Christians Demonizing Muslims? An Old Story

News Abroad

Mr. Kidd is associate professor of history at Baylor University and the author of American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism (Princeton, 2008), and The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (Yale, 2007).

            The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 spawned a spate of conservative Christian reflections on the essential characteristics of Islam. Figures from Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson to Colorado Springs pastor Ted Haggard pointed to the inherently violent nature of Islam. Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell said on 60 Minutes that “Muhammad was a terrorist,” a glib comment that set off riots among Asian Muslims, and earned him a fatwa from an Iranian cleric calling for Falwell’s assassination. As recently as 2006, even Pope Benedict XVI generated a major controversy by making disparaging comments about Islam’s violent history. One might think that these Christians’ views simply represent angry reactions to the horrific violence of 9/11 and ongoing jihadist terror. But a closer look reveals that American Christians have deep-rooted views of Islam as a violent, demonic religion.

            Pastor Aaron Burr, Sr. (the president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton, and the father of the politician Aaron Burr who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel), expressed widespread Anglo-American Protestant sentiment in a 1756 sermon in which he discussed “the false prophet and grand impostor Mahomet.” According to the Burr, the early medieval period represented a dark night for the Christian church for two primary reasons: the rise of the Catholic papacy, and the spread of Islam. Muhammad brought Arabia under his control by violence, as he taught his followers that Islam should be “propagated by the sword, and that it is meritorious to die for it.” Misery, woe, and ignorance followed in Muhammad’s wake, and compounded the sufferings of God’s true church in the world.

            Burr, like most prominent Anglo-American theologians of that time, believed that the advent of Islam had been predicted in the Bible, particularly in the book of Revelation. Most conservative American Christians now think that the prophecies of Revelation point to future events, but early Americans saw many of the prophecies as already fulfilled in history. Burr shared the common opinion that Revelation 9:2-3, which speaks of locusts coming out of a smoky abyss, was fulfilled with the coming of Muhammad. Like most colonial observers, Burr saw Muhammad as the worst kind of religious “impostor,” who pretended to have received revelations from God in order to gain power.

            Since the colonial era, conservative American Christians have maintained a conflicted attitude toward Muslims. They have portrayed Islam as having malevolent origins, but they have also kept faith that Muslims would eventually convert to Christianity. Despite the overwhelming difficulties of Muslim evangelization, anecdotal accounts of Muslims becoming Christians were steady-sellers in colonial and antebellum America. Probably the most famous Muslim conversion narrative in the nineteenth century was the account of Abdallah and Sabat, told in a sermon by British pastor Claudius Buchanan. This compelling, tragic tale of the Arabian friends’ journey to faith in Christ was printed in various forms throughout Britain and America from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century.

            Conservative Christians have hardly lost their taste for Muslim conversion stories, as demonstrated by books like Bilquis Sheikh’s I Dared to Call Him Father (1978). In this autobiography, Sheikh, a Pakistani noblewoman, recounted her conversion to Christianity following a series of dreams and visions about Jesus. The book defined the ideal Muslim conversion for a generation of Christians. It has been translated into many different languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, and Amharic (a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia), and it remains in print today.

            Despite their hopes for Muslim conversions, American Christians have also anticipated that Islam would meet its demise in the end times, when Jesus would return to earth and establish his kingdom. In early America, many Protestants believed that Islam and Roman Catholicism would be destroyed simultaneously. Some even saw the two as the eastern and western Antichrists. The expectation of Roman Catholicism and Islam’s downfall, and the imminent return of Christ, led to bold date-setting in the early nineteenth century, capped by the forecasts of William Miller and his followers, who expected the end to come in 1843.

            Jesus’s failure to appear at the appointed hour helped to transform standard Anglo-American interpretations of Bible prophecy, and by the early twentieth century “dispensational” theology had become dominant in conservative circles. Dispensationalists began to anticipate the re-establishment of the state of Israel, where the final battle between good and evil would transpire. The founding of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent struggle between Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab states has become the frame for many conservative Christians’ interpretation of prophetic scenarios.

There remains a common expectation among American Christians of Islam’s coming downfall. Many now interpret the mysterious description of the attack by “Gog and Magog” against Israel in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as forecasting a time when Arab Muslims would unite with Russians to destroy Israel. Their attack would be miraculously foiled in a hail of fire and brimstone, and this event would set the stage for the rise of an atheistic Antichrist, who would launch a genocidal campaign against the Jews. This would lead to the final battle of Armageddon and the return of Christ to earth.

            The attacks of September 11, 2001, inaugurated a sharply heightened interest in Islam among American Christians, and in time we may also see that it generated lasting departures in prophetic interpretation, as some conservatives have begun to put Islam squarely at the center of end-times theology. Some have even begun to argue that the messianic Mahdi expected in some Muslims’ beliefs actually represents the Antichrist.

            Despite some post-9/11 novelties, the history of conservative American Christian thought regarding Islam is largely a story of continuity, not change. Although they have often seen Islam as an inherently violent, malevolent religion, traditional Christians have also maintained persistent hopes of mass Muslim conversions to Christianity. Those who did not convert would ultimately fall before a returning Christ in the last days. Although the details may have changed over time, their convictions about the end of days have helped assure many American Christians that their God, the father of Jesus, would triumph in the end.        


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Elliott Aron Green - 3/29/2009

Omar, a small monument was built at Barukh Goldstein's grave. It was not a statue, since a statue would be offensive to Jews as well as to Muslims. Making a statue of a person is forbidden by Jewish law.

Do you think, `Umar, that Goldstein's massacre of 28 or 29 Arabs in Hebron in 1994 erases any Arab guilt for the massacre of 68 Jews in Hebron in 1929?? I really don't want to make comparisons about things like this or ask you to make such a comparison. But since you don't mention the 1929 massacre perpetrated by a mob of Arabs [not by one man, as in Goldstein's case], then I have to wonder if you consider what happened in 1929 in Hebron to have been a massacre. If so, was it a crime, in your opinion?

In any case, the number of people who idolized Goldstein was and is relatively small.

N. Friedman - 3/28/2009


I agree with Art. You should expand your post into an article.

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/28/2009

will do. thanks for the encouragement

art eckstein - 3/28/2009

Dear Fahrettin,

This is too important an essay to end up as an appendage to the discussion we have been having.

I suggest strongly that you submit it to HNN as a theme for a thread, i.e., present it as an essay for them to put out for discussion.

There is a great deal to think about here.



John Edward Philips - 3/27/2009

It's interesting that they mention Gog and Magog. Muslim beliefs about the end of days also mention Gog and Magog, or in Arabic "Juj wa Majuj."

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/27/2009

The question at the present is, can Turkey stay a western democratic country. With the Islamists she will become a fascist country staying in the western orbit for a limited time. The opposition is giving up on the West and democracy. The clearest opposition line is for cooperating with Russia and China to get rid of Western intervention and Islamism. There is a strong feeling that the people locked up under the Ergenekon conspiracy were trying exactly that.

Let us look at what went wrong.

The modern divergence with the west started in 1963 when the Cypriot Geek archbishop and the Greek govenment decided to ignore valid treaties and terrorise the Turks into leaving the Island. We expected the West, our allies, to tell them to stop it. Instead they told Turkey it was none of her business because Greece was a left wing anti American country they had to buy and Turkey after all her history with Russia was never going to leave the Nato. After Turkey stopped the Greeks by war in 1974 the West ruined her economically and by encouraging fascist and communist terrorism to teach her the lesson, that she had to obey orders. They learned their lesson and let the Serbs kill 250 000 Bosnian Moslems, who for us are cultural Turks, because the British wanted this to happen, as Turkey’s then very pro Amrican president Ozal put it.

