During last evening’s (January 28, 2014) State of the Union speech, President Obama not only claimed “American diplomacy” had somehow “halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program,” he peevishly threatened,
[L]et me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.
His comments represented the apotheosis of a surreal tragicomedy of U.S. diplomatic failure that has unfolded over the past two months.
Less than three weeks after the November 24, 2013 announcement of an interim agreement between Iran, the U.S., and five other world powers, during an interview which aired December 11, 2013, Iranian Middle East analyst Mohammad Sadeq al-Hosseini, provided a candid assessment of the negotiations. El-Hosseini, a former political advisor to both Iran’s alleged reformist ex-President Khatami, and the Khatami regime’s erstwhile Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Ata’ollah Mohajerani (also deemed a “moderate”), underscored the ancient Islamic doctrinal bases for the contemporary Iranian theocracy’s geo-politics. Invoking the armistice “Treaty of Hudaybiyya” agreement between Muhammad and the 7th century pagan Quraysh tribe of Mecca, which Islam’s prophet-warrior unilaterally abrogated as soon Muhammad’s jihadist forces achieved the military superiority needed to vanquish his Meccan foes, el-Hosseini declared:
This is the Treaty of Hudaybiyya in Geneva, and it will be followed by a “conquest of Mecca.”
Consistent with Muhammad’s tactical formulation when waging jihad, “War is deceit” (from the canonical hadith “traditions” of the Muslim prophet), the Islamic doctrine of takiya, or kitman (“concealment”; “disguise”),and the modern parallel of Soviet Communist deceit and conspiracy (especially during arms control negotiations), el-Hosseini also noted,
Incidentally, for your information, when you conduct political negotiations with Iran, you lose even when you think you have won. The [Iranians] have raised the level of uranium enrichment far beyond the level they really needed, so that when the level would be lowered, they would emerge victorious.
El-Hosseini further insisted the Geneva deal augured America’s eventual jihad conquest during Iran’s ongoing “fierce war with Americans on all levels.” While this claim appears dubious, at present, El-Hosseini contended, appositely, that the agreement marked near-term U.S. capitulation to Iran’s oft-repeated threat to destroy Israel by jihad—including via nuclear weapons.
Obama had to make a great retreat. He was forced to accept a handshake from President Rohani [Rouhani], whom he considered a kind of Gorbachev or Sadat, so that the day would not come when he would be forced to kiss the hands of [Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah]Hassan Nasrallah and [Supreme Leader of Iran] Imam Khamenei, so that they would hold their fire in the great war that was prepared to annihilate Israel.
Thursday, December 9, 2013, Ali Akbar Salehi, current head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), and touted as a “pragmatist,” proclaimed triumphantly, “Our centrifuges are working full capacity.” Within a week later, Marzieh Afkham, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, projecting Tehran’s official narrative in reference to the Geneva accord, commented that there was in fact, “no treaty and no pact, only a statement of intent.” Echoing this line, the Iranian daily Kayhan, published by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office, maintained in a Sunday, 12/15/13 editorial that the accord’s six month time frame meant nothing, and it could “even take 20 years to negotiate” a final agreement. 73 Khamenei’s mouthpiece Kayhan concluded bluntly,
If our centrifuges do not continue to turn, no other wheel shall turn for our dignity, independence, power and security.
These statements were representative of a host of other similar pronouncements made by Iranian diplomats, politicians, clerics, and other officials, since the Geneva accord was announced (1/24/13), through the end of December, 2013, and well into January, 2014. Such rhetorical Iranian interpretation of the recent agreement was accompanied by actions demonstrating Iran was tenaciously pursuing the full gamut of its nuclear aspirations, undaunted. Other salient examples of this consistent Iranian trend—both rhetoric and actions—are presented below, chronologically:
- President Rouhani told the Financial Times, in an interview published 11/29/13, that dismantling Iran’s nuclear facilities was a “red line” Iran would not cross, and that the nation would set its own concentration limits for uranium enrichment.
- Mansour Haqiqatpour, Vice-Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told the Fars News Agency on 12/9/13, that “Iran’s enrichment right,” was “recognized,” and “the Americans can’t take this right away from us.” His declaration reiterated a prior statement made by Seyed Abbas Araqchi, a senior Iranian negotiator in the “P5 + 1” talks, who insisted Iran’s right to enrich uranium was a (another) “red line” sanctioned by the Geneva deal itself.
- On December 12, 2013, AEOI chief Salehi re-affirmed his 12/9/03 statement about the pace of uranium enrichment continuing at “full capacity,” dismissing as “baseless and wrong” contentions that aspects of Iran’s nuclear activities had been slowed. Iran “will never cross its red lines or give up its…inalienable right” to enrich uranium, Saleh added. Saleh also insisted “there will be no more inspection” of Arak’s heavy-water plutonium reactor facilities.
- December 16th and 17th, 2013, Iran’s Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif, protested the move by the U.S. Congress to legislate a regimen of bolstered economic sanctions, while maintaining, defiantly,
It shows a lack of understanding of how to proceed in order to resolve the nuclear issue. Some people are wedded to the idea that pressure will produce results. They are wrong. Pressure has produced 18,000 centrifuges in Iran. So if they want to continue that road – it is open to them, but it doesn’t produce any results.
- On December 27, 2013—capitalizing on an obvious loophole defect in the Geneva interim agreement—Salehi announced that Iran would be producing new, more sophisticated centrifuges, capable of enriching uranium faster.
- By December 29, 2013, senior Iranian Parliamentarians announced they had obtained 200 co-sponsors from among their colleagues for a bill requiring Iran’s government to enrich uranium to 60%, complete the nuclear infrastructures at the Fordo and Natanz installations, and launch the Arak heavy water plutonium reactor. Saturday January 4, 2014, the Fars News Agency reported a claim by Seyed Mehdi Moussavinejad, a member of the parliament’s Energy Commission, that this “double-urgency bill, signed by 218 legislators,” was presented to the “Presiding Board,” and submitted to the parliament’s speaker, Ali Larijani. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator in the P5 +1 talks Araqchi further maintained that if the Iranian parliament approves the draft bill, it will be binding for the government.
- Friday January 3, 2014, parliamentarian and cleric Muhammad Nabavian stated brazenly (as per Iranian press reports, independently reviewed and translated by The Washington Free Beacon) that Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb in “two weeks” if it obtains “access to 270 kilograms of 20 percent [enriched uranium], 10 tons of 5 percent, and 20 thousand centrifuges.” Nabavian added, “We are not looking for a nuclear bomb, but having a nuclear bomb is necessary to put down Israel.”
- By Tuesday, January 14, 2014, President Rouhani was brazen enough to gloat about the “P5 + 1” Geneva accord, via his twitter account (tweet reproduced below as text, and a screen shot). He crowed that the U.S. et al (at Geneva) had acquiesced to the “Iranian nation’s” own perceived nuclear goals:
Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iranian nation’s interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.
Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, Iran’s President Rouhani, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, all concur on this critical outcome of the interim agreement struck between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers, announced early Sunday morning, 11/24/13: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program will continue apace.
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group which seeks to thwart Iran’s ambition to obtain nuclear weapons, issued a press release highlighting the fundamental strategic failures of the interim 6-month pact:
By not agreeing to dismantle a single centrifuge, Iran has not rolled back its nuclear infrastructure and with the many centrifuges that it is currently operating, Iran retains the ability to breakout and produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon in as little as 2 months. At the same time, the carefully constructed sanctions architecture developed over decades has been significantly rolled back.
UANI argued further that the Geneva agreement provided Iran disproportionate sanctions relief, which would enable the Iranian economy (as gauged by the value of its currency, the rial) to recover to an extent that Iran’s nuclear weapons development (i.e., nuclear enrichment, and plutonium generation) programs, would be abetted by this reduction in economic pressures.
Six months from now we believe that the Iranian rial will have regained significant lost value and there will be far less economic pressure on the Iranian economy. And accordingly there will be far less pressure for Iran to actually dismantle a material number of centrifuges, much less end its nuclear enrichment and plutonium programs for which it has no practical purpose except to produce a nuclear weapon. If Iran’s industrial-size nuclear program is not rolled back, Tehran will inherently maintain the breakout capacity to build such a weapon.
While a number of equally sobering assessments (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) have reiterated UANI’s tocsin of looming geo-strategic calamity regarding the so-called “P5 + 1” agreement just brokered with Iran, the ideology animating Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons—apocalyptic, annihilationist Islamic Jew-hatred—was uniformly ignored.
