The historical hate of Jews by Islam
The recent events in the Middle East have shocked the world and caused fear about potential escalation. I have debated speaking up about this sensitive topic, but a video by a courageous Saudi journalist confronting a Hamas leader inspired me to share some historical context.
While the media portrays the crisis as originating in the 20th century, the roots of antisemitism within Islam date back much further. This ingrained hatred stems from the very beginnings of the Islamic faith in 610 AD. Understanding this troubled history can provide insight into the present situation.
Early Days of Islam
In its inception, Islam adopted traditions from other regional faiths. Praying five times daily, fasting for a lunar month, and facing a set direction while praying all originated with the pre-Islamic Sabeans of Yemen. Initially, Muslims prayed facing Jerusalem, seeking acceptance from Jewish rabbis. When the rabbis rejected Muhammad’s claims, the direction was changed to Mecca.
From that point forward, anti-Jewish sentiment was enshrined within Islam. The required jizya tax on non-Muslims mandated humiliating collection methods. Discrimination was thus ingrained from the start, not simply a modern political conflict.
While the origins of Islamic antisemitism are ancient, European colonial powers inflamed tensions in the 19th and 20th centuries. The contradictory 1917 Balfour Declaration and secret Anglo-French carve up of the post-Ottoman Middle East sowed seeds of future conflict.
After World War II, displaced Holocaust survivors sought a Jewish national home. But the British Navy blockaded ships like the Exodus 1947 carrying refugees to Palestine. Only later did the world discover the British had interned thousands of Jewish immigrants in Cyprus prison camps.
This painful history of broken promises and callous treatment left deep scars. While it does not justify recent violence, Britain and France’s past machinations created lasting problems. Open discussion of their detrimental meddling is needed.
Today, anti-Semitic hatred continues being passed down within elements of Islamic culture. Biased media coverage often overlooks one-sided aggression against Israeli civilians. Some westerners have shockingly turned against local Jews who have nothing to do with Middle Eastern politics.
Yet we must not paint all Muslims with the same brush. Like people of all faiths, the vast majority wish only to live in peace. Focusing blame on everyday citizens creates further divisions. Leadership, media institutions and educators on all sides need confronting to spread understanding over ignorance.
Hope for the Future
The situation feels bleak but cannot be intractable. Brave journalists like the Saudi woman who confronted Hamas offer hope. The world must support moderates seeking change through thoughtful debate, not violence. Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve freedom from fear.
Our shared humanity and decency must prevail over toxic ideologies and misguided rage. Through open dialogue and goodwill, peace can yet be achieved. Past wrongs cannot be undone, but the future remains unwritten. A better Middle East is possible, if we dare believe it.
Here are the main points:
– Antisemitism within Islam has ancient origins dating back to the 7th century founding of the religion
– Early Islamic traditions like daily prayer rituals were adopted from other regional faiths
– Anti-Jewish sentiment became ingrained when rabbis rejected Muhammad’s claims
– European colonialism in the Middle East exacerbated tensions in the 19th-20th centuries
– The British and French made contradictory promises to Jews and Arabs during and after WW1
– Post-war mistreatment of Jewish refugees seeking a homeland further destabilized the region
– This history helps explain modern conflicts but does not justify anti-Jewish hatred or violence
– Peace requires open dialogue, support for moderates, and rejecting blanket stereotypes
– Our shared humanity means a peaceful future is possible if we confront hatred and ignorance
This painful history explains much about the roots of today’s conflicts. Yet blame helps no one. Only by learning from the past and understanding each other’s perspectives can we build a peaceful future. I welcome your thoughts and encourage careful listening to all sides.