Sunday, June 22, 2008

Andrew Bostom: Islam is inherently antisemitic

The Jerusalem Post carries a profile of Andrew Bostom, whose new book, The Legacy of antisemitism in Islam, argues that anti-Semitism cannot be explained by cultural influences but is, in fact, inherently Islamic: (with thanks: Gavin)

"Andrew Bostom has bats in his belfry. He literally has bats flying around in his home. Speaking with The Jerusalem Post about the release of his new book, The Legacy of Anti-Semitism in Islam, Bostom is still breathing heavily from chasing away the unwelcome guests.

"In his writing, Bostom tries to chase away a different kind of demon: the pervasive belief that the anti-Semitism common to so many Muslims today is a modern, and alien, influence on what more than 1 billion people call "the religion of peace."

"One look at the cover art of The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism is all it takes to discern what Bostom thinks of that. Alfred Dehodencq's vividly colorful but starkly ominous painting "Execution of a Moroccan Jewess" is a recreation of the actual public execution, in Tangier in the 1830s, of 17-year-old Sol Hachuel, who was falsely accused of converting to, and then renouncing, Islam. In an introductory note on the painting and on the heartbreaking tale, Bostom asserts that Sol's cruel fate was shared by countless Jews over more than a dozen centuries, wherever Muslims ruled. Then, in the several hundred pages that follow, he proves it.

"The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism calls to mind the work of Bat Yeor, who over the past 20 years has practically single-handedly forced recognition of the oppression inherent in what she calls dhimmitude - the institution of inferiority, humiliation and obedience that Muslims demand of non-Muslims under their control.

"But Bostom, who considers Bat Yeor a mentor, goes a step further. He provides an extraordinarily thorough look at the history of Islamic anti-Semitism in practice, from the dawn of the religion until today and in every place where Muslims predominated, using first-hand accounts of renowned Muslim scholars and historians as well as Western observers. The questions facing Muslims today - Will they deny this religiously motivated hatred? Excuse it? Use it for political gain? Reject it and reform Islam? - all require an in-depth examination of the Koran, the hadith (sayings and deeds of Muhammad and his companions), and the sira (the biography of Muhammad) as the textual roots of this hatred. And that is what Bostom provides in The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism."

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