Impotence is not approval. All these events were escalating distrust in the West by awakening the repressed trauma of genocide in Europe, which is never very far away. It was like putting Jews in annihilation camps and telling Israel to shut up.

After Cyprus also an Armenian terror organisation started killing Turkish diplomats and all Western press used each and every single murder to remind their readers that Turks had commited genocide against Armenians. As soon as the cold war ended the West organised and financed the Kurdish terror organisation PKK’s war against Turkey. They started at exactly the same point at which they had stopped when the Russian revolution forced them to accept Turkey.

Economic growth in Turkey had historically started in the Western provinces and was slowly going towards the Kurdish areas, and would have integrated them, when the war stopped it. Western Turkey continued to grow, the Kurds stagnated and by now there is a huge difference in income. This is exacerbated by the population explosion the PKK is using to intesify their war. There are a lot of hungry and and angry Kurds there. Without the West by now these areas would be reaching prosperity and so Turks are angry with the West for the war of the PKK. They can no longer assimilate the Kurds, nor can they let such a destructive people go in their own state, there is no obvious way out, except integrating them with an islamist ideology. The costs of the war are approximately Turkey’s foreign debt, nobody knows how this is going to be paid.

Now the US has a president who has promised the Armenians to recognize their sufferings as genocide under which they expect that Turkey will be forced to give a large part of her territory to Armenia. In the internet you can read expectations that the Sevres treaty partitioning Anatolia will be implemented, Atatürk had killed this treaty in 1924.

The Turkish reaction is a lot of very angry secularists. They can not be appeased without respecting the Lausanne treaty which Atatürk signed in 1924 and which defines what Turkey legally is. No Kurdistan. No greater Armenia. Cyprus is not a fully sovereign state of Greeks alone. Forget the mass murder of 5 million Turks and 500 000 Armenians, or remember both. The Greek Patriarch in Istanbul is not the Oecumenical leader of Orthodoxy, no Vatican for him. Armenia stops her occupation of Azerbaijan.

The West is not willing to accept this. They are trying to sideline the secularist establishment by supporting the Islamists. The Kemalist elite is to be replaced by Islamist businessmen. This is the point in Erdogans antisemitizm. If the Kemalists are better educated Turks they might have a legitimate point which less educated people might be expected to respect. They are saying look at Gaza, it was invaded bveacuse Jews like killing Moslem children. The secularists are Jewish criminals prosecuting Moslems. Support the new elite. The west likes the idea of getting rid of the no-sayers. So do the Islamists. They will not accept losing elections after they have neutralized the army. This is not yet the case. Erdogan is clearly on record as saying democracy is a streetcar he will leave when he has reached his destination. Last week one progovernment journalist was quoted by the Islamists that Rubicon had now been crossed. The army is to be neutralized.

The West does not understand that the Lausanne treaty works two ways. There are several Balkan countries whose moslem population majority lives in Anatolian exile. Ending its validity and teaching the Turks that mass murder is a crime could lead to developments the west does not expect. Disempowerment of the Kemalist elite, the present middle class, will rob Turkey of her stabilizing factor. Erdogan might remain in the western orbit, there would be nothing to force his successor to do the same. Turkey speaks Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic. 70% of Iran also speaks Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic, the rest Persian. That would make very natural confederation. Much more natural than the EU, which will risk everything to give the 3000 sq km of northern Cyprus to the Greeks. And criminalize Turks as murderers of Armenians. And freedom for the Kurds, who might within a short while join an islamist crusade against anything. They love fighting, what can be better than a jihad? The Europeans are the people who ruined their own civilisation by greed in two world wars. They forget nothing and learn nothing.

The expenses of the war with the PKK, refusal by the west, es expressed in repeated artificial economic crisis, as well as their own corruption has finished the moderate right win
g parties which had run Turkey for the half a century to the Islamist took over. There is also a consensus in Turkey that the military can not overthrow a government the west wants to keep in power. The Turkish public is convinced this is the case. There will be no stable democratic pro western government without the West radically changing her own expectations from Turkey. Accommodate her legal interests and acceptance of her sufferings, which she might forgive but not forget. Certainly not accept her sufferings being inversed into an eternal guilt in the Armenian case.

I think the United States should start recognizing the basic legitimacy of Kemalist positions and make it clear that they will not accept Islamist transgressions of the rule of law, as is now being demonstrated in the Ergenekon case. If I were Mr. Obama I would ask critical questions about why Dr. Dogu Perincek is in jail. This is the biggest America hater in the country, the leader of the Maoist Nationalist Anti Imperialist Labor party. He wants Turkey to join China in fighting imperialism. He is proud of his daughter working for a turkish language Chinese propaganda radio station. The government put him in jail for conspiracy and among other things for spying for Israel and the USA! He is now in jail for over a year, without trial and would probably get a heart attack if Mr. Obama challenged the government to demonstrate what he is guilty of.

The Armenian issue might become less explosive if the USA also acknowledged Turkish sufferings and praised Turkey for looking constructively into the future instead of working for revenge. This would also be a lesson for Armenians and Arabs who are doing the opposite. Also Bosnia remains a demonstration of European will to break a Moslem nation in Europe. There are far more Bosnians in Turkey than Bosnia has inhabitants and recognizing this and helping them go back to the home of their ancestors would reverse the effects of the Serbian war, which was upported by Britain and France and so the West. There are something around 1-2 Million Turks in US occupied Iraq. The existance of these people was entirely denied by the US which was interested in dividing Iraq between Kurds and Arabs, giving anything to Turks would have recognized Turkey’s interests. It was so demonstrated that US policy was using Kurds to forward her own interests. Also israel is credited with wanting an independant Kurdestan willing to fight her enemies. The Turkish response was an anti american and antisemitic film portraying the US as an occupying Nazi army. Mengele was here a Jewish doctor slaughtering Arabs to send their organs for transplantations to Tel Aviv. Everybody including Mrs Erdogan, an Arab lady from Siirt, loved it. Reversing such policies would be the means to demonstrate accommodating Turkey’s interests and would help win the secularists, who by now hate the west, forcing the west to support Islamists, which makes the secularist hate the west even more.

Essentially we are a European people who would naturally side with the West and help to Westernize the Islamic world. That should be the target.

A. M. Eckstein - 3/26/2009

It has been refreshing to me to read a careful exchange between two intelligent and well-informed individuals.

I think Fahrettin's description of the present Turkish Islamic dilemma, and its origins, sounds right on target, and is very disturbing.

Fahrettin, is there any way to save Turkey from the Islamicists?

I know the Turks have to save themselves, and perhaps economic collapse will drive out the Islamicists--but will they allow themselves to be driven out by a peaceful vote even if that were to occur?

At the same time, the insertion of party-hacks into well-paid and important posts in corporations creates an elite with a total interest in maintaining the Islamicist rule--as we see in Iran. It's hard to imagine them giving up power without violence at this point (and Allah will sanction it, as far as they are concerned).

What, in your opinion, should U.S. policy be?

N. Friedman - 3/26/2009


You may well be correct. What you have written is certainly legitimate comment. Thank you.

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/25/2009

I have no doubt Ottoman Turkey had her weaknesses. As an engineer I woudl put first the fact that Turks dod not understand much about technology until the 1960ies. The Christian groups who did could not turn their profits into industrial investments. On the other hand the British were for their support against Russia preventing Turkish development by enforcing lower taxes on imported goods a than on local production and the Russians were doing their best to kill as many of us as they could.

While everybody interested in history knows Turkish weaknesses malevolent foreigners are almost entirely ignored. I quoted Marx here to be told he was outdated. Bu he says the Ottoman pashas would know what to do if the Russians would let them and he should be accepted as a reliable witness.

