“And we still—but we still do not know a motive. You know, you look at the Jewish center. Why did they hit the Jewish center?” So puzzled CNN’s Security Analyst, Mike Brooks, when reporting on the carnage caused by terrorists in Mumbai, India, in November last year.
Brooks seemed at a loss to explain why the terrorists had attacked Nariman/Chabad House, a small, out-of-the-way Jewish centre. Strategically, he noted, it did not make sense:
Why did they hit the Jewish center? You know, and you look at the other places, you know, big icons where there are going to be a lot of people.
And that’s what terrorists do. They hit places that they consider soft targets where they can have the most bang for the buck, if you will, and where there are a lot of people—hotels, train stations, those kind of things.1
In terms of being a big icon or having a lot of people, the Jewish centre simply did not offer the terrorists “the most bang for their buck”. So why target it?
Seemingly unable—or perhaps simply unwilling—to explain why the terrorists had struck at the Jewish community in Mumbai, a journalist with The New York Times described Nariman House as “an unlikely target of the terrorist gunmen”. Who would have thought it? How unlikely! So unlikely, the journalist felt, that he actually claimed: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”2
But the commentator Mark Steyn shared no such uncertainty. He observed, “In a well-planned attack on iconic Mumbai landmarks symbolizing great power and wealth, the ‘militants’ nevertheless found time to divert 20 percent of their manpower to torturing and killing a handful of obscure Jews helping the city’s poor in a nondescript building.”3 Steyn’s reference to torture lends weight to his conviction that the Jews were deliberately singled out for slaughter. The fact that the terrorists prolonged the process of killing the Jews to increase their suffering indicates that their capture was not accidental but purposeful.
And yes, the terrorists did indeed torture their Jewish captives. The Telegraph (UK) reported:
Doctors expressed horror at the condition of the bodies recovered from the Nariman Building …
“I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was traumatised,” a mortician said. “It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood.”4
Police said that the bodies of the six Jews found at Nariman House bore “strangulation marks and savage wounds that did not come from gunshots or grenades.” Rakesh Maria, a senior Mumbai police official, said, “The victims were strangled … There were injuries noticed on the bodies that were not from firing.”5
While not the only ones to be tortured, the Jews were nonetheless tortured more cruelly than other victims. A doctor who conducted post-mortems on some of the bodies said,
Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. … It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again …6
One of the Jewish torture victims was a pregnant woman, Rivka Holtzberg, the young wife of a rabbi, who was also tortured to death. She was 29 years old and had been with child for six months. Her baby died with her, within her.
The torture included sexual abuse. The Mumbai Mirror reported: “Disturbing photographs made available to this newspapers (sic) by police sources indicate that several of the guests at the Taj Mahal Hotel during the siege [on] November 26 were sexually humiliated by the terrorists and then shot dead. … Foreign guests were their particular target.” The newspaper released only one of the photographs, which it posted with the article on its website. Depicting a man stripped naked and a woman stripped from the waist down, lying beside each other in their own blood, the photograph offers a glimpse of the sexual savagery and sadism the Western hostages endured before their deaths.
Yet even in the matter of sexual abuse, the terrorists seem to have been especially attentive to the Jews. A senior officer of the team investigating the attacks stated that “Even the Rabbi and his wife at Nariman House were sexually assaulted and their genitalia mutilated”.7 It beggars belief: even the pregnant Jewess …
Without a doubt, the terrorist attack on the Jewish centre involved the singling out of a particular racial/religious group. The Jews of India, whose population of 6,000 comprises less than 0.0005% of India’s 1.1 billion people, were a priority target. Indeed, the only terrorist taken alive, Ajmal Kamal, confirmed that he and his fellow-murderers had been instructed by their Pakistani handlers to target “especially the Israelis”.8
Ajmal also revealed that Nariman House was much more than a target: it was in fact the target. Some weeks after the attack, Mumbai-based media group, Daily News & Analysis, reported that
the terrorists themselves were in no doubt that Nariman House was the prime focus. For this was the place which housed a Jewish centre, and the fanatics from Pakistan were clear that they wanted to send a message to the world from there.