For the past decade, in essays (here, and in a three part series, 1, 2, & 3), and my lengthy compendium, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, I have elucidated Shiite Iran’s half millennial history of Jew-hatred—its canonical Islamic origins, and the brutally oppressive, intermittently murderous impact of this doctrine on Iranian Jewry.
E. G. Browne, a Persianophilic British scholar, wrote the following words in the 1920s about the entire period of Shiite theocratic rule, from the ascension of the first Safavid shah, Ismail I, at the outset of the 16th century, through Reza Shah Pahlavi’s installation in 1925, marking the end of the Qajar dynasty (and punctuated by dramatic secular reforms):
The Mujtahids [authoritative interpreters of Islamic law] and Mulla are a great force in Persia and concern themselves with every department of human activity from the minutest detail of personal purification to the largest issues of politics.
These Shiite clerics emphasized the notion of the ritual uncleanliness (najis) of Jews in particular, but also of Christians, Zoroastrians, and others, as the cornerstone of relations toward non-Muslims. The impact of this najis conception was already apparent to European visitors to Persia during the reign Ismail I. The Portuguese traveler Tome Pires observed (between 1512 and 1515) that “Sheikh Ismail . . . never spares the life of any Jew,” while another European travelogue notes “the great hatred [Ismail I] bears against the Jews.”
Mohammad Baqer al-Majlisi (d. 1699) was perhaps the most influential cleric of the Safavid Shiite theocracy in Persia. For six years at the end of the 17th century, he functioned as the de facto ruler of Iran, making him the Ayatollah Khomeini of his era. By design, he wrote many works in Persian to disseminate key aspects of the Shia ethos among ordinary persons. In his Persian treatise “Lightning Bolts Against the Jews,” Al-Majlisi describes the standard humiliating requisites for non-Muslims living under sharia, first and foremost the blood-ransom jizya, or poll-tax, based on Koran 9:29.
He then enumerates six other restrictions relating to worship, housing, dress, transportation, and weapons, before outlining the unique Shiite impurity or najis regulations. It is these latter najis prohibitions which lead anthropology professor Laurence Loeb — who studied and lived within the Jewish community of Southern Iran in the early 1970s — to observe, “Fear of pollution by Jews led to great excesses and peculiar behavior by Muslims.” According to Al-Majlisi:
And, that they should not enter the pool while a Muslim is bathing at the public baths . . . If something can be purified, such as clothes, if they are dry, they can be accepted, they are clean. But if they [the dhimmis] had come into contact with those cloths in moisture they should be rinsed with water after being obtained. . . . It would also be better if the ruler of the Muslims would establish that all infidels could not move out of their homes on days when it rains or snows because they would make Muslims impure.
Walter Fischel, the preeminent modern historian of Iranian Jewry, has described, in addition, the severe hardships imposed upon Iranian Jews because of their image as sorcerers and practitioners of black magic, which was “as deeply embedded in the minds of the [Muslim] masses as it had been in medieval Europe” [emphasis added]. The consequences of these bigoted superstitions were predictable:
It was therefore easy to arouse their [the Muslim masses] fears and suspicions at the slightest provocation, and to accuse them [the Jews] of possessing cabalistic Hebrew writings, amulets, talismans, segulot, goralot, and refu’ot, which they [the Jews] were using against the Islamic authorities.
This hateful brew of dehumanizing “impurity” regulations, and the popular conception that Jews engaged in “sorcery,” fomented recurring Muslim anti-Jewish violence, including pogroms and forced conversions throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which rendered areas of Iran Judenrein — free of Jews.
The so-called “Khomeini revolution,” which in 1979 deposed the secular, Western-oriented regime of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, was in reality a mere return in full (including najis regulations, etc.) to oppressive Shiite theocratic rule, the predominant form of Iranian governance during four centuries. Conditions for all non-Muslim religious minorities, particularly Jews, rapidly deteriorated. Although the demographic decline of Iranian Jewry after the creation of Israel was significant even before the revolution — from nearly 120,000 in 1948 to roughly 70,000 in 1978— the Jewish population dropped precipitously after Khomeini’s ascent to less than 9000 at present.
Since its founding in 973 C.E., Al Azhar University (and its mosque) have represented a pinnacle of Islamic religious education, which evolved into the de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam. Unfortunately, during that same millennium, through the present era, Al Azhar and its leading clerics have represented and espoused the unreformed, unrepentant jihad bellicosity and infidel hatred at the core of mainstream, institutional Islam.
Al Azhar’s contemporary espousal of sacralized Islamic animosity has been directed, unsurprisingly, against Jews and Israel, dating back to the 20th century origins, and ultimate creation, of the modern Jewish State. Despite nearly universal willful blindness by media, academic, and policymaking elites, this critical issue of sacralized incitement of Muslim Jew-hatred by Islam’s Sunni Muslim Vatican, remains center stage.
Ahmad Al-Tayeb, as current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, is the Sunni Muslim Papal equivalent. During an interview with Al-Tayeb, which recently aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV, October 25, 2013, the Al-Azhar Grand Imam gave a brief explanation of the ongoing relevance of the Koranic verse 5:82 (sura, or chapter 5, verse 82) has been invoked—“successfully”—to inspire Muslim hatred of Jews since the advent of Islam:
A verse in the Koran explains the Muslims’ relations with the Jews and the polytheists. The second part of the verse describes the Muslims’ relations with the Christians, and the third part of the verse explains why the Christians are the closest and most friendly to the Muslims. This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism, whereas our peaceful coexistence with the Christians has withstood the test of history. Since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims. The Koran said it and history has proven it: “You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists.” This is the first part. The second part is: “You shall find the closest in love to the believers to be those who say: ‘We are Christians’.” The third part explains why the Christians are “the closest in love to the believers,” while the Jews and the polytheists are the exact opposite.
Grand Imam Al-Tayaeb’s assessment is upheld by a continuum of authoritative Koranic exegeses that span over a thousand years, till now. The classical Koranic commentaries on Koran 5:82 by al-Tabari (d. 923), Zamakashari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d. 1316), and Ibn Kathir demonstrate a uniformity of opinion regarding the animus of the Jews toward the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of Koran 2:61 (i.e., for killing prophets, and transgressing against the will of Allah, repeated at verses including 2:90-91, 3:112, 3:181, and 4:155):
[Tabari]: In my (Tabari’s) opinion, (the Christians) are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose Allah in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.
[Zamakshari]: Here Allah portrays the Jews as being unyielding and as acknowledging the truth only grudgingly. . . . On account of their vehement enmity against the believers, Allah places the Jews together with the idolaters; indeed, going even further, he shows them to be at the head, since they are mentioned before the idolaters. Allah does the same in his words: “And thou shalt find them (the Jews) the eagerest of men for life—even more so than the idolaters. Each of them wishes he could be given a life of a thousand years; but the grant of life would not save him from chastisement—for God sees well all that they do!” (sura 2:96/90). The Jews are surely like this, and even worse! From the Prophet (the following is related): “If a Muslim is alone with two Jews, they will try to kill him.”. . . The Jews focused their hostility to the Muslims in the most overt and intense manner . . .
[Baydawi]: [B]ecause of [the Jews’] intense obstinacy, multifaceted disbelief, and their addiction to following their whims, their adherence to the blind following of their tradition, their distancing themselves from the truth, and their unrelenting denial of, and hostility toward, the prophets . . . [the Christians] . . . easiness to deal with, the softness of their hearts, their dismissal of gain in this world, and their serious concern with learning and good deeds . . .their acceptance of the truth as soon as they understand it; or, because of their humility as opposed to the arrogance of the Jews.
[Ibn Kathir]: Allah said, “Verily you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews and those who commit Shirk [i.e., the polytheists, or idolaters].” This describes the Jews, since their disbelief is that of rebellion, defiance, opposing the truth, belittling other people, and degrading the scholars. This is why the Jews—may Allah’s continued curses descend on them until the Day of Resurrection—killed many of their Prophets and tried to kill the Messenger of Allah several times, as well as performing magic spells against him and poisoning him. They also incited their likes among the polytheists against the Prophet.
Maulana Muhammad Shafi (1898-1976), a former grand mufti of India (prior to the August, 1947 partition), was the author of Maariful Qur’an, which remains the best-known Koranic commentary in Urdu. He also wrote more than three hundred books, and in addition to these literary works, broadcasted his Koranic commentary on Radio Pakistan for a number of years. Mufti Shafi’s modern gloss on Koran 5:82 in Maariful Qur’an confirms its classical exegesis, noting that the vast preponderance of Jews felt an unremitting malice toward the Muslims, and a lust for the “material pleasures of mortal life”—the rare exceptions to this rule (for example, Abdullah ibn Salam), became Muslims!
