
Consequently, in the Qur’an, Abraham is not a Jew or a Christian, but a Muslim (3:67); his message was identical to Muhammad’s. The Islamic claim is that the authentic Torah actually commands Jews to follow Muhammad and recognize his prophecy. Those who refuse to accept Muhammad as a prophet are, in the Muslim view, rejecting both Moses and the prophecies of the Torah. It is no surprise, then, that in the Qur’an both David and Jesus curse the disbelieving Jews for their disobedience (5:78).
Yet of course, Torah-observant Jews did not and do not accept Muhammad as a prophet, and this, according to Islamic tradition, enraged the prophet of Islam during his lifetime. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad initially appealed energetically to the Jews, hoping they would accept his prophetic status. He even had the Muslims imitate the Jews by facing Jerusalem for prayers, and he adopted for the Muslims the Jews’ prohibition of pork. But he was infuriated when the Jews rejected him, and Allah shared his fury in Qur’anic revelation: “And when a messenger from Allah comes to them, confirming what is with them, a faction of those who have received the book cast the book of Allah behind their backs, as if they did not know.” (2:101).
Muslims should not get close to such people: “O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends of one another. He among you who takes them for friends is of them. Indeed, Allah does not guide wrongdoing people” (5:51). It would hardly be appropriate for Muslims to act peaceably toward the Jews when the Jews, according to the Qur’an, are prone to war — especially against Muslims. Whenever the Jews “light a fire for war,” says the Qur’an, “Allah extinguishes it” (5:64).
In light of all this (and there is much more), an informed and committed Muslim believer will look at the Jews, and in particular at Zionism and the State of Israel, and not see a struggle over land or boundaries that can be solved through negotiations if a sufficient amount of goodwill exists on both sides. Such a believer is much more likely to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an eschatological struggle against the great spiritual enemies of the Muslims, as the Jews are designated in the Qur’an: “You will find the Jews and the idolaters the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe.” (5:82)
There can be no negotiated settlement, and no peace, with these treacherous, untrustworthy, mendacious enemies. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, in short, what no policymaker, no negotiator, no one who has ever been involved with the Middle East “peace process” has ever admitted it to be: a religious war. It is wonderful that Raheel Raza has had positive experiences in Israel. But none of those experiences will end the implacable and Qur’an-based Islamic hostility toward Jews.