Archive for the ‘Islam and Jews’ category

Egyptian Writers Criticize The Negative Attitude To Christians And Jews Reflected In The Common Interpretation Of The Fatiha, The Opening Surah Of The Quran

July 25, 2017

Egyptian Writers Criticize The Negative Attitude To Christians And Jews Reflected In The Common Interpretation Of The Fatiha, The Opening Surah Of The Quran, MEMRI, July 25, 2016

On January 29, 2017, two days after the publication of Nadi’s article, Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, a columnist for the government daily Al-Ahram, praised Nadi’s article and stated that Quranic interpretations should be reexamined in light of “the impressive and respectable legacy of esteemed [Islamic] reformists.”

“So what does this mean, keeping in mind that we are talking not about the [Quranic] text [itself] but about its interpretation? It means that the issue of reforming the religious discourse is broader and deeper than we think, and we should address it by means of a well-planned academic program, especially [given] that we have [at our disposal] the impressive and respectable legacy of esteemed reformists. All that is left for the relevant authorities to do is monitor what appears in the booklets themselves…”

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A discussion has recently taken place in the Egyptian media regarding the interpretation of the last two verses (verses 6 and 7) of the Fatiha, the opening surah of the Quran. These verses state: “[Allah,] Guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have incurred [Your] wrath or of those who are astray.” According to the common interpretation of these verses,[i] the phrase “those upon whom You have bestowed favor” is taken to refer to the Muslims, while the phrases “those who have incurred [Your] wrath” and “those who are astray” are said to refer to the Jews and the Christians, respectively.  

The discussion in the Egyptian media was sparked by an investigative article published January 27, 2017 in the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm. The article, by journalist Mu’ataz Nadi, stated that booklets handed out at funerals and in mourning tents in Egypt repeat this interpretation that refers negatively to the Jews and the Christians, even though renowned religious scholars, such as 19th-century religious reformist Muhammad ‘Abduh and others, claimed that it is false.

Several Egyptian journalists responded with articles that supported Nadi’s view, rejecting the interpretation that appears in the booklets and rebuking clerics, especially Al-Azhar, for allowing the publication of such materials that they said spread extremism. They added that the booklets are yet another indication of the urgent need to reform the religious discourse.[ii]

The following are excerpts from the Al-Masri Al-Yawm article and from articles that responded to it.

 

Al-Masri Al-Yawm Article: Booklets Circulated In Egypt Interpret The Fatiha As Referring Negatively To Christians And Jews

Mu’taz Nadi’s article, titled “Interpretations of the Fatiha – From Muhammad ‘Abduh to Mourning Booklets,” notes that booklets handed out at funerals and mourning tents “contain various interpretations that present any Christian who comes to comfort [the family] as ‘one who is astray.'” It states further that the interpretation appearing in the booklets, which refers negatively to Christians and Jews, also appears on a website of King Saud University in Riyadh as part of a hadith by ‘Adi bin Hatim, one of the Prophet’s companions. This interpretation, he says, is still commonly cited “even though over a century has passed since Muhammad ‘Abduh,[iii] who served as the mufti of Egypt and was one of the pioneers of religious reform and renewal in his generation, [published a different] interpretation of the last two verses of the Fatiha”…

Commentary on Quran 1:7, explaining that “those who have incurred [Your] wrath” refers to the Jews and “those who are astray” refers to the Christians (image:Al-Masri Al-Yawm, Egypt, January 27, 2017)

Explaining ‘Abduh’s interpretation in detail, Nadi states that, according to ‘Abduh, the phrase  “those upon whom You have bestowed favor” refers not to the Muslims but to “the Prophets, the righteous, the martyrs and the decent men among the ancient nations.” As for the phrase “those who have incurred [Your] wrath,” it refers to “those who abandoned the path of truth after they knew it, [namely] those who were informed about Allah’s jurisprudence and religion but rejected it,” while the phrase “those who are astray” refers to people who never received the message of Islam, or who misunderstood it. Thus, in ‘Abduh’s interpretation, none of the phrases refer to the followers of any particular faith. Nadi notes that this interpretation was endorsed by other prominent Islamic scholars as well, such as Muhammad Metwali Al-Sha’rawi (1911-1998), who served as Egypt’s minister of endowments,[iv] Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy (1928-2010), who was sheikh of Al-Azhar.[v]

The article also quotes Dr. Muhyi Al-Din Al-‘Afifi, director of Al-Azhar’s Academy of Islamic Studies, as saying: “The interpretation spread by [these] mourning booklets is at odds with what is said in the Quran, for the Honorable Quran mentions the Christians, and Allah the Almighty said of them [in Quran 5:82]:  ‘You will find the nearest of [mankind] in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.’[vi] ‘Afifi called upon Al-Azhar to examine various interpretations, especially of the Quran, that are spread in Egypt, and amend them.[vii]

Interpretation of Quran 1:7 in Tafsir Al-Jalalayn likewise refers to the Jews and Christians

Egyptian Writers: Religious Establishment Allows Extremist Interpretations Of The Quran

As noted, Nadi’s article sparked responses from other Egyptians who said that the interpretation of the Fatiha as referring to the Jews and Christians is wrong and that alternative interpretations proposed by enlightened sheikhs should be upheld. These writers criticized Egypt’s religious establishment, especially Al-Azhar, for allowing these interpretations to be published.

Al-Masri Al-Yawm Owner: Why Are Enlightened Interpretations Rejected In Favor Of Extremist Ones?

Salah Diab, the owner and founder of Al-Masri Al-Yawm, who writes under the pen-name Newton, also addressed this topic in a January 27, 2017 article, titled “Rebuke.” Newton noted that the booklets which contain this interpretation bear a certificate of approval by Al-Azhar, which suggests that Al-Azhar approves this interpretation, which appears in them, and directed criticism at the Sheikh of Al-Azhar for this. He wrote: “Every person has a moral duty to extend condolences to the bereaved. The older we get, the more such visits we make. In most funerals I attend these days, it is customary to give mourners a copy of the Quran as they leave, and I therefore have a whole pile of Qurans. In other cases one is given a booklet containing a few surahs from the Quran, the first of which is the Fatiha. On the margins of each page of these booklets is some commentary, and the back cover bears a photo of an Al-Azhar certificate approving the publication of the booklet, so that various libraries can circulate it.

