It's still the best-kept secret in the West. An excellent essay on Arab and Muslim antisemitism appears at Ami Isseroff's blog, Israel News. Read the whole thing!
After a year spent in Syria, from July 2006 to August 2007, journalist David McAvoy reported in “Letter from …Damascus” that when he first arrived many people told him that they were against Zionists not Jews. Yet, “the extent and ferocity of the antisemitism hits you like a slap in the face.” He noticed that all the classics, from Mein Kampf to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, could be found in any Damascus bookshop, and that it was common knowledge that the Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks and controlled the mass media, international banking, the UN, and Washington. Moreover, the Holocaust had never happened, or if it did, the Jews had orchestrated it in order to exploit public sympathy for their “entity” in Palestine.
Anti-Semitism in Arab and Muslim countries has been minimized, ignored or ascribed, as noted above, to the Palestinian conflict, but it existed before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is a cause of the conflict, not an effect, as Arabs attest. The Saudi “Peace-Initiative” talks of “normalization,” but it is hard to imagine any sort of “normalization” as long as long as Arabs typically hold the views expressed in 1937 by King Ibn Saud. Arab world anti-Semitism is therefore a serious obstacle to peace.
A myth popularized by Bernard Lewis and others has given the impression that Muslim or Arab anti-Semitism is of recent origin, was imported from the West, or might be the result of the conflict with Zionists in Israel (“Palestine”). It is not so. In relatively modern times Muslims borrowed some of the expressions of anti-Semitism the West. These include the blood libel, the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Nazi ideology of the Palestinian Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini, the Syrian Baath ideologist Hassan Al-Banna as well as the translated versions of Mein Kampf so popular in Arab countries.
However, Arab and Muslim Jew-hate was not all borrowed from the West. The Arab and Muslim world can certainly lay claim to an independent culture of Jew-hatred, with a proud tradition going back to the time of the prophet, and they have taken to exporting anti-Semitism to the West.
In theory, we should distinguish between Arab and Muslim cultures. In one case we are referring to a culture and a people, in the other to a religion. In practice, the cultures are the same, and every country that is of the Arabic culture is also of the Muslim religion. Some non-Arab Muslim countries are not permeated with anti-Semitism, such as Kazakhstan, but non-Arab Muslim countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia are anti-Semitic.The 2003 address of Malaysian Leader Mahathir Muhammad to the OIC 2003 is a good summary of modern Muslim and Arab world anti-Semitism:
Jews are shrewd and wily and gain power by deception
Jews are responsible for most of “our” problems (where “our” in this case is the Muslim Ummah rather than the German Volk).
Human rights and democracy are a “Jewish invention” and therefore are illegitimate.
Jews control other countries.
These ideas reflect modern Muslim-Arab anti-Semitic ideation, with owes quite a bit to Nazi ideology, and are not necessarily found in Muslim religious sources.
The Qur’an is full of horrendous imprecations against Christians and Jews, amply cited by Muslim and anti-Muslim demagogues, but the Qur’an also explains, or seems to explain, that Jews and Christians are to be favored. For example:
2.62. Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
But the open and tolerant verses are balanced by others such as this:
5.51 O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.
The Quran is an ancient document written in archaic language. Like most holy scriptures it is a redaction in which different verses seem to contradict each other. For example, verse 62 of Sura 2 quoted above seems tolerant and open to Jews and Christians, but in a larger context, verse 62 of Sura 2 can be construed as saying the opposite because it is followed by:
2.63. And remember We took your covenant and We raised above you (The towering height) of Mount (Sinai) : (Saying): “Hold firmly to what We have given you and bring (ever) to remembrance what is therein: Perchance ye may fear Allah.”
2.64. But ye turned back thereafter: Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah to you, ye had surely been among the lost.
2.65. And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.”
2.66. So We made it an example to their own time and to their posterity, and a lesson to those who fear Allah.
It is clear from the above that Jews and Christians will be punished doubly for their unbelief. A modern imam who seems to believe that Islam is the only path to salvation explains:
In other words, only the experts who consider the Qur’an as a whole and know the “context of the revelation” can have a correct interpretation, or more directly, the Qur’an can be made to say whatever the interpreters want it to say.
…it should be kept in mind that the base of exegesis of some single verse is not on that other verses should be neglected and overlooked. And relationship of this verse should be cut-off from them. But to understand the meaning of one verse, other than the circumstances of revelation, the verse preceding and the verse following that verse and other verses of the Holy Quran should also be kept in view.
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