Someone recently sent me an Arabic video that juxtaposes snippets of sermons delivered by Christian and Muslim leaders in the Middle East.
The Christian preachers give universal supplications that include phrases like “O Lord, lover of all mankind and savior of all the world”; they quote biblical passages such as “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5: 44); they pray that God may “heal all people around the world of their diseases.”
While such an approach is familiar, taken for granted even, the supplications of the Muslim preachers may surprise some. Popular Egyptian preacher Sheikh Muhammad al-Zoghbi was taped invoking his god thusly:
May Allah cut your tongue out! May he freeze the blood in your veins! May he inflict you with cancer and allow you no reprieve. … Allah, strike them with all sorts of disease, afflictions and pain! Allah, strike them with cancer! Allah, let your prophet overpower them! Allah destroy them! Allah destroy them! Allah destroy them! Allah destroy the criminals who challenge the noble prophet!
[Then, very serenely to his Muslim viewers] And peace upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
Likewise, Sheikh Abdullah Nihari supplicated Allah with outstretched arms accordingly:
Lord, Lord, we condemn them before you! Freeze the blood in their veins! Strike them with evil, or at the very least freeze the blood in their veins — until they pray for death, but do not receive it! O Lord! O Lord! O Lord!
One need not understand Arabic to appreciate the intensity of Nihari’s hate: watch the 45 seconds starting at minute 2:15, and see the gesticulating cleric issue his curse while striking the floor with a stick, hurling a picture, and banging on the wall.
Also shown was a snippet of formal prayers at Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. As Muslims circumambulated around the Kaa‘ba, the following supplications were blasted on a megaphone, chanted to by Islam’s devotees:
O Allah, vanquish the unjust Christians and the criminal Jews, the unjust traitors; strike them with your wrath; make their lives hostage to misery; drape them with endless despair, unrelenting pain and unremitting ailment; fill their lives with sorrow and pain and end their lives in humiliation and oppression; inflict your tortures and punishments upon the unjust Christians and criminal Jews. This is our supplication; Allah, grant us our request!