A remarkable essay by the polymath Arabic writer al-Jahiz (d. 869), composed in the mid 9th century C.E., illustrates how the anti-Jewish attitudes already prevalent within an important early Islamic society—the seat of the Abbasid-Baghdadian Caliphate—were influenced by Koran 5:82, and its common understanding by the Muslim masses. Al-Jahiz’s essay—an anti-Christian polemic believed to have been commissioned by the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil (d. 861), who inaugurated a literary campaign against the Christians—explores the reasons why the Muslim masses prefer the Christians to the Jews. This empirical preference (although decried by the author) is acknowledged by al-Jahiz from the outset:
I shall begin to enumerate the causes which made the Christians more liked by the masses than the Magians [Zoroastrians], and made men consider them more sincere than the Jews, more endeared, less treacherous, less unbelieving, and less deserving of punishment. For all this there are manifold and evident causes.
Al-Jahiz offers two primary explanations for this abiding hostility of the Muslim rank and file toward the Jews. First was the “rancorous” relationship between the early Muslim community, exiles from Mecca, and their Jewish neighbors in Medina:
When the [Muslim] Emigrants [from Mecca] became the neighbors of the Jews [in Medina] . . .the Jews began to envy the Muslims the blessings of their new faith, and the union which resulted after dissension. They proceeded to undermine the belief of our [i.e., the Muslim] masses, and to lead them astray. They aided our enemies and those envious of us. From mere misleading speech and stinging words they plunged into an open declaration of enmity, so that the Muslims mobilized their forces, exerting themselves morally and materially to banish the Jews and destroy them. Their strife became long-drawn and widespread, so that it worked itself up into a rage, and created yet greater animosity and more intensified rancor. The Christians, however, because of their remoteness from Mecca and Medina, did not have to put up with religious controversies, and did not have occasion to stir up trouble, and be involved in war. That was the first cause of our dislike of the Jews, and our partiality toward the Christians.
However, al-Jahiz then identifies as “the most potent cause” of this particular animus toward the Jews, Koran 5:82, and its interpretation by the contemporary (i.e., mid-ninth-century) Muslim masses.
The travelogue accounts of Edward William Lane (originally published in 1835), a great Arabic linguist, record Lane’s observations of Egyptian society, including his testimony on the difference between the attitude of Egyptian Muslims toward the Jews and the Christians. One thousand years after al-Jahiz, Lane re-affirms the prominent, ongoing influence of Koran 5:82:
They [the Jews] are held in the utmost contempt and abhorrence by the Muslims in general, and they are said to bear a more inveterate hatred than any other people to the Muslims and the Muslim religion. It is said, in the Koran [quoting 5:82] “Thou shalt surely find the most violent all men to those who have believed to be the Jews . . . ”
Lane further notes:
It is a common saying among the Muslims in this country, “Such one hates me with the hate of the Jews.” We cannot wonder, then, that the Jews are detested far more than are the Christians. Not long ago, they used often to be jostled in the streets of Cairo, and sometimes beaten for merely passing on the right hand of a Muslim. At present, they are less oppressed: but still they scarcely ever dare to utter a word of abuse when reviled or beaten unjustly by the meanest Arab or Turk; for many a Jew has been put to death upon a false and malicious accusation of uttering disrespectful words against the Koran or the Prophet. It is common to hear an Arab abuse his jaded ass, and, after applying to him various opprobrious epithets, end by calling the beast a Jew.
A century after Lane’s observations were published, the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, pre-eminent Muslim leader of his era, and founder of the jihadist Palestinian Muslim movement, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, issued a 1937 proclamation seeking to galvanize the global Muslim umma (community) for a jihad to annihilate Palestinian Jewry, and abort a modern re-establishment of the pre-Islamic nation of Israel on any portion of the Jews’ ancestral homeland. As I document in my newly released monograph, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred, el-Husseini ends his own litany of Jew-hating motifs from the Koran in the 1937 proclamation with this same verse, Koran 5:82.
Current Al-Azhar Grand Imam al-Tayeb’s invocation of Koranic Jew-hatred (especially, 5:82) represents a modern historical continuum from Hajj Amin el-Husseini, and more directly his immediate predecessor, the late Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi—Grand Imam of Al-Azhar from 1996, till his death in March, 2010. My extensive and fully representative extracts in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism from Tantawi’s magnum opus—an utterly vile 700 pp. tract glorifying Islam’s incomparable output of doctrinal Jew-hatred from its core texts, i.e. the Koran, most important Koranic commentaries, and Sunna (i.e., alleged “traditions” of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and the nascent Muslim community)—is irrefragable proof of his convictions. Here an extract that bears repeating (from p. 394):
the Jews always remain maleficent deniers….they should desist from their negative denial…some Jews went way overboard in their denying hostility, so gentle persuasion can do no good with them, so use force with them and treat them in the way you see as effective in ridding them of their evil. One may go so far as to ban their religion, their persons, their wealth, and their villages.
Tantawi also wrote these words in his 700 page treatise—originally, his Al-Azhar University Ph.D. thesis—rationalizing Muslim Jew-hatred:
[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [Koran 2:61/ 3:112], corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness…only a minority of the Jews keep their word…[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims [Koran 3:113], the bad ones do not.
Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by subsequently being named Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University. These were the expressed, “carefully researched” views on Jews held by the nearest Muslim equivalent to a Pope—a man who for 14 years headed the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, which represents some 85 to 90% of the world’s Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi never mollified such hatemongering beliefs after becoming the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his statements on “dialogue” (January 1998) with Jews, the Jews as “enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs” (April 2002), and the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews (April 2002), made clear.
Tantawi’s statements on dialogue, which were issued shortly after he met with the Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Israel Meir Lau, in Cairo, on December 15, 1997, provided him another opportunity to re-affirm his ongoing commitment to the views expressed about Jews in his Ph.D. thesis:
…anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward. My stance stems from Allah’s book [the Koran], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews…[I] wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah. I still believe in everything written in that dissertation. [i.e., Jews in the Koran and the Traditions, cited above]
Sadly, Tantawi’s antisemitic formulations are well-grounded in classical, mainstream Islamic theology. However, understanding and acknowledging the Koranic origins of Islamic antisemitism is not a justification for the unreformed, unrepentant modern endorsement of these hateful motifs by Tantawi—with predictably murderous consequences. Within days of the Netanya homicide bombing massacre on a Passover seder night, March 27, 2002, for example, Sheikh Tantawi issued an abhorrent sanction (April 4, 2002) of so-called “martyrdom operations,” even when directed at Israeli civilians.
And during November, 2002 (“Tantawi: No Antisemitism” Associated Press 11/19/2002; also archived here), consistent with his triumphant denial, Sheikh Tantawi made the following statement in response to criticism over the virulently antisemitic Egyptian television series (“Horseman Without a Horse”), based on the Czarist Russia forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”:
Suppose that the series has some criticism or shows some of the Jews’ traits, this doesn’t necessitate an uproar…The accusation of antisemitism was invented by the Jews as a means to pressure Arabs and Muslims to implement their schemes in the Arab and Muslim countries, so don’t pay attention to them.
January 22, 2008, it was reported that Tantawi cancelled what would have been an historic visit to the Rome synagogue by the imam of Rome’s mosque (Ala Eldin Mohammed Ismail al-Ghobash). The putative excuse for this cancellation was Israel’s self-defensive stance—a blockade—in response to acts of jihad terrorism (rocket barrages; attempted armed incursions) emanating from Gaza. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, commenting aptly about these events, observed that the cancellation proved, “…even so called Muslim moderates share the ideology of hate, violence and death towards the Jewish state.” Al Azhar, Corriere della Sera, further argued, which constituted a “Vatican of Sunni Islam,” had in effect issued “a kind of fatwah.” The paper concluded by noting that “What the Cairo statement really means is that Muslim dialogue with Jews in Italy is only possible once Israel has been eliminated.”
Both Tantawi’s and his successor Ahmad Al-Tayeb’s career trajectories to the pinnacle of Sunni Islamic religious education, despite their own public endorsements of virulent, if “sacralized” Islamic Jew-hatred, reflect the profound moral pathology at the very heart and soul of mainstream, institutional Islam.