Lewis is for all his sympathies reflecting his own history as I also am. Mine is the history of the people who tried and ultimately succeeded in changing Turkeys destiny. What used to be the Turkish upper class is far more critical of the West than Lewis would be. That is why the west is replacing us with these "democratic moderate Islamists" as a new elite.

N. Friedman - 3/25/2009


Evidence is the name of the game here. Provide some. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone's time.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/25/2009

Mr Friedman
I find it funny that you should ask for evidence for something, the Israeli Air Force massacres at Qana in Lebanonl, that has been extensively covered by all, including US, media TWICE!
It is akin to asking for evidence for Pearl Hatbour or Abu Ghraib!

Or is it that you want evidence that the IAF
1-did know about it and
2-intentionally repeated the massacre?

If that is what you are asking for, then you must presume re 1 that IAF is
a-neither aware of media coverage of its exploits
b-does not keep a record of its past "herioc "activities .
or re 2
c-that it has enjoyed the head count of the first run so much it was yearning to have another go for more heads .

I believe it is c in the sense that it is standard Israeli policy and an integral part of the Israeli fighting doctrine to terrorize its opponents by concentrating on women ,children and oldesters just like DEIR YASSIN in the near past and Al DAHIA and GAZA more recently!

art eckstein - 3/25/2009

Yes, we need to stick to Shahak's lies and those of Omar. Omar brings these issues up, has no evidence, makes his slanders against Israel, Jews, and Judaism, and then, when pressed for evidence, moves on to another topic.

It's a ridiculous spectacle.

But I think in view of Omar's pretended outrage on this new topic, he should read the following:

(1) :

Jason Koutsoukis in Gaza City
January 26, 2009

PALESTINIAN civilians living in Gaza during the three-week war with Israel have spoken of the challenge of being caught between Hamas and Israeli soldiers as the radical Islamic movement that controls the Gaza strip attempted to hijack ambulances.

Mohammed Shriteh, 30, is an ambulance driver registered with and trained by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

His first day of work in the al-Quds neighbourhood was January 1, the sixth day of the war. "Mostly the war was not as fast or as chaotic as I expected," Mr Shriteh told the Herald. "We would co-ordinate with the Israelis before we pick up patients, because they have all our names, and our IDs, so they would not shoot at us."

Mr Shriteh said the more immediate threat was from Hamas, who would lure the ambulances into the heart of a battle to transport fighters to safety.

and then

(2) Omar should read this:

Lorenzo Cremonesi, a lead reporter for the Milan-based Corriere della Serra, reported that his research in the Gaza Strip indicated that Hamas gunmen violated international humanitarian law by using civilians as human shields, dressing combatants up as medics and driving in commandeered ambulances and using UN buildings to launch rockets.

And then

(3) Omar read this (from the left-wing Haaretz):

Senior Hamas officials in Gaza are hiding out in a "bunker" built by Israel, intelligence officials suspect: Many are believed to be in the basements of the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, which was refurbished during Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip.

Shifa, the coastal strip's largest hospital, was built while Gaza was under Egyptian rule, before 1967.

During the mid-1980s the building underwent massive refurbishment as part of a showcase project to improve the living conditions of residents.

Millions were invested in the project, which was overseen by Shmuel Goren, the coordinator for activities in the territories at the time.

The Israeli civil administration in the territories constructed the hospital complex's Building Number 2, which has a large cement basement that housed the hospital's laundry and various administrative services.

During a cabinet meeting a week ago, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said senior Hamas officials found refuge in the hospital basement because they know Israel would not target it, due to the patients in the upper floors.

N. Friedman - 3/25/2009


What does your above post have to do with your prior posts? Do you remember any of them> You know, the ones you refused to substantiate by posting evidence.

Do you remember your posts about Maimonides? Have you decided to read him to find out what he asserts?

Do you remember your posts about air raid shelters? Have you decided to find some evidence to support your position?

We can presume not, since you have now changed the topic.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/25/2009

A propos
"Israel Defense Forces soldiers did not consider medical teams as entitled to receive the special protection granted to them within the framework of their duties during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, according to a new report by Physicians for Human Rights due to be released on Monday.

PHR quoted figures issued by the World Health Organization, which showed 16 Palestinian medical personnel were killed by Israeli fire during the offensive and that 25 were wounded while performing their duties.

It said Israel attacked 34 medical care facilities, including eight hospitals.

The report also raises questions of whether IDF soldiers violated the IDF's own ethical code and basic humanitarian values, when they prevented treatment and the evacuation of the wounded and fired at emergency rescue teams and Palestinian medical facilities. "


N. Friedman - 3/24/2009


Could be. He certainly is an interesting specimen of a certain type of mind.

N. Friedman - 3/24/2009


We have been all through this before. Maimonides says something rather different than what you think.

I suggest that you do what you propose we do, namely, you should try reading Maimonides. Then, perhaps, you can speak so as not to completely embarrass yourself.

N. Friedman - 3/24/2009


Once the Ottoman Empire began to lose wars to Europeans, the fault lines in the Empire started to become unglued. The Empire did not recognize its problems early enough - not an unusual thing for a country - and, by the time it recognized its faults and began to address them, it was probably already too late. And, the manner of reform itself created unexpected problems which I already mentioned.

No doubt Europeans wished the Ottoman Empire harm. No doubt that Europeans did terrible things in its wars with the Empire. But it is also important to recognize that the Europeans won wars because the Ottoman Empire was unable to adjust itself to the rise of the new sciences and the new technologies being developed in Europe. When things were reversed and the Ottoman Empire was on the rise, the Empire was making war on Europeans and doing what countries that conquer and colonize normally do, which was also not particularly nice.

In any event, Lewis' book is probably the seminal account of how modern Turkey came to be. I think you will find it well worth your time. While Karsh and Karsh are interesting and excellent scholars, Lewis is really in his own special league. Moreover, he is rather sympathetic to the Empire, to Islam and to Attaturk's movement while, at the same time, being a real scholar, not a mere apologist who conveniently overlooks important facts in order to tell a good story.

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/24/2009

I have just read karsh and karsh and will in time comment on it.

The Ottoman Empire had in 1808 its sened i ittifak, the full equivalent of the magna carta. In 1847 slavery was abolished, after 1863 all citizens had equal status. After 1850 the first democratic elemenst were introduced into town halls. In 1876 there were the first democratic elections.

The talk of the Turk oppressing his subjects and forcing benevolent foreigners to intervene is the 19th century equivalent of the capitalists exploiting the working class forcing the glorious Soviet Union to save them.

The Ottoman Empire was the most important moslem state and had to be destroyed to colonize the moslem countries. This was done by encouraging nationalist and religious fanatic revolts which kept Turkey in a state of constant warfare for over 100 years, until all christians were deported from Anatolia, which had remained as Turkey. Russia made war on Turkey every 20 years from the 1760ies on. Every war as destructive as Hitler attack on the Soviet Union. This was what finished the Ottoman Empire, not unhappy citizens. None of the 19th century empires had a majority of happy subjects, most were not citizens to begin with. Who was asking the Algerians or Indians if they liked their masters? The US did not even let ist natives survive in any significant numbers, not to say anything about say Iraq ...

But they critize Turkey for not having citizens rights reflecting 21st century ideals.

N. Friedman - 3/24/2009


If you have not already read the book, I would highly recommend reading The Emergence of Modern Turkey, by Bernard Lewis. Lewis takes up your point about the role of the Caliph/Sultan.

His evidence shows that the role of the Sultan changed dramatically in the 19th century to where all restraints on his power were drowned out and where he came to have, due to improvements in technology, so much power that such person became rather tyrannical.

Prior to that time, there were checks on a Sultan/Caliph's authority. But the removal of institutions such as the Janissaries and the improvements in technology such as the telegraph were a disaster for people living in the empire and, if I understand Lewis correctly, fired up voices of national disintegration.