The Mumbai crime branch, which is investigating the terror attacks, has found that the terrorists’ handlers in Pakistan were clear this [Nariman House] operation should not fail under any circumstances. The rest of the operations—at the Taj [Hotel], Oberoi [Hotel] and Chhattrapati Shivaji [Train] Terminus—were intended to amplify the effect. …
When asked during interrogation why Nariman House was specifically targeted, Ajmal reportedly told the police they wanted to sent (sic) a message to Jews across the world by attacking the ultra orthodox synagogue.9
But why? Why did the terrorists want to target the Jews of Mumbai in order to send a message to the Jews of the world? What was their motive? The answer is tied up with the identity of the terrorists themselves.
The New York Times journalist who suggested that the terrorists might have attacked Nariman House by accident could get away with such a preposterous notion because he carefully avoided identifying the terrorists. He called them “the attackers” and “the men” and “the terrorist gunmen”. If the identity of the attackers truly were so mysterious, the journalist would perhaps have been justified in claiming that the Jewish centre was “an unlikely target” and speculating that it was “an accidental hostage scene”.
However, the terrorists themselves made no secret of their identity. In news releases emailed to media outlets shortly after the attack got underway, an organisation calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility.10 They screamed “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greatest) as they went about their butcheries. Indeed, “Dozens of eyewitness accounts by local Indians said the gunmen shouted “Allah Akbar” from the Jewish center.”11 Several hours into the attack one of the terrorists holding hostages in the Oberoi Hotel told India TV: “We want all mujahedeens held in India released and only after that we will release the people. Release all the mujahedeens, and Muslims living in India should not be troubled”.12 Furthermore, the terrorists did not harm hostages whom they identified as Muslims. As The Times of India noted:
“All the hostages were asked to reveal their religion. When the Muezzinoglus [a Turkish couple] said they were Muslims, their captors told them that they would not be harmed. The other three Caucasian women were removed from the room next day, and the terrorists informed the Muezzinoglus that they had been shot.”13
From these few crucial well-known facts we can readily determine the identity of the Mumbai terrorists. Like the tens of thousands of other terrorists who have unleashed nearly thirteen thousand fatal attacks throughout the world in the 7 ½ years since 11 September 2001,14 the Mumbai terrorists were Muslims. They were devout adherents of Islam, fervent followers of Muhammad, sincere submitters to Allah. They were not mysterious “terrorist gunmen”. They were Muslim gunmen. They were Islamic terrorists. They were Allahu-akbar-crying assassins. They were jihad fighters, mujahedin, holy warriors in the cause of Allah.
Once we identify the terrorists for who they are, we can begin to identify their motives for what they are. It is no secret that Muslims, generally speaking, do not look kindly upon Jews. Indeed, the deepest reservoirs of anti-Semitism in the world today can be found in Muslim communities. No doubt some Muslims do not hate the Jews, but they seem to be in the minority. Just ask the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, at the “World without Zionism” conference he hosted in Tehran in 2005, declared that “Israel must be wiped off the map”, insisted that “The Islamic umma (community) will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland”, and rejoiced that Palestinian suicide bombings of Israeli civilians “will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world.”15 Just ask the Muslims rallying in Western cities in recent years in support of this or that anti-Israeli cause while waving placards declaring: “GOD BLESS HITLER”; “BE PREPARED FOR THE REAL HOLOCAUST”; “CRUSH ISRAEL”; “DOWN WITH ISRAEL”; “BACK TO THE OVENS JEWS”; “KILL JEWS”; “JEWS HAVEN’T LEARNT – THEY NEED MORE (picture of Swastikas’) THAN BEFORE”; “JIHAD ON ZIONISTS”. Just ask the Muslim imams and sheiks who fill the airwaves of the Middle East with racial invective against the Jews, invective such as this from Egyptian cleric Ahmad Abd Al-Salam on Al-Nas TV on 28 January this year:
The Jews conspire day and night to destroy the Muslims’ worldly and religious affairs. The Jews conspire to destroy the economy of the Muslims. The Jews conspire to infect the food of the Muslims with cancer. It is the Jews who infect food with cancer and ship it to Muslim countries.
We hate the Jews because they spare no effort in stripping Muslim girls of their clothes. It is the Jews who conspire to have Muslim girls, and even married Muslim women, wear clothes that are tight, short, or see-through …16
Given that anti-Semitism is prevalent among Muslims, and given that the Mumbai terrorists were dedicated Muslims, it is probable that the terrorists had a deep hatred for Jews, and this hatred was their motive for seeking out and slaughtering the Jews of Nariman House. Far from being an “unlikely target”, the Jewish centre was the most likely of all targets because the terrorists were Muslim terrorists. They went out of their way to torture and slaughter members of the small Jewish community in Mumbai because they had a particular hatred for Jews.