Last week, marked the gruesome and bloody spectacle which punctuates the annual Shiite Muslim celebration of Ashura (the 10th day of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar). This date serves as a memorial for slain Shiite leader Hussein bin Ali, executed by order of Sunni Caliph Yazid bin Muawiyah in 680 C.E. Following his decapitation, Hussein’s head was brought to Damascus, the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate of Yazid and displayed for a month, culminating (temporarily) a furious period of internecine strife in early Islamic history, whose sanguinary and brutal sectarian legacy is still manifest today, most notably in Syria, and Iraq.
While such narrative accounts of Sunni-Shiite sectarian strife are routinely shared by non-Muslim pundits, these experts never reveal its dark theological underpinning: Islam’s most bitter and lasting internecine struggle is yet another “Jewish conspiracy.” As put forth in seminal early Muslim historiography (for example, by Tabari, d. 923), Abd Allah b. Saba, an alleged renegade Yemenite Jew is claimed to be the founder of the heterodox Shiite sect. He is held responsible—identified as a Jew—for promoting the Shiite heresy and fomenting the rebellion and internal strife associated with this primary breach in Islam’s “political innocence,” culminating in the assassination of the third Rightly Guided Caliph Uthman, and the bitter, lasting legacy of Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian strife. Here are key extracts from Tabari’s account:
‘Abd Allah b. Saba’ was a Yemenite Jew. . . . He later converted to Islam in the time of [Caliph] Uthman. Then he traveled through the lands of the Muslims trying to lead them into error. . . . [For example] in Egypt he promulgated to the people the [heterodox] doctrine of the Return [of Muhammad as Messiah]. So the Egyptians discussed this idea. Then, after that, he said that there were one thousand prophets, each of whom had an agent; and that Ali was Muhammad’s agent. Then he said, Muhammad was the Seal of the Prophets and Ali was the Seal of the Agents. Also, he asked: “Who is more evil than those who denied Muhammad’s designation of Ali as his agent-successor, pounced upon this successor- designate of Ali’s messenger and seized (illegitimately) the rulership of the Muslim community?” [In answer to this question as it were,] he told the Egyptians that Uthman had seized power illegitimately while Ali was, in fact, the agent-successor of Allah’s messenger. “Rebel against this illegitimate rule, provoke it, and challenge your rulers . . .” [said ‘Abd Allah b. Saba’].
Over a millennium later, at the momentous international gathering of Muslim religious authorities, sponsored by Sunni Islam’s Vatican, Al-Azhar University, the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, September, 1968, Al-Azhar Professor Muhammad El-Sayyed Husein Al-Dahabi, declared,
Among the leading figures of heresy and sectarianism was Abdullah ibn Saba the Jew, who feigned to be a Muslim, disguising his unbelief, making a show of supporting the Prophet’s offspring (Alu-l-Bait), so as to deceive Muslims and to propagate among them his heretical and noxious views… [T]he earliest heresiarch, Abdullah ibn Saba, who was the foremost leader of sedition and heterodoxy. He, with his adherents,… feigned to be devout Muslim, and went to all lengths in their deceitfulness, by simulating to be the most fervent supporters of the offspring of the Prophet, so as to corrupt the beliefs of Muslims.
Finally a Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom review of Saudi Arabian textbooks, circa 2008 (“Update: Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance”), demonstrated that this traditionalist, mainstream example of Sunni Islam’s conspiratorial Jew-hatred was still being inculcated amongst Muslim youth:
The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated (the Muslims). He was ‘Abd Allah b. Saba’ (from the Jews of Yemen). * began spewing his malice and venom against the third of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, ‘Uthman (may God be pleased with him), and falsely accused him.” (Tawhid: Literature, Science, and Qur’an Memorization Section, Twelfth Grade. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Education. Education Development, 1428-1429; 2007-2008, p. 78.)
Ignoring this mainstream Sunni Islamic narrative—redolent with conspiratorial Jew-hatred—is yet another salient example of the prevailing willful blindness to institutional Islam’s unreformed and unrepentant canonical antisemitism.
Yesterday (11/12/13) Palestinian Media Watch released video extracts of a November 8, 2013 sermon broadcast on the official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV network by PA Minister of Religious Affairs, al-Habbash. The good Minister insisted (despite expert forensic opinion to the contrary) Yasir Arafat was poisoned by Jews.
Validating my analysis of the founder of the modern Palestinian Arab Muslim jihadist movement, ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, in a monograph just published 11/9/13, al-Habbash invoked the alleged poisoning of Islam’s prophet Muhammad by a Khaybar Jewess. This salient example of Islam’s ancient, Jew-hating canon (i.e., in the hadith and sira) was promulgated by el-Husseini, notably in a 1937 “fatwa,” which sought to galvanize the global Muslim umma to wage an annihilationist jihad for the destruction of Palestinian Jewry. El-Husseini’s accurate recapitulation of the canonical Muslim source narrative, in his 1937 proclamation, maintains:
The Muslims conquered Khaybar, drove out most of the Jews, while Muhammad concluded a treaty with the remaining Jews and assured the peace. Only after this devastating blow could the Islamic realm develop peacefully. It is, however, no wonder, considering Jewish character, that the Jews did not give up their dark plans in spite of the agreed treaty, and tried by all means to destroy Muhammad. They invited Muhammad to a banquet and he accepted the invitation without suspicion. Splendidly roasted lamb was set before him, which was served him by Zaynab, the Jewess, the wife of Sallam b. Mishkam. There was talk about the treaty and the good understanding which now prevailed, and nothing was further from Muhammad’s mind than to suspect treachery. Muhammad and his faithful follower Bishr b. al-Baraa each took a piece of the lamb, but Muhammad did not swallow his, because he noticed an odd flavor and said “The bone tells me that the lamb is poisoned.” Muhammad had Zaynab the Jewess summoned and asked whether this meat was in fact poisoned. She answered: “You know that I have a good reputation among the Jews, and I admit that I poisoned the lamb. I thought that, if you are only a king, I would be killing a king, but if you are a true prophet, you would know that the meat was poisoned.” Muhammad’s companion died as a result of the poison. The little bit of poison that Muhammad had on his tongue became more and more noticeable, and there are historians who attribute his death to the effects of this poison. They refer to a hadith passed on by Abu Huraira in which Muhammad shortly before his death said: “The meal of Khaybar makes itself noticed repeatedly until I die.” The Muslims must think again and again of the meal of Khaybar. If the Jews could be so treacherous to Muhammad, how treacherous will they be to them.
The verbatim canonical hadith which chronicle Muhammad’s alleged poisoning by a Khaybar Jewess (reproduced below, and referenced here), confirm el-Husseini’s paraphrase of these accounts. (However, el-Husseini did incorrectly attribute to Abu Huraira the hadith reports of Aisha and Anas which recorded the long-term, purportedly terminal effects of Muhammad’s poisoning. Abu Huraira did describe the poisoning, but not its ostensibly chronic, lethal impact.)
Ibn Abbas replied, “That indicated the death of Allah’s Apostle which Allah informed him of.” Umar said, “I do not understand of it except what you understand.” Narrated Aisha: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, “O Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison.”
Anas reported that a Jewess came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) with poisoned mutton and he took of that what had been brought to him (Allah’s Messenger). (When the effect of this poison were felt by him) he called for her and asked her about that, whereupon she said: “I had determined to kill you.” Thereupon he said: “Allah will never give you the power to do it.” He (the narrator) said that they (the Companions of the Holy Prophet) said: “Should we not kill her?” Thereupon he said: “No.” He (Anas) said: “I felt (the affects of this poison) on the uvula of Allah’s Messenger.”
Narrated Abu Huraira: When Khaibar was conquered, a (cooked) sheep containing poison, was given as a present to Allah’s Apostle.
Narrated Abu Huraira: When Khaibar was conquered, Allah’s Apostle was presented with a poisoned (roasted) sheep. Allah’s Apostle said, “Collect for me all the Jews present in this area.” (When they were gathered) Allah’s Apostle said to them, “I am going to ask you about something; will you tell me the truth?” They replied, “Yes, O Abal-Qasim!” Allah’s Apostle said to them, “Who is your father?” They said, “Our father is so-and-so.” Allah’s Apostle said, “You have told a lie. for your father is so-and-so,” They said, “No doubt, you have said the truth and done the correct thing.” He again said to them, “If I ask you about something; will you tell me the truth?” They replied, “Yes, O Abal-Qasim! And if we should tell a lie you will know it as you have known it regarding our father,” Allah’s Apostle then asked, “Who are the people of the (Hell) Fire?” They replied, “We will remain in the (Hell) Fire for a while and then you (Muslims) will replace us in it” Allah’s Apostle said to them. “You will abide in it with ignominy. By Allah, we shall never replace you in it at all.” Then he asked them again, “If I ask you something, will you tell me the truth?” They replied, “Yes.” He asked. “Have you put the poison in this roasted sheep?” They replied, “Yes,” He asked, “What made you do that?” They replied, “We intended to learn if you were a liar in which case we would be relieved from you, and if you were a prophet then it would not harm you.”