In that regard, he views the destruction of the Ottoman Empire due, at least in part, to the efforts to reform it. Or, perhaps put a bit differently, the Empire was already in serious decline and the efforts to reform were unable to abate the decline and, in to some extent, made things worse.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/24/2009

Why pick on Shahak Prof. he only quoted the highly revered Maimonides.
What about forgetting what Shahak said and you quote Maimonides then defend him or repudiate him!

A. M. Eckstein - 3/24/2009

Shahak argued that Jewish doctors were not allowed to treat gentile patients--a slander Omar was quick to pick up on.

He's been refuted.

End of story.

I wouldn't assign Shahak for the same reason I wouldn't assign Omar, or someone who believed the earth was flat in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary. The intellectual quality is too low.

You may be entitled to your own opinion, Omar (though your friends in Hezbollah would disagree--violently), but around here in the West an opinion is only worth as much as the evidence behind it. Do you get that point?

omar ibrahim baker - 3/24/2009

Why do NOT you, Prof, leave it to your students to make up their minds AFTER reading Israel Shahak?
Even if you disagree with him, as you certainly do, you can NOT deny that he has an important point to make and is eminently readable and challenging.
Tell them about his important book and then you can repudiate it to your heart's content.....no greater proof of your objectivity could be devised.

However judging by your previous refutation record here Shahak will beat you, with your students, hands down!
Or if you “beat” Shahak and your students turn away from him , out of conviction and not out of ignorance, you will get another award!

In either case you might get a new award; it would be either for objectivity or for repudiation.
That is a win win situation you should NOT miss Prof!

AS a matter of principle: You should NOT, neither should your students, ever be afraid of reading a book, Prof!
Right Prof???

A. M. Eckstein - 3/24/2009

Omar, I could also mention to my students that some people think that the earth is flat. That would be "another viewpoint" too!

You brought forward the liar and distorter Shahak (look at Fahrettin's comment on Jewish doctors) because it fits your anti-semitic "Magic Evil Jew" ideology, Omar. You agree with Shahak's lies--that's why you keep mentioning him. Your claim to only be reporting what Shahak said is a sophistry that fools no one.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/24/2009

" Shahak's point, and your(Omar) lie, " thus spake the MAP!
"I" never had anything to say on the subject; all I did was to read and to quote a Jewish scholar of exceptional objectivity, honesty and moral courage ie the late Professor Israel Shahak.
Did you by chance ever read him Prof?
Did you draw the attention of your students to him?
I unserstand he was extremely popular with the students of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and that he was voted, several times(?),as most popular Professor at that university!

I believe if you did not mention him to your students you should do that.
An alternative viewpoint will nOT hurt them.
Would it, Prof?

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/23/2009

One problem was that the upper classes in Turkey abandoned religious studies and influence with secularisation. On one hand this was the driving force for the most succesfull modernisation in the Islamic world on the other hand this left religious influence in the hands of the less educated classes and the fanatics. The Caliph was an upper class aristocrat and a moderating influence who could get away with modifying Islam, forcing him out of the country left the right to interpret Islam in the hand of zealots who had no other abilities worth anything on the market. A lot of people make their living out of what is in effect a business.

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/23/2009

Actually as the Spanish Jews migrated to Turkey in the 15th century the most popular among them were the extremely able doctors.

I know a lot of Moslem doctors who would not move a finger for their patients without getting paid.

So what do we learn from this?

N. Friedman - 3/23/2009


I am interested in your comments regarding contemporary life.

The agenda of today's Islamist parties in Turkey sounds rather frightening. I note that Islamists have, from the early 20th Century, blamed Jews for the demise of the Ottoman Empire and for Attaturk's elimination of the Caliphate - perceived as part of an effort to destroy Islam and support Zionism. So, we have continuity of message.

I am not sure that the Western press has entirely ignored the Islamists in Turkey but, so far as I can tell, it is pretty close to what you say. Parties which harbor conspiracy theories in their understanding of the world are generally pretty dangerous. And, the fact that Turks who do not make religion their politics are not in control is, it seems we both think, not a good sign.

As always, thank you for a thoughtful post.

A. M. Eckstein - 3/23/2009

Shahak's point, and your lie, was that Jewish doctors, or more narrowly Orthodox Jewish doctors, were not allowed to treaty Gentile patients.

It's a lie.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/23/2009

As Always you find it convenient to extrapolate. Shakak based on the revered Maimonides had the following to say and substantiated his quotes, unlike your assertions with footnotes 18 to 20; also appended hereinafter.

“In particular, a Jewish doctor must not treat a Gentile patient. Maimonides - himself an illustrious physician - is quite explicit on this; in another passage 18 he repeats the distinction between 'thy fellow' and a Gentile, and concludes: 'and from this learn ye, that it is forbidden to heal a Gentile even for payment...'
However, the refusal of a Jew - particularly a Jewish doctor - to save the life of a Gentile may, if it becomes known, antagonize powerful Gentiles and so put Jews in danger. Where such danger exists, the obligation to avert it supersedes the ban on helping the Gentile. Thus Maimonides continues: ' ... but if you fear him or his hostility, cure him for payment, though you are forbidden to do so without payment.' In fact, Maimonides himself was Saladin's personal physician. His insistence on demanding payment - presumably in order to make sure that the act is not one of human charity but an unavoidable duty - is however not absolute. For in another passage he allows Gentile whose hostility is feared to be treated 'even gratis, if it is unavoidable'.
The whole doctrine - the ban on saving a Gentile's liife or healing him, and the suspension of this ban in cases where there is fear of hostility - is repeated (virtually verbatim) by other major authorities, including the 14th century Arba'ah Turirn and Karo's Beyt Yosef and Shulhan 'Arukh 19 . Beyt Yosef adds, quoting Maimonides: 'And it is permissible to try out a drug on a heathen, if this serves a purpose'; and this is repeated also by the famous R. Moses Isserles.
The consensus of halakhic authorities is that the term 'Gentiles' in the above doctrine refers to all non-Jews. A lone voice of dissent is that of R. Moses Rivkes, author of a minor commentary on the Shulhan Arukh, who writes.20?”
Foot Notes:
18 Maimonides, op. cit., 'Idolatry' 10, 1-2.
19 In both cases in section 'Yoreh De'ah' 158. The Shulhan 'Arukh repeats the same doctrine in 'Hoshen Mishpat' 425.
20 Moses Rivkes, Be'er Haggolah on Shulhan 'Arukh, 'Hoshen Mishpat 425
The whole issue is discussed in greater detail at: http://www.geocities.com/israel_shahak/book1.htm#5

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/22/2009

A Turkish perspective

People in the West seem to miss out what is going on in Turkey so I want to give a summary for those who are interested in the Jewish perspective of Turkish domestic policies.

Turkish Islam for a long time was a tolerant interpretation of Islamic law. In the 19th century when this was no longer enough the Ottoman government radically deviated from Islamic lwas, for example in abolishing slavery in 1847 and introducing legal equality of subjects of differing religions in 1863. These measures led to the Saudi revolt against the infidel Turks, who thought these were bandits robbing the pilgrims, and not a really a religious resistance. The break came at the beginning of WW 1 when the Turkish army banned fasting in Ramadan, because they felt hungry and thirtsy soldiers could not fight a world war. These were the conflicts the British exploited in sending Lawrence of Arabia to start an Ottoman Civil war.

After WW 1 Turkey under Ataturk secured the Lausanne peace treaty assuring an independent country with a very powerful economic potential, After that introduced a radical secularisation using her economic potential with the consequence that Turkey today is the most advanced country in the Islamic World.

After WW 2 Turkey entered the NATO, US help as well as non dogmatic cooperation with the Soviet Union help continue the development which began under Ataturk.