“The Fatiha, which we recite several times as part of our daily prayers, is easy to understand and requires no explanation, and therefore it never occurred to me to look for an interpretation and I never looked at the margins [of the page] bearing these verses… [But] at the last funeral I attended, I happened to run across a school mate of my son’s, who is Christian. After greeting me, he told me with a smile, referring to the interpretation of the Fatiha on the margins [of the booklet], that the words ‘those who have incurred [Your] wrath’ are said to refer to the Jews, whereas the words ‘those who are astray’ are said to refer to the Christians. I was amazed, and apologized to him, [saying] that [the authors of the booklet] are ignorant and do not understand what they are doing, and [then I] returned to my car, embarrassed.

“Who are ‘those who have incurred [Allah’s] wrath’? Perhaps it is those who blew up St. Peter’s Church [in Al-‘Abassiya in December 2016]?[viii] Are they not the ones deserving of wrath? [Or perhaps other] murderers, or people who abuse their parents? Does not the [Muslim] religion describe such people as deserving of punishment? Or does this [phrase] refer only to our Jewish brethren?  And what about a Muslim who deviates from the directives of his faith and drinks alcohol, fornicates and gambles – is he not worthy of the description ‘one who is astray’? Or does his faith render him immune, regardless of his behavior and [how much] suffering it causes others? Does one have to be a Christian to merit this description?

“I do not know much about religion and I do not purport to be an expert on religious exegesis. But the interpretation that appears [in the booklet] is apparently approved by Al-Azhar, whose certificate appears on the back cover. Why do they reject enlightened interpretations in favor of extremist ones? Why do we discard the enlightened approach of the two noble sheikhs, Imam Muhammad ‘Abduh and Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut, who was Sheikh of Al-Azhar in 1958-1963? Both of them said that ‘those who incurred [Allah’s] wrath’ and ‘those who are astray’ could be Muslim, Jewish or Christian, and that the phrases do not refer to the followers of any particular faith. Why do we discard these moderate ideas?…

“At a time when we speak of renewing the religious discourse, so that all faiths lead to [the goal] for which they descended, which is [promoting] peace, coexistence, compassion and acceptance of the other, I cannot but convey a certain [message of] rebuke to our honorable Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayeb…”[ix]

Egyptian Journalist: The Existence Of Different Interpretations Underscores The Need To Reform The Religious Discourse

On January 29, 2017, two days after the publication of Nadi’s article, Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, a columnist for the government daily Al-Ahram, praised Nadi’s article and stated that Quranic interpretations should be reexamined in light of “the impressive and respectable legacy of esteemed [Islamic] reformists.” He wrote: “The excellent investigative article by Mu’ataz Nadi… fascinated me… What did my colleague [Nadi] find in his review of the mourning booklets? He found a copy of the Fatiha with commentary on verse 7… [stating that] ‘those who incurred [Allah’s] wrath’ refers to the Jews, whereas ‘those who are astray’ refers to the Christians.  When my colleague looked into this interpretation, he found that it [also] appears on the website of King Saud University [in Riyadh], but that it is different from the interpretations [proposed by] Sheikh Muhammad ‘Abduh, Sheikh Muhammad Metwali Al-Sha’rawi, and the late Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy.

“Trying to get to the bottom of this, I turned to some sources I have, such as Al-Muntakhab, a [modern] compilation of Quranic commentaries  published by [Al-Azhar’s] Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. The 18th edition [of this book], from 1995, says that ‘those who incurred [Allah’s] wrath’ and ‘those who are astray’ refers to ‘those who merit Allah’s wrath and who strayed from the path of good and of truth because they rejected faith and obedience’ (p. 1). However, this is different from what appears in the ancient commentary by [eighth-century Syrian Quranic exegete] ibn Kathir, which says that ‘those who incurred [Allah’s] wrath’ are the Jews, and ‘those who are astray’ are the Christians. This interpretation also appears on the Ahl Al-Sunnah website.

“So what does this mean, keeping in mind that we are talking not about the [Quranic] text [itself] but about its interpretation? It means that the issue of reforming the religious discourse is broader and deeper than we think, and we should address it by means of a well-planned academic program, especially [given] that we have [at our disposal] the impressive and respectable legacy of esteemed reformists. All that is left for the relevant authorities to do is monitor what appears in the booklets themselves…”[x]

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[i] See e.g. the popular classical commentaries Tafsir Al-Tabari, by Abu Ja’far Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari (838-923), who was one of the first Quranic exegetes, and  Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, by Jalal Al-Din al-Mahalli (1389-1459) and his student Jalal Al-Din Al-Suyuti (1445–1505).

[ii] It should be noted that this issue has been debated in the past by Egyptian clerics and media. Islamic preacher Mabrouk ‘Atiyya said at a December 18, 2016 event at the Dar Al-‘Uloum faculty of Cairo University that, contrary to the opinion of many Islamic scholars,  the verse does refer to Christians and Jews, and “whoever interprets it this way understands nothing.” He added: “The Quran makes positive mention of Christians and [Allah] ordered [the believers] to be kind to them. How could the Quran speak positively of certain people and [at the same time] call them ‘those who are astray ‘ [or] ‘those who have incurred [Allah’s] anger’?” (cairoportal.com, December 18, 2017). Egyptian media figure Tamer Amin referred to this issue on a December 2016 television program. He noted that he was amazed to hear that an Egyptian sixth-grade textbook on Islam likewise explains that “those who are astray” in the Fatiha refers to the Christians. He added that the textbook thus presents every religion except Islam as a false religion, and that “this is the way to cultivate [future] terrorists.” He concluded that, “if [this claim about the textbook] is true, it is a disaster” (tahrirnews.com, December 12, 2017).

[iii] Renowned Egyptian Islamic scholar and jurist Muhammad ‘Abduh (1849 –1905), who called for renewal in the Arab and Muslim world, is regarded as one of the key founding figures of Islamic reform and Modernism.

[iv] Egyptian Islamic Scholar and Jurist Al-Sha’rawi was an immensely popular Islamic preacher, and has been called “one of the most prominent symbols of popular Egyptian culture” in the 1970s-1990s.

[v] Tantawy, an influential scholar, also served the grand Mufti of Egypt.