Additional confirmation of el-Husseini’s overall narrative regarding Muhammad’s poisoning is provided by the sira accounts of Ibn Ishaq, and Ibn Sa’d. Ibn Ishaq’s report concludes that Muhammad ultimately died from this poisoning episode, and notes his death was considered an act of “martyrdom”:
When the apostle had rested Zaynab d. al-Harith, the wife of Sallam b. Mishkam prepared for him a roast lamb, having first inquired what joint he preferred. When she learned that it was the shoulder she put a lot of poison in it and poisoned the whole lamb. Then she brought it in and placed it before him. He took hold of the shoulder and chewed a morsel of it, but he did not swallow it. Bishr b. al-Bara b. Ma’rur who was with him took some of it as the apostle had done, but he swallowed it, while the apostle spat it out, saying, “This bone tells me that it is poisoned.” Then he called for the woman and she confessed, and when he asked her what had induced her to do this she answered: “You know what you have done to my people. I said to myself, If he is a king I shall ease myself of him and if he is a prophet he will be informed (of what I have done).” So the apostle let her off. Bishr died from what he had eaten. Marwan b. Uthman b. Abu Sa’id b. al-Mu’alla told me: “The apostle had said in his illness of which he was to die when Umm Bishr d. al-Bara’ came to visit him, ‘O Umm Bishr, this is the time in which I feel a deadly pain from what I ate with your brother at Khaybar.’ ” The Muslims considered that the apostle died as a martyr in addition to the prophetic office with which God had honored him.
Ibn Sa’d (in his Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al- Kabir) focuses on the putative Jewish conspiracy behind Muhammad’s poisoning, while insisting adamantly that the Khaybar Jewess perpetrator was put to death:
The Jews discussed about poisons and became united in one poison. She [a Khaybar Jewess, Zaynab Bint al-Harith] poisoned the goat putting more poison in the forelegs. . . . The Apostle of Allah took the foreleg, a piece of which he put into his mouth. . . . The Apostle of Allah sent for Zaynab Bint al-Harith [and] . . . handed her over to the heirs of Bishr Ibn al-Barra [who the Jewess had also poisoned, leading to his rapid death] who put her to death. This is the approved version [emphasis added]. . . . The Apostle of Allah lived after this three years, till in consequence of his pain he passed away. During his illness he used to say: “I did not cease to find the effect of the poisoned morsel I took at Khaybar.”
A confluence of news stories last week, including, prominently, the release of a report by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, have highlighted the plight of Iranian Christians.
The salient findings from Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed’s report (issued online Tuesday 10/22/13), were as follows:
Sources communicate that at least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013. In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported. Authorities continue to compel licensed Protestant churches to restrict Persian-speaking and Muslim-born Iranians from participating in services, and raids and forced closures of house churches are ongoing. According to sources, more than 300 Christians have been arrested since 2010, and dozens of church leaders and active community members have reportedly been convicted of national security crimes in connection with church activities, such as organizing prayer groups, proselytizing and attending Christian seminars abroad.
His report further noted allegations of additional abuses, including “various forms of legal discrimination…in employment and education,” as well as frequent cases of “arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment.”
Monday, 10/21/13, a day before the Special Rapporteur’s report was issued, Eddie Romero, a retired California pastor, who managed to enter Iran surreptitiously, staged a protest before Iran’s infamous Evin prison. Repeatedly proclaiming, “Let my people go,” in Farsi, Romero attempted to draw attention to the predicament of at least four Iranians, incarcerated for converting from Islam to Christianity—Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar, and Alireza Seyyedian. (Detained for 24-hours in Iran, Romero was released and returned safely to the U.S. by mid-week.)
Shahrokh Afshar, a pastor for the Iranian Church On The Way in Los Angeles, maintained Christian converts in Iran were imprisoned simply because they practiced their new faith. “Their greatest sin was leaving Islam to follow Christ,” he stated. One of the four imprisoned Christians, whose plight Pastor Romero was protesting, is Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who has been incarcerated for over a year in Iran. His wife, Naghmeh, wrote a poignant depiction (published 9/25/13) of her husband’s ordeal on the bitter one year anniversary of his imprisonment.
Without warning, members of the Revolutionary Guard pulled him off of a bus and put him under house arrest in his parents’ home in Tehran. On September 26, 2012, members of the Guard came to the home and took him away — in chains — to Evin Prison, where he has remained ever since.
The following day, Wednesday 9/23/13, Christian Solidarity International published a report about a “verdict” an Iranian court issued on October 6th, which the named defendants received October 20th. Four members of the Church of Iran—Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna)—were charged with drinking alcohol during a communion service, and possession of a receiver and satellite antenna. The court sentenced them to receive 80 lashes each, for these alleged “offenses.” Two of the “suspects,” Behzad Taalipasand and Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), had been detained December 31, 2012, during an Iranian government crackdown on house churches. Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Mervyn Thomas, declared forthrightly,
The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalize the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably. We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that the nation’s legal practices and procedures do not contradict its international obligation under the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to guarantee the full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief by all of its religious communities.
With depressing predictability, the Sharia (Islamic law)-based dynamic which underpins such blatant—and grotesque—religious persecution, was ignored by the mainstream media, including conservative outlets. Even the following specific (if merely allusive) statement contained within the Special Rapporteur’s analysis itself, did not get repeated.
…the [Iranian] Government…states that its Constitution recognizes only Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Judaism as minority religions and that adherents to those religions are entitled to manifest their beliefs, “within the limits of the law”, which is governed by Islamic sharia. [emphasis added]
For example, neither Benjamin Weinthal’s blog at NRO (“Iran’s Continued War on Christians,” 10/25/13), nor his lengthier Fox News piece (“Iran gives Christians 80 lashes for communion wine as UN blasts human rights record,” 10/24/13)—despite the fact that both accounts referenced Special Rapporteur Shaheed’s report—mentioned, let alone honestly elaborated upon, Shaheed’s allusion to sharia. Although Weinthal should not be singled out, per se, the discussion which follows demonstrates why his omission—pathognomonic of this consistent lacuna in contemporary “reportage” on Iran’s abuse of its vulnerable non-Muslim minority populations—is egregious, and unacceptable.
At the outset of the sixteenth century, Iran’s Safavid rulers formally established Shiite Islam as the state religion, while permitting a clerical hierarchy nearly unlimited control and influence over all aspects of public life. The profound influence of the Shiite clerical elite continued for almost four centuries (interrupted, between 1722–1795, by a period of Sunni Afghan invasion and dominance), through the later Qajar period (1795–1925), as characterized by the Persianophilic scholar, E. G. Browne:
The Mujtahids and Mulla are a great force in Persia and concern themselves with every department of human activity from the minutest detail of personal purification to the largest issues of politics.
These Shiite clerics emphasized the notion of the ritual uncleanliness (najas) of Jews in particular, but also Christians, Zoroastrians, and others as the cornerstone of inter-confessional relationships toward non-Muslims. The impact of this najas conception was already apparent to European visitors to Persia in the first century of Safavid rule. During the reign of Shah Tahmasp I (d. 1576), the British merchant and traveler Anthony Jenkinson (a Christian), when finally granted an audience with the shah,
was required to wear “basmackes” [a kind of overshoes], because being a giaour [infidel], it was thought he would contaminate the imperial precincts . . . when he was dismissed from the Shah’s presence, [Jenkinson stated] “after me followed a man with a basanet of sand, sifting all the way that I had gone within the said palace”—as though covering something unclean.
