Bostom on Islamic Jew hatred;
Almost 850 years ago, elaborating on the depth of Muslim hatred for the Jews in his era (contra the deceitful allusions of the “dialogue” letter), Maimonides made this profound observation regarding the Jewish predilection for denial, a feature that he insists will hasten their destruction.
We have acquiesced, both old and young, to inure ourselves to humiliation…All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment [by Muslims] which well nigh crushes us. No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them,they stir up strife and sedition.
The Jews and their communal leaders like Maimonides living under Islamic rule in the Middle Ages—vanquished by jihad, isolated, and well-nigh defenseless under the repressive system of dhimmitude—can be excused for their submissive denial. There is no such excuse in our era given the existence of an autonomous Jewish State of Israel, and a thriving Western Jewish diaspora living under the blanket of hard won protections for their religious freedom, physical security, and dignity.
When the late 23 year-old Parisian Jew Ilan Halimi was being tortured to death in February 2006, his Muslim torturers, as Nidra Poller wrote in the Wall Street Journal “…phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Qur’ran, while Ilan’s tortured screams could be heard in the background.” In the heart of Western Europe, Ilan Halimi’s torturers/murderers did not invoke any non-Islamic sources of anti-Jewish hate, only the Koran.
As a pre-condition to real dialogue—not its miserable simulacrum as represented by the February 25, 2008 letter—Jews and their leadership—religious, political, and intellectual—must demand a mea culpa from their Muslim counterparts for the sacralized Islamic Jew hatred which contributed to Ilan Halimi’s death, and countless other similar atrocities across space and time, since the advent of Islam.
Let us demonstrate as Jews that we are no longer living with 12th century expectations of Muslims, otherwise they will oblige us.
The Dialogue of Denial Dr Andrew Bostom
As described February 23, 2006 by Nidra Poller, “Ilan’s uncle Rafi Halimi told reporters that the gang [of Ilan’s Muslim torturers/murderers] phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Koran, while Ilan’s tortured screams could be heard in the background.”
An open letter calling for “dialogue” was introduced this Monday, February 25, 2008, by Tariq Ramadan, ballyhooed by its promoters in grandiose terms as the “World’s First Cross-Denominational Statement from Muslims to Jews.” A press release sent to me directly by one of the Muslim organizers of the initiative, Dr. Akbar Ahmed, touted two Jewish leaders, Rabbi David Rosen, “International President, Religions for Peace and Advisor on Interfaith Relations to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel,” and Rabbi Danny Rich, described as “Director of Liberal Judaism,” who had quickly endorsed the statement.
Rabbis Rosen and Rich should disavow their naïve endorsements because support for this initiative, as framed in the letter, is an egregious error.
Notwithstanding the inappropriateness of selecting Mr. Ramadan as the “presenter”—given his penchant for espousing anti-Jewish conspiracy theories—the statement itself (available in full here) is a thoroughly disappointing amalgam of raw denial, and disingenuousness.
Devoid of genuine mea culpa, as opposed to immoral equivalence, the letter, released in Cambridge, England, is hermetically sealed off from a contemporary British, and larger Western European milieu, in which Muslims are responsible for fully half (50%) of the documented Antisemitic incidents on the European continent, i.e., on a population percentage basis Muslims in Europe (comprising only ~3.0-4.0% of the total European population.) account for roughly 24.0 to 32.3 times the number of Antisemitic incidents as their non-Muslim European counterparts.
Also ignored in the letter are the expressed, “carefully researched” views on Jews—words which incite such Muslim Antisemitism, including acts of violence—espoused by the nearest Muslim equivalent to a Pope—Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, the head of the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, Sunnis representing some 85% of the world’s Muslims. Tantawi wrote these words in his 700 page treatise documenting and rationalizing Muslim Jew hatred, Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna [Jews in the Qur’an and the Traditions], originally published in the 1970s, and then re-issued in 1986/87:
[The] Qur’an describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah, 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, the bad ones do not. (Qur’an 3:113)
Sheikh Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by being named Grand Imam ofAl-Azhar University in 1996, a position he still holds. And Tantawi has not mollified such hatemongering beliefs since becoming the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his recent statements on the Jews as “enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs”, the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews, or “dialogue” with Jews (just below), make clear:
“…anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward. My stance stems from Allah’s book [the Qur’an], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews…[I] wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah. I still believe in everything written in that dissertation.” [i.e., from above, in Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna]
Tantawi’s case illustrates the prevalence and depth of sacralized, “normative” Jew hatred in the contemporary Muslim world, which engenders both the Antisemitic attitudes, and resultant anti-Jewish violence inflicted upon Jews far removed from the Middle Eastern battlegrounds of Israel, and the neighboring Muslim nations and communities. Arguably Islam’s leading mainstream cleric, Tantawi embodies how the living, nearly1400 year-old legacy of Muslim anti-Jewish hatred, and violence remains firmly rooted in mainstream, orthodox Islamic teachings, not some aberrant vision of an Islam “hijacked” by a minority of extremists.
But the authors of the disingenuous “dialogue” letter avoid any discussion of this living anti-Jewish doctrine and history, and focus instead on demonstrably false platitudes about the “Iberian peninsula” during the high Middle Ages, rare and completely de-contextualized pacific sounding verses from the Koran and hadith, and an entirely misleading discussion of the so-called “Medina Charter” of Muhammad—in reality, a part of Muhammad’s design to neutralize the Jews of Medina, and establish a hegemonic Islamic order, via jihad—which the Muslim prophet-jihadist accomplished.
Pure Bostom. Read it all.