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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Anti-Semitism, an atrocious ‘trend’

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Our world has seen its fair share of brutality. From Hulagu Khan, who boasted about killing 200,000 Muslims during his violent week-long rampage in the city of Bagdhad which also resulted in the complete destruction of centuries-old heritage, to Vikings that took what they deemed desirable by force and violence, to the modern day Syrian regime targeting its own people, we can say that our world has witnessed some unspeakable acts of violence.

However, throughout the history, some groups were targeted more than the others. Like the Jewish people. Their ordeal started at the hands of Pharaoh, who killed their boys and let only their girls live. The oppression against Jews continued throughout Antiquity, at the hands of the Assyrians, Babylon and the Romans, who massacred and exiled Jews and destroyed their temples and cities. In Medieval times, Jews were once again targeted, labeled, discriminated against and chased away from wherever they took shelter. The oppression continued in recent history when six million Jews were slaughtered by Nazis.

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Today, the persecution still goes on.

Anti-Semitism in Europe lingers in the form of harassment in public areas, offensive remarks and discriminatory behavior in social life and more terrifyingly, in the form of brutal assaults; The vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses, burning of cars, hundreds chanting “gas the Jews”, “kill the Jews” in violent protests, shooting and molotov cocktail attacks at the synagogues, and the recent Creteil attack in France where a Jewish couple was brutally attacked in their homes. The incident was a horrible reminder of the 2006 incident -again in France- that involved a young Jewish man being captured, tortured for weeks and then left naked to die. He later died from his injuries.

France is not the only place that witnesses anti-Semitism. From Argentina, to Tunisia, from Ireland to Spain, Jews seem to be caught up in a constant cycle of hatred targeting their communities. Even in the USA, which is known for its unwavering support for Israel, Jewish people are wary of divulging their identities, or practicing their religious duties in public. An unprovoked attack on a 24-year-old Jewish man wearing a yarmulke by four men in Brooklyn, NY; the assault of a 12-year-old Jewish girl who had a bottle thrown at her by a group of girls, including one who yelled, “You dirty Jew”; and the attack on a Jewish man in Los Angeles, CA, who was surrounded by five male suspects who yelled “Heil Hitler!” before striking him, can be listed amongst the disturbing incidents in the USA.

The Middle East is home to the worst cases of anti-Semitism. Especially after the recent Gaza/Israeli war, hatred towards Jewish people regardless of their age, gender or involvement in any of the conflict, has gone up in a disturbingly fast manner. But why does some people seem to think that it is legit to hate Jewish people?

In the past, some people disliked Jews as they saw them underhanded conspirators who segregated themselves from the societies they lived in due to widespread antisemitic propaganda as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The sentiment was further fuelled with notorious lies like the blood libel, portraying Jews as the veritable embodiment of evil. Today, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the driving force behind this ubiqutious Jewish-hatred, and often used as a cloak to justify violence against ordinary Jews on the streets.

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Surely political administrations or individuals within a community might make mistakes. However, persecuting a whole community based on the acts of few would be neither Quranic nor moral.

The Jewish people are known for their calm and modest demeanor. They are a quiet people that like to occupy themselves with their daily routine and religious practices. Therefore it is even more surprising that such calm and reserved people have been on the receiving end of such persecution throughout the history.

Any resentment towards the policies of Israel should be voiced in a civil manner, without putting the blame on the entire community. God prohibits Muslims from such a behavior. In the Qur’an, God warns believers as such:

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” (Qur’an 5:8)

It is most natural for there to be good and bad people in every group, community or nation. Just like there are countless murderers, liars, criminals, people with bad morals in the Muslim communities, it is natural for Jewish communities to have people with less than commendable actions. Yet, it is a most absurd and ridiculous act to feel antipathy towards a group in its entirety for the actions of a few. Most importantly it is diagonally opposite to the teachings of Qur’an.

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According to the Qur’an, Jewish people are People of the Book and are to be respected, protected and approached with love. God allows Muslims bonding with them through marriage, which alone explains the extent of friendship and closeness God expects from us to have with them. As when people marry, they become their significant others, lovers, confidants, and companions. God also allows us to have social bonds with Jews, to have dinners with them in their homes. God never tells Muslims to hate them, or discriminate against Jews or Christians. God praises Jews in many verses for their devotion and piety and indeed, Jewish people set a great example to Muslims with their unwavering loyalty to the Prophet Moses.

All these facts make it clear that there is no basis, neither in Islam nor in Judaism, that could lead to such friction. Once everyone realizes that God created this world for love and it is against God’s wishes to harbor hostile feelings towards each other, brotherhood and peace will prevail.

 

The writer is a TV commentator who has authored more than 300 books in 73 languages on political, faith-related and scientific topics. This essay first appeared in the Daily Caller.

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