In 1964 the Greeks started the Cyprus conflict with the intention of annexing Cyprus. This led to war in 1974 when Turkey prevented the success of what the west saw as a solution. Beginning from that point Western countries began formulating demand for unilateral changes of the Lausanne treaty, limiting Turkish souverainity and effectively territorial concessions to Armenia. The secularists would not accept such demands so they began working with the local opposition to the regime, communist, who now emerge as pro western liberals, kurdish nationalists and Islamists.

In 2001 the islamists came to power after US-initiated economic crisis led to the downfall of the secularist government. Their failure as a government is not the subject of this blog. Later the US government more or less complained that these people had promised them support in the invasion of Iraq. Various western newspapers, like the economist still write very pro islamist articles. It can be inferred that this Islamist counter revolution is being supported for a quick Brest Litovsk. This week the islamists were proudly reporting that they had crossed the Rubicon. Considering what then happened in Rome this is not really a good idea.

The secularist are the Turkish middle class, a continuation of the Ottoman Upper class. These people lead good lives because they are qualified people and a part of the industrial economy. The Islamists are the poor and badly educated lower classes and some of the hate the middle class for wine, bikinis and secularism. The middle class includes members of all Ottoman nations, including a lot of assimilated Jews. There are few real jews left, most have either been assimilated of gone to Israel but it is calculated aroung 1 million people of partially Jewish blood, assimilated Jews, around the same proportion as the Jews in the US. This leads to the theory that this secularist middle class is controlled by Jews. Several years ago there were lists of which names were actually Jews. We know of course that some of our friends have Jewish blood and could not care less. But for these people secularism is a Jewish conspiracy as was the modernisation at the beginning of the 20the century. The Jews wanted to ruin the Ottoman Empire by modernisation so that they could grab Palestine. Today they are prosecuting the moslems. They control the army. Some people were very happy when last year when photographs of the chief of general staff, Turkey top soldier, praying at the wailing wall in Jerusalem were published.

The islamist are detremined to break this middle class for example by bankrupting all secularist led companies and puitting their party hacks into all possible positions. Recently the fired the editors of a science magazine for talking about Darwin, they are taking over everything they can. The main non government controlled newspaper is being forced to pay a 500 million dollar fine for a delay in paying 2,5 million dollar tax. Some of the European press are happy that a new elite is now replacing the Kemalist elites. They do not write what the Islamist press is writing about this middle class, which is word for word what the Nazis were writing about the Jewish controlled British and American Plutocracy.

So now they have crossed the Rubicon and the West supports them. Nasty agenda is an understatement.

art eckstein - 3/22/2009

Just the opposite--he argued that Jewish religion forbade the treatment of non-Jews!

omar ibrahim baker - 3/22/2009

SHAHAK vindicated!

art eckstein - 3/22/2009

So what? The point of treatment remains the same.

In addition not only do all Israeli hospitals treat Palestinians including the vile terrorists you love, Omar, but this is true of traditionally religious Jewish doctors. I've presented the testimony on this the last time you tried the slander.

Just give it up.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/22/2009

"This is traditional reasoning from the Middle Ages," and present day Israeli military establishment!

art eckstein - 3/22/2009

This is traditional reasoning from the Middle Ages, yes--which the vast majority of modern Jews would not accept; nevertheless, it still authorizes the treatment of non-Jews.

And as Omar well knows, the treating of non-Jews, including even Muslim terrorists who have intentionally killed innocents, occurs in Israeli hospitals without exception.

Shahak's argument was that Jews were forbidden by religion to treaty non-Jews, and didn't treat them. That was slander, which Omar happily accepts in the face of massive evidence.

Earlier on this thread Omar refused to provide evidence for an assertion, though repeatedly asked to provide it; now Omar implies something in the face of massive evidence.

Omar has to learn how to accept facts. Until he does, he will continue to humiliate himself.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/22/2009

“He (the military’s chief rabbi, Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki, who is himself a West Bank settler ) has also said that the main reason for a Jewish doctor to treat a non-Jew on the Sabbath, when work is prohibited but treating the sick and injured is expected, is to avoid exposing Diaspora Jews to hatred.”


N. Friedman - 3/21/2009

Thank you for the link.

art eckstein - 3/21/2009

Once more I unfortunately agree.

As to what's going on in Europe, everyone should also read the chiling article in this week's "Newsweek": "Jihad Chic comes to London." (March 23).

N. Friedman - 3/21/2009


That is my experience in the working world. However, things are, from what I can see, different in Europe. Such is part of their "wider" range of debate.

art eckstein - 3/21/2009

NF, I don't have much disagreement. I do think the transformation in Christianity in terms of respecting other religions in the last few decades has been fundamental (at least in most of the U.S.). I see it in my students. Meanwhile, Islam has unfortunately gone in exactly the opposite direction.

N. Friedman - 3/21/2009


Monotheistic religions tend to treat those outside the faith with less than perfect respect. Such is the polite way to say it.

In any event, it is certainly the case that both Islam and traditional Christianity hold people of other faiths with disrespect (although Christianity seems to be, to some extent, mending its ways in the last several decades). It is the case, to some extent, that Judaism disrespects people of other faiths as well although Judaism has the "righteous among the nations" concept - which other religions ought consider adopting in lieu of things like evangelicalism or dawa - that allows for non-Jews to be seen as good people.

Traditional Christianity had rather nasty things to say about other religions including, most especially (but not only), about Jews. And, some of early negative Christian attitudes about Jews were absorbed into Islam. Islam, however, has added its own particular list of attitudes to members of different faiths including particular nasty things regarding Jews.

art eckstein - 3/21/2009

Yep. Rayyan, the monster who sent his own teenaged son as a suicide bomber, said these things, and he was an important Hamas leader.

Oh--and so much (yet again) for Omar's claim that Muslims are required to show respect for other religions.

N. Friedman - 3/21/2009


Traditional themes are also worked into the mix, at least with respect to Hamas. Read this blog entry by Atlantic Magazine blogger Jeffrey Goldberg. Of particular interest is this passage:

What are our crimes? I asked Rayyan. "You are murderers of the prophets and you have closed your ears to the Messenger of Allah," he said. "Jews tried to kill the Prophet, peace be unto him. All throughout history, you have stood in opposition to the word of God."

The man quoted is Nizar Rayyan, who was, before his recent death, an important Hamas leader.

art eckstein - 3/21/2009

Shouting louder is not evidence, Omar.

And making the obvious point that there was a war on is not specific evidence that:

(a) the IDF knew that this was an air-raid shelter,
(b) knew it contained civilians, and
(c) bombed it intentionally.

That is your accusation. You have yet to provide specific evidence. Indeed, you seem stunned that anyone would actually ask for any. But that's how things are done around here at HNN.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/21/2009

You missed a
(d) that the Israeli Air Force bombed it (Qanaa) maliciously with the intent to KILL.

You can add that (d) to your litany requesting evidence for!

art eckstein - 3/21/2009

I don't think we are in disagreement.

One should note, however, that the current enormous and hate-filled wave of Islamic anti-semitism is not based on the traditional Muslim stereotype of the Jew as contemptible and weak. Just the opposite: its theme is that the Magic Jews are so powerful that they control the world (including the United States). This is an import from Europe. As you know, my colleague Jeffrey Herf is publishing a book with Yale University Press this autumn detailing the Nazi propaganda broadcasts to Egypt in 1939-1945, where the theme of the all-powerful Jew is so prominent.

This likely had an impact on, say, the Muslim Brotherhood, ancestor of both Hamas and al-Qaeda. They are Sunnis, but it seems also to have been picked up by Hezbollah, which, however, does not refrain from retailing Medieval anti-semitic myths such as Jews drinking the blook of gentile babies: al-Manar TV of Hezbollah broadcast this myth in a 29-episode TV series (!) during Ramadan 4 years ago. I think this myth too is, in origin, European.

