Anti-Semitism (hatred for Jewish people) is not a new or unique phenomenon for us Pakistanis. We love to hate the Jews and to blame all our ills on the ugly, hideous, nefarious designs of the Zionist Jews. After all, Jews control the world and it is only because of them that we Muslims are so far behind the rest of the world. It’s all a big conspiracy.
Journalist and Political advocate Tarek Fatah described and analyzed the reasons for this anti-Semitism in his book, “The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling Myths that fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism”. Following are some excerpts from the excellent book by Tarek Fatah discussing how Anti-Semitism paved the way for Anti-Shia sentiments in the Muslim World and how Syed Qutb, the ideological father of Al-Qaeda helped spread anti-Semitism.
Sayyid Qutab, who was born in 1906 and executed by Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966, is best known in the Arab world for his magnum opus, “In the Shade of the Quran”, a thirty-volume commentary on the Quran. However, it is Qutb’s influence on the worldwide Islamist movement that is his claim to fame in the Muslim world and in the West. Even today, nearly fifty years after his death, Qutb’s impact can be seen in the actions of Al Qaeda. Nasser may have jailed Qutab and in the end eliminated him, but in doing so, the dictator also immortalized the dead Jihadi.
In 1948, Syed Qutab went to the United States on a scholarship. While in Colorado, instead of absorbing the workings of a democracy, he began writing his first major book, Social Justice in Islam. America, it turned out, was not a pleasant experience for the ultraconservative Islamist from Egypt. Qutab believed in the Quranic edict, “Men are the managers of women’s affairs.” What he saw in America’s pre-feminist women of the 1940s challenged his manhood. On his return to Egypt, he had to say: “The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity…She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs, and she shows all this and does not hide it.”
Even after he returned to Egypt, Qutab was never able to find a woman of sufficient “moral purity and discretion”—essentially a desexualized woman chaste and religious enough to deserve his pious company—and resigned himself to Bachelorhood. Decades later, another Jihadi terrorist would also find it difficult to find female companionship—The Fort Hood, Texas, shooter, Maj. Nidal Hassan. Like Qutab, Hassan “desired a virgin of Arabic descent—a woman in her 20s who wore a hijab, understood the Koran and prayed five times a day.” The Fort Hood Jihadi would fail to find such a virgin, even after he hired an Islamic matchmaker who introduced him to 150 single women.
In 1951, Qutb wrote an essay that clearly defined his view of the Jewish world. Titled “Our Fight against the Jews”, the essay was later included in a collection published in Saudi Arabia in 1970. The Saudi booklet bore the same title as Qutb’s essay and was widely circulated in the Arab world, where it became the defining text of the Islamist view of Jews.
The 1970 Saudi version linked Qutb’s work with the discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Qutb’s essay is pockmarked with footnotes by the Saudi Editor, who used The Protocols to prove Qutb’s allegations against the Jews. For the editor, as for many contemporary Islamic authors, The Protocols were confirmation of anti-Jewish ideas rooted in Islamic tradition.
In his essay, Qutb not only dwelled on the nature of the Jew and the supposed Jewish goal of destroying Islam, he presented a simple answer to this challenge: Muslims must defeat the Jews. He wrote, “The Jews will be satisfied only with the destruction of this religion (Islam).” He depicted Jews as the inevitable enemies of Islam and the creation of the state of Israel as the manifestation of Jewish revenge against Muslims for their humiliation in Medina fourteen centuries earlier.
Qutb insists that if Muslims returned to “proper” Islam (as interpreted by him), the Ummah, the Muslim Community, would triumph. The problem with that argument is that Hamas has taken that route but has not succeeded any more than the secular Palestinians of Fatah or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PELP]. In fact, by following the guidelines of Qutb and his followers, such as the late Sheikh Yasin and the exiled Khalid Meshaal, the Muslims of Gaza are today worse off than their compatriots in the West Bank.