[vi] It should be noted that ‘Afifi ignored the first part of this verse, which refers negatively to the Jews, saying: “You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah.”

[vii] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), January 27, 2017.

[viii] The December 11, 2016 blast near the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Al-Abbasiya, Cairo, left 25 people dead and 49 injured. See Al-Ahram (Egypt, December 12, 2016.

[ix] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), January 27, 2017.

[x] Al-Ahram (Egypt), January 29, 2017.

Sharia Down Under

May 29, 2017

Sharia Down Under, Gatestone Institute, Judith Bergman, May 29, 2017

Recently, Australia adopted stricter vetting rules for immigrants to avoid admitting those who harbor hostile Islamic views. Evidently, this measure comes several decades too late: Those who harbor hostile Islamic views were let in a long time ago. Now, what will Australia do about those who are there?

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Sharia law, the president at the time of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils ludicrously argued, far from discriminating against women, “guarantees women’s rights that are not recognised in mainstream Australian courts”.

The Australian Federal Police investigated 69 incidents of forced or under-age marriage in the 2015-16 financial year, up from 33 the previous year. While there are no official numbers, it is estimated that there are 83,000 women and girls in Australia who may have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which has spent the past four years probing numerous religious organizations, has made no inquiries into Islam. The commission has held 6,500 one-on-one private interview sessions with survivors or witnesses making allegations of child sexual abuse within institutions, but only three sessions in relation to Islamic institutions.

What legacy did Australia’s former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali — named “Muslim Man of the Year” in 2005 and the country’s most senior, longest-serving (1988-2007) Muslim cleric — leave behind?

In 1988, when Hilali was imam of the largest mosque in Australia, he gave a speech at Sydney University in which he described Jews as the cause of all wars and the existential enemy of humanity.

In July 2006, he called the Holocaust a “Zionist lie” and referred to Israel as a “cancer”.

In October 2006 — insinuating that the long prison sentences handed to Sydney’s Lebanese gang-rapists for attacking young teenage girls in the year 2000, were unfair — he compared Australian women who do not wear the Islamic veil to meat left uncovered in the streets and then eaten by cats. During his long career, Hilali also praised suicide bombers as heroes and called the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States “God′s work against oppressors” and “the work of 100 percent American gangs”.

At the time, Hilali’s principal adviser and spokesperson, Keysar Trad, wrote, “The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country and… the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us.” Trad subsequently served as president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils — the national umbrella organization, which represents Australian Muslims at national and international level — from July 2016 until May 2017.

According to Australian senator Cory Bernardi:

“In 2009, the New South Wales Supreme Court found that Mr. Trad ‘incites people to commit acts of violence’, ‘incites people to have racist attitudes’ and is a ‘dangerous and disgraceful individual’… When talking about the gang rape of young women in Sydney by a group of Lebanese men… Mr. Trad … described these types of perpetrators as ‘stupid young boys’… Mr. Trad did not condemn Sheikh Hilali’s disgraceful comments about women being ‘uncovered meat’ in a speech about rape. Instead Mr. Trad chose to defend that speech and the sheikh’s comments”.

In February, Trad told Sky News presenter Andrew Bolt that an angry husband can beat his wife as “a last resort” but should only use his fists against her once he sees that “counselling” — chocolate and flowers, according to Trad — does not work.

Trad also called for the introduction of polygamy in Australia. He said that taking a second wife was “an alternative to divorce”, as, “in our religion, god hates divorce”.

Recently, in May 2017, after an emergency election, Rateb Jneid replaced Trad as president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

Since 2011, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, who does not speak English and relies on translators, has been the Grand Mufti of Australia. In 1995, before moving to the West, Abu Mohamed wrote:

“The West does not bring to us any good, all they bring are their diseases, their designs and their shortcomings… They insist to impose on us their corrupt values, and their philosophy and mannerism, the very things which brought disease, fear, crime and stress to them, the very things which severed ties and broke relationships.”

According to the Daily Telegraph:

The Grand Mufti’s views were also laid bare… with the release of details of a book he wrote saying non-Muslims wanted their women to walk around ‘exposed as a piece of sweet pastry … ­devoured by the eyes of men'”.

In December 2012, Abu Mohamed led an Australian delegation of Muslim scholars to the Gaza Strip, where they met senior Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh. Abu Mohamed told local news agencies:

“I am pleased to stand on the land of jihad to learn from its sons and I have the honor to be among the people of Gaza, where the weakness always becomes strength, the few becomes many and the humiliation turns into pride”.

In 2013, Grand Mufti Abu Mohamed visited sheikh Yusuf al-Qara­dawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, in Qatar. Qaradawi advocates suicide bombings; has urged the world’s Muslims to fight in Syria and has said that killing people who leave Islam is essential, as Islam would otherwise disappear.

After the Paris attacks in November 2015, Abu Mohamed implied that the ISIS atrocities were partly caused by “Islamophobia”, saying:

“It is… imperative that all causative factors such as racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention must be comprehensively addressed.”

With Muslim leaders such as former Grand Mufti Hilali, former president of the Association of Muslim Councils, Kayser Trad, and current Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, it should hardly come as a surprise that sharia — and indeed jihad — have made significant inroads in Australia. In 2011, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils sent a submission to the Federal Parliament’s Committee on Multicultural Affairs, asking for Muslims to be able to marry, divorce and conduct financial transactions under the principles of sharia law. Sharia law, the president at the time of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils ludicrously argued, far from discriminating against women, “guarantees women’s rights that are not recognised in mainstream Australian courts”.

Although polygamy is illegal in Australia, a study in 2011 found that, “Valid Muslim polygynist marriages, lawfully entered into overseas, are recognized, with second and third wives and their children able to claim welfare and other benefits”. When former Prime Minister Tony Abbott called for action after learning about the issue, he was told that it would cost more to pay the wives the single parent benefit. Centrelink, the Australian authority responsible for welfare and other benefits, said that it did not hold data based on polygamous relationships or religion, and that Islamic marriages are not registered. The problem of unregistered Islamic marriages and social welfare fraud is a familiar issue in Europe.

Last year, a 14-year-old Melbourne girl was forced to marry Mohammad Shakir, 34, in a ceremony at a Victoria mosque. In March, Shakir pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of forced-marriage. Ibrahim Omerdic, the Melbourne imam who performed the Islamic wedding ceremony, is also due to appear in court on criminal charges.

