Self-Criticism and Confronting Anti-Semitism: The Moderate Voices of Recognition in the Islamic World

Self-Criticism and Confronting Anti-Semitism: The Moderate Voices of Recognition in the Islamic World

Ronen A. Cohen (Ariel University, Israel)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6258-0.ch010
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Much has been said and written about anti-Semitism in the Islamic and Arab world, concerning its roots and its significance in political life all over the Arab world and beyond. However, within the volume of religious and secular ideas of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Arab and Islamic world, we can find few voices that express views that contrast the deep-rooted conventional hatred toward Jews. These voices present a tolerant and inclusive approach that opposes both religious and secular anti-Semitism. This study focuses on anti-Semitism in the Islamic world, presenting rather the other voices in the Arab world, those that oppose anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
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Anti-Semitism In The Quran

The Quran, as a written testament, and the Hadith, the defined traditions of Islam as an oral testament, are replete with anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish comments, which have trickled down to social and political levels since the rise of Islam and is valid also nowadays. Throughout the generations since, the rise of the second caliph, Omar Ibn al-Khattab, and the introduction of the “Pact of Omar” (al-A’hada al-U’mariya or Shurut U’mar), that limited and honed the differences in the identities between the believing Muslim and the Jew (who was also a monotheistic believer), the Jew was declared to be inferior and suppressed because of his stiff-necked non-acceptance of Allah. In time, these conditions would become part of the Middle Eastern way of life until the total assimilation of the image of the Jew, and Judaism as a religion, as inferior forever.

In the Quran itself one can find about ninety references and verses aimed at Judaism in general and even at the Jews of Medina, the city to which the prophet Muhammad moved-escaped from Mecca, which at that time was the main city in the Arabian Peninsula. The Prophet Muhammad's long acquaintance with the Jews in the Arabian Peninsula at the time he founded the religion of Islam was included in the religious writings in the Quran and later became the religious law that obligated the believers to see the Jews as infidels who had betrayed God's religion, were falsifiers of the true path shown to them by Allah, were the cursed of all peoples and who had turned their backs on Allah. Because of all this Islam had to perpetuate the shame of the Jews for all generations.

Among the ninety negative references to the Jews one can find quite a few that are very clear, such as: Sura 2, al-Baqarah (the cow) section 88:

They (The Jews) said And they said, “Our hearts are wrapped.” But, [in fact], Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is it that they believe (The Quran).

The Sura 3, Ali Imran (The Family of Imran) section, verse 23:

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