The terrorists were motivated by anti-Semitism, and their anti-Semitism, it seems, had something to with the fact that they were Muslims. But what? What is it that Muslims have in common that might give rise to this common hatred? They do not have race or colour in common: brown Arabs, black Africans, white Australians (think David Hicks and Jack Thomas) and brown-black Pakistanis all claim to be Muslims. Muslims are not a racial group, so it is not their ethnicity or skin colour that explains a common racist attitude towards the Jews. What then? The answer is their faith, their belief system. The answer is Islam itself. Islam is somehow at fault, somehow responsible for encouraging its adherents to dislike Jews simply because they are Jews.
A passing acquaintance with the Quran (which Muslims revere as the eternal Word of Allah, their god) and the Hadith (which consists of canonical reports by the early Muslims of the words and actions of their prophet, Muhammad) reveals that Islam is fundamentally anti-Semitic. I propose to document Islam’s—or more correctly, Muhammad’s—anti-Semitism in the remainder of this essay.
Muhammad, the founder of Islam, expressed deep and abiding animosity towards the Jews. This animosity arose, in large part, from the fact that the Jewish tribes in and around Medina refused to recognise his god, his prophethood and his revelation. As he complains in the Quran (Koran),17 “If only they had believed in Allah, in the Prophet, and in what hath been revealed to him …” (5:81).18 Muhammad came to view and to portray the Jews as unique enemies of Islam: as he expresses it in the Quran, “Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans” (5:82).
The Quran consistently presents a highly prejudicial view of the Jews. Several years ago the Muslim website, IslamOnline.com, posted a response by Sheikh ‘Atiyyah Saqr, to the question, “What, according to the Quran, are the Jews’ main characteristics and qualities?” The Sheikh answered that the Quran reveals that the Jews have at least twenty bad traits. Citing appropriate passages of the Quran, he listed the Jews’ bad traits as follows:
1. They used to fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah.
2. They love to listen to lies.
3. They disobey Almighty Allah and never observe His commands.
4. They are given to disputing and quarrelling.
5. They hide the truth and support deception.
6. They rebel against the Prophets and reject their guidance.
7. They practice hypocrisy.
8. They give preference to their own interests over the rulings of religion and the dictates of truth.
9. They wish evil for people and try to mislead them.
10. They feel pain to see others in happiness and are gleeful when others are afflicted with a calamity.
11. They are known for their arrogance and haughtiness.
12. Utilitarianism and opportunism are among their innate traits.
13. Their rudeness and vulgarity is beyond description.
14. It is easy for them to slay people and kill innocents. Nothing in the world is dearer to their hearts than shedding blood and murdering human beings.