Muslim Australian girls, some allegedly as young as nine, have also been taken overseas, or are being threatened with it, and forced to become child brides. A nine-year-old girl reported that she would be taken to Afghanistan to marry, while others were told they would be forced to marry cousins of their parents when they turned 13. In 2012, a 16-year old refugee girl from Afghanistan was flown to Pakistan for a “family holiday” and forced to marry a man she had never met.

The Australian Federal Police investigated 69 incidents of forced or under-age marriage in the 2015-16 financial year, up from 33 the previous year. In the 2013-14 financial year, only 11 cases were investigated. Government agencies are said to consider the figure of 69 potential recent cases the tip of the iceberg, with many girls “too fearful to contact police”. A government child-welfare hotline has received more than 70 calls for help in the past two years, mainly from concerned teachers, counsellors and school principals. Forced marriage was criminalized in March 2013 in Australia. However, the law is not retroactive and marriages entered into prior to the law are beyond the authorities’ jurisdiction, meaning those girls are almost certainly lost.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is another Islamic practice that has recently come to public notice in Australia. In March 2016, three people, among them the mother and a Muslim cleric, were sentenced in Sydney for their role in the female genital mutilation of two seven-year-old sisters. While there are no official numbers, it is estimated that there are 83,000 women and girls in Australia who may have been subjected to FGM. 1,100 girls are born every year to women who may have had FGM, which means that their daughters are also at risk of being subject to FGM.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which has spent the past four years probing numerous religious organizations, including Catholics, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses and obscure cults numbering a negligible amount of members, such as new age ashrams, has made no inquiries into Islam. The commission has held 6,500 one-on-one private interview sessions with survivors or witnesses making allegations of child sexual abuse within institutions, but only three sessions in relation to Islamic institutions.

Four Islamic terrorist attacks, including the Lindt Café siege in Sydney in December 2014, in which the manager and a mother of three were killed, have taken place in Australia. Eleven attacks have been foiled, including planned public beheadings. This statistic does not include the January 2017 car-ramming in Melbourne. The driver, Dimitrious Gargasoulas, murdered six people, including children, and wounded 20 others, when he plowed his car into pedestrians. Even though a witness claimed that Gargasoulas was shouting “Allahu Akbar”, police refused to treat the event as a terrorist attack and even allegedly told a reporter to remove her interview with the witness from the internet. Gargasoulas had apparently converted to Islam prior to the attack and told the judge in a subsequent court hearing, “Your Honour, did you know the Muslim faith is the correct faith according to the whole world?”

Recently, Australia adopted stricter vetting rules for immigrants to avoid admitting those who harbor hostile Islamic views. Evidently, this measure comes several decades too late: Those who harbor hostile Islamic views were let in a long time ago. Now, what will Australia do about those who are there?

A mosque minaret in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images)

 

The Pope’s Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar

April 27, 2017

The Pope’s Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar, Gatestone InstituteLawrence A. Franklin, April 27, 2017

“They cannot take the texts of the seventh century literally as they are in the Quran. He [the Pope] does not dare to say something like that because he doesn’t know the Quran well enough, and so on. So I understand his position, but it would be better to have a clearer and more frank discussion — with openness, but also with some realism.”

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During a meeting between the former Papal Nuncio to Cairo, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam warned Gobel that “speaking about Islam in a negative manner was a ‘red line’ that must not be crossed.” If there are any condemnations of violence against the Coptic Christians, they are likely to be articulated only by the Grand Imam and the Egyptian President.

If the Pope’s humble bearing is excessive, however, it might be interpreted even by peaceable Muslims as a submission. If Francis is asked by the Grand Imam to pray at al-Azhar’s mosque, that is a piety that el-Tayeb would not likely reciprocate in a Coptic Church in Egypt.

Facilitating the establishment of an Islamic-Christian relationship that excludes Judaism can only serve the Islamist goal of isolating Jews and Israel. Although relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar will improve in the near future, the honeymoon will not. The Grand Imam will doubtless protect his own theological power base and keep his distance from both the Vatican and the Egyptian regime.

The twin Palm Sunday bombings at Coptic Christian Churches by Islamic terrorists in Egypt, which killed 44 worshipers, draws attention to what is probably the principal reason for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Cairo on April 28-29. The Pontiff will likely seek the assistance of Egypt’s Muslim hierarchy to help protect Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the indigenous inhabitants of the country who now number about 9 million and constitute at least 10% of the population.

During his stay, Francis will meet with the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb. Al-Azhar’s theological complex, which houses Islam’s oldest university, is considered the most influential center of Sunni Islam.

The Pope possibly hopes that the meeting with el-Tayeb will fully repair relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar. These were restored as a result of a letter sent by Pope Francis to the Grand Imam last year. The Papal letter was followed up by a visit to the Holy See by el-Tayeb in May 2016. Relations between the Holy See and al-Azhar had been severed in 2011 by el-Tayeb after he took offense at comments made by the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, on the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries.

Grand Imam el-Tayeb now appears more disposed towards normalizing relations with the Vatican, especially since his amicable visit to the Holy See in May 2016. Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam is likely to be more agreeable toward Francis than he was toward Benedict. This show of flexibility might possibly also be an effort by el-Tayeb to get in line with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s own call for reform within Islam. However, Al-Azhar, determined to maintain its authority over theological matters, has initiated no substantive, doctrinal reforms in response to President Sisi’s declaration. In fact, Al-Azhar has pushed back against attempts by some Muslim reformists who have suggested a more liberal policy concerning women’s rights, including the ability to divorce.

El-Tayeb, even if he accepted responsibility for protecting the Copts, may prove unable to prevent Islamic terrorist groups from targeting Egypt’s minority Christian population. The alleged cooperation between the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood makes it especially difficult for Cairo to prevent terrorist acts. Islamic terrorist cells in Alexandria and the Sinai Peninsula, where many of the attacks on Copts have occurred, act independently of Egypt’s political and religious leaders. The targeting of Christians by these groups may also be part of a larger objective to destabilize the regime of al-Sisi, who has promised security to Egyptians, particularly Coptic Christians. Radical Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS view the Copts as their enemies; many members of this Christian sect support the Sisi government.

