By Tova Dvorin
Hatred of Jews prevents the Muslim world from dealing with internal problems, a German-Egyptian scholar stated in March - and urged Muslims to focus on learning from the past rather than repeating it.
Hamed Abdel-Samad spoke at length about the subject on a lecture posted on the internet on March 21. His comments were translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
"Today, we will talk about Islamic fascism and the Jews," he began. "We have had a fixation about the Jews since the inception of Islam, and this fixation refuses to come to an end."
"The Jews have always been small in number, but they cause us some mental reaction and we cannot get them out of our mind."
Abdel-Samad noted that anti-Semitic literature pervades Egyptian libraries.
"When I was studying in Cairo, two of the most popular books that I used to see in libraries and on the streets were Hitler's Mein Kampf, which was banned in Germany because of its racism, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is a forgery," he said. "Without even checking, we accept it as a historical fact. This was one of the first books to be translated into Arabic in modern times."
"It is shameful that before translating Kant, Spinoza, Descartes, Rousseau, John Locke, or David Hume, the masters of the Enlightenment, we translated the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in order to use it to fuel our hatred towards the Jews," he continued. "Do you know when The Protocols was translated into Arabic? In 1929 - before the State of Israel was established and before anyone was even thinking about it."
The scholar then noted that Muslim prayer includes curses against other religions - and that Muslims would storm international organizations and legislative bodies worldwide to condemn other religions in the event other religions cursed Islam.
"Ask all the interpreters, and they will tell you that "those who incur the wrath" are the Jews, and that "those who have gone astray" are the Christians," he said. "But, of course, ours is a religion of tolerance, and Islam accepts all the religions, right?"
"This is hypocrisy."
Abdel-Samad then pointed out Islam's Jewish roots.
"The Jews have caused a crisis for Islamic identity right from the start, because they were the model," he explained." It is from the Jews that Muhammad borrowed the notion of legislation."
"Were the notions of legislation, shari'a, and so on familiar in the Arabian Peninsula? There were norms, and that's it. They weren't even written in any book. But when Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Al-Madina, he began to see what the Jews were doing, and to copy some things from them."
"You ban pork? What a great idea! I'll ban pork too. There weren't any pigs in the area anyway. The Arabs did not live on pork or anything, but Muhammad would do anything to ingratiate himself upon the Jews."
"He was trying so hard to ingratiate himself upon them that he borrowed their direction of prayer and said: We will pray towards Jerusalem. Jerusalem bore no significance whatsoever for the Arabs. Why Jerusalem of all places? He chose the place that was holy to the Christians and the Jews."
The scholar also ripped apart the Islamic view that Jews are less than human.
"Another issue that is similar in fascism, Nazism, and Islam is the view that Jews are like animals," he said. "Hitler used to call them ungeziefer in German, or "pests." In Nazi publications, they used to draw them as mice."
"Likewise, when Muhammad had had enough of them, he called them "apes and pigs" and "the worst beasts in the eyes of Allah." By "the worst beasts in the eyes of Allah" he meant the Jews."
"He lowered them to a subhuman level, viewing them as animals. What do you do with animals? You slaughter it, you sell it, you ride it. This is the logic with which Islam treats not only the Jews, but non-Muslims in general."
Mohammed's successor, Omar ibn Al-Khattab, drafted the "Pact of Omar," which - like Hitler - identified Jews and Christians with a badge and specific dress, he added.
Abdel-Samad ripped apart the idea that the conflict is 'Israeli-Palestinian' - not Arab-Jewish.
"The Prophet Muhammad vowed that Judgment Day would not come unless the Muslims fight the Jews," he said. "Imagine that Israel came to you today and said: "Man, take Jerusalem. Take Haifa and Tel Aviv as well." Would that be the end of our enmity with them? In that case, we would miss out on Judgment Day."
"Our Lord linked Judgment Day with our conflict with the Jews. The story is not about land, occupation, and rights. The source of the crisis is that we do not view these people as humans."
The scholar concluded by imploring the Muslim community to choose humanity over hatred - and noted he himself believes this, and was not being paid off by any special interest groups to say it.
"I'm saying this because this hatred is poisoning us," he said. "We have wasted vast efforts on this hatred. We have invested a lot in this hatred. This hatred prevents us from dealing with our problems in a serious way."
"You always need an enemy on which to pin all your catastrophes," he continued. "Anything that happens to you is a conspiracy. Whenever something does not work your way, the Jews are the cause. It's much easier this way."
"We should get rid of this hatred, not for the benefit of the Jews and Israelis, but for our own sake. Instead of poisoning one generation after another with this hatred, we should let them learn something from humanity. They should overcome the barrier of hatred and of fear of the other. We should view all human beings as human beings."