15. They are merciless and heartless.
16. They never keep their promises or fulfil their words.
17. They rush hurriedly to sin and compete in transgression.
18. Cowardice and love for this worldly life are indisputable traits of the Jews.
19. Miserliness runs deep in their hearts.
20. They distort Divine Revelation and Allah’s Sacred Books.19
As an example of the hatred typically and continually expressed by Muslim clerics on television across the Middle East, I earlier quoted the Egyptian cleric Ahmad Abd Al-Salam. What I did not mention is that his expressions of hatred are rooted in the Quran. In fact, he uses a phrase from the Quran—“they will not fail to corrupt you” (3:118)20 —both to justify and to prove his accusations against the Jews. Indeed, he uses the phrase as a refrain throughout his diatribe, intensifying his hatred with every repetition:
The Jews “will not fail to corrupt” the believers. What does it mean? The Jews are never remiss—they invest their utmost efforts, day and night, in conspiring how to corrupt the Islamic nation, the nation led by the Prophet Muhammad. I want you, Muslim viewers, to imagine the Jews sitting around a table, conspiring how to corrupt the Muslims, and how to destroy their worldly and religious affairs. The Jews “will not fail to corrupt you,” and this is why we hate them.21
Although expressed in many passages, the Quran’s contempt for the Jews is epitomised in the following verses:
If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. … Shame is pitched over them (like a tent) wherever they are found … they draw on themselves wrath from Allah, and pitched over them is (the tent of) destitution. This [is] because they rejected the Signs of Allah, and slew the prophets in defiance of right; this [is] because they rebelled and transgressed beyond bounds. (3:110-112)
The Quran even asserts (in keeping with its overall distortion and annexation of Jewish and Christian history) that David and Jesus vilified the Jews:
Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses. (5:78)
So accursed are the Jews that Allah actually changed them at some point in history into pigs and apes. The Quran alleges this in three separate passages:
And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.” So We made it an example to their own time and to their posterity, and a lesson to those who fear Allah. (2:65-66)
Say: “O people of the Book! Do ye disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and the revelation that hath come to us and that which came before (us), and (perhaps) that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?” Say: “Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah? those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil; these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!” (5:59-60)
When in their insolence they [the Jews] transgressed (all) prohibitions, We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.” (7:166)
Interestingly, pigs and apes are not the only creatures into which the Jews have supposedly been transformed. Muhammad claimed that Allah also changed them into rats. His claim is recorded in the sacred literature of Islam known as The Hadith: 22
The Prophet said, “A group of Israelites were lost. Nobody knows what they did. But I do not see them except that they were cursed and changed into rats …” (Bukhari – Vol 4, Bk 54, No 524)
Muhammad further claimed that the Jews were changed into some other creatures, possibly lizards, as recorded in the following hadith:
We were in an army with the Apostle of Allah. We got some lizards. I roasted one lizard and brought it to the Apostle of Allah and placed it before him. He took a stick and counted its fingers. He then said: A group from the children of Isra’il was transformed into an animal of the land, and I do not know which animal it was. He did not eat it nor did he forbid (its eating). (Abu-Dawud – Bk 27, No 3786)23
Apes, pigs, rats and lizards: could Muhammad’s contempt for the Jews be any clearer? Perhaps. In another hadith he associates Jews with other contemptible (to his mind) creatures and persons—“a dog, an ass, a pig, a Jew, a Magian, and a woman”. He claims that should these pass in front of a Muslim man while he is praying, they will “cut off his prayer”, preventing it from reaching Allah and having effect (Abu-Dawud – Bk 2, No 0704).
Muhammad used threats to try to force Jews to convert to Islam:
While we were in the mosque, Allah’s Apostle came out to us and said, “Let us proceed to the Jews.” So we went along with him till we reached Bait-al-Midras (a place where the Torah used to be recited and all the Jews of the town used to gather). The Prophet stood up and addressed them, “O Assembly of Jews! Embrace Islam and you will be safe!” The Jews replied, “O [Muhammad!] You have conveyed Allah’s message to us.” The Prophet said, “That is what I want (from you).” … Then he said it for the third time and added, “You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to exile you from this land, so whoever among you owns some property, can sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle.” (Bukhari – Vol9, Bk 85, No 77)
“If you embrace Islam, you will be safe”24 means, obviously, “If you don’t embrace Islam you won’t be safe—you will be in danger!” And “I want to exile you from this land” is an even more obvious threat. (It points to the integrity and courage of those Jewish residents of Medina and its surrounds that they, unlike most of their Arab neighbours, held out against Muhammad’s convert-or-else threats.) Of course, the Apostle of Allah made this threat to everyone, not just Jews.25