It was, in any event, al-Sisi who invited Pope Francis to visit Egypt during the Egyptian president’s visit to the Vatican in November 2014. Anti-regime elements might well attempt to stage a spectacular terrorist incident during the Pontiff’s visit, particularly targeting Francis himself.

The Pope’s upcoming visit is being organized by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauron, who chairs the Pontifical Council of Inter-Religious Dialogue. Cardinal Tauron is, no doubt, cognizant of the “red line” laid down by the Grand Imam if the Vatican wishes to have amicable relations with the Muslim leadership. During a meeting between the former Papal Nuncio to Cairo, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, and el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam warned him that “speaking about Islam in a negative manner was a ‘red line’ that must not be crossed.” However, given the Pope’s past reluctance to condemn radical Islamic concepts, it is unlikely that, during his visit to Egypt, he will depart from this cautious public posture. Comments, if any, by Pope Francis on Muslim violence against Christians will, no doubt, be diplomatic and muted. If there are any condemnations of violence against the Coptic Christians, they are likely to be articulated only by the Grand Imam and the Egyptian President.

Nevertheless, Pope Francis will, it appears, publicly demonstrate his solidarity with fellow Christians by championing the Coptic Pope Tawadros II during memorial services for the recently martyred Copts. Francis, who is known to be fond of Tawadros, might express his deep personal concern for the welfare of the Coptic Pope — who was celebrating Mass inside St. Mark’s Cathedral when the bomber detonated his explosives just outside.

Francis is apparently most anxious to bring Copts and Catholics closer together, in the hope that the Egyptian Church will ultimately formally reunite with the Holy See. The Coptic Church first split from Rome in 451 A.D. However, the Vatican maintains deep respect for the Egyptian Church, which was established by one of the four authors of the Gospels, St. Mark, in Alexandria as early as 42 A.D.[1]

Catholic Pope Francis greets Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II at the Vatican, on May 10, 2013. (Image source: News.va Official Vatican Network)

If the Pope’s humble bearing is excessive, however, it might be interpreted even by peaceable Muslims as submission. If Francis is asked by the Grand Imam to pray at al-Azhar’s mosque, that is a piety that el-Tayeb would not likely reciprocate in a Coptic Church in Egypt.

The public stance of the Vatican concerning Islam has been routinely cautious. The most recent example of the Pontiff’s less-than-direct criticism of Islamist violence is his April 22 statement at a prayer service paying tribute to 21st Century Christian Martyrs in Rome:

Francis said the legacy of modern-day martyrs “teaches us that with the strength of love, meekness, one can combat arrogance, violence, war, and with patience, achieve peace.”

A professor of Islamic Studies at the Pontifical Institute in Rome, Father Samir Khalil Samir, also an Egyptian, characterizes the Pope’s diplomatic approach to Muslims, “who are the second-most important group in the world, to have a dialogue and understanding.” Khalil adds:

“I think it’s important to say things with charity, with friendship, but to say things as they are: that it cannot continue like this; we have to rethink Islam. This is my vision. They cannot take the texts of the seventh century literally as they are in the Quran. He [the Pope] does not dare to say something like that because he doesn’t know the Quran well enough, and so on. So I understand his position, but it would be better to have a clearer and more frank discussion — with openness, but also with some realism.”

This clearly modulated posture was apparent during a session of the Geneva Center of Human Rights Advancement and Dialogue. The theme of the Geneva sessions was “Islam and Christianity: The Great Convergence.” The March 15 Conference, attended by Muslim and Christian delegates, studiously avoided key issues of doctrinal divergence, and stressed instead alleged areas of common interest. The key sponsors of the conference were Algeria, Pakistan, and Lebanon, all of which are Muslim majority countries. The only non-Muslim state sponsor of the Conference was Malta. One of the oft-repeated themes of the sessions in Geneva was the ‘feel-good’ concept of the ‘common Abrahamic root’ of Islam, Christianity and Judaism — although no representatives of the Jewish faith were invited to the conference. Statements by representatives of Christian churches seemed overly optimistic about the prospects of developing positive relationships with Islamic societies.

The failure to invite Jewish or Israeli representation by conference organizers was presumably not an oversight. This omission would be consistent with the UN Arab bloc’s objective of isolating Israel in an apparent effort to destroy and replace it. That campaign includes efforts by Arab states to marshal support at the United Nations for suffocating Israel through diplomatic subversion as well as through economic strangulation. Facilitating the establishment of an Islamic-Christian relationship that excludes Judaism can only serve the Islamist goal of isolating Jews and Israel.

After the visit of Pope Francis to Egypt, mass murders of Egyptian Copts are likely to continue. Although relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar will improve in the near future, the honeymoon will not. The Grand Imam will doubtless protect his own theological power base and keep his distance from both the Vatican and the Egyptian regime.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, where he was a Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Israel.


[1] Tradition has it that Mark founded the Church in Alexandria as early as 42 A.D. but some Coptic documents assert that Mark came to Alexandria for the first time in 61 A.D. after several missionary trips with St. Paul and St. Barnabas.

Toronto imam says Muslims will eventually kill all Jews

March 11, 2017

Toronto imam says Muslims will eventually kill all Jews, Jihad Watch

(Will Canada deem the “kill the Jews”  imam to be Islamophobic? How about the Qu’ran and other holy texts? — DM) 

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s a hadith in a collection that Muslims consider authentic:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim 6985)

Muslims in Canada don’t have a different version of Islamic texts and teachings from the version Muslims have elsewhere. They have the same Qur’an, the same Sunnah. Why should anyone expect them not to teach the things these sources say?

 

“Toronto imam says Muslims will eventually kill all Jews,” by Jonathan D. Halevi, CIJ News, March 11, 2017:

Motion 103 “Systemic racism and religious discrimination”, which also known as the anti-Islamophobia motion, demands that “the government should recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear… condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it” and “develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada.”

Petition e-411, which was unanimously endorsed by the Parliament, suggests that attributing terrorism to Islam is Islamophobia.