The Islamicists have latched on to this myth of the evil Magic Jew as it provides them with a comprehensible reason for the success of Israel and the failure of its neighbors in every field including the miitary. That way, they don't have to look at the terrible defects of their own societies--incuding tyrannical and corrupt governemnts and an over-dependence on obscurantist religion...

art eckstein - 3/21/2009


Omar has no specific evidence that (a) the IDF knew that this was an air-raid shelter, (b) knew it contained civilians, and (c) bombed it intentionally.

N. Friedman - 3/21/2009


Again, proof requires evidence, not assertions.

No one doubts that Gaza has lots of civilians - men, women and children. That is a scenes à faire in any society. So your new argument for not providing evidence is an exceptionally poor one.

The issue in question, instead, regards specific allegations about specific concurrences. Such allegations remain mere allegations without evidence.

Prove Art Eckstein and me wrong that your MO is to assert outrageous things about Israel without a care in the world whether anything you say is true. You could begin to prove that by providing real evidence for things you assert.

At this point, I can only assume that your allegations are made up or something you heard but have not bothered to investigate.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/21/2009

Mr Friedman
Next you will be requesting evidence that Gaza :
a-has a great many civilians living in it
b-that those civilians do include women and children
-that the Israeli Air Force was aware of that!

N. Friedman - 3/20/2009


With due respect, what you have written is not evidence. What you have written consist of assertions that remain to be shown with evidence.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/20/2009

The prophetic capabilities of the MAP not only never fail to come to his rescue but do equally cloud his vision and play havoc with his comprehension abilities.
The answer to his request for evidence was given twice as;
"a-the outcry Qanaa 1 caused which left no doubt whatsoever about its nature as an AIR RAID SHELTER .
After Qanaa 1 and the almost universal outcry it caused is it conceivable that the Israeli Air Force STILL DID NOT know that it was an AIR RAID SHELTER??

b-AIR RAID SHELTERS , by definition, are meant to and do house , shelter, accommodate civilians ie PRIMARILY women and children."

N. Friedman - 3/20/2009


Again, what evidence do you have for what you assert? I see assertions but no evidence.

Stating that there was an outcry is not evidence. Suggesting that the Israeli military knew something is not evidence either.

Even if you have evidence of an outcry, the implications thereof do not necessarily include your assertion that the Israeli military was aware of the alleged outcry or, if aware, believed it. Where is the evidence for what the Israeli military knew and believed?

Consider: people scream all sorts of things. Not everything is heard and not everything screamed is true or, even more importantly, believed to be true. Knowledge about an enemy is never perfect. And, propaganda that uses the media is normal in wartime such that it is typically not believed.

And, in the case of Palestinian Arabs and others who support them, there is evidence of repeated fraudulent evidence being asserted. Remember the doctored pictures in the papers during the Lebanon war? Remember the same persons being shown as dead at more than one location? Etc., etc.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/20/2009

Answer :
a-the outcry Qanaa 1 caused which left no doubt whatsoever about its nature as an AIR RAID SHELTER .
After Qanaa 1 and the almost universal outcry it caused is it conceivable that the Israeli Air Force STILL DID NOT know that it was an AIR RAID SHELTER??

b-AIR RAID SHELTERS , by definition, are meant to and do house , shelter, accommodate civilians ie PRIMARILY women and children.

N. Friedman - 3/20/2009


So far as I know, such materials - just like anti-Jewish materials in the Christian sacred texts and seminal theological tracts - have been used repeatedly and for political and other purposes over the course of more than a thousand years. That does not mean they are in constant use.

Fahrettin is likely correct for two reasons. One. His described ancestry, if I understand correctly what he has previously written, was rather elite and thus had reading, political and social priorities other than religious orthodoxy.

Two. The details of the sacred texts were the province of the religious establishment which, it seems to me, occurs wherever religious establishments are able to have a primary political and social role in a country.

There is the further point about the Ottoman Empire which, if Bernard Lewis is correct, saw Jews as particularly useful - an intermediary between the Empire and Christian nations. So, there were political reasons to downplay, at least at times, the negative stereotypes and negative sacred stories related to Jews. In any event, Jews were a dhimmi group and seen as such - which is bad enough -, at least by the average person.

And, if memory serves me correctly, there were Jews who had been part of the political party seeking reform.

On the other hand, it was surely the case that there were established stereotypes specifically related to Jews. Lewis notes this in his books (e.g. Semites and Anti-Semites). To the extent that stereotypes can be discerned to be widespread, Jews were seen as hapless and worthy of contempt and such view was certainly reinforced by the religious authorities.

But, of course, that is not the same thing as suggesting that the people, elite or otherwise, typically knew every significant Hadith related to Jews. On that, Fahrettin has to be correct.

art eckstein - 3/20/2009

Re the air-raid shelter story, Omar has done what NF and I predicted he would do: instead of providing specific evidence about the three specific questions I asked, he simply shouted louder. Shouting is not evidence.

So, I repeat:

Omar, what is your EVIDENCE that (a) the IDF knew that this was an air-raid shelter, (b) knew it contained civilians, and (c) bombed it intentionally?

EVIDENCE, please.

art eckstein - 3/20/2009

This person will be investigated, Omar--as Ehud Barak has firmly said--not made into a national hero, like Samir the child-killer was, both by the PA and your friends in Hezbollah.

Do you understand the difference? It's the difference between civilization and savagery.

art eckstein - 3/20/2009

I agree with Mr. Tucker.

Charles Christopher Tucker - 3/20/2009

I do not believe that the civil authorities temper the hand of western religion. The First World War and the Second World War were massive losses of life that had nothing to do with religion. The Russian revolution and the following actions by Stalin were not caused by religion. The Maoist slaughters, the Cambodian communist slaughters, the many and varied African and South/Central American revolutions have taken life after life without one religion behind it.

It isn't western religion that continues to cause the loss of life. It is often the central clearing house for humanitarian efforts in the wake of secular actions.

Your claim that "the religious Right would do it, if we let them!" is also empty of fact.

There is no true parallel between the violence taught and sanctioned within Islam to be found in Christianity. Tiny enclaves are the best you will be able to offer. Enclaves that can't get 19 guys to show up for a training session, let alone run a long term sleeper cell.

Your argument lacks facts and argues in the face of true history.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/20/2009

A propos:
“When asked why that elderly woman was killed, a (Israeli) squad commander was quoted as saying: “What’s great about Gaza — you see a person on a path, he doesn’t have to be armed, you can simply shoot him. In our case it was an old woman on whom I did not see any weapon when I looked. The order was to take down the person, this woman, the minute you see her. There are always warnings, there is always the saying, ‘Maybe he’s a terrorist.’ What I felt was, there was a lot of thirst for blood.”
(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/world/middleeast/20gaza.html?hp )

omar ibrahim baker - 3/20/2009

" Omar, what is your EVIDENCE that (a) the IDF knew that this was an air-raid shelter, (b) knew it contained civilians, and " thus , once again, spake the MAP.
Answer :
a-the outcry Qanaa 1 caused which left no doubt whatsoever about its nature as an AIR RAID SHELTER .
After Qanaa 1 and the almost universal outcry it caused is it conceivable that the Israeli Air Force STILL DID NOT know that it was an AIR RAID SHELTER??

b-AIR RAID SHELTERS , by definition, are meant to and do house , shelter, accommodate civilians ie PRIMARILY women and children.

art eckstein - 3/19/2009

Dear Fahrettin and NF:

Nevertheless, the material was there in the Koran and the Hadith to be used, or misused. Now that is happening, in a tsunami of Muslim anti-semitism instigated in good part by ignorant or not-so-ignorant imams. And their political agenda also is a religious one; the anti-semitism is part of the rise of Islamicist totalitarian ideology, one of the tools in an attempt to fasten that ideology onto Muslim societies everywhere.

art eckstein - 3/19/2009


From what I've seen of Omar, I deduce the contrary: that where Omar comes from, the repetition of wild accusations in a louder and louder voice DOES constitute proof. It has to do with the "authenticity" or "sincerity" of emotion. It's an idea that has taken root in academe, too, unfortunately, as one of the origins of the idea that "everyone has his own truth."