Nonetheless, Muhammad was particularly concerned to coax and/or coerce the Jews to convert to Islam. For he was contriving to give credibility to his new religion by linking it to the ancient monotheistic religion of Judaism. One way he did this was to acknowledge the Old Testament (which he termed the Torah) as a genuinely sacred Book and then claim it was revealed by Islam’s Allah, who revealed it to the Jews as a precursor to the Quran. Yet there was a danger in this strategy because so much of the Old Testament (and the New, for that matter) conflicts with the Quran. In theology, morality and history they are irreconcilably at odds. However, Muhammad devised a cunning means of explaining away any conflict: he simply dismissed any and every conflict as illusory on the grounds that the Old Testament as it presently exists has been seriously and deliberately corrupted by the Jews. Hence, any contradiction between the Quran and the Torah is, firstly, blamed on the mendacity of the Jews, and, secondly, resolved in favour of the Quran, the only uncorrupted Book. One of the early Muslims expressed Muhammad’s position perfectly in this canonical hadith:
“Why do you [Muslims] ask the people of the scripture about anything while your Book (Quran) which has been revealed to Allah’s Apostle is newer and the latest? You read it pure, undistorted and unchanged, and Allah has told you that the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians) changed their scripture and distorted it, and wrote the scripture with their own hands and said, ‘It is from Allah,’ to sell it for a little gain. …” (Bukhari – Volume 9, Book 92, Number 461)
As previously noted, Muhammad’s bitterness towards the Jews stemmed largely from their refusal to accept that he was a true prophet. He repeatedly tried to get them to acclaim him as a prophet, and they repeatedly refused to do so:
Allah’s Apostle sent for them [the Jews], and they came and entered [the house where he was staying]. Allah’s Apostle said to them, “O (the group of) Jews! Woe to you: be afraid of Allah. By Allah except Whom none has the right to be worshipped, you people know for certain, that I am Apostle of Allah and that I have come to you with the Truth, so embrace Islam.” The Jews replied, “We do not know this.” … (Bukhari – Vol 5, Bk 58, No 250)
The failure to win over the Jews was a setback for Muhammad; and his disappointment over it seemed sometimes to verge on self-pity:
The Prophet said, “Had only ten Jews (amongst their chiefs) believed me, all the Jews would definitely have believed me.” (Bukhari – Vol 5, Bk 58, No 277)
Muhammad’s frustration at the Jews’ rejection of him created in him not only a mood of resentment but also an attitude of rivalry.If they would not acknowledge him as a prophet in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets, he would prove it and spite them in the process:
When the Prophet came to Medina, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah.” The Prophet said, “I am closer to Moses than they.” So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it. (Bukhari – Vol 4, Bk 55, No 609)
Allah’s Apostle said, “The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their grey hair), so you shall do the opposite of what they do (i.e. dye your grey hair and beards).” (Bukhari – Vol 4, Bk 56, No 668)
Allah’s Apostle said, “When the Jews greet you, they usually say, ‘As-Samu ‘alaikum (Death be on you),’ so you should say (in reply to them), ‘Wa’alaikum (And on you)’.” (Bukhari – Vol 8, Bk 74, No 274)
Such was Muhammad’s hatred of the Jews that he contrived to curse them for the most improbable and petty things. For example, in one of his many imperious and impetuous announcements, he decreed, “Allah and His Apostle made illegal the trade of alcohol, dead animals, pigs and idols.” The Muslims were baffled, it seems, by the reference to “dead animals”, for they asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What about the fat of dead animals, for it was used for greasing the boats and the hides; and people use it for lights?” To which he replied curtly, “No, it is illegal.” And then he launched into a tirade against the Jews: “May Allah curse the Jews, for Allah made the fat (of animals) illegal for them, yet they melted the fat and sold it and ate its price.” This outburst would be utterly irrational, if not for the fact that hatred is its own rationale. (Bukhari – Vol 3, Bk 34, No 438)
Muhammad encouraged his followers not only to loath the Jews but also to fear them. He led them to believe that the Jews would entice them to share in their wickedness.
The Prophet said, “You [Muslims] will follow the wrong ways, of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a mastigure [a lizard], you too will go there.” We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He replied, “Whom else?” (Meaning, of course, the Jews and the Christians.) (Bukhari – Vol 4, Bk 56, No 662)
Muhammad encouraged his followers to believe that Allah desires the total annihilation of the Jews, and that they, the Muslims, would be the ones to oblige Allah at the Last Hour:
Allah’s Messenger [said]: 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. (Muslim – Bk 041, No 6985)
It is interesting to note that the Palestinian terrorist organisation, Hamas, quotes this genocidal hadith in its 1988 Covenant to validate its determination to exterminate the Jews in Israel. It views this hadith as both a prophecy and a promise, a promise from Allah concerning the Final Solution for the Jews. Hence, in connection with the hadith, the Covenant states, “the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes.”
As noted earlier, the Quran claims that Jesus cursed the Jews for rejecting the Faith of Islam. In the Hadith, too, Muhammad co-opts Jesus into the ranks of the Jew haters:
[T]he Messenger of Allah said: By Him in Whose hand is my life, the son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish Jizya [a punitive tax levied against non-Muslims in Muslim societies] … (Muslim – Bk 001, No 0287)
Jesus will “break crosses”—that is to say, he will express his wrath towards the Christians for daring to believe that he died on the cross when the Quran expressly says that “they [the Jews and the Romans] killed him not” (4:157). Jesus will not only “break crosses” but also “kill swine”—that is to say, he will destroy the Jews for their refusal to submit to Muhammad and his god, Allah.
