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Jew-hatred infects Muslim world, activist says – by David Lazarus

Video link of the interview: Tarek Fatah: Blood and Brotherhood

In his continuing quest for ecumenical understanding, Tarek Fatah, Author of “The Jew is not my Enemy”, explores the historical roots of Muslim anti-Semitism.

http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.woa?videoid?658181662001

MONTREAL — Tarek Fatah turns 61 on Nov. 21, but the controversial, Pakistani-born Muslim, a fierce and unrelenting activist and critic of Islamist extremism, doesn’t expect to make it to 71.
Speaking last week at Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation as part of a tour to promote his second book, The Jew is Not My Enemy, Fatah described how at a book signing earlier in the day, he was spat on and insulted by a young Muslim.

The insults included calling Fatah “a Jew.”

The incident was consistent with the type of treatment the Toronto writer and broadcaster has come to expect, part of the “cancer that can’t be excised” from an ever-increasing number of fanatical Islamist Muslims who see Jews as vile, subhuman creatures, and the entire West and Israel as entities to be destroyed.

“And it is getting worse,” Fatah warned a receptive audience, despite several thousand enlightened, tolerant Muslims that he cites as being like-minded supporters of an authentic Islam rooted in humanism, tolerance, and faith.

Over and over again in his talk at the synagogue, Fatah emphasized that there’s nothing in the text of the Qur’an or genuine Islam that speaks against Jews, and nothing that justifies the hatred of Jews, Israel, and the West that started to develop three centuries after Muhammad died.

“Islam is not Islamism,” Fatah stressed.

A founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, Fatah said Islamism is rooted in a centuries-old myth that Muhammad committed mass killings of Jews – an act that therefore remains not only justified but praiseworthy – combined with eight and ninth century shariah laws and “European anti-Semitism.”

“It is all based on a legend that does not exist,” Fatah said, adding that it’s now part of an “Islamo-fascist agenda” encroaching on so many nations.

Fatah has noted that Islamic radicalism, ironically, also grew out of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency providing massive funding to Saudi Arabian-based jihadi groups after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan 30 years ago.

As Fatah describes it, it is all a “toxic mixture” that threatens the world.

Never was this clearer to an incredulous Fatah, he recounted, than when he visited his native Pakistan in 2006 and attended a swank gathering of elites, where he heard “Harvard-educated, secular Muslim nationalists” tell him how “Jews had brought down the twin towers,” that the bird flu was a “Jewish conspiracy,” and that even the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 was an “Israeli attempt to destroy Indonesia.”

Now, he said, Pakistan has become a place that produces terrorists who target not only its usual arch-enemies, Hindus, but Jews, as in the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, where a Jewish centre family was tortured and murdered.

In Pakistan today, he said, “falling in love is a sin,” and women can be whipped, beaten, or even conceivably beheaded for allegedly breaking shariah law.

“It is a tragedy of enormous proportions,” Fatah said.

He added that the world has one billion Muslims, 60 per cent of whom are illiterate, and they deserve the world’s – including the Jewish community’s – empathy for being so subjugated and shielded from the forces of modernity.

During a question-and-answer session, Fatah, without hesitation, said he opposed the planned “Ground Zero mosque” in New York City and suggested that its funding is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

This 14-storey “repository” of Shariah law, as Fatah described it, should reserve one floor for a synagogue and another for a church, and if it doesn’t, it loses all credibility. He said founder Abdul Rauf should not necessarily be trusted just because “he speaks fluent English.”

Fatah also spoke in support of Quebec’s proposed Bill 94, which would ban the wearing of niqab face veils at provincial public institutions.

Fatah sees niqabs and burkas as nothing less than “symbols of slavery” for Muslim women. He also criticized an Orthodox Jewish group that recently opposed Bill 94 for, in his view, effectively supporting racism.

Fatah also criticized such prominent Canadian figures as activist Naomi Klein and writer Margaret Atwood for supporting a woman’s right to “choose” to wear the veil, suggesting it was hypocritical to in effect support women being treated as “second-class citizens.”

Despite Fatah’s mostly pessimistic views, he said that his message has so far gained “huge traction” among 4,000 Canadian Muslims, whom he described as “ordinary Canadians” who “dress like you and me” and share his faith in genuine Islam.

As for the audience he was addressing, “have faith,” Fatah said, “and pray for us. We need people who fight for justice and human rights.”

Fatah was also due to speak last Thursday evening at McGill University.

Source: The Canadian Jewish News

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • Muslims and Jews: a historical perspective that reveals surprises

    Once upon a time, a widely circulated Jewish document described Islam as “an act of God’s Mercy”.

    Also, Jews in the near East, north Africa and Spain threw their support behind advancing Muslim Arab armies.

    No, these aren’t fairy tales or propaganda. The relationship between Muslims and Jews really was that cooperative and marked by peaceful coexistence.

    Just ask Khalid Siddiqi of the Islamic Education and Information Center in San Jose, California where he also teaches Islamic Studies and Arabic at Chabot College and Ohlone College.

    Siddiqi notes that the first quote above is from S. D. Goitein’s book Jews and Arabs. The second is from Merlin Swartz’s ‘The Position of Jews in Arab lands following the rise of Islam’ (reprinted from The Muslim World. Hartford Seminary Foundation LXI1970).