If Muslims were to take Sayyid Qutb’s essay as a guide to understand Jews(and many Islamists do), he or she would be hard pressed not to view world history as one endless battle that can be won only by completely annihilating the Jewish people. Repeatedly, Qutb depicts Jews as the eternal enemy of Islam, with whom Muslims are locked in a divinely ordained battle to the end. The essay leads to four conclusions:
1. The Jews have opposed Islam as enemies of the Prophet from the moment the “Islamic state” was established in Medina.
2. It was the Jews who were instrumental in creating the Shia Sunni divide in Islam.
3. The Jews will only be satisfied once the religion of Islam has been destroyed.
4. The war between Muslim and Jews has been raging for fourteen centuries and will continue in all corners of the earth.
Among Qutb’s many allegations against the Jews, the one that is most dangerous and that has done tremendous damage within Islam is the charge that the Shia-Sunni divide is the result of a Jewish conspiracy and that Shia Muslims are a product of Jewish machinations, and thus their fifth column inside Islamdom.
Qutb also writes about how the Jews conspired to sow dissension among the factions vying for power after the death of Prophet Muhammad, discord that led to the murder of the third caliph, Usman bin Affan, by a rioting mob. He writes in the essay that the man who incited the people and set them loose to kill caliph Usman was Jewish.
Sayyid Qutb is prone to lie with a sense of self-righteousness that is the hallmark of most Islamists. The person he accuses of being the Jew who incited the killing of Usman and of fomenting the schism in Islam was a man named Abdullah ibn Safa. By all accounts he was a Yemeni Jew who had converted to Islam. So what? All the Muslims involved in this first civil war of Islam—the Muslims backing Usman and those opposing him—were not born in Islam. Some, like Caliph Usman, were former pagans, while others had come to Islam from Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. To use the Jewish ancestry of Abdullah ibn Safa (who the Shias, besides, claim is a fictitious character) as a sign of Jewish deviousness, when other converted Jews were supporting Usman, is unadulterated Judeophobia that has gone unchallenged for centuries. Qutb’s essay epitomizes the Islamist traditions of passing the buck to the kuffar. No matter how badly we Muslims bungle our diplomacy, there is always the Jew to blame for the mess we create. One could argue that if a Jew can be blamed for the murder of Caliph Usman, then a Jew can also be blamed for the Darfur Genocide or the Muslim-on-Muslim slaughter in Pakistan.
Syed Qutab’s Jew-hatred has had dreadful consequences in the Muslim communities where Shea and Sunni Muslims peacefully coexisted for centuries on the Indian subcontinent, where the descendents of the Prophet Muhammad took refuge among Hindu Kingdoms as they were hunted down by the Umayyad Arab caliphate in Damascus. Today, the anti-Semitism spread by Islamists like Qutab and their Saudi sponsors has mutated into hatred of the Shies, since it is hard to find a single Jew in all of Pakistan. Among the slanderous myths that have come from The Protocols and been tweaked to apply to Shea Muslims are the following
1. Shia slaughter young Sunni Children and use their blood and meat during the feast offerings at the time of Ashura to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.
2. Shias inject their semen into food they serve to Sunnis.
3. Shias disembowel their dead seniors, extract a clear liquid, and use it in the preparation of food to be served to other Muslims during the holy month of Muharram.
4. During the celebration of Nawroz (when Shias in Pakistan and Iran gather to read Sufi prayers), Shia Muslims indulge in incestuous orgies.
These are some of the lies being propagated by Sunni Islamist groups, such as Sipah-e-Sahaba, that are allied to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, where the teachings of Sayyid Qutb are introduced by the so-called Arab Afghans who come to Pakistan and Afghanistan armed with The Protocols, Milestone, and Qutb’s essay “Our Fight against the Jews”. When they can’t find any Jews to blame, the next best thing for them to target is Shia Muslims. It is not uncommon to hear Arabs from Sunni-dominated societies say that they are “free of the swines and the Shias.”