A complaint filed by Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has prompted an investigation of the East End Madrassah, an Islamic school which operates out of a public high school in Toronto, the David and Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute. As reported by the National Post, East End Madrassah’s level 8 curriculum was found to contain invocations for jihad warfare and Islamic Jew-hatred.
What was not discussed, almost axiomatically, is that these calls for jihad against non-Muslims and rationalizations for Muslim Jew-hatred were drawn, in appropriate context, from the Koran and Sunna (the hadith, the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds, and sira, the earliest pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad) — Islam’s most important, sacralized canonical sources. This glaring omission — failing to identify, let alone elaborate upon, the canonical Islamic references often plainly cited in the “offending” curricular materials — is entirely consistent with the coverage of similar stories in recent years. See the incidents in New York City and Fairfax, Virginia, or indeed virtually all mainstream reporting on the education of Muslim children attending Islamic schools in the West.
Just as predictably, representatives of the Jewish community reacted with shock and indignation that their delusion of a Canadian cultural relativist paradise had been momentarily shattered. Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, opined:
To think that this is happening right here in Canada, in our backyards, in our own country where we promote tolerance, diversity, understanding, human rights, and bringing those types of concepts over from the ancient world if you will, its just unbelievable.
David Spiro, Greater Toronto co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, added in press release:
Using religion to promote hatred among youth is not just offensive and abhorrent — it shows a stunning disregard for Canada’s basic values of decency and tolerance.
The East End Madrassah issued a press release in response, noting the institution had been “in existence for almost 40 years,” and “graduated thousands of Muslim students,” ostensibly “taught to respect and value other faiths, beliefs and to uphold Canada’s basic values of decency and tolerance.” Moreover, the press release offered an “unreserved apology” to the Jewish community for the alleged “unintentional” offense caused by the so-called “item” — i.e., an entire curriculum derived, as indicated, from the Islamic Laws & Ethics series of a local Toronto imam and scholar, Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi.
Touted as a moderate champion of interfaith dialogue, Rizvi supports lethal punishment for so-called “apostates,” those who forsake Islam, and condones child marriage, i.e., at “nine lunar years,” for females. Imam Rizvi, at his best, is a public purveyor of Islamic supremacism as faux “pluralism,” arguing that non-Muslims who did not submit to Islam and its prophet’s “invitations” — certainly at the advent of the creed — were rightful targets of the aggressive jihad campaigns waged against them. The good imam also openly avowed his current anti-American and “anti-Zionist” views in a sermon which referred to both Western nations, in Koranic terms, as deliberate “corrupters” of the desired Islamic world order, invoking Koran 2:11 (“And when it is said unto them: Make not mischief in the earth, they say: We are peacemakers only”).
Despite this toxic brew of uninformed — perhaps intentionally deceitful — reporting, a willfully blind, overwrought Canadian Jewish community reaction, and Muslim community dissimulation (or “taqiyya”), the curricular materials in question are a mere straightforward rendition of mainstream Islamic teaching on the Muslim institution of jihad war and Islam’s sacralized Jew-hatred.
Fighting (in the cause of Allah), is ordained unto you and it is hateful to you, and perchance you hate a thing whereas it is good for you, and perchance you love a thing whereas it is bad for you; and verily Allah knoweth while you know not.
A mainstream exegesis (interpretation) on this verse from the most respected and widely used single volume Koranic tafsir (commentary), Tafsir al-Jalalayn, elucidates the unequivocally aggressive bellicosity 2:216 is meant to inspire:
Fighting against the unbelievers is prescribed and hereby made obligatory for you even if it is hateful to you and it is disliked because it entails hardship. It may be that you hate a thing when it is good for you and it may be that you love a thing when it is bad for you. … So it is you may dislike fighting, but it is good for you: either through winning victory and gaining booty or by gaining martyrdom and its reward.
The great Muslim jurist and polymath Ibn Rushd, known in the West as Averroes (d. 1198), confirmed that after Muhammad emigrated to Medina, he [Muhammad] “imposed fighting [on] them [the Muslims],” as per Koran 2:216 specifically, stating:
According to the majority of scholars, the compulsory nature of the jihad is founded on Koran 2:216.
Under the heading “The Purpose of Jihad,” the curriculum states plainly, in accord with classical, mainstream Islamic doctrine the global designs and totalitarian nature of jihad, driven by Islamic law, Sharia, and seeking to impose this oppressive religio-political system universally, by force if required:
Islam is a dynamic, comprehensive school that aims at the rectification of the social and economic systems of the world in a special manner. Unlike the beliefs of the ancient Romans, the Jews, and the Nazis, Islam is not restricted to a certain community of a certain race, but is for all human beings and aims at human prosperity and salvation. This divine faith requires all Muslims, guided by the holy precepts and instructions of Islam, to endeavor to rescue the oppressed masses to establish peace and justice, and to acquaint the unaware people of the whole world with Islam and Islamic rules and regulations. Did Islam prevail by the force of the sword? As a matter of fact, through jihad, the Muslims have mainly meant to establish connections with the people who are under the oppressive rule of tyrants, so the oppressed masses would become acquainted with Islamic rules and precepts and so they would comprehend the glory and genuineness of independence and salvation.
