The Corner

Islam & Anti-Semitism

A couple of years back, Dr. Andrew Bostom published The Legacy of Jihad, which was an invaluable compendium drawn from Islamic scripture and analyses by scholars and experts through the centuries.  Andy has now done it again with his new book, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (Prometheus Books).  This anthology meticulously traces today’s currents of virulent Islamic Jew-hatred straight back to Mohammed and the Quran and smashes the myth of a Golden Age of Islamic tolerance.  It is a tremendous contribution to our understanding.

For a taste of what you will learn from the new collection, consider Bostom’s recent Hudson Institute lecture, reprinted by FPM here.  Most alarming for me continues to be this passage:

[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [Koran 2:61/ 3:112], 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 {Koran 3:113], the bad ones do not.

It’s not the sentiments — this and worse can be found without difficulty.  It’s whose sentiments these are.  The passage was written by Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi in 1986.  Tantawi is now the Grand Imam of al-Azhar University in Egypt, the seat of Sunni learning.  Tantawi is as influential as Muslim clerics get, and, far from repudiating these remarks, he has since reaffirmed them.  They illustrate, as Bostom observes, “the prevalence and depth of sacralized, ‘normative’ Jew hatred in the contemporary Muslim world.”

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