May 27, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 913

Saudi Columnist: We Must Discuss Why We Hate the Jews

May 27, 2005
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 913

In the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi columnist Hussein Shubakshi discusses the Arab world's hatred of Jews. The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

"The Extent of Tremendous Hatred of the Jews is Baffling"

"…The extent of tremendous hatred of the Jews is baffling. Therefore we ask, 'Why do we hate the Jews?'

"The immediate answer will be: 'No, we don't hate the Jews, we hate the Zionists.' [But] this is nonsense. We don't hear [preachers saying in their sermons,] 'Oh Allah, destroy the Zionists, the Zionist enterprise, the offspring of Herzl, and the Basel plan.' Is our current hatred of the Jews the result of the political situation in general and the Palestinian problem in particular? This is a pivotal and important question, and must be answered honestly.

"A few days ago, one of the Saudi newspapers did a nice inquiry on vestiges of Jews in the Al-Ahsaa region in the Arab Peninsula [in eastern Saudi Arabia]. Is it possible that there were traces of Jews in the Arab Peninsula, and that they lived amongst us? The answer is, of course, yes. There is much evidence proving that in more than one Arab country, [Muslims] lived normally alongside Jews, and that [the Jews] studied and worked like the rest of the residents of that country."

The Prophet Muhammad Had Good Relations with the Jews

"Therefore, the matter requires another explanation. This is particularly true since the Prophet Muhammad's relations with the Jews were clear. He made agreements with them, stood [in respect] at the funeral of one of them, maintained relations with them, married a Jewess, and entrusted his armor to his Jewish neighbor and asked about this Jew when he was missing and sick.

"Our religion permits us to eat the Jews' food, trade with them, and marry them. So what is the issue? If we know the scope of the problem, and the true reason why the Jews have become this great monster, and [if we understand] how this has spread to the point where they have become the reason for every catastrophe, then we will be able to understand the idea of dividing [human beings] into groups …

"There are Saudis who studied with Jews, were taught by Jewish teachers, and were treated by Jewish doctors. They tell good and normal stories about relations with the Jews – relations that broke the emotional barrier built long ago regarding relations with the Jews.

"It should suffice us to hear a Saudi saying: 'My son was treated for cancer by a Jewish doctor, nobly and morally, and there is someone who wants me to hold hatred and animosity [against this Jew] in my heart, and to curse him at night. I will never do this. There is a huge difference between the contaminated Zionism that abuses Palestine and its sons and carries out atrocities and crimes, and [this] divine religion and its sons.'

"Once, the Muslims knew it, and treated the Jews according to [Koranic] verse [7:159]: 'And of Moses's people there is a party who guided (people) with the truth, and thereby do justice.' Jews attained top posts in the Umayyad state – like [Rabbi Moses] Ben Maimon, who attained the post of first minister to the caliph [ sic ].

"I know that a subject like this launches a debate – but, with Allah's help, it is a debate whose aims are good. There is great benefit for us in such a reexamination – and an answer to the question of why we hate the other."

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), May 16, 2005.

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