Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Does the Qur'an encourage anti-semitism?

I told "Kevin" I thought there were verses in the Qur'an and hadith that it was difficult to interpret as anything other than anti-semitic. He responded first by saying that the Arabs are a semitic people and therefore this was unlikely, and then by explaining that the Qur'an draws a distinction between Bani Israel (those who are racially Jewish) and the yahud who are those who follow the religious teachings of Judaism.
This is my reply:
Thank you. I was unaware of the difference. Be that as it may, unfortunately the subtlety of your distinctions seems to have been lost on the vast majority of the Muslim world. They, like me, appear not to appreciate Allah’s clear intention not to disparage or hate the Jews as a race. Here is the transcript of an Egyptian TV programme.[1]  
What are the characteristics of the Jewish personality? You should pay attention to this and maybe even take notes..the most prominent trait of the Jews is the rigidity of their hearts. Their hearts are solid, icy and devoid of all goodness. They know no mercy or compassion. The Qur’an bears witness to this...A Jew clings to his life even if it means living the life of a worm, a rodent or cockroach. Cowardice is a deep-seated characteristic of every single Jew. The third is their treacherous nature...They spread sex and promiscuity across the world...”  There is much more of this hateful stuff, but you get the picture.
No mention, you’ll notice of the Yahud. Indeed, it seems very clear that these are racial, not religious slurs.
Whenever the Jews are mentioned in the Islamic world, there appears to be no distinction of the kind you are keen to underline. The Qur’an and Hadith are simply used to encourage the foulest

form of race hate.
Allah made the Jews leave their homes by terrorizing them so that you killed some and made many captive. And He made you inherit their lands, their homes, and their wealth. He gave you a country you had not traversed before” 33:26They are fond of listening to falsehood, of devouring anything forbidden; they are greedy for illicit gain!"5:42; “We sent a plague upon the Jews from heaven, for their evil-doing” 2:59; “Humiliation and wretchedness were stamped on the Jews and they were visited with Allah's wrath” 2:61 “...we destroy your faces beyond all recognition, turning you on your backs, and curse you as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers, for the decision of Allah Must be executed." 4:47 “But you [Jews] went back on your word and were lost losers. So become apes, despised and hated. We made an example out of you."2:64 “The Jews are devoid of sense. There is a grievous punishment awaiting them. Satan tells them not to believe so they will end up in Hell." “Sufficient for the Jew is the Flaming Fire!"4:55 “The Jews are a nation of liars.... The Jews are a treacherous, lying, and evil people” Ishaq 240
Even children are not spared the incessant drip feed of anti-Semitism. We could mention the anti-Semitic text books[1] paid for by Saudi and distributed in British Islamic schools which portray Jews as pigs and monkeys and advocate the killing of homosexuals, or another TV programme[2] broadcast on Egyptian television (do watch this- it’s a blast...) which has a friendly looking old cleric surrounded by cherubic six and seven year-olds. He proceeds to tell them the story of Mohammad being poisoned by a Jewess. At the end there is a phone-in. One child calls and is asked:
Ruqaya, what did you learn from today’s show?” “I learned that the Jews are a people of treachery and betrayal” says an angelic voice at the end of the line. The old cleric is delighted, claps his hands and turns smiling to the children in the studio.. “Allah akbar! Say Allah akbar!...We want mothers who teach their sons jihad: the love of Allah and His messenger sacrifice for the sake of Islam and love for the countries of the Muslims. May Allah bless you, Ruqaya!”
So am I taking a few isolated examples out of context?
Hardly...anti-Semitic propaganda are embarrassingly widespread throughout the Muslim world, as you must know. Do you dispute that standard anti-Semitic themes have become commonplace in the propaganda of Arab Islamic movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas? (Its manifestos rely heavily on documents such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for example[1]) Mein Kampf has even been published in Arabic and was 6th on the Palestinian best-seller list in 1999[2]!
I say all this, not to suggest that the West is devoid of anti-Semitism, but simply to highlight the fact that Islam has been used to encourage and foster hatred against the Jews in the same way that it has been used to encourage and foster hatred against gays. The verses I quoted in my mail to you are routinely used to poison the minds of generations of Muslims. The author of the Qur’an may not have intended this (although I urge you to study the change in character of the revelations once it became clear to Mohammad that the Jews would never accept him as a prophet) but there can be little doubt that the Qur’an and ahadith are a rich source of material for those wishing to disseminate anti-Semitic ideas.

[1] “There is certainly very clear evidence of antisemitism in the writings and manifestos of organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah..." Human Rights Implications of the Resurgence of Racism and Anti-Semitism, United States Congress, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Security, International Organizations and Human Rights - 1993, p. 122.
[2] "Special Dispatch - No. 48" (Arabic version of book), October 1999, MEMRI.org.


  1. Why did you choose to ignore the verses and sayings of the Prophet (pbh) that show he cared for all followers of Allah (God)?

  2. oh-er...my tracking software tells me I've just had a visit from the Saudi Government. Now that's a little unnerving.
    Sorry fellas if you find the truth unpalatable...Of course if we were in Saudi no doubt this little voice of dissent would have been stamped on good and proper. Thank Thor we live in a heathen democracy, eh?

  3. Sorry, should have replied to Yusuf earlier. The reason why I "ignore" the plentiful sayings and verses showing the Prophet as a protector and lover of the Jews is that THERE AREN'T THAT MANY OF THEM and they are certainly outweighed by the numerous anti-semitic verses and hadith. And remember, the Prophet is supposed to be the perfect example for all humanity...