I believe that with Omar we're dealing with a culture-clash, and one which is quite illuminating in its own gruesome way.

N. Friedman - 3/19/2009


Wild accusation do not constitute proof anywhere that facts matter, not just on HNN.

N. Friedman - 3/19/2009


I agree with you entirely. It is a political agenda at work here and it is a pretty nasty one.

art eckstein - 3/19/2009

Omar, what is your EVIDENCE that (a) the IDF knew that this was an air-raid shelter, (b) knew it contained civilians, and (c) bombed it intentionally?

Evidence, please!

My evidence about the vile Palestinian and Hezbollah exaltation of the vile child-murderer Samir Kuntar is the NY Times, July 17, 2008.

Now, Omar--Where is YOUR evidence? I remind you that repeating an accusation with even more ranting vehemence does NOT constitute "evidence" on HNN.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/19/2009

"Tragic accidents happen in war."
Thus spake the multiawarded Professor....
For the same unmistakable target?
Google Earth can tell that it is an AIR RAID SHELTER or at least that it is NOT a missile basis base ,
The Israeli Air Force with all the technology at its disposal can NOT tell the difference?
Unless of course it was an intentional "incidents"!

art eckstein - 3/19/2009

Mr. Powell:

The point is that in the real world the vile imams with their genocidal message, their hatred of women, and their totalitarian strictures, have far far more power in Islam than extremist Christians do here. If you worry about extremist Christians than you should worry 50 times more about these mullahs, because they have 50 times more influence.

That's the situation in the real world.

art eckstein - 3/19/2009

The face of Zionism is the Israeli govt, and they removed the statue and called Goldstein a terrorist.

It is a govt in which the settlers at the one place where the statue was set up are not a decisive force. Omar doesn't want the vile genocidal imams I quoted to be the true face of islam, though they have a far far larger following than Goldstein ever did.

Omar doesn't see the contradiction in his arguments--as usual.

Tragic accidents happen in war. But Omar also avoids the very widespread Palestinian death-cult exaltation of terrorists who *intentionally* kill women or old men, or children on school-buses, or the idolization of the murderer Samir Quntar, who killed a father before the eyes of his four year old daughter and then bashed the child's skull in. Though a Lebanese, Samir received honorary Palestinian citizenship from the PA in 2006, and received a hero's welcome from Omar's friends in Hezbollah when this intentional murderer of children was released in a prisoner-exchange.

Do you deny it, Omar??

Evan Shawn Powell - 3/19/2009

Ah, the "we are oh so more civilized now" argument. Has it occurred to you Mr. Tucker that our more secular goverments and cultures in the west as well as our freedoms create a society that deters what you accuse the Islamic world of?

The point really is not that any one religious group is more civilized or less violent than another. It is a matter of degree. Do you seriously believe that if given the appropriate amount of power the religious right would not behave as extremist muslims? There is inherent in religion an arrogance and you see it in Christianty just as you see it in Islam. The Christian right would jump at the chance to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. After all they are true Christians and have it all figured out and a mandate from God to top it off.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/19/2009

Israel is far too conscious of the importance of PR to let the statue, shrine etc to Goldstein stand.So it removed it.
The important thing is that it was ERECTED in the first place by SETTLERS: the true , unadorned face of Zionism.
Should a monument be ever erected to honour the murderers of women and children first "honours" should go to the Israeli Air Force the heros of Qanaa 1 and, having enjoyed it so much, repeated their exploits with Qanaa 2 to reap a total of some 300-350 women and children who had taken refuge in an AIR RAID SHELTER in Southern Lebanon!

art eckstein - 3/19/2009

1. Goldstein is no hero to the vast majority of Israelis. In 1999, following passage of a law designed to prohibit monuments to terrorists, and an associated Supreme Court ruling, the Israeli Army bulldozed the shrine and prayer area set up near Goldstein's grave. Source: CNN, 29 December 1999.

2. Omar, when are the Palestinians going to remove their THOUSANDS of monuments to the terrorists who killed women and children? Please answer.

3. Omar, Goldstein did not have a radio program that reached tens or hundreds of thousands. The genocidal imams cited by Melanie Phillips do. Get the difference?

art eckstein - 3/18/2009

It's unbelievable that Omar would bring up Israel Shahak again as a source on Zionist ideology, let alone Judaism.

Shahak has been proven several times and in great detail on HNN to be a distorter and a liar. However, since Shahak fits Omar's ideological straightjacket, Omar is happy to use him, even when he knows the truth about this man, even in the face of the multiple facts that have been presented about Shahak's claims.

Charles Christopher Tucker - 3/18/2009

Mr. Baker,

What the Catholics taught at one time has moved on.

That, to me, marks a significant difference between Islam and Christianity. Christianity's position on tolerance has evolved over the centuries while Islam codified the hatreds and intolerance at its birth.

While at various times Christians burned witches, held slaves and waged holy war that tradition has put those elements into the past, no matter how much muslims want to keep bringing it up.

Meanwhile Islam still executes those who covert. Islam still holds slaves. Islam still conducts holy war.

The people who proudly videotape themselves beheading others aren't Christians. The people who behead Buddhists aren't Christians. The people who sent teams of men to steal jet aircraft and ram them into buildings weren't Christians. The people who deny that Jews lived in Jerusalem for centuries prior to the birth of Islam aren't Christians.

Terrorism and Islam are entwined because of the actions of practitioners of Islam today and what they actively plan to do tomorrow.

Fahrettin Tahir - 3/18/2009

I was born and grew up in a moslem country and heard for the frist time that there were anti semitic mutterings by the prophet when I was 40. So wheras such stuff might exist, it is politics which determine if anybody works with them

omar ibrahim baker - 3/18/2009

Mr Green
Re your question to which no doubt you already know the answer(s):
1-Unfortunately, just like all followers of all other religions, some do NOT observe the commands of their religion.
Is that news to you ??
Does that surprise you?
Is that unique to Moslems?
Pray enlighten your readers!

2- The reuse of building materials and/or the sites of other , but mostly for Moslems of deserted and abandoned, places of worship is a recurring episode in history practiced by all. It is NOT unique to Islam.

Do you contend that that is a practice unique to Islam and Moslems?

However Islam has shown more respect to other monotheistic religions in the Koran and the Hadith than any other religion then, at its outset, and now.

With your pretensions of knowledge of things Arab and Moslem you must be familiar with Omar Ibn Al Khattab's, Mohamed’s second caliph, categorical rejection to pray in the Saint Sepulchure lest Moslems will appropriate it after his departure from Jerusalem and because it was NOT an abandoned Church.
He had a mosque, still standing, built next to it to pray in.

RE throwing of stones;
Are you familiar with ?, do you know of ?, the Jew man called Baruch Goldstein(?) from the adjoining religious (?) Jewish Settlement who killed some 17 Moslems while AT prayer in the Hebron Grand Mosque .

A Statue in his honour was erected by his fellow settlers to glorify his memory, celebrate and immortalize his act.
That, the statue, is more telling than your episode.
Of course you will come up with a PR savvy reply to justify his act.
But that will neither hide nor obscure the nature of his guiding confessional ideology.
(Israel Shahak had a great deal of quite interesting things about that guiding idelogy.You should read him.)