Sunan Abu-Dawud offers a similar but more detailed hadith:
The Prophet said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus. He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. (Abu-Dawud – Bk 37, No 4310)
According to Muhammad, Jesus will return to earth in the end times and when he does he will narrow the options Islam presents to Jews and Christians, the people of the Book. From Muhammad’s day to this, Jews and Christians have three options under Islam: convert or pay the jizya or die. But when Jesus returns, Jews and Christians will be offered only two options, the same two options offered to pagans and polytheists: convert or die. Jesus will abolish the jizya, the middle option that allows Christians and Jews to keep their faiths on the condition that they pay a special tax and accept ongoing humiliation. Jesus will force the conversion of Jews and Christians to Islam, or else he will kill them. Thus, he will be the one through whom “Allah will perish all religions except Islam.”
Sahih Bukhari contains a similar hadith (Vol 4, Bk 55, No 657) about the return of Jesus to judge Jews and Christians. However, it ends with the following quotation from the Quran: “And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them” (4:159). According to this passage, Jews and Christians will have to believe in Jesus if they are to survive the Day of Judgment. This may sound like an orthodox Christian position, but it is nothing of the sort. Muhammad is saying that Jews and Christians will be required to believe the Muslim view of Jesus—namely, that he is only human in nature and only a prophet in ministry. If they (or Christians, at least) persist in believing that he is also God and also their atoning sacrifice, Jesus himself will witness against them to their eternal destruction.
Before Muhammad and the Muslims emigrated from Mecca, the Jews and the Arabs lived in relative harmony in Medina. But, as if to make a template for Muslim emmigration to and domination of non-Muslim societies through the centries to the present day, Muhammad soon began to sow discord in the city and its districts. And the target of his displeasure was the Jews. As his followers grew in number and strength, he became more and more assertive, abrasive, abusive.
The first of the three Jewish tribes Muhammad moved against was the Bani Qaynuqa. He laid siege to them and they finally surrendered. Muhammad plainly wanted to slaughter them, but one of their Arab allies pleaded with him to spare them. He reluctantly did so, taking all their wealth and property, and sending them into exile.
The second Jewish tribe Muhammad attacked was the Banu Nadir. They held out against his siege for two weeks, then surrendered, agreeing to go into exile with only what they could carry.
The third and last-remaining Jewish tribe for Muhammad to get rid of was the Banu Qurayzah. Muhammad attacked them supposedly at the behest of Gabriel, who announced to Muhammad that he and his fellow angels were themselves about to assault the Banu Qurayzah. The Muslims besieged the Jews, who surrendered after 25 days.
Again, Muhammad wanted to kill them, but again an Arab ally pleaded with him on their behalf. So Muhammad proposed that the decision concerning their fate should be made by another Muslim of his choosing. The Arab intercessor and the Jews agreed to this. Muhammad appointed the warrior Sad bin Muadh to decide what to do with the Jews. One of many hadiths dealing with this matter states:
The people of (the tribe of) Quraiza agreed upon to accept the verdict of Sa’d. The Prophet sent for him (Sa’d) and he came. … Sa’d sat beside the Prophet and the Prophet said (to him), “These people have agreed to accept your verdict.” Sa’d said, “So I give my judgment that their warriors should be killed and their women and children should be taken as captives.” The Prophet said, “You have judged according to the King’s (Allah’s) judgment.” (Bukhari – Vol 8, Bk 74, No 278)
Muhammad was delighted with Sad’s ruling, so much so that he seems to have personally conducted the killing of the men of the Banu Qurayzah. Ibn Ishaq, the Muslim scholar who wrote the revered biography of Muhammad, Sirat Rasul Allah, 100 years or so after Muhammad’s death, states:
The apostle went out to the market of Medina … and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. … There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.
