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memri
July 8, 2019 No.
8158

International Union Of Muslim Scholars Head: The True Victims Of Antisemitism Today Are Islam And The Muslims

On June 25, 2019, Dr. Ahmed Al-Raissouni, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), reposted on the organization's website an article he wrote in 2003 on the subject of antisemitism. In this article he claims that accusations of antisemitism have become a deadly weapon in the West that is used to stifle freedom of thought, expression and research. This weapon, he explains, is used against figures who criticize Israel or various "Western and Jewish positions," causing them to be maligned and sometimes even prosecuted or fired from their posts. As an example he mentions Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, who faced a "vicious campaign" based on the "routine accusation" of antisemitism. This is presumably a reference to the harsh criticism incurred by bin Mohamad in 2003 after he said at an October 16 summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that "the Jews rule this world by proxy" and "get others to fight and die for them," adding that "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews" but must find a way to "strategize and then to counter attack."[1] Al-Raissouni also mentions French philosopher Roger Garaudy, who in 1998 was prosecuted for Holocaust denial under French law for challenging the veracity of the Holocaust in his 1996 book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics.

The article goes on to say that, despite the excessive rights, status and sympathy gained by the Jews as a result of the deeds of the Nazis, the Zionist movement continues to make accusations of antisemitism at every opportunity. This, despite the fact that the real antisemitism today is not directed against Jews but rather at Islam and the Muslims, who are the ones who now face hate campaigns and require protection from them.

It should be noted that the IUMS is supported not only by Qatar but also by Turkey. In an interview with Al-Raissouni on Al-Jazeera in November 18, 2018, shortly after he replaced Al-Qaradawi as the head of the IUMS, he revealed that Qatar has supported the organization since its inception and that Turkey now funds it as well, and said: "There is nothing wrong with that and we don't hide it. On the contrary, we are proud of it and we urge all the countries to follow in the footsteps of those two."[2]

The following are excerpts from Al-Raissouni's article.[3]


Dr. Ahmed Al-Raissouni (source: Raissouni.ma)

"Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad was subjected to a vicious campaign by several Israeli and Western politicians and journalists, [just] for criticizing the aggressive Israeli policy against the Palestinian people and Arab countries, and for criticizing some Western and Jewish positions toward Islam and the Muslims.[4] The routine accusation directed at the Malaysian politician, which was the basis for the campaign [against him], was the famous accusation of 'antisemitism.' Swiss Muslim intellectual Dr. Tariq Ramadan was subjected to a similar hostile campaign, which was joined several days ago by some French intellectuals and writers who hurled the old-new accusation of antisemitism at him for criticizing them and their ideas that are tainted with narrowmindedness, sectarianism and racism.[5]

"In the West and especially in France, the accusation of antisemitism has become a deadly weapon against freedom of expression and thought, and even against freedom of scientific and historical research. It is a stain cast upon modernism, liberty, rationalism and democracy, for [look] how many religious scholars, intellectuals and researchers [there are] whose studies have been banned and ideas have been suppressed. Some were [even] prosecuted, such as Muslim French philosopher Roger Garaudy, and others were fired from their university posts, and the list of victims goes on and on.

"In the past year, several Moroccan intellectuals tried to pass a law in Morocco against what they called antisemitism. It is as if they cannot stand the idea that there is something in France – even something disgraceful – that they do not have in Morocco...

"We know that the Jews of the world have gained unequaled status, influence and privilege, not only in the West but also in all the Arab and Muslim countries. They sometimes enjoy privileges, protection and security that no other sector or sect in society enjoys, including the [sectors] that constitute the vast majority... 

"Given [the Jews'] exalted and comfortable status in the world, one would expect the notion of antisemitism to disappear. This notion arose in response to Nazism, Fascism and other racist European currents, which have [since] been replaced with [the tendency to] glorify the Jews and grant them privileges and financial and moral compensation. But the Zionist movement insists on making useless efforts to keep the Jews and others under its pressure, and in order to serve its plans, and continues to wave the sword of antisemitism at the entire world.

"The truth is that the real antisemitism today is that which is directed at Arabs and Muslims and at anyone with Arab, eastern or Middle Eastern features. Today, such features are reason enough to behave toward these people with hostility, abuse them, arrest them, provoke them, and expel them. Today's antisemitism takes the form of expelling female students, teachers, administrators and even parliament members just because they cover their hair [with a hijab]. Today's antisemitism [takes the form of] hatred for the Semitic faith, namely the religion of Islam... Is there not a huge wave of hate and hostility against the Semitic religion and everything associated with it? If there is any room left in the world for the values of tolerance, for the struggle against oppression and racism and for criminalizing antisemitism, they must be used to protect Islam and the Muslims, who have become the victims of hatred, accusations and persecution [targeting] their religion, dress code, intentions, ideas and all their other rights. Antisemitism exists today only against Islam and the Muslims. It is hatred against the Semitic nation and the Semitic faith."

 


[1] Outlookindia.com, October 18, 2003.

[2] Aljazeera.net, November 18, 2018.

[3] Iumsonline.org, June 25, 2019. The article was originally posted on Al-Raissouni's website (raissouni.net) on October 24, 2003.

[4] Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad's antisemitic rhetoric is not confined to his abovementioned remarks at the OIC conference. In a 1970 book, he wrote that "the Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively." He made a similar statement in a 2018 BBC interview, in which he also disputed the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust (theguardian.com October 2, 2018). In  blog posts in 2012, he repeated the claim that the Jews control the world, and also accused Israel of showing "Nazi cruelty" not only to its enemies but even toward any of its allies who criticize its conduct toward the Palestinians (thejc.com, January 19, 2017).

[5] In 1999, Ramadan was widely criticized for writing an essay attacking several “French Jewish intellectuals” – including Bernard-Henri Lévy, Alain Finkielkraut, Bernard Kouchner, André Glucksmann and Pierre-André Taguieff (who is in fact not Jewish) – on the grounds that their tribal identity as Jews had caused them to become knee-jerk defenders of Israel and thus to “relativize the defense of universal principles of equality and justice” (nytimes.com, February 4, 2007).