Notwithstanding the curriculum’s propagandistic language characterizing as “liberation” Islam’s brutal jihad conquests — punctuated by massacre, pillage, enslavement, deportation, and subsequent imposition of the Sharia — the great Belgian scholar of jihad doctrine, Armand Abel, provided this apt assessment of Islam’s “universal mission” in 1958:
Together with the duty of the “war in the way of God” (or jihad),this universalistic aspiration would lead the Muslims to see the world as being divided fundamentally into two parts. On the one hand there was that part of the world where Islam prevailed, where salvation had been announced, where the religion that ought to reign was practiced; this was the Dar al Islam. On the other hand, there was the part which still awaited the establishment of the saving religion and which constituted, by definition, the object of the holy war. This was the Dar al Harb. The latter, in the view of the Muslim jurists, was not populated by people who had a natural right not to practice Islam, but rather by people destined to become Muslims who, through impiousness and rebellion, refused to accept this great benefit.
Since they were destined sooner or later to be converted at the approach of the victorious armies of the Prophet’s successor, or else killed for their rebelliousness, they were the rebel subjects of the Caliph. Their kings were nothing but odious tyrants who, by opposing the progress of the saving religion together with their armies, were following a Satanic inspiration and rising up against the designs of Providence. And so no respite should be granted them, no truce: perpetual war should be their lot, waged in the course of the winter and summer ghazu [razzias]. If the sovereign of the country thus attacked desired peace, it was possible for him, just like for any other tributary or community, to pay the tribute for himself and for his subjects. Thus the [Byzantine] Empress Irene [d. 803] “purchased peace at the price of her humiliation”, according to the formula stated in the dhimma contract itself, by paying 70,000 pounds in gold annually to the Caliph of Baghdad. Many other princes agreed in this way to become tributaries — often after long struggles — and to see their dominions pass from the status of dar al Harb to that of dar al Sulh. In this way, those of their subjects who lived within the boundaries of the territory ruled by the Caliphate were spared the uncertainty of being exposed arbitrarily, without any guarantee, to the military operations of the summer ghazu and the winter ghazu: indeed, anything within the reach of the Muslim armies as they advanced, being property of impious men and rebels, was legitimately considered their booty; their men, seized by armed soldiers, were mercilessly consigned to the lot specified in the Koranic verse about the sword,and their women and children were treated like things.
Citing Koran 59:7, the curriculum later describes with candor how lands conquered by jihad — either through warfare or via submission under threat of war — are to be divided and incorporated permanently into the “Dar al Islam,” or “House of Islam”:
According to the rules of Islam, the lands conquered through war and military power are the property of all the Muslims and their administration lies with the ruler of the Muslims. However, those lands that are submitted to the Muslims without war, as in the case of Fadak, belong to the Holy Prophet (S) and after him, to the Holy Imam (A) of the time. They have the right to distribute such properties as they see fit. This is evident from the following verse: “Whatever God has bestowed on His Prophet from the people of the towns is for God and the Prophet and his relatives and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not circulate among the rich ones of you” Hashr, 59:7 (Part) [Koran 59:7].
Placing the Toronto madrassah’s curricular materials in a larger, more ominous context, two mainstream North American Muslim organizations — the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) and the Islamic Circle of North America — have given their Sharia-based, authoritative imprimatur to the notion of waging aggressive jihad in our hemisphere. An Arabic-language fatwa issued by AMJA’s Dr. Salah Al-Sawy leaves open the possibility for offensive jihad against America and the West, as soon as Muslims are strong enough to do so. When asked whether “the Islamic missionary effort in the West … [was] to the point where it could take advantage of offensive jihad,” Al-Sawy ruled:
The Islamic community does not possess the strength to engage in offensive jihad at this time. With our current capabilities, we are aspiring toward defensive jihad, and to improve our position with regards to jurisprudence at this stage. But there is a different discussion for each situation. Allah Almighty knows best.
As reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), one of the largest mainstream U.S. Muslim organizations, in its 2010 ICNA Member’s Hand Book openly acknowledges being the American branch of a global jihadist phenomenon referred to as the “Islamic Movement.” The 2010 Hand Book observes that branches of this movement “are active in various parts of the world to achieve the same objectives. It is our obligation as Muslims to engage in the same noble cause here in North America.” These efforts will culminate in the (re-)creation of a transnational Islamic superstate, the Caliphate, under the Sharia:
The united Muslim Ummah [community] in a united Islamic state, governed by an elected khalifah in accordance with the laws of Shari’ah.