    Swartz also says the Muslim Arab conquest marked the dawn of a new era. Those forces that had led to the progressive isolation and disruption of Jewish life were not only checked they were dramatically reversed.

    In an interview with Sound Vision, Siddiqi gave numerous examples of Jews flourishing under Muslim rule in places like Spain, Morocco, North African in general and various parts of the Middle East.

    Siddiqi points out that Islam as a religion has given specific guidelines for the followers of Islam to base their relationship with any non-Muslim. These include People of Scripture, like the Jews, people who belong to other religions, and even atheists. Non-Muslims must be treated on the basis of Birr (kindness) and Qist (justice), as referred to Surah 60 verse 8 of the Quran.

    It started at the time of the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

    The peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Jews began at the time of the Prophet.

    Siddiqi notes that the Jews welcomed the Prophet when he arrived in Madinah at the time of Hijrah (migration), along with the rest of the city’s inhabitants.

    But the Prophet had begun the step towards good relations with Jewish and other communities in Madinah even before getting there.

    After receiving an invitation to Madinah from one of the city’s tribes that had accepted Islam, the Prophet signed treaties with the city’s Jewish, Christian and polytheist tribes before he arrived there.

    These treaties clearly laid out responsibilities of each of the parties. It was based on these that the Prophet established the Mithaq al Madinah, the constitution of Madinah.

    Siddiqi says this was the first constitution of the world and one of the greatest political documents ever prepared by any human being. It is the oldest surviving constitution of any state.

    Under this constitution, any Jew who followed the Muslims was entitled to their assistance and the same rights as anyone of them without any injustice or partisanship.

    It said the Jews are an Ummah (community of believers) alongside the Muslims. The Jews have their religion and the Muslims theirs. As well, it noted that each will assist one another against any violation of this covenant.

    Jews during the Muslim era

    Despite this early breach of contract, there are still numerous examples from Muslim history of Muslim-Jewish cooperation and coexistence.

    Siddiqi gave examples of how Muslim Spain, which was a “golden era” of creativity and advancement for Muslims was also one for Jews.

    While Europe was in its Dark Ages and Jews were reviled there, Muslims in Spain during the same period worked side by side with Jews in developing literature, science and art.

    Together, they translated classical Greek texts into Arabic. This task later helped Europe move out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.

    Jews flourished under Muslim rule in Egypt as well, where they achieved very high positions in government.

    Siddiqi quotes some lines from an Arab poet of that time, to illustrate: ‘Today the Jews have reached the summit of their hopes and have become aristocrats. Power and riches have they and from them councilors and princes are chosen’.

    Today: the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland has destroyed good Muslim-Jewish relations

    So what happened?

    Although not the only cause, a large part of the deterioration in Muslim-Jewish relations comes from the emergence of Zionism, the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland by Zionist Jews and British colonizers, as well as their continuing oppression.

    Siddiqi says, “while this reaction results in anti-Jewish feeling it must be seen in its proper historical context. It must be remembered that anti-Jewish sentiments in so far as it is to be found in the contemporary Arab world is strictly a modern phenomenon and one that runs counter to the time honored Islamic tradition of fraternity and tolerance.

    “The very widespread popular notion that present day Arab-Jewish hostility is but another chapter in a long history of mutual animosity is totally false. If there is one thing the past makes clear it is precisely that Arabs and Jews can live together peacefully and in a mutually beneficial relationship. History also makes it very clear that they are the heirs to the Islamic tradition of openness and tolerance.”

    The key to reestablishing good relations between Muslims and Jews again is justice, notes Siddiqui. This principle is foreign to neither Islam nor Judaism.

    In Islam, standing up for justice, he points out, must be done even if it is against ourselves, our parents, our kin, the rich or the poor. This is clearly mentioned in the Quran (4:135).

    Siddiqi points out that the emphasis on justice is also mentioned in Jewish scripture in the prophecies of Michael in chapter three: “Zion shall be redeemed with justice and by those who will come to her with righteousness.”

    http://www.soundvision.com/Info/politics/jewhistory.asp

  • Dear Sarah,

    Am I to understand that the starting point for Muslim-Jewish relations is the eradication of the Jewish State of Israel?

    Please clarify your position. If you feel, as does SounVision.com, that Israel is an illegitame state and that Jews are colonizers in the holy land, not its original inhabitants, then the rest of the article you quote is nothing more than a whitewash.

    I look forward to your clarification.

  • Dear Tarek sahib,

    Perhaps the eradication of the Jewish State of Israel is neither pragmatic nor ethical. That was not my point.

    I also think Zionism should not be equated to Judaism, and that it is a fact that the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland has destroyed Muslim-Jewish relations. I also think that the “Zionist” State of Israel has miserably failed to improve the Muslim-Jewish relations, and the injustice meted out to expelled Palestinians still remains an outstanding issue.

    In that respect, I treat Zionists of Israel and Islamists of Hamas in the same category.

  • The co existence of Jewish and Muslim is a myth. It is true that the Jews did take refuge under Muslims when the Christian crusaders were walking the middle east. but the truth is Muslim will only accept the Jewish if they remain subdued and live as a dhimmi under muslim rules. Talking about the muslim-jewish relationship in Israel, just ask the muslim there if they prefer to live in an islamic state or Israel. they will definitely choose to remain in israel where they feel more freedom and rights !

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