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Friday, January 20, 2006

The mainstreaming of Islamic anti-semtism

The Islamic world is far from monolithic. There are reform-minded Muslims, progressive Muslims, and pragmatic Muslims whose focus is in improving their communities.

Since Islam and Judaism are very similar in many ways, I have never jumped on the anti-Islam bandwagon that many right-wing bloggers occupy. On a purely religious outlook level, the two religions have many similar worldviews and goals, and I am dismayed that there isn't more cooperation between the two in matters of mutual interest.

Despite these similarities, and despite the oft-repeated Muslim refrain of how they have no problem with Jews but only Zionism, it is amazing how much instiutionalized anti-semitism has crept into the thoughts of moderate and mainstream Islam. It is no surprise that Jew-haters use Zionism as a code-word for Judaism, but even thoughtful Muslims have it branded on their psyches.

One example is from an Indian Muslim publication, the Milli Gazette, which has many articles about women's rights in Islam and similar topics. But when the topic turns towards Israel or indeed politics altogether, all semblance of logic and reason fly out the window.

One classic example is this article trying to differentiate between terror and "resistance." Almost hilariously the author tries to say that Muslims fighting in Kashmir for territory is terrorist and couterproductive but Muslims blowing up Jewish women and children are justified resistance.

A side comment in an article about Indian communists and Israel betrays the deep-seated anti-semitism of today's Islam:
Israel’s Zionist strategies are not always adopted by the US administration, though at the moment the American Zionist neo-cons do have practically sewed up US administration to their own world-view of total domination of the third world through the use of brutal force, under various spurious pretexts.
Here we see two things:
  • The classic language of anti-semitism has been entirely replaced by the veneer of anti-Zionism, which even otherwise educated Muslims swallow whole, and
  • No matter how much wishful thinking Israel's liberal friends display, there is no way that any sort of Jewish state would ever be accepted by the vast majority of Muslims.
This is not the only progressive Muslim publication that turns completely blind when the topic is Israel; Muslim Wake-Up! is another.

Here is one fundamental difference between Jews and Muslims - it is easy to find Jews who passionately hate Israel (see part 6) and hard to find Muslims who passionately hate Palestinian terrorists.