East End Madrassah’s curricular materials also include a succinct and accurate overview of Islam’s conspiratorial Jew-hatred, as elaborated in the Koran, Koranic commentaries, and Sunna. To understand the very brief statements made in the curriculum, I have first elaborated these anti-Semitic themes summarized from the original Muslim sources.
The crux of all these conspiratorial allegations is a central anti-Semitic motif in the Koran which decrees an eternal curse upon the Jews (Koran 2:61, reiterated at 3:112) for slaying the prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah. It should be noted that Koran 3:112 is featured before the preamble to Hamas’ foundational covenant. This central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60 and 5:78, which describe the Jews’ transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been “… cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” (5:78).
Muhammad himself repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadith (Sunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322), “He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ‘Curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary.’” The related verse, 5:64, accuses the Jews of being “spreaders of war and corruption” — a sort of ancient Koranic antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion — invoked not only by Hamas and Hezbollah leaders, but by “moderate” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who cited Koran 5:64 during a January 2007 speech which urged Palestinian Muslims to end their internecine strife, and to “aim their rifles at Israel.”
Indeed the Koran’s overall discussion of the Jews is marked by a litany of their sins and punishments, as if part of a divine indictment, conviction, and punishment process. The Jews’ ultimate sin and punishment are made clear: they are the devil’s minions (4:60) cursed by Allah, their faces will be obliterated (4:47), and if they do not accept the true faith of Islam — the Jews who understand their faith become Muslims (3:113) — they will be made into apes (2:65/ 7:166), or apes and swine (5:60), and burn in the Hellfires (4:55, 5:29, 98:6, and 58:14-19).
The centrality of the Jews’ permanent “abasement and humiliation,” and being “laden with God’s anger” in the corpus of Muslim exegetic literature on Koran 2:61/3:112 is clear. By nature deceitful and treacherous, the Jews rejected Allah’s signs and prophets, including Isa, the Muslim Jesus.
Classical Koranic commentators such as Tabari (d. 923), Zamakshari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d. 1316), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), when discussing Koran 5:82, which includes the statement “Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews,” concur on the unique animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of Koran 2:61/3:112. For example, in his commentary on 5:82, Tabari writes:
In my opinion, [the Christians] are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose God in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.
Tabari’s classical interpretations of Koran 5:82 and 2:61, as well as his discussion of the related verse 9:29 mandating the Jews payment of the jizya (Koranic poll-tax), represent both anti-Semitic and more general anti-dhimmi views that became and remain intrinsic to Islam to this day. Here is Tabari’s discussion of 2:61 and its relationship to verse 9:29, which emphasizes the purposely debasing nature of the Koranic poll tax:
“Abasement and poverty were imposed and laid down upon them”, as when someone says “the imam imposed the poll tax (jizya) on free non-Muslim subjects”, or “the man imposed land tax on his slave”, meaning thereby that he obliged him [to pay ] it, or, “The commander imposed a sortie on his troops”, meaning he made it their duty. … God commanded His believing servants not to give them [i.e., the non-Muslim people of the scripture] security — as long as they continued to disbelieve in Him and his Messenger — unless they paid the poll tax to them; God said: “Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practice not the religion of truth [Islam], being of those who have been given the Book [Bible] — until they pay the poll tax, being humble” (Koran 9:29).
The dhimmis [non-Muslim tributary’s] posture during the collection of the jizya- “[should be lowering themselves] by walking on their hands, …reluctantly.”
His words “and abasement and poverty were imposed upon them”, “These are the Jews of the Children of Israel”. … “Are they the Copts of Egypt?” … “What have the Copts of Egypt to do with this? No, by God, they are not; but they are the Jews, the Children of Israel. … By “and slain the prophets unrightfully” He means that they used to kill the Messengers of God without God’s leave, denying their messages and rejecting their prophethood.
The Koranic curse (verses 2:61/3:112) upon the Jews for (primarily) rejecting, even slaying Allah’s prophets, including Isa/Jesus (or at least his “body double” 4:157-4:158), is updated with perfect archetypal logic in the canonical hadith: following the Muslims’ initial conquest of the Jewish farming oasis of Khaybar, one of the vanquished Jewesses reportedly served Muhammad poisoned mutton (or goat), which resulted, ultimately, in his protracted, agonizing death. And Ibn Saad’s sira account (i.e., one of the important early pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad) maintains that Muhammad’s poisoning resulted from a well-coordinated Jewish conspiracy.