Muhammad Baqer al-Majlisi (d. 1699), the highest institutionalized clerical officer under both Shah Sulayman (1666–1694) and Shah Husayn (1694–1722), was perhaps the most influential cleric of the Safavid Shiite theocracy in Persia. The writings and career of al-Majlisi elucidate the imposition of Islamic law (Sharia) on non-Muslims in Shiite Iran. For six years at the end of the 17th century, he functioned as the de facto ruler of Iran, making him the Ayatollah Khomeini of his era. By design, he wrote many works in Persian to disseminate key aspects of the Shia ethos among ordinary persons. His treatise, “Lightning Bolts against the Jews,” was written in Persian, and, despite its title, was actually an overall guideline to anti-dhimmi regulations for all non-Muslims within the Shi’ite theocracy. Al-Majlisi, in this treatise, describes the standard humiliating requisites for non-Muslim, “dhimmis” living under the Sharia, first and foremost, the blood ransom jizya, a poll tax based on Koran 9:29 (the tax of submission, “paid in lieu of being slain.”) He then enumerates six other restrictions relating to worship, housing, dress, transportation, and weapons (specifically, to render the dhimmis defenseless), before outlining the unique Shiite impurity or “najas” regulations. According to Al- Majlisi,
And, that they should not enter the pool while a Muslim is bathing at the public baths. . . . It is also incumbent upon Muslims that they should not accept from them victuals with which they had come into contact, such as distillates, which cannot be purified. If something can be purified, such as clothes, if they are dry, they can be accepted, they are clean. But if they [the dhimmis] had come into contact with those clothes in moisture they should be rinsed with water after being obtained. As for hide, or that which has been made of hide such as shoes and boots, and meat, whose religious cleanliness and lawfulness are conditional on the animal’s being slaughtered [according to the Sharia], these may not be taken from them. Similarly, liquids that have been preserved in skins, such as oils, grape syrup, [fruit] juices, myrobalan [an astringent fruit extract used in tanning], and the like, if they have been put in skin containers or water skins, these should [also] not be accepted from them. . . . It would also be better if the ruler of the Muslims would establish that all infidels could not move out of their homes on days when it rains or snows because they would make Muslims impure [emphasis added].
Ignaz Goldziher, the renowned late 19th through early 20th century Orientalist, believed that Shiite Islam manifested this greater doctrinal intolerance toward non-Muslims, relative to Sunni Islam, because of the Shiites’ “literalist” conception of najas:
On examining the legal documents, we find that the Shi’i [Shiite] legal position toward other faiths is much harsher and stiffer than that taken by Sunni Muslims. Their law reveals a heightened intolerance to people of other beliefs. . . . Of the severe rule in the Koran (9:28) that “unbelievers are unclean,” Sunni Islam has accepted an interpretation that is as good as a repeal. Shi’i law, on the other hand, has maintained the literal sense of the rule; it declares the bodily substance of the unbeliever to be ritually unclean, and lists the touching of an unbeliever among the ten things that produce najasa, [najas] ritual impurity.
The enduring nature of the fanatical najas regulation prohibiting dhimmis from being outdoors during rain and/or snow, is well established. For example, this account provided by the missionary Napier Malcolm, who lived in the Yezd area at the close of the nineteenth century:
They [the strict Shi’as] make a distinction between wet and dry; only a few years ago it was dangerous for an Armenian Christian to leave his suburb and go into the bazaars in Isfahan on a wet [rainy] day. “A wet dog [Christian infidel] is worse than a dry dog.”
Reza Pahlavi’s spectacular rise to power in 1925 was accompanied by dramatic reforms, including secularization and Westernization efforts, as well as a revitalization of Iran’s pre-Islamic spiritual and cultural heritage. This profound sociopolitical transformation had very positive consequences for Iranian non-Muslims. Historian Walter Fischel’s analysis from the late 1940s (published in 1950), underscores the impact of Reza Shah’s reforms:
In breaking the power of the Shia clergy, which for centuries had stood in the way of progress, he [Reza Shah] shaped a modernized and secularized state, freed almost entirely from the fetters of a once fanatical and powerful clergy.
Despite the expected opposition of the irredentist Shiite clergy, Sir Clarmont Skrine would record in his World War in Iran, that the announcement of Reza Shah’s abdication,
…was received with gloom by the governing class and the younger generation who feared a return to the medieval, mulla-ridden Persia they thought they had left behind for good and all. This fear received some confirmation from the fact that very soon, for the first time in years, women appeared in the streets of Meshed in the chador enjoined by religion but forbidden by the late Shah.
Reza Shah’s abdication in 1941 (and death in 1944) was marked by a revival of Shiite Iranian clerical influence which reached its apogee during the premiership of Muhammad Mosaddeq (1951-1953). Allied to the clerics, who were also against external “domination,” Mossadeq’s regime, was punctuated, as F.R.C. Bagley notes, by
…sermons broadcast from loudspeakers in mosque-minarets [which] not infrequently denounced foreign manners, and many well-educated Iranian ladies resumed the veil…
Following the restoration of Iran’s own constitutional rule—suspended by Muhammad Mossadeq–Muhammad Reza Shah (Reza Shah’s son) was returned to his throne, and Mossadeq was replaced as Prime Minister. The Shah’s subsequent “White Revolution,” (which emphasized women’s suffrage), was in turn denounced by the Shiite clerical hierarchy (who felt women’s suffrage was “un-Islamic”).
The so-called Khomeini revolution, which deposed Mohammad Reza Shah, was in reality a mere return to oppressive Shiite theocratic rule, the predominant form of Persian/Iranian governance since 1502. Conditions for all non-Muslim religious minorities rapidly deteriorated.
The writings and speeches of the most influential religious ideologues of this restored Shiite theocracy—including Khomeini himself—make apparent their seamless connection to the oppressive doctrines of their forebears in the Safavid and Qajar dynasties. For example, Sultanhussein Tabandeh, the Iranian Shiite leader of the Ne’ematullahi Sultanalishahi Sufi Order, wrote an “Islamic perspective” on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to Professor Eliz Sanasarian’s important study of religious minorities in the contemporary Islamic Republic, Tabandeh’s tract became “the core ideological work upon which the Iranian government . . .based its non-Muslim policy.” Tabandeh begins his discussion by lauding as a champion “of the oppressed” Shah Ismail I (1502–1524), the repressive and bigoted founder of the Safavid dynasty who “bore hatred against the Jews and ordered their eyes to be gouged out if they happened to be found in his vicinity.” It is critical to understand that Tabandeh’s key views on non-Muslims, summarized below, were implemented “almost verbatim in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” In essence, Tabandeh simply reaffirms the sacralized inequality of non-Muslims relative to Muslims, under the Sharia:
Thus if [a] Muslim commits adultery his punishment is 100 lashes, the shaving of his head, and one year of banishment. But if the man is not a Muslim and commits adultery with a Muslim woman his penalty is execution. . . . Similarly if a Muslim deliberately murders another Muslim he falls under the law of retaliation and must by law be put to death by the next of kin. But if a non-Muslim who dies at the hand of a Muslim has by lifelong habit been a non-Muslim, the penalty of death is not valid. Instead the Muslim murderer must pay a fine and be punished with the lash.
Since Islam regards non-Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim . . . then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain. . . . Again, the penalties of a non-Muslim guilty of fornication with a Muslim woman are augmented because, in addition to the crime against morality, social duty and religion, he has committed sacrilege, in that he has disgraced a Muslim and thereby cast scorn upon the Muslims in general, and so must be executed. Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non-Muslims to acquire lordship over them. Since the marriage of a Muslim woman to an infidel husband (in accordance with the verse quoted: ‘Men are guardians form women’) means her subordination to an infidel, that fact makes the marriage void, because it does not obey the conditions laid down to make a contract valid. As the Sura (“The Woman to be Examined,” [i.e., sura 60, specifically verse 60:10]) says: “Turn them not back to infidels: for they are not lawful unto infidels nor are infidels lawful unto them (i.e., in wedlock).”
Last year I became a Diplomate, American Board of Clinical Lipidology, having passed the rigorous certification exam by the National Lipid Association (NLA). This certification program was established for various specialists in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention treating, in particular, more complex disorders of lipid metabolism, whose most common manifestation is excessively high blood levels of cholesterol, and/or triglycerides. Untreated, or inadequately treated, such lipid disorders put patients at increased risk for de novo or recurrent clinical CVD (such as heart attacks, certain kinds of strokes, and diseases of the large arteries of the abdomen, and lower extremities), and in some instances, pancreatitis (dangerous, and potentially debilitating, or even fatal inflammation of the pancreas).