Initiated by Samer Majzoub, President of the Canadian Muslim Forum (المنتدى الاسلمي الكندي) and sponsored by Liberal MP Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Quebec), Petition e-411 reads among other things the following:

Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam. Their actions have been used as a pretext for a notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in Canada; and these violent individuals do not reflect in any way the values or the teachings of the religion of Islam. In fact, they misrepresent the religion. We categorically reject all their activities. They in no way represent the religion, the beliefs and the desire of Muslims to co-exist in peace with all peoples of the world. We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia.”

Sheikh Abdulqani Mursal, imam at Masjid Al Hikma mosque in Toronto (36 Colville Rd, North York – Lawrence and Keele), explains that the fate of the Jews is destined to be killed by the Muslims.

In a lecture at the at Masjid Al Hikma mosque, Mursal read the chapter “Turmoil And Portents Of The Last Hour” from Sahih Muslim (hadith collection, meaning narrations attributed to Mohammad), including the following narrations (01:07-07:24 – originally in Arabic, translated by http://www.hadithcollection.com):

Ibn ‘Umar reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Muslim, there is a Jew (hiding himself behind me); kill him.

Ubaidullah has reported this hadith with this chain of transmitters (and the Words are): “There is a Jew behind me.”

Abdullah b. ‘Umar reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: You and the Jews would fight against one another until a stone would say: Muslim, here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.

Abdullah b. ‘Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: The Jews will fight against you and you will gain victory over them until the stone would say: Muslim, here is a Jew behind me; kill him.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews….

Sweden: Hate Speech Just for Imams

February 22, 2017

Sweden: Hate Speech Just for Imams, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, February 22, 2017

In Sweden, comments that object to sexual violence against women in the Quran are prosecuted, but calling homosexuality a “virus” is fine.

Antisemitism has become so socially acceptable in Sweden that anti-Semites can get away with anything, and no one even notices, as Nima Gholam Ali Pour reports.

One of Sweden’s main news outlets, in fact, described anti-Semitism as simply a different opinion. Clearly, in the eyes of Swedish authorities, neither homosexuals nor Jews count for much.

Swedish authorities also give large sums of money to organizations that advocate violence and invite hate preachers who support terrorist organizations such as ISIS. One of the speakers SFM hired was Michael Skråmo, who has publicly called on his fellow Muslims to join ISIS and has appeared in propaganda videos, posing with assault rifles alongside his small children.

Are some individuals receiving preferential treatment under Sweden’s “hate speech” laws? It seems that way.

Under the Swedish Penal Code, a person can be held responsible for incitement if a statement or representation made “threatens or disrespects an ethnic group or other such group of persons with regards to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief or sexual orientation”.

In 2015, the imam at Halmstad mosque, Abu Muadh, said that homosexuality was a “virus” from which parents were obliged to protect their children.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL) filed a legal complaint in October 2015. “[M]any people are listening [to the imam] and there is a risk that the opinions and other expressions of homophobia will spread among believers, as they attach great importance to their representatives’ words”, said Ulrika Westerlund, chairman of RFSL.

The Swedish legal establishment however, seemed entirely unconcerned; the imam was not prosecuted.

“[F]or something to be incitement, it needs to reach a certain level and in this context, the assessment is that this statement does not reach that level”, said Martin Inglund, acting investigation officer at Halmstad police. He added that an assessment had been made based on freedom of religion, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights. It took the police only one week to make the decision not to prosecute the imam.

“It is a strange decision, said Jonnié Jonsson, chairman of RFSL Halland, “I do not think anyone has the right to violate other people in the name of religion”.

Then there is the recent case of Stefan Vestling, a local politician from the Sweden Democrat Party. He was recently prosecuted and convicted for “incitement against an ethnic group”, when he wrote the following comment on the official Facebook page of the Sweden Democrats Party in Norberg in December 2014:

“Muslims who have ended up in the ‘diaspora’ are at war. A Muslim who lives in Sweden is thus living in a war zone, where it is allowed to rape a woman, as this is a Muslim right according to the Quran. [A Muslim] is allowed to have sex with women who have been conquered in war… that is to say the infidels’ women (Quran Sura 4:3, 4:24). Easiest for ‘Swedish’ horny Muslims is of course to join ISIS where they can have their sick, devilish desires fully satisfied”.

The prosecutor failed to convince the district court that Vestling had committed a crime. “Freedom of expression includes the right to convey such information and opinions and ideas that offend shock or disturb” the court wrote in its ruling. However, at the Court of Appeals in Svea, in December 2016, the court found that Vestling’s post had been offensive to Muslims. The appeals court seemingly had no problem with the first part of Vestling’s post. It was the last sentence, “Easiest for ‘Swedish’ horny Muslims is of course to join ISIS where they can have their sick, devilish desires fully satisfied”, which was considered to be in violation of the Penal Code. Vestling was handed a suspended jail sentence and a fine. He has appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court.

Both the statements made by Abu Muadh and the statements made by Stefan Vestling were offensive; yet the Swedish authorities ended up protecting the imam from legal repercussions, even though prosecuting him would send an important signal to other Muslim preachers who view homosexuality in a similar way. That they do has been documented by a Swedish-Muslim blogger, who wrote:

During my years as a Muslim, I have visited several Swedish mosques from north to south. In all the mosques, homophobia was the norm. I have heard worse things than “homosexuality is a virus.” In no mosque, I repeat not one, have I come across teachings that tolerate homosexuality… The fact that the media act as if they were astonished [at Abu Muadh’s statement] shows how little contact they have with Muslim environments in Sweden. For those who have been on the “inside”, who have visited mosques and spent time with Muslims who are active in the mosques, the imam’s views [sound] completely mainstream.

Swedish experts largely consider Abu Muadh a radical, who moves in Salafist circles and has encouraged jihad, glorifying martyrdom in the battle to spread Islam. In a video clip on YouTube, he urges people who have “sinned” to wage jihad to be forgiven by God. In an interview with Hallandsposten in June 2016, he said that Muslims should not befriend unbelievers. He has argued that Muslims must not emulate the dress and haircuts of “kuffars” (infidels) and has declared 95% of all TV programs “haram” (forbidden).

In Sweden, comments that object to sexual violence against women in the Quran are prosecuted, but calling homosexuality a “virus” is fine.