It seems the captives were not entirely clear about their fate, as the biographer reveals in this pathetic observation:
As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Ka’b [one of their captors] what he thought would be done with them. He replied, “Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!” This went on until the apostle made an end of them. 26
The Apostle of Allah made an end of the Jews of Media and he plainly hoped that his followers would make an end of the Jews of the world. Indeed, the last thing he did before leaving this life was to call down a curse upon the Jews:
When the last moment of the life of Allah’s Apostle came he started putting his ‘Khamisa’ [woollen sheet] on his face and when he felt hot and short of breath he took it off his face and said, “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets.” … (Bukhari – Vol 1, Bk 8, No 427)
“May Allah curse the Jews!” This is at the heart of Islam and Islam puts it into the heart of Muslims.
So then, what was behind the targeting of the Jews in Mumbai by Muslim terrorists late last year? It was anti-Semitism, racism towards the Jews. And what was behind that racial hatred? It was and is the teachings and example of Muhammad, the perfect Muslim whose emulation produces perfect Muslims. It is urgent that non-Muslims in the West understand (or stop refusing to understand) this and begin to devise strategies to counter it.
Many things need to be done: a review of Muslim immigration; a review of Muslim education; a renewed determination to ensure the Jews are fully protected in our midst.
For Christians, there is a special need to be honest about Islam and its impact upon Muslims. There is a need to hate Islam but love Muslims with a passion—a need to recognise the depths of darkness into which Islam takes its adherents, and a need to feel compassion for them in their darkness. There is a need, in short, for Christians to pray and witness so that God might lift Muslims out of their darkness into his marvellous light.
References & Footnotes
1 “Continuing Coverage of Indian Terror Attacks”, CNN Newsroom, Aired November 27, 2008 –http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0811/27/cnr.06.html
2 Fernanda Santos, “Brooklyn Rabbi and Wife Caught in Attacks”, New York Times, November 28, 2008 – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/28/nyregion/28chabad.html?hp
3 Mark Steyn, “Jews get killed, but Muslims feel vulnerable”, ocregister (Orange County news source), 5 December 2008 –http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mumbai-muslims-time-2248410-jews-muslim#
4 “Mumbai attacks: Jews tortured before being executed during hostage crisis” by Damien McElroy in Bombay, The Telegraph (UK), 2 December 2008. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/3539171/Mumbai-attacks-Jews-tortured-before-executed-during-hostage-crisis.html
5 “Torture signs on Mumbai Jews”, The Australian, 6 December 2008 – http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24757338-2703,00.html
6 “Doctors shocked at hostages’s (sic) torture”, Krishnakumar P and Vicky Nanjappa, Rdiff.com India Limited, 30 November 2008 – http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/nov/30mumterror-doctors-shocked-at-hostagess-torture.htm
7 “Terrorists sexually Humiliated guests before killing them”, Santosh Mishra, Mumbai Mirror, 25 December 2008 – http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/15/20081225200812250225081
8 “Doctors shocked at hostages’s (sic) torture”, op cit.
9 Somendra Sharma, “Nariman House, not Taj, was the prime target on 26/11”, Daily News & Analysis, January 5, 2009 – http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1218869&pageid=0
See also Somendra Sharma’s “From a call centre driver to a man on terror mission”, Daily News & Analysis, 13 February 2009 – http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1230321
10 William Sherman, “Who are the Deccan Mujahideen? Attacks bear al Qaeda hallmarks, but so far no link” New York Daily News, Thursday, 27 November 2008, 1:46 pm – http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/11/27/2008-11-27_who_are_the_deccan_mujahideen_attacks_be.html
11 Tom Gross, “If this Isn’t Terrorism, What Is?”, The Wall Street Journal, 1 DECEMBER 2008 – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122816892289570229.html
12 Helen Kennedy, “Gunmen attack hotels, train station in deadly Mumbai wave of terror”, New York Daily News, Thursday, 27 November 2008, 2:48 am –http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/11/26/2008-11-26_gunmen_attack _hotels_train_station_in_de.html?print=1&page=all
13 Clara Lewis, “Turkish couple let off by terrorists for being Muslims”, The Times of India, 28 November 2008, 0237 hrs IST – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3766609,prtpage-1.cms
14 As of 24 February 2009, there have been at least 12,787 Islamic terrorist attacks worldwide since 9/11. These atrocities are documented on the website, Islam: The Religion of Peace – http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/
15 “Ahmadinejad: Wipe Israel off map”, Aljazeera, 26 October 2005 – http://english.aljazeera.net/archive/2005/10/200849132648612154.html
16 “Egyptian Cleric Ahmad Abd Al-Salam: Jews Infect Food with Cancer and Ship it to Muslim Countries”, Al-Nas TV, 28 January 2009. Transcript and video clip (No 2035) from The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) – http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2035.htm
17 I am here attributing the authorship of the Quran to Muhammad, whereas he maintained, and all Muslims believe, that Allah is the author and Muhammad merely the receiver and reciter of it.
