European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, Franco Frattini, who is the European Union (EU) official responsible "for combating racism and Antisemitism in Europe," as reported by The Jerusalem Post 2/2/08, has revealed that Muslims are responsible for fully half (50%) of the documented Antisemitic incidents on the European continent.
These 2007/2008 data are in turn consistent with previous findings from 2006 on the excess prevalence of frank Antisemitism reported amongst European Muslims, published in The Journal of Conflict Resolution by Yale University biostatistician Dr. Edward H. Kaplan, and Dr. Charles A. Small of the Yale Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism. ("Anti-Israel Sentiment Predicts Antisemitism in Europe" Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2006, Vol. 50, pp. 548-561.)
Drs. Kaplan and Small examined the views of 5004 Europeans, roughly 500 individuals sampled from each of 10 European Union countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom). The authors' main publicized results confirmed their (rather commonsensical) a priori hypothesis: anti-Israel sentiments strongly and independently predicted the likelihood that an individual was Antisemitic in a graded manner, i.e., the more anti-Israel (on a scale of zero to 4), the more a person was likely to be Antisemitic.
But a much more striking and relevant finding in light of the burgeoning Jew hatred now evident in Europe's Muslim communities, received much less attention: in a controlled comparison to European Christians (as the "referent" group), European Muslims were nearly eightfold (i.e., 800%) more likely to be overtly Antisemitic. [emphasis added] ("Anti-Israel Sentiment Predicts Antisemitism in Europe," p. 557 and Table 3, p. 558.) Furthermore, in light of the Pew Global Attitudes Project data on Muslim attitudes toward Jews in Islamic countries, the Yale study likely underestimated the extent of Antisemitism amongst Europe's Muslim communities, had more poorly educated, less acclimated European Muslims been sampled. Pew's earlier international survey indicated ("The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other", Pew Global Attitudes Project, June 22, 2006.),
"In the Muslim world, attitudes toward Jews remain starkly negative, including virtually unanimous unfavorable ratings of 98% in Jordan and 97% in Egypt. Muslims living in Western countries have a more moderate view of Jews - still more negative than positive, but not nearly by the lopsided margins that prevail in Muslim countries."
Mr. Frattini mentioned these alarming new EU data on the disproportionate occurrence of overt Antisemitic acts by European Muslims in a conversation with Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs Isaac Herzog last week. Both men were attending the Second European Union-Israel Seminar for Combating Racism and Antisemitism, in Jerusalem. Herzog, who coordinates Israeli government activities in combating anti-Semitism at the cabinet level, opined that it was "...not new that Frattini relates a large percentage of Antisemitic incidents to radical Islam [emphasis added], and it's important to say, not Islam [emphasis added] as such." But Mr. Herzog's conjectural distancing of Muslim antisemitism from "Islam," wishfully attributing it to so-called "radical Islam," defies volumes of doctrinal evidence from Islam's foundational texts, and jurisprudence, more than a millennium of Islamic history, and endless commonplace, common sense observations, past and present. For example, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi wrote these words in his 700 page treatise documenting and rationalizing Muslim Jew hatred, Banu Isra'il fi al-Qur'an wa al-Sunna [Jews in the Qur'an and the Traditions], originally published in the 1970s, and then re-issued in 1986/87:
"[The] Qur'an describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah, corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people's wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness...only a minority of the Jews keep their word....[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims, the bad ones do not. (Qur'an 3:113)"
Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by being named Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in 1996, a position he still holds. These are the expressed, "carefully researched" views on Jews held by the nearest Muslim equivalent to a Pope -- the head of the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, Sunnis representing some 85% of the world's Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi has not mollified such hatemongering beliefs since becoming the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his statements on the Jews as "enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs", the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews, or "dialogue" with Jews (just below), make clear:
"...anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward. My stance stems from Allah's book [the Qur'an], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews...[I] wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah. I still believe in everything written in that dissertation." [i.e., from above, in Banu Isra'il fi al-Qur'an wa al-Sunna]
Tantawi's case illustrates the prevalence and depth of sacralized, "normative" Jew hatred in the contemporary Muslim world. Arguably Islam's leading mainstream cleric, Tantawi embodies how the living legacy of Muslim anti-Jewish hatred, and violence remains firmly rooted in mainstream, orthodox Islamic teachings, not some aberrant vision of "radical Islam."
Indeed, the modern pronouncements and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church stand in stark relief. Professor Phillip Cunningham (in, "Education for Shalom: Religion Textbooks and the Enhancement of the Catholic-Jewish Relationship," 1995, p. 39) summarized the principal features of the Second Vatican Council's "Declaration of the Relationship of The Church to Non-Christian Religions" (Nostre Aetate), issued in 1965, for example, as follows:
"Nostre Aetate rejected key elements of the ancient anti-Jewish tradition. ‘The Jews' were not guilty of the crucifixion, had not been renounced by God, were not under a wandering curse, and their covenantal bond with God endured."
Thus it is now unimaginable (and of course did not occur) that then Cardinal Ratzinger, twenty years prior to being elected Pope Benedict, could have written a 700 page treatise detailing and rationalizing the most virulent anti-Jewish motifs extant in Christian theology, which he continued to extol unashamedly (and for eternity), while Pope. Sadly, what is unimaginable in Christendom, has not only occurred -- witness Sheikh Tantawi-but passes virtually without recognition in the Islamic world of today.
The intellectually honest assessment and understanding of Islamic antisemitism, and the anti-Jewish violence it begets must begin with an unapologetic analysis of the motifs of Jew hatred contained in the foundational texts of Islam (i.e., Koran, hadith, and sira), while identifying those, like Sheikh Tantawi, who continue to preach and sanction this religious bigotry, regardless of their "stature.