The NLA publishes a peer-reviewed academic medical journal, The Journal of Clinical Lipidology, to which I have contributed original research. “Lipid Spin,” is a clinically-oriented, non peer reviewed ancillary publication of the NLA. As part of my professional commitment to the NLA, I was assigned to write a short review and analysis of the opinion editorial, “Limiting ‘Sugary Drinks’ to Reduce Obesity — Who Decides?”, which originally appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on April 13, 2013. The clinically relevant tie-in, from NLA’s perspective, was that obesity, and obesity-related development of (type 2) diabetes (i.e., the most common adult form of the disease) are associated with increased risk for CVD, and the presence of mixed lipid disorders.
Having (willfully) ignored such NEJM “policy” op-eds in the past—the only NEJM “perspective” essays I read accompany the peer-reviewed, published results of major clinical trials, or epidemiological studies—this novel experience is related in some 500 words, below, which may (or may not) appear someday in “Lipid Spin.” These words should prove more broadly edifying (or just validating?) appearing herein. Suffice to say, the same doctrinaire Left claptrap that effortlessly pervades the rest of the academy, is also found in one of the medical academy’s “flagship” journals.
Res ipsa loquitur.
Mariner and Annas, in their April 3, 2013 NEJM “Perspective” essay, provide a generally informative legal discussion of the fate of The New York City Board of Health’s “sugary drinks” Portion Cap Rule, highlighting the grounds for its rejection in a March 11, 2013 ruling by New York County Supreme Court Justice Milton A. Tingling. The Portion Cap Rule would have proscribed “sugary drinks,” defined as sugar (or another caloric sweetening agent) containing beverages with a caloric density of > 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces, and dispensed in volumes > 16 ounces.
Judge Tingling rendered his opinion based on four findings against the Rule: (1) he objected to the Rule being “laden” with arbitrary political and economic exceptions; (2) he denied the Board of Health’s authority to ostensibly “control” chronic disease by banning a legal product; (3) he claimed the Board of Health violated the separation-of-powers doctrine, exceeding its administrative purview, and acting like a legislative body; (4) he cited other arbitrary and capricious features of the Rule, such as excluding certain beverages with greater concentrations of sugar sweeteners, and the failure to impose limits on refills.
The authors emphasize that both the Board of Health and petitioners opposing the Rule accepted that “obesity is a serious problem.” But curiously, Mariner and Annas, failed to identify the petitioners by name—i.e., the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (primary), The New York Korean-American Grocers Association, Soft Drink and Brewery Workers Union, Local 812, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State, and the American Beverage Association—and ignored the petitioners sound arguments challenging the epidemiological association between sugary drinks and obesity.
Perhaps these selective omissions foreshadow the authors transition from a sober discussion of the legal case, and ruling, to a muddled and preening avowal of their public health utopianism. As Mariner and Annas note, even the vacuous Jon Stewart (albeit via the words, assuredly, of one of his more astute writers) opined that the Portion Cap Rule epitomized a perverse melding of “draconian government overreach and probable lack of results.” Despite this candid acknowledgment, Mariner and Annas make a pitch for taxing our way to public health utopia, but seemingly relent because such a taxation scheme may not be “progressive” enough. They then proceed to denounce campaigns which purportedly “shame” the overweight, before concluding with an excoriation of “large corporations” for their alleged nefarious machinations to “derail public health measures that could reduce their profits.” This latter fulmination does not withstand the barest common sense scrutiny. “Large corporations” (and smaller ones too!), which employ hundreds of thousands of hard-working, decent Americans, produce a cornucopia of heavily advertised no calorie beverage alternatives (“Got diet soda?”; “Got seltzer?”; “Got bottled water?”, etc.)
Pace these irrefragable facts, in the moral universe of Mariner and Annas, such legal corporate enterprises are to be collectively “shamed.” Shaming the obese is not an ethical policy, nor will it likely curtail obesity. The same moral and policymaking logic applies to shaming corporations and their employees. It is a pity Mariner and Annas have ideological blinders to that reality.
During his October 6, 2013 speech at Bar Ilan University, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin el-Husseini. Mr. Netanyahu characterized el-Husseini as, “the undisputed leader of the Palestinian national movement in the first half of the 20th century.” The Prime Minister highlighted the ex-Muft’s role in fomenting pogroms (dating back, in fact, to the so-called “Nabi Musa” riots of 1920) during the decades between the Balfour Declaration, and the eventual creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Netanyahu’s address also focused on el-Husseini’s World War II era collaboration with the Nazis, the clear implication being that the Mufti’s murderous, Jew-hating ideology was simply another manifestation of Nazi evil, transplanted to a local “nationalistic struggle” in the Middle East. I have just published an extensive analysis (available as a downloadable pdf of 51 pp., and 120 references, embedded at the end of this blog) entitled, “A Salient Example of Hajj Amin el-Husseini’s Canonical Islamic Jew-Hatred—Introduction, Text, and Commentary” which demonstrates that Netanyahu’s rehashing of such conventional, pseudo-academic “wisdom,” does not withstand any serious, objective scrutiny.
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the “Mandate for Palestine,” confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in the area of Palestine—anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The Congressional record contains a statement of support from New York Rep. Walter Chandler which includes an observation, about “Turkish and Arab agitators . . . preaching a kind of holy war [jihad] against . . . the Jews” of Palestine. During this same era within Palestine, a strong Arab Muslim irredentist current—epitomized by Hajj Amin el-Husseini—promulgated the forcible restoration of sharia-mandated dhimmitude for Jews via jihad. Indeed, two years before he orchestrated the murderous anti-Jewish riots of 1920, that is, in 1918, Hajj Amin el-Husseini stated plainly to a Jewish coworker (at the Jerusalem Governorate), I. A. Abbady, “This was and will remain an Arab land . . . the Zionists will be massacred to the last man. . . . Nothing but the sword will decide the future of this country.”
Despite his role in fomenting the1920 pogroms against Palestinian Jews, el-Husseini was pardoned and subsequently appointed mufti of Jerusalem by the British high commissioner, in May 1921, a title he retained, following the Ottoman practice, for the remainder of his life. Throughout his public career, the mufti relied upon traditional Koranic anti-Jewish motifs to arouse the Arab street. For example, during the incitement which led to the 1929 Arab revolt in Palestine, he called for combating and slaughtering “the Jews.” not merely Zionists. In fact, most of the Jewish victims of the 1929 Arab revolt were Jews from the centuries-old dhimmi communities (for example, in Hebron), as opposed to recent settlers identified with the Zionist movement.
The mufti remained unrelenting in his espousal of a virulent, canonical Islamic Jew-hatred as the focal tenet of his ideology, before, during, and in the aftermath of World War II, and the creation of the State of Israel. He was also a committed supporter of global jihad movements, urging a “full struggle” against the Hindus of India (as well as the Jews of Israel) before delegates at the February 1951 World Muslim Congress: “We shall meet next with sword in hand on the soil of either Kashmir or Palestine.” Declassified intelligence documents from 1942, 1947, 1952, and 1954 confirm the mufti’s own Caliphate desires in repeated references from contexts as diverse as Turkey, Egypt, Jerusalem, and Pakistan, and also include discussions of major Islamic conferences dominated by the mufti, which were attended by a broad spectrum of Muslim leaders literally representing the entire Islamic world (including Shia leaders from Iran), that is, in Karachi from February 16–19, 1952, and Jordanian-occupied Jerusalem, December 3–9, 1953. Viewed in their totality these data do not support the current standard assessment of the mufti as merely a Palestinian Arab nationalist, rife with a “transplanted” Jew-hatred.
There is another parallel negationist trend, which is widely prevalent: the claim that el-Husseini’s canonical Islamic Jew-hatred somehow represented a suis generis “Nazification” of Islam, which has “persisted” into our era. Paul Berman articulated an unabashed formulation of this broadly held thesis, proclaiming, that abetted by the Nazis, el-Husseini “monstrously,” and “infernally,” “blurred Islam and Nazism,” achieving
A victory of Himmler’s Islam…A victory for the Islam of fanaticism and hatred over its arch-rival, the Islam of generosity and civilization.17
During 1938, a booklet Muhammad Sabri edited, Islam, Judentum, Bolschewismus (Islam, Jewry, Bolshevism), was published in Berlin by Junker-Duennhaupt [Dünnhaupt]. Sabri’s booklet included Hajj Amin el-Husseini’s 1937 declaration—also deemed by some as a “fatwa” (an Islamic religious ruling)—appealing to the worldwide Muslim umma. El-Husseini’s declaration was extracted and reprinted, separately, by the Nazi regime as Islam und Judentum (Islam and Jewry), and distributed to Muslim SS units in Bosnia, Croatia, and the Soviet Union.