18 Unless otherwise indicated, I have used the Yusuf Ali translation of the Quran
19 I have paraphrased and shortened Sheikh ‘Atiyyah Saqr’s 20 points. See “Former Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee Head Sets Out the Jews’ 20 Bad Traits As Described in the Quran”, The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Special Dispatch, No. 691, 6 April 2004 –http://memri.org /bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID =SP69104
20 The complete text of this 118th ayah (verse) of the 3rd sura (chapter) of the Quran reads: “O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom.” While this statement certainly refers to the Jews, it in fact ranges wider than the Jews and expresses a warning to Muslims against all unbelievers (pejoratively known as infidels or kafir).
21 Egyptian cleric Ahmad Abd Al-Salam on Al-Nas TV on 28 January 2009, op cit.
22 The Hadith records the sayings and doings of Muhammad and is virtually on par with the Quran for importance to Muslims, who venerate Muhammad as the perfect Muslim and therefore the perfect model. The three collections of hadith I have cited—Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and Sunan Abu-Dawud—are canonical collections and are revered by all Muslims as accurate records of Muhammad’s words and actions. Islamic publishing houses Darussalam (Saudi Arabia) and Kitab Bhavan (New Delhi) have published English translations of Bukhari, Muslim and Abu-Dawud. Also, these three hadith collections (albeit with some omissions) can be found on a website set up by MSAWEST, “an organization comprised of Muslim Student Associations representing campuses across the west coast” of the United States. Go to: http://www.msawest.net/islam/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/
23 For ease of reading, I have omitted the blessing—“(may peace be upon him)”—that Abu-Dawud and Muslim insert after every use of Muhammad’s name or titles. Also, I have used square brackets—[ ]—to identify my own explanatory comments: the round—( )—brackets are part of the hadith as presented by the compilers.
24 Do these words have an eerie resonance? They should. After allegedly masterminding the nightclub bombings in Bali in 2002, the Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakata in 2003 and the Australian embassy bombing in Jakata in 2004, Abu Bakar Bashir had the temerity to put Muhammad’s “invitation” to Australians from his prison cell in September 2004. Asked by a journalist, “What do you want to say to Australia?”, he replied, “I suggest to the Australian people and government, if you all want to be safe and good, please try to embrace Islam because you are created by Allah for Islam.” Note the threat—“if you want to be safe”—a threat that is backed up by the bodies of 88 Australains. Your young people have been mutilated, your embassy has been shattered, so I suggest if you want to be safe … And lest his “I suggest” and “please try” sounds inviting and moderate, consider some of his other utterances during his interview: He repeatedly refers to Australians as “kafir”, the most insulting, demeaning term for unbelievers in the Islamic lexicon, depicting them as inferior, subhuman vile creatures. He declares, “We [Muslims] believe all Christians will be in hell after death”. And, predictably, he gives vent to his and his Prophet’s anti-Semitism: “The Jews are the most evil men in the world.” (Rin Hindryati, “A lesson for the infidels”, The Bulletin, 15 September 2004.) Excerpts of The Bulletin interview are quoted in an article, “Bashir points finger at Australia and US”, on the Sydney Morning Herald website at http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/09/14/1094927583557.html and by The Command Post website at http://www.commandpost.org/gwot/2_archives/015292.html
25 As his political and military power grew (not to mention his economic power, fuelled entirely by the war booty attained through jihad), Muhammad sent letters bearing this threat to chieftains and kings and emperors throughout the Middle East and across North Africa and around the Mediterranean. “Embrace Islam and you will be safe,” he warned Chosroes, Kind of Persia, and Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium, and Negus, King of Abyssinia. But they did not embrace Islam and so they were not safe from the Muslims and their kingdoms soon began to fall to the unquenchable sword of Islam.
26 A. Guillaume (tr), The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955; rpt 2004), p. 464