Egyptian Grand Mufti Attacks Pamela Geller's Bus Ads

Veteran journalist and nonpareil activist gadfly Pamela Geller’s current educational bus advertisement campaign introduces the U.S. masses to Islamic Jew-hatred and its Koranic origins. The ads feature an iconic image of ex-Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el-Hussein meeting with his World War II ally, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

The doctrinal and historical veracity of Geller’s campaign can be readily established, as I will show.

Such hard evidence notwithstanding, her ads have aroused the ire of Egypt’s authoritative Dar al-Ifta (literally, “House of Fatwas,” or guiding religious rulings), under the aegis of Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Abdel Karim Allam.

Dar al-Ifta’s website describes the institution as:

… among the pillars of the religious foundations in Egypt which include Al-Azhar University, [the] Ministry of Religious Endowments, and Dar al-Ifta. It plays a significant role in giving rulings to the masses and consultation for the judiciary in Egypt.

Allam, the 19th and current grand mufti of Egypt, administers the Dar al-Ifta. He was elected to the position on February 11, 2013. Like all grand mufti candidates, Allam was a graduate of Al-Azhar University (obtaining his Ph.D there), Sunni Islam’s most prestigious and influential center for Islamic religious education over the past millennium.

At the time of his election, Allam was characterized as ascribing to “Al-Azhar’s moderate stance.” Here is the text of the Allam/Dar al-Ifta statement decrying Geller’s bus ads:

Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta has condemned the decision of the Philadelphia public transit authority to put anti-Islamic posters on public buses. Dar al-Ifta confirmed that such anti-Islamic campaigns only serve to spread hatred and conflict in the American society. It added that ignoring the feelings of Muslims living in the US and outside it undermines all efforts to spread the culture of peace, co-existence and accepting the other as it is likewise considered prejudice against Muslims who are part and parcel of the American society. Dar al-Ifta called upon the American authorities and people not to respond to this racist campaign as it only seeks to ignite hatred and incite bigotry against Islam through disseminating fabricated Islamic teachings and falsified image about Islam. This hazardous campaign will leave the gate of confrontation and clashes wide open instead of exerting efforts towards peaceful coexistence and harmony.

Simply put, this statement is an exercise in hypocrisy and mendacity.

The photo highlighted in Pamela Geller’s bus ads captures the ugly historical nexus between Nazi and Islamic Jew-hatred, the latter embodied by Haj Amin el-Husseini. On November 2013, I released the first detailed, textual analysis of el-Husseini’s canonical Islamic anti-Semitism, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred: What the Nazis Learned from the “Muslim Pope.” During 1938, a booklet Muhammad Sabri edited entitled “Islam, Judentum, Bolschewismus (Islam, Jewry, Bolshevism)” was published in Berlin by Junker-Duennhaupt [Dünnhaupt]. Sabri’s booklet included Haj Amin el-Husseini’s 1937 declaration -- also deemed by some as a “fatwa” -- appealing to the worldwide Muslim umma (community).

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.

The first complete, annotated translation of this pamphlet, directly from the German, was provided in The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred. I also comprehensively explicated the anti-Semitic Islamic motifs which punctuate el-Husseini’s pronouncement from beginning to end, notably its Koranic themes of Jew-hatred.

El-Husseini’s interpretation of the twelve Koranic verses he quotes directly comports with their authoritative exegeses, classical, and modern.

For example, concluding his litany of Koranic quotations (i.e., 2:109, 59:2, 3:99-102, 5:49, 2:143, 2:144, 4:51, 4:52, & 5:82) appropriately, with Koran 5:82, el-Husseini insists this verse “quite unmistakably characterizes the position of Islam and Judaism.”

His 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 Tabari, 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).

But the grotesque, mendacious hypocrisy of Grand Mufti Allam/Dar al-Ifta’s condemnation of Ms. Geller’s bus ad campaign becomes glaringly apparent when one examines the recent “didactic” public gloss on Koran 5:82 by current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University Ahmad Al-Tayeb.

During an interview with Al-Tayeb, which 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 which has been invoked -- “successfully” -- to inspire Muslim hatred of Jews by Haj Amin el-Husseini, and indeed, since the very advent of Islam:

A verse in the Koran [i.e.,verse 5:82] 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.”

Al-Tayeb’s predecessor was Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who served as the grand imam of Al Azhar University, for 14 years, from 1996 till his death in March, 2010. Tantawi’s “academic” magnum opus, a 700 page treatise entitled “Jews in the Koran and the Traditions,” includes this summary Koranic rationalization for Muslim Jew-hatred:

[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [see Koran 2:61/ 3:112; and see al-Azhar Sheikh Saqr's contemporary Koranic citations, produced on Tantawi’s watch, “Jews’ 20 Bad Traits As Described in the Quran”] 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.

More ominously, Tantawi’s exhaustive modern analysis of Islam’s defining, canonical sources concluded by sanctioning these bigoted -- even violent -- Muslim behaviors towards Jews:

[T]he 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.

In the spring of 2002, Tantawi, and his eventual successor as grand imam, al-Tayeb (then Al-Azhar Mufti), each extolled Palestinian jihadist homicide bombing “martyrdom operations” against Israeli Jews -- including civilian non-combatants -- as reported by an Al-Azhar affiliated Arabic website.

Both Tantawi’s and his successor Ahmad Al-Tayeb’s career trajectories to the apogee 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. The intractable nature of this institutional Islamic affliction is further illustrated by Grand Mufti Allam’s cynical behavior. Devoid of even a shard of self-critical mea culpa, Allam has chosen to denounce Pamela Geller’s ad campaign as “Islamophobic” for merely exposing the mainstream, doctrinal Islamic Jew-hatred the grand mufti prefers to obfuscate, and deny.