As best as I can determine, the first complete, annotated translation of this pamphlet, directly from the German, was provided in my essay. Moreover, no scholar had ever identified, let alone comprehensively explicated, the antisemitic Islamic motifs which punctuate el-Husseini’s pronouncement, from beginning to end. Accordingly, the translation was followed by a detailed commentary which addressed this critical (and frankly, self-fulfilling) lacuna in the scholarship on el-Husseini’s Jew-hatred: identifying and analyzing its traditionalist Islamic origins.
What follows is the crux of my analysis, but to fully understand its arguments requires a careful reading of all the evidence adduced in the original essay.
N. J. Coulson, the renowned twentieth-century scholar of the Sharia, elaborated how “matters of procedure” under Islamic law were antithetical to Western conceptions of the rule of law. Coulson demonstrated the flimsy nature of Sharia-based “evidentiary proof,” while elucidating, under the Sharia doctrine of siyasa (“government” or “administration”), which grants wide latitude to the ruling elites, how arbitrary threats, beatings, and imprisonments of defendants were permissible to extract “confessions,” particularly from “dubious” suspects.
Particularly harsh treatment is recommended for the individual of reputedly bad character whose guilt is suspected but cannot be proved in orthodox fashion. He [she] should be subjected to rigorous examination, with beating and imprisonment if necessary,
Clearly, Sharia “standards,” which do not even seek evidentiary legal truth, and allow threats, imprisonment, and beatings of defendants to extract “confessions,” while sanctioning explicit, blatant legal discrimination against women and non-Muslims, are intellectually and morally inferior to the antithetical concepts which underpin Western law.
This is the “legal system” being applied now by the Syrian anti-Assad Sharia-supremacist “rebels” in the 2/3 swath of Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, under their control. A TF-1 (the private, national French TV channel) video report (with English subtitles) filmed by Solomon Kane and Luc Golfin at 5 minutes, 35 seconds through minute 6, demonstrates, explicitly, the application one such barbarous method of “extracting” a confession—beating a man on the souls of his bare feet with a wooden cudgel. Indeed, at just after the 6-minute mark, the head Sharia judge, “Al-Maz” enters the room where the “confession” is being “extracted,” and objects to the scene being filmed, exhorting his colleagues,
Do you want the people in Europe to think [emphasis added] we are barbarians?
Moreover, the documentary filmmakers also capture the good Sharia judge attempting to deny the very brutality their camera’s have in fact just recorded!
It is both morally unconscionable, and a looming geo-strategic disaster for the U.S. to be supporting with armaments, and potentially, missile strikes against the Assad regime, predatory, jihad-promoting “allies” who aggressively seek broad application of such a brutally unjust, Islamic Sharia totalitarian system.
Watch the French TV report below.
Many thanks for Translation to C.B.Sashenka, and subtitling to www.vladtepesblog.com.
During a Tuesday (9/3/13) morning appearance on Fox News Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took umbrage (hat tip Ben Shapiro) at Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s disgust with Syrian anti-Assad opposition groups shouting “Allahu Akhbar! Allahu Akhbar!” when their rockets apparently shot down a Syrian jet.
I have a problem helping those people screaming that [Allahu-Akbar!] after a hit.
A perturbed, if typically feckless McCain replied, without any basic linguistic understanding, or supportive evidence of the rocket launchers’ alleged “moderation,” by making an immoral equivalence to Christianity:
Would you have a problem with an American or Christians saying “thank God? Thank God?” That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.
One of the English translators of the great 14th century Muslim jurist (d. 1350) Ibn Qayyim’s “The Way to Patience and Gratitude” opts for “Allah is Greater” as the specific translation of Allahu Akbar. On page 463, the following explanation is provided:
…I preferred using “the Greater” to “the Greatest”… Allahu Akbar literally means, “Allah is Greater” with the comparative mode. Yet, this does not mean that He (Glory be to Him) is not the Greatest, nor does it mean that there is anything that is put in comparison with Him. This is because when the Muslim says it, he means He is “Greater” than anything else, which, consequently, means He is the Greatest. This use gives more influence. This may be why it is used in Arabic this way, otherwise it should have been used as “Allahu al-Akbar”, in the superlative mode. Surely, Allah Knows best.
E. W. Lane’s classical 19th century Arabic English Lexicon, (p. 2587) elaborates on the preferred “elliptical” meaning:
[Allah] is the greatest great [being] or [Allah] is greater than every other great [being]
“Allahu Akbar” has been employed by Muslims as a jihadist war cry dating from its declaration by Islam’s prophet Muhammad when he made an aggressive proto-jihadist foray on the Jews of the Khaybar oasis. Here is how the phrase has been rendered into English by pious Muslims from the canonical hadith collection (Sahih Bukhari 4:52:195):
Narrated Anas: The Prophet set out for Khaibar and reached it at night. He used not to attack if he reached the people at night, till the day broke. So, when the day dawned, the Jews came out with their bags and spades. When they saw the Prophet; they said, “Muhammad and his army!” The Prophet said, “Allahu-Akbar! (Allah is Greater) and Khaybar is ruined, for whenever we approach a nation (i.e. enemy to fight) then it will be a miserable morning for those who have been warned.”
The willful intellectual and moral blindness of U.S. political and military leaders to the doctrine of jihad—epitomized by John McCain—continues to engender self-destructive “solutions” to global jihad depredations, in Syria, and across the globe.
Expatriate Egyptian Coptic Christian writer Samuel Tadros has just observed how Egypt’s Copts—the country’s indigenous, pre-Arab Islamic jihad inhabitants—have been under siege by a recent spate of Muslim Brotherhood inspired and led church burnings, which punctuates the worst outbreak of anti-Coptic Muslim violence since the era of Muslim Mamluk rule (i.e., the 13th to 16th centuries).
Tadros was alluding to the effects of mainstream Islam upon its Egyptian Muslim votaries, resulting in the inexorable attrition of the Coptic population by the mid 14th century—the indigenous, pre-Islamic majority reduced to a permanent, vulnerable minority by the usual pattern of Islamization, via jihad: massacre, destruction and pillage of religious sites, forced or coerced conversion, and expropriation. This chronic process intensified and reached its apogee in a series of 14th century pogroms and persecutions, described by the great Muslim historian al-Maqrizi:
Many reports came from both Upper and Lower Egypt of Copts being converted to Islam, frequenting mosques, and memorizing the Quran, to the extent that some of them were able to establish their legal competence and sit with the legal witnesses. In all the provinces of Egypt, both north and south, no church remained that had not been razed; on many of those sites mosques were constructed. For when the Christians’ affliction grew great and their incomes small, they decided to embrace Islam.
Egyptian military strongman, and recent putschist, General al-Sisi issued an ecumenical sounding statement pledging that that army engineers would assist in the reconstruction of the devastated churches, as reported on August 16, 2013:
The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers.
But these noble-sounding words have rung hollow given the subsequent, ongoing lack of protection the Egyptian military has afforded its “Coptic brothers.” As reported on August 20th, Bishop General of Minya (in Upper Egypt, four hours from Cairo) Anba Macarius was critical of the army’s continued feeble response, claiming their lack of initiative in protecting churches and other Christian buildings engendered the ideal environment in which “crime and terrorism flourish.” Macarius declared:
First we must protect the Christians and the feelings of those who have suffered loss. Now we are calling on the state to protect the churches and the army to come onto the streets.
The morally reprehensible inaction of Egypt’s allegedly “secular” army—failing to protect its hapless and beleaguered Coptic minority—heightens concerns over the direction of this institution under a demonstrably anti-secular leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. In a detailed analysis of al-Sisi’s 2006 US Army War College mini-thesis—which had to be obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request—I demonstrated that he is vociferously opposed to the kind of Western secular consensus model of government Egypt so desperately requires. Moreover, al-Sisi’s mini-thesis also espoused ardent Sharia-supremacist views, highlighted by his lionization of the classical Islamic Caliphate system.
Why does this matter, in the immediate term, both morally and strategically? As my colleague David French wrote in a passionate denunciation of the Egyptian army’s current predilections, and concomitant U.S. moral and strategic blindness:
As churches burn, as nuns are paraded through the streets by the Muslim Brotherhood, and as Christians across Egypt fear for their lives in the face of the jihadist onslaught, American policy can and should get very simple, very fast: Not one scintilla of aid until the Egyptian military demonstrates — by deeds, not just words — that it is committed to stopping this wave of persecution in its tracks, protecting the most basic human rights of its Christian citizens, and utterly defeating the Muslim Brotherhood.