The contemporary Iranian theocracy’s state-sanctioned Jew hatred employs this motif as part of its malevolent indoctrination of young adult candidates for national teacher training programs. Affirming as objective, factual history the hadith account (for eg., Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 786) of Muhammad’s supposed poisoning by a Jewish woman from ancient Khaybar, Professor Eliz Sanasarian notes:
The subject became one of the questions in the ideological test for the Teachers’ Training College where students were given a multiple-choice question in order to identify the instigator of the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad, the “correct” answer being “a Jewess.”
It is worth recounting — as depicted in the Muslim sources — the events that antedated Muhammad’s reputed poisoning at Khaybar.
Muhammad’s failures or incomplete successes were consistently recompensed by murderous attacks on the Jews. The Muslim prophet-warrior developed a penchant for assassinating individual Jews, and destroying Jewish communities — by expropriation and expulsion (Banu Quaynuqa and B. Nadir), or massacring their men and enslaving their women and children (Banu Qurayza). Just before subduing the Medinan Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza and orchestrating the mass execution of their adult males, Muhammad invoked perhaps the most striking Koranic motif for the Jews debasement — he addressed these Jews, with hateful disparagement, as “You brothers of apes.” Subsequently, in the case of the Khaybar Jews, Muhammad had the male leadership killed and plundered their riches. The terrorized Khaybar survivors — industrious Jewish farmers — became prototype subjugated dhimmis whose productivity was extracted by the Muslims as a form of permanent booty. (And according to the Muslim sources, even this tenuous vassalage was arbitrarily terminated within a decade of Muhammad’s death when Caliph Umar expelled the Jews of Khaybar.) Thus Maimonides (d. 1203), the renowned Talmudist, philosopher, astronomer, and physician, as noted by historian Salo Baron, emphasizes the bellicose “madness” of Muhammad and his quest for political control. Muhammad’s mindset and the actions it engendered, had immediate and long-term tragic consequences for Jews — from his massacring up to 24,000 Jews to their chronic oppression — as described in the Islamic sources, by Muslims themselves.
Muhammad’s brutal conquest and subjugation of the Medinan and Khaybar Jews and their subsequent expulsion by one of his companions, the (second) “Rightly Guided” Caliph Umar, epitomize permanent, archetypal behavior patterns Islamic Law deemed appropriate to Muslim interactions with Jews. George Vajda’s seminal analysis of the anti-Jewish motifs in the hadith remains the definitive work on this subject. Vajda concluded that according to the hadith stubborn malevolence is the Jews defining worldly characteristic: rejecting Muhammad and refusing to convert to Islam out of jealousy, envy, and even selfish personal interest led them to acts of treachery, in keeping with their inveterate nature: “… sorcery, poisoning, assassination held no scruples for them.” These archetypes sanction Muslim hatred towards the Jews, and the admonition to at best, “subject [the Jews] to Muslim domination,” as dhimmis, treated “with contempt” under certain “humiliating arrangements.”
This is the doctrinal context for the East End Madrassah curriculum’s statements (on pp. 111-112) under the heading “End of Jewish Plots and Treacheries”:
Ever since the Prophet’s entry into Madina, the treacherous Jews had vehemently opposed him and his Islamic call, evoking memories of their hostility to the previous Prophet, Jesus Christ, half a millennium ago. The crafty Jews entered into an alliance with the polytheist Quraish in a bid to stamp out Islam. They conspired to kill Prophet Muhammad despite the fact that he was lenient towards them and had treated them kindly, hoping to convince them of Islam’s truth. But eventually as Jewish plots and aggressions increased, he had no choice other than to take up arms against them, in order to protect Islam and the Muslims. At the battle of Khaybar which is famous for Imam Ali’s heroic exploits, the Prophet defeated them ending Jewish intrigues and conspiracies in Arabia.
The reputed poisoning of Muhammad by a Khaybar Jewess is described on p. 131:
The Jews however, did not forget their humiliation at the hands of the Muslims. After their defeat, a Jewish woman by the name of Zainab brought some lamb meat as a gift for the Holy Prophet (S). The meat was poisoned and the Holy Prophet (S) ate only a little bit, but that poison had an effect on his health in the long term and when he was on his death bed a few years later, he said that his illness was partly due to the poison he had been given at Khaybar.
My examination of the East End Madrassah’s curricular materials demonstrates how the inculcation of jihadism and Islamic Jew-hatred remains an essential part of mainstream Islamic education for Muslim children. Journalistic incompetence, craven denial by the Canadian Jewish community, and disingenuous apologies from the Canadian Muslim community all serve to perpetuate this ugly phenomenon. The consequences of these mutually reinforcing, disgraceful behaviors, if not soon reversed, will rapidly progress from dangerous to tragic.