Islam Denounces Anti-Semitism
In our times anti-Semitism is an ideology which threatens world peace and targets the well-being and security of innocent people. In the 20th century, anti-Semitism has signed its name to great disasters, one of the most horrible being the cruelty and murder inflicted by the Nazis on the Jews. Besides this, in many countries authoritarian regimes have targeted Jews and subjected them to cruel treatment. Fascist organizations have harassed Jews and arranged bloody attacks against them.
So, how should a Muslim regard anti-Semitism?
The answer is obvious. Every Muslim must oppose anti-Semitism as he would oppose every other racist ideology; he must resist this ideology of hatred and defend the rights of Jews as he would defend the rights of all other people.
A basic fact that must be appreciated about anti-Semitism is that it is a pagan creed that no Muslim could ever espouse. In order to make this clear, we must examine the roots of anti-Semitism. When we examine recorded history, we see that Indo-European peoples from ancient times always believed in paganism. The Greek and Roman civilizations, the Teutons, Vikings and other Barbarian peoples living in southern Europe at that time were all polytheistic pagans. These people who ruled Europe encountered monotheism through Jesus, a prophet sent to Semitic people who are basically made up of Arabs, Jews and a few other Middle Eastern ethnic groups. Sent as a prophet to the children of Israel, the teaching of Jesus spread throughout Europe in the course of time and all the formerly pagan peoples gradually accepted Christianity.
But in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the weakening of Christianity and the growth of ideologies and philosophies that promoted the rejection of religion, a strange current of thought circulated in Europe - Neo-Paganism. The leaders of this movement claimed that European societies must reject Christianity and return to ancient pagan beliefs. One of the most important representatives of this trend is also one of the greatest theorists of Fascism- Friedrich Nietzsche. He hated Christianity; he believed that it had destroyed the warlike spirit of the German people, that is, it's very essence.
The adherents of Neo-Paganism were hostile to Christianity; at the same time, they adopted a great hatred for Judaism which they saw as the source of Christianity. Indeed, they saw Christianity as the disseminator of Jewish ideas throughout the world and regarded it as a kind of Jewish plot.
So, this Neo-Paganism, on the one hand incited hostility against religion and, on the other, gave birth to fascism and anti-Semitism. Especially when we look at the foundations of Nazi ideology, we can see clearly that Hitler and his confreres were, in fact, pagans.
The Nazi hatred for Jews was a part of this ideology that was hostile to religion. Nazis who hated Christianity saw it as a "Jewish plot." That Jesus, a prophet of Israeli origin, should be loved and revered by Germans, who regarded themselves as the "master race," was for them unthinkable. For the Nazis, it was not a prophet of Israeli origin that would be a guide for Germans, but the barbarous and cruel warriors of pagan German culture.
Anti-Semitism is an anti-religion ideology that has its roots in Neo-Paganism. Therefore, it is unthinkable that a Muslim would espouse anti-Semitism or feel sympathy for this ideology. Anti-Semites have no respect for Abraham, Moses or David who were blessed prophets chosen by God to be examples for humanity.
Anti-Semitism and other kinds of racism (e.g. prejudice against Blacks) have no place in true religion; they are perversions arising from various ideologies and superstitions.
Furthermore, when we examine anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, we see clearly that they promote ideas and a model of society that is totally contrary to the moral teachings of the Qur'an, for example, at the root of anti-Semitism lie hatred, violence, and lack of compassion. An anti-Semite may be so cruel as to support the murder of Jewish people without distinguishing between women, children and the aged, and condone their being subjected to torture. However, the moral teaching of the Qur'an enjoins love, compassion and mercy for all people. It also commands Muslims to show justice and be forgiving even to their enemies.
On the other hand, anti-Semites and other kinds of racists balk against living together in peace with people of different race or creed. However, in the Qur'an, there is not the slightest distinction between races; the Qur'an advises that people of different faiths live together in the same society in peace and happiness.
In a Muslim's outlook on the world, one of his basic criteria is justice. No matter whom he may oppose, he cannot depart from justice. He acts not according to his feelings, but with his reason and conscience. He removes himself from fanaticism and bigotry, and makes his decisions according to reason.
What God teaches us in the Qur'an about different peoples and creeds is clear:
1. The morality of the Qur'an excludes every kind of racism.
The picture we hope to see in the Middle East is one of the Jewish people of Israel living in peace with Muslims—and Christians—in the Middle East. It is a fact that Israel's Jewish population has the right to live in one part of Palestine, in the land of their forefathers. The only way for that right to be enjoyed without violating the rights of others (the rights of the Palestinians, for example) is for Israel to adopt a state philosophy which protects the rights of Palestinian Arabs, instead of an aggressive, occupationist and colonialist policy. In the long term, the salvation of the region lies in a model which will bring peace and stability to the Middle East, and different communities sharing the same lands free of enmity by respecting each other's rights and beliefs. A model built on that basis will bring peace and security to all peoples of the region.
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