Islam And The Rise Of Violent Anti-Semitism
Read the whole essay as posted at Gates of Vienna, which begins:
This is the third in a series of articles by John J. O’Neill exploring the role that Islam played in the destruction of classical European civilization.
* Islam and the Dark Age of Byzantium
* How Muslim Piracy Changed the World
Islam and the Rise of Violent Anti-Semitism
by John J. O’Neill
In my newly-published book, Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization, I argue at length that a great majority of the things commonly regarded as “Medieval” were in fact introduced to Europe from Islam, and that it was Islam, and not the Huns, Vandals and Goths, which terminated Classical Civilization, the rational and humane civilization of Greece and Rome. This civilization survived in Europe and in North Africa and the Near East until the seventh century, at which point it was terminated by the Muslim conquests.
By the late seventh century, and certainly by the eighth, Islamic ideas began to penetrate Europe, where they had a profound influence. European Christians, for example, began to think, for the first time, in terms of “Holy War,” an idea that would have been unthinkable in earlier centuries. There is strong circumstantial evidence that they began also to influence European thinking about the Jews.
Anti-Semitism of course preceded the rise of both Christianity and Islam; and Christianity itself had a long history of antagonism towards Jews well before the appearance of Islam. The antagonism was mutual, and Jewish leaders were in the early centuries as vociferous in their condemnation of Christianity as Christian leaders were of Judaism. Serious violence between the two groups was however uncommon; and the first real pogrom launched by Christians against the Jews in Europe did not happen until the beginning of the First Crusade, in 1096. But this was not the first pogrom against Jews in Europe; an event which occurred in Cordoba in Spain in 1011. This was followed by another outbreak of mass-murder in Granada in 1066. Neither massacre was carried out by Christians, however, but by Muslims.
If we look for the origin of violent anti-Semitism in Europe, we must look to Spain.
Europe’s largest Jewish community was located in Spain. Following the Islamic conquest of that land in 711, the Jews came under the domination of a faith that was from its inception virulently and violently anti-Jewish. For Muslims the lead was given by none other than their founder, the Prophet Muhammad. It would be superfluous to enumerate the anti-Jewish pronouncements in the Koran and the Haditha, where the Hebrews are portrayed as the craftiest, most persistent and most implacable enemies of Allah. In the Koran (2: 63-66) Allah transforms some Jews who profaned the Sabbath into apes: “Be as apes despicable!” In Koran 5: 59-60, He directs Muhammad to remind the “People of the Book” about “those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil.” Again, in 7: 166, we hear of the Sabbath-breaking Jews that “when in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibitions,” Allah said to them, “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.”
From the same sources we know that Muhammad’s first violent action against the Jews involved the Qaynuqa tribe, who dwelt at Medina, under the protection of the city. Muhammad “seized the occasion of an accidental tumult,” and ordered the Qaynuqa (or Kainoka) to embrace his religion or fight. In the words of Gibbon, “The unequal conflict was terminated in fifteen days; and it was with extreme reluctance that Mahomet yielded to the importunity of his allies and consented to spare the lives of the captives.” (Decline and Fall, Chapter 50) In later attacks on the Jews, the Hebrew captives were not so fortunate.
The most notorious of all Muhammad’s attacks against the Jews was directed at the Banu Quraiza tribe. This community, which dwelt near Medina, was attacked without warning by the Prophet and his men, and, after its defeat, all the males over the age of puberty were beheaded. Some Islamic authorities claim that Muhammad personally participated in the executions. The doomed men and boys, whose numbers are estimated at anything between 500 and 900, were ordered to dig the trench which was to be their communal grave. All of the women and children were enslaved, with Muhammad personally taking for himself one of the most beautiful of the prisoners. He also confiscated the property of the murdered Jews. These deeds are mentioned in the Koran as acts carried out by Allah himself and fully sanctioned by divine approval. Thus in Koran 33:26-27, we read:
And he brought those of the People of the Book [Jewish people of Banu Qurayza] who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts, some of them you slew (beheaded) and some you took prisoners (captive). And he made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things...
Read the whole thing, then pass it on.