Elliott Aron Green - 3/18/2009

Omar, since you claim that Muslims are commanded by their religion to show respect for other religions, then how do you explain that Muslim worshippers on top of the Temple Mount threw stones down on Jewish worshippers below who were praying at an exposed section of the Western Wall, the western retaining wall of the ancient Temple Mount structure?? This happened on several occasions. Why do Muslims deny the Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount today?

Why is the `Umayyad Mosque in Damascus built into a former, pre-Islamic church? Why is the grand mosque in the city of Gaza an islamized Crusader church? To be sure, when the Crusaders built that church or cathedral, they reused structural members [stone columns] from an earlier Jewish synagogue. We know that because a Jewish dedicatory inscription was found carved in the stone of one of the columns on the upper tier. Now, why did Muslims grind off that carved inscription in recent years? After all, Muslims respect other religions.

Elliott Aron Green - 3/18/2009

Art and NF,
the hadith is about the Muslims killing the Jews at the End of Days, while the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees call out: O Muslim, a Jew is hiding behind me. Come kill him.

Most of this hadith appears in the Hamas Charter at the end of Article 7.

This hadith fable is found in --I believe- four different versions in the medieval hadith literature. I think that all four versions are found in DF Green, Les Juifs et Israel vus par les theologiens arabes [Geneva 1976]. I think that this booklet was also published in English but am not sure. It consists of statements made by Muslim religious scholars at The Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research held in September 1968 at al-Azhar Univ in Cairo.

omar ibrahim baker - 3/18/2009

Or of Christians accusing Jews of Murdering Jesus Christ and using Christian childrens’ blood in some of their rituals etc.

That is NOT the case of a double standard but the case Of a SINGLE standard: envy, hate and demonize your successor; particularly if he happens to have improved on THE universal message that you attempt vainly to monopolize.

One particular facet of Islam that demonstrates that Islam, in this respect, is far superior to his predecessors is that it acknowledges their "divine" message/mission and orders its followers to show due respect to them.
That broad mindedness enunciated some 1450 years ago is still missing in most affiliates and followers of both its predecessors.

Charles Christopher Tucker - 3/18/2009

Interesting title. Christians demonize Muslims is an old story?

How about the much older story of Muslims demonizing Jews.

How far back does that story go? Back to who? Oh, that's right, right back to the very foundation of Islam.

Then let's look at the other story about as old, Muslims demonizing pagans.

While there are periods in Islamic history where Muslims just enslaved Jews, subjecting them to humiliation, outright ownership and for religious based taxation Islam has no place for people who are not "of the book". Those include people like the Dali Lama. Being someone who is not "of the book" he would just be marked for death by Muslims.

N. Friedman - 3/17/2009

Hi Art,

Ms. Phillips overlooked the most important part of Muhammad Hussein Ya’qoub's rant. Read this:

Your belief regarding the Jews should be, first, that they are infidels, and second, that they are enemies. They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine. They would have been enemies even if they did not occupy a thing. Allah said: “You shall find the strongest men in enmity to the disbelievers [sic] to be the Jews and the polytheists.” Third, you must believe that the Jews will never stop fighting and killing us. They [fight] not for the sake of land and security, as they claim, but for the sake of their religion: “And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back you’re your religion, if they can.” This is it. We must believe that our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end until the final battle – and this is the fourth point. You must believe that we will fight, defeat, and annihilate them, until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth.

And note, we have an explanation of the Hadith in the Hamas Covenant. It turns out to be directed towards genocide, just as we have been claiming.

dan von kruger - 3/17/2009

this is properganda

art eckstein - 3/17/2009

Sunday, 15th March 2009, from Melanie Phillips:

Today we have from Egypt further evidence that the Islamist hatred of the Jews is not caused by Israel’s behaviour or even its existence. It’s caused by... hatred of the Jews. Here, Egyptian cleric Muhammad Hussein Ya’qoub raves:

If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not. We will never love them. Absolutely not. The Jews are infidels – not because I say so, and not because they are killing Muslims, but because Allah said: 'The Jews say that Uzair is the son of Allah, and the Christians say that Christ is the son of Allah. These are the words from their mouths. They imitate the sayings of the disbelievers before. May Allah fight them. How deluded they are.’ It is Allah who said that they are infidels.

"Your belief regarding the Jews should be, first, that they are infidels, and second, that they are enemies. They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine. They would have been enemies even if they did not occupy a thing. Allah said: 'You shall find the strongest men in enmity to the disbelievers [sic] to be the Jews and the polytheists.' Third, you must believe that the Jews will never stop fighting and killing us. They [fight] not for the sake of land and security, as they claim, but for the sake of their religion: 'And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back you’re your religion, if they can.'

This is it. We must believe that our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end until the final battle – and this is the fourth point. You must believe that we will fight, defeat, and annihilate them, until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth."

Egypt, let us not forget, is a ‘moderate’ Arab state that has a peace agreement with Israel. It is nevertheless a major source of barking-mad Jewish demonisation in the Arab world. Here is Egyptian Cleric Salama Abd Al-Qawi warning Muslims against the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – the notorious Czarist forged claim that the Jews covertly rule the world -- and many US companies :

"They [the Jews]began conspiring to annihilate the Islamic and Arab nation, to plunder its resources, and to destroy its youth. Regretfully, the plots they hatched are being implemented today in detail. One of their conspiracies, which stemmed from their black hatred, was to gain control over the entire global economy, bringing the world under their thumb. So they founded huge companies, which, like spiders, send their webs all over the world. The main goal of these companies was to erase Islamic identity.

... Many basic products, which may be found in many Muslim households, like the Ariel, Tide, and Persil laundry detergents, are made by Zionist companies. The Coca Cola and Pepsi companies and all their products – Seven Up, Miranda, Fania, and all these products, all the carbonated beverages, with very few exceptions that don't bear mention... Almost all the carbonated beverages are Zionist-American products.

[...] Some restaurants, I'm sad to say, are teeming with Muslim youth, and their safes are full of the money of Muslims... McDonalds is Jewish-Zionist, Kentucky Fried Chicken is Jewish-Zionist, Little Caesar, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Burger King... By the way, all these products, which I have mentioned... In addition, there is a new type of coffee these days... All these are pure Zionist products, especially what is known as Starbucks, the well-known coffee. It is Zionist."

Ah yes, Starbucks: home of the Zionist genocidal apartheid bean. In January, Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi brought viewers of al Nas TV urgent news about the Starbucks logo:

"Has any of you ever wondered who this woman with a crown on her head is? Why do we boycott Starbucks? ... The girl on the Starbucks logo is Queen Esther. Do you know who Queen Esther was and what the crown on her head means? This is the crown of the Persian Kingdom. This queen is the queen of the Jews. She is mentioned in the Torah, in the Book of Esther. The girl you see is Esther, the queen of the Jews in Persia...

Can you believe that in Mecca, Al-Madina, Cairo, Damascus, Kuwait, and all over the Islamic world, hangs the picture of beautiful Queen Esther, with a crown on her head, and we buy her products.[...]We want Starbucks to be shut down throughout the Arab and Islamic world. We want it to be shut down in Mecca and in Al-Madina. I implore King Abdallah bin Abd Al-‘Aziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques: It is inconceivable that in Mecca and Al-Madina, there will be a picture of Queen Esther, the queen of the Jews."

As anyone can see, however, the female figure in the Starbucks logo has two fish tails. This is a clue that she is not Esther, queen of the Jews in Persia. She is instead a twin-tailed siren of Greek mythology. This is because the company is apparently named in part after Starbuck, Captain Ahab’s first mate in the book Moby Dick.

What we are up against within the Islamic world is quite simply a wholesale negation of reason; nothing less.