Homosexuals are not the only ones to find themselves among those groups that Swedish society apparently no longer count as minorities worthy of protection. Anti-Semitism has become so socially acceptable in Sweden that anti-Semites can get away with anything, and no one even notices, as Nima Gholam Ali Pour reports. One of Sweden’s main news outlets, in fact, described antisemitism as simply a different opinion. Clearly, neither homosexuals nor Jews count for much in the eyes of Swedish authorities.

In addition, Swedish authorities give large sums of money to organizations that invite hate preachers who support terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.

The Gothenburg-based nonprofit organization, Swedish Federation of Muslims (SFM,) was handed a government subsidy of 535,200 SEK [$60,000] in 2016. This is in addition to 150,000 SEK [$17,000] that SFM received from the city of Gothenburg.

SFM applied for the money “to combat Islamophobia”, which the organization considers “one of the biggest problems in Sweden right now”. One of the speakers SFM hired was Michael Skråmo, who has publicly called on his fellow Muslims to join ISIS. Now, calling himself Abdul Samad al Swedi, he has appeared in propaganda videos, posing with Kalashnikov assault rifles alongside his small children, outside Kobane in Syria. Abu Muadh is also a regular speaker.

1149Michael Skråmo, a Swedish convert and ISIS jihadist, brought his family to Syria. He has also urged Muslims in Sweden to bomb their workplaces.

Terror researcher Magnus Ranstorp said that he was surprised that SFM had been awarded state grants. “I see lots of question marks. We’re talking about a group that invited hate preachers, whose Salafist orientation is in many ways the opposite of tolerance”, he said. The decision to award SFM government subsidies also runs counter to the government’s agreement with the four conservative Alliance parties that no public money should go to advocate violence.

What is the Swedish authorities’ response to the official granting of money to organizations that host extremists? “Of course this is serious, and it is our view that this must be factored into future contribution assessments”, said Daniel Norlander, chief secretary of the National Authority Against Violent Extremism. The authority apparently does not think that the money should be returned or that there should be any sanctions. After all, we are only talking about preachers of violent jihad.

The Islamic Jihad and Peace with Jews

February 9, 2017

The Islamic Jihad and Peace with Jews, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, February 9, 2017

(“Normalization?” In what way is the present situation abnormal? The dispute has been festering for centuries. — DM)

On the face of it, the anti-normalization campaign appears driven by political motivations. However, it turns out that there is also a powerful Islamic angle to this campaign of hate, which is aimed at delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews.

The Palestinian anti-normalization “enforcers” do their utmost to conceal the Islamic aspect of their campaign. They are not eager for the world to know that Islam supplies much of the ideology and justification for their anti-Israel activities.

Fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) and statements issued by leading Muslim scholars and clerics have long warned Muslims against normalization with the “Zionist entity.” Such normalization, they have made it clear, is considered an “unforgivable crime.” The authors of these hate messages are not opposed to normalization with Israel because of settlements or house demolitions, but rather because they believe Jews have no rights at all to any of the land.

In 1989, more than 60 eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was forbidden for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.

The vicious campaigns to boycott Israel and Jews, while political in dress, are in fact deeply rooted in Islamic ideology.

These campaigns are patently not a legitimate protest. They are not even part of an effort to boycott Israeli products or politicians and academics. The real goal of the campaigns is revealed in the words of the Muslim leaders: that Jews have no rights whatsoever to the land, and must be targeted through jihad as infidels and enemies of all Muslims and Arabs

Settlements, checkpoints and fences are irrelevant; Muslim scholars want Jews off what they define as sacred Muslim land. Supporters of BDS and the anti-normalization movement would do well to consider this fact. Failing to do so is tantamount to aiding and abetting Muslims to destroy Israel, and kill as many Jews as possible in the process.

Muslim scholars have feverishly citing chapter and verse from the Quran and the hadith, the words of the Prophet Mohammed, in their efforts to encourage Arabs and Muslims to avoid normalization with Jews.

The Quran and hadith have also been leveraged to promote boycotts against Israel and Jews — thereby refuting claims by anti-Israel activists that their campaigns are just about politics.

Palestinians have long maintained that their campaign to ban normalization with Israel is mainly directed against the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian anti-normalization movement, which continues to target Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who hold — horrors! — public meetings, has in recent years gained momentum, largely thanks to the ongoing anti-Israel campaign of incitement and indoctrination in the Palestinian media and mosques.

In recent years, Palestinian anti-normalization activists have managed to foil several meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, under the pretext that such encounters cause damage to the Palestinians. The activists justify their disruption by citing what they see as Israeli practices against Palestinians, and violently object to any meetings with Israelis, including those who wholeheartedly support the Palestinians and oppose the policies of the Israeli government.

The most recent incident occurred at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, where Israeli and Palestinian activists gathered to talk about peace and coexistence. Shortly after the meeting began, a number of anti-normalization activists stormed the conference hall to protest the meeting.

“Meeting with Zionists is an act of treason,” one of the protesters shouted. “There are no solutions. Palestinian must be freed, from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea. Shame on you!”

The protesters claimed that they were opposed to the meeting because Israel was “demolishing Arab houses and killing Palestinians.”

1069-1Palestinian “anti-normalization” activists disrupt an unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace conference Jerusalem’s Ambassador Hotel, in 2104.

Hind Khoury, a Christian woman who has previously served as Palestinian Authority ambassador to France, received the brunt of their anger. Khoury’s attempts to persuade the protesters that the meeting was not about normalization, but about achieving a just and comprehensive peace, fell on deaf ears. Ironically, it was the intervention of the Israeli Police that allowed Israeli and Palestinian activists to proceed with their conference.

Such scenes have become commonplace at the East Jerusalem hotel, a preferred site for unofficial peace conferences organized by Israelis and Palestinians. Anti-normalization activists raid the conference hall several times a year in their attempts to disrupt such gatherings.

The anti-normalization activists have also been vocal in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities. The Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, which recently published an interview with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has also come under attack. For these Palestinians, conducting an interview with an Israeli government official is engaging in “media normalization.”

“The newspaper must apologize to the Palestinians,” the protesters demanded.

On the face of it, the anti-normalization campaign appears driven by political motivations. However, it turns out that there is also a powerful Islamic angle to this campaign of hate, which is aimed at delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews. The Palestinian anti-normalization “enforcers” do their utmost to conceal the Islamic aspect of their campaign. They are not eager for the world to know that Islam supplies much of the ideology and justification for their anti-Israel activities.

Fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) and statements issued by leading Muslim scholars and clerics have long warned Muslims against normalization with the “Zionist entity.” Such normalization, they have made it clear, is considered an “unforgivable crime.”

The authors of these hate messages are not opposed to normalization with Israel because of settlements or house demolitions, but rather because they believe Jews have no rights at all to any of the land.

“Normalization with the Zionist enemy means turning the presence of Jews in Palestine to something normal,” explained one scholar, Adnan Adwan. “Normalization means accepting the right of the Zionist entity to Arab lands and Palestine.”

In response to an inquiry from Palestinians about the perspective of Islam regarding peace and normalization with Jews, a group of leading Muslim scholars issued a fatwa stating that this was completely haram (forbidden). They even went farther by ruling that any form of peace with Jews was also haram, despite the fact that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty, known as the Constitution of Medina, with Jews and other non-Muslims shortly after his arrival at Medina from Mecca in 622 CE.

In their fatwa, the Muslim scholars wrote: “It is true that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty with the infidels, including the Quraysh tribe and the Jews, but he did not make concessions that are contrary to Islam.” They pointed out that Prophet Mohammed did not strike the deal with the infidels in order to allow them to stay in their homes permanently. Nor did the prophet promise to abandon jihad (holy war) as a result of this treaty, they added in their fatwa. “There is no evidence whatsoever that the Prophet or any of his successors had made peace with infidels controlling Islamic lands,” the fatwa clarified.

To support their argument, the scholars quote verses from the Quran which — they maintain — prohibit Muslims from making peace or ever placing their confidence in Jews. One verse which they claim refers to Jews is taken from Surah Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War): “And if they intend to deceive you, then verily, Allah is All-Sufficient for you. He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers.” (62) According to the fatwa, this verse from the Quran refers specifically to Jews.

The scholars continue with another verse from the same Surah Al-Anfal to explain why Muslims must continue to fight against Jews:

“O Prophet (Mohammed)! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome a two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.” (65)

Yet a further verse from the Quran is then cited to substantiate their ideology of war against the Jews — verse 7 from Surah At-Taubah (The Repentance):

“How can there be a covenant with Allah and with His Messenger for the Mushrikin (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) expect those with whom you made a covenant near Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah)? So long, as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves Al-Muttaqun (the pious).”

According to the fatwa, the “treacherous” Jews have since failed to “repent” (presumably, convert to Islam) and that is why it is forbidden to make peace with them.

The Muslim scholars also point to several fatwas prohibiting peace and normalization with Jews issued in the past century. The ban dates back to 1935, when a group of Muslim scholars and clerics ruled during a conference in Jerusalem that it was forbidden for Muslims to sell Arab-owned lands to Jews. A year later, scholars from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the first Islamic universities in the Arab world, ruled that it was the duty of all Muslims to engage in jihad “to salvage Palestine.” In 1989, more than 60 eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was forbidden for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.

Other Muslim scholars have referred to another verse in the Quran to justify banning normalization with Jews. In Surah Al-Mumtahinah (The Woman to be examined), verse 1 states: “O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth.” They also quote the following hadith (a saying attributed to Prophet Mohammed) to support their claim against making peace with Jews: “Those who side with the unjust to assist them in their injustice, while knowing that they are unjust, walk out of Islam.”

The vicious campaigns to boycott Israel and Jews, while political in dress, are in fact deeply rooted in Islamic ideology.

The anti-normalization activists and those promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel perceive Jews as the enemies of Allah and Prophet Mohammed. These campaigns are patently not a legitimate protest. They are not even part of an effort to boycott Israeli products or politicians and academics. The real goal of the campaigns is revealed in the words of the Muslim leaders: that Jews have no rights whatsoever to the land, and must be targeted through jihad as infidels and enemies of all Muslims and Arabs.

Muslim scholars have left no room for doubt about their view of the true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Settlements and checkpoints and fences are irrelevant; Muslim scholars want Jews off what they define as sacred Muslim land. BDS and anti-normalization movement supporters might do well to consider this fact. Failing to do so is tantamount to aiding and abetting Muslims to destroy Israel, and kill as many Jews as possible in the process.

German court gives Muslims who attacked synagogue suspended sentences, says attack justified

January 13, 2017

German court gives Muslims who attacked synagogue suspended sentences, says attack justified, Jihad Watch

“A German regional court in the city of Wuppertal affirmed a lower court decision last Friday stating that a violent attempt to burn the city’s synagogue by three men in 2014 was a justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.”

Meet the new Germany, same as the old Germany. This ruling is the apotheosis of Islamopandering. Would a German court say that the attempted torching of a mosque was a justified criticism of jihad terror attacks? Of course not. Nor should it. But this ruling shows how desperate German authorities are to appease their rapidly growing and increasingly aggressive Muslim population.

What’s next? A statue of Hitler at the Brandenburg Gate?

german-synagogue-wuppertal

“German court calls synagogue torching an act to ‘criticize Israel,’” by Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, January 13, 2017:

A German regional court in the city of Wuppertal affirmed a lower court decision last Friday stating that a violent attempt to burn the city’s synagogue by three men in 2014 was a justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.

Johannes Pinnel, a spokesman for the regional court in Wuppertal, outlined the court’s decision in a statement.

Three German Palestinians sought to torch the Wuppertal synagogue with Molotov cocktails in July, 2014. The local Wuppertal court panel said in its 2015 decision that the three men wanted to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict” with Israel. The court deemed the attack not to be motivated by antisemitism.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 to stop Hamas rocket attacks into Israeli territory.

The court sentenced the three men – the 31-year-old Mohamad E., the 26 year-old Ismail A. and the 20-year-old Mohammad A.—to suspended sentences. The men tossed self-made Molotov cocktails at the synagogue. German courts frequently decline to release the last names of criminals to protect privacy.

The attack caused €800 damage to the synagogue. The original synagogue in Wuppertal was burned by Germans during the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938. Wuppertal has a population of nearly 344,000 and is located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The court said the men had consumed alcohol and there were no injuries to members of the synagogue.

A 13-year-old who lived near the synagogue and noticed the flames informed the police. Several days before the fire, a person sprayed “Free Palestine” on a wall of the synagogue….