On Saturday morning, a man named Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in the middle of a service and opened fire, killing eleven people while screaming “All Jews must die.” His Gab page showed that he hated President Trump as much as he hated Jews, not least because of Trump’s strong support for Israel.
Muslim leaders and Islamic apologists were quick to condemn the killings and anti-Semitism in general. This is all good, except that it entangles them in difficult contradictions.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council tweeted: “Our hearts are broken at the news of a shooting and casualties at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. We pray for strength and healing for the congregation and Jewish communities nationwide. We offer our sympathies for and solidarity with the American Jewish community.” Also tweeting was Corey Saylor, an Islamic apologist and former CAIR official: “I stand with #Pittsburgh and the Jewish community. #Pittsburghissteel and we are with you. Anti-Semitism is ugly and unacceptable.”
Akbar Ahmed, a world-renowned Islamic scholar and professor at American University, tweeted: “I pray for the victims of the shooting at #TreeofLife synagogue in #Pittsburgh and send my condolences to their families and community. The shooter, a white man, walked into the synagogue shouting racist abuses, while the congregation was in prayer demonstrating a classic pattern of contemporary hatred. #Antisemitic violence is up 50% in the past year. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, LGBT – no one is safe! America has to wake up and stop this killing madness.”
Not to be outdone, Ahmed’s protégé, Dr. Craig Considine of Rice University, tweeted: “Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Anti-Semitism is poisonous & vile. It has no place in the U.S. or anywhere else for that matter. It is an assault on human rights. It is a threat to society at large. It must not be tolerated anywhere.”
Considine has previously likened Muhammad to George Washington, hailed Muhammad as a “universal champion of human rights,” and claimed that Christianity has a concept of jihad just like Islam’s. He pulls off these feats of legerdemain by employing a very simple method: ignoring the abundance of evidence that doesn’t fit his thesis. Considine has even called on Christians to accept Muhammad as a prophet.
Muhammad said this, according to Islamic tradition:
The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews. (Sahih Muslim 6985)
Many Muslims take this genocidal saying very seriously. An imam in Denmark was indicted for hate speech for quoting it approvingly last summer. Imams have also quoted it recently not just in the Palestinian Authority but in Montreal, in Davis, California, in Houston, and elsewhere.
What’s more, the Qur’an that all these Muslim spokesmen revere as the perfect word of Allah depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the well-being of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); they claim that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); they love to listen to lies (5:41); they disobey Allah and never observe his commands (5:13). They are disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more. They are under Allah’s curse (9:30), and Muslims should wage war against them and subjugate them under Islamic hegemony (9:29).
Such passages have induced Muslims throughout the last fourteen centuries, as I show in detail in my book The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, to brutalize and kill Jews.
Yet MPAC, Saylor, Ahmed, Considine, and others like them have never said a word about that incitement. So while it is good to see them condemn anti-Semitism in the wake of the horrific massacre in the Pittsburgh synagogue, there is a great deal more for them to do in this line.
Will they condemn all the sources of anti-Semitic hatred and violence, even when they cut close to home? Or is some anti-Semitism more unacceptable than others?