Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Justice Department, US Attorney Meet with Muslim Leaders Linked to Hamas - Joe Kaufman

by Joe Kaufman

Government agencies look to provide CAIR and friends with money.

Last month, the United States Justice Department convened a meeting at the US Attorney’s Office in Miami with leaders of the South Florida Muslim community. These leaders comprised those who have ties to the terrorist group Hamas. The meeting, which took place January 21st, signaled a dangerous embrace of our government with those who would wish us and our overseas allies harm.

The Muslim participants of the event, titled ‘Community Resilience Meeting,’ included: Nezar Hamze, the Operations Director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, the Director of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA); and Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, the Legal Counsel for both CAIR-Florida and AMANA. Zakkout and Ruiz are shown prominently on photos from the event found on the CAIR-Florida website and social media.

The government representatives included: US Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, FBI Special Agent George L. Piro, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) representative Ari C. Shapira, Acting Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department Juan Perez, Miami Police Chief Rodolfo “Rudy” Llanes, Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Community Engagement at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kareem Shora, Assistants to the US Attorney Benjamin Greenburg and Randy Hummel, Special Counsel to the US Attorney Sarah Schall and Norman Hemming, and FBI Special Agent for Community Outreach Jeff Green.

According to CAIR, “The meeting’s discussion… was focused on ways that the law enforcement agencies can continue to work together with community leaders, like CAIR Florida, on building and keeping the community safe and resilient as it faces new and ever-changing threats.”

The only problem is that CAIR, itself, is a threat.

CAIR was created in June 1994 as part of a terrorist umbrella organization, the American Palestine Committee, led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. The founders of CAIR had held leadership positions in the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), then-US propaganda wing of Hamas and also a part of Marzook’s Palestine Committee. After the September 11th attacks, CAIR had used its national website to raise money for its Palestine Committee sibling and then-US Hamas financing wing, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF).

CAIR-Florida reflects the same pro-Hamas extremism as its parent group. In August 2014, CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly wrote, “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God...” In July 2014, CAIR-Florida co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Miami, where rally goers shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, who as mentioned, was a participant at the Justice Department meeting, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”

In August 2000, Gaza-born Zakkout was announced as the Vice President of the Health Resource Center for Palestine (HRCP), a now-defunct Hamas-related charity then-located in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Zakkout's colleague, HRCP's Secretary and Treasurer, Syed Khawer Ahmad, was the creator of and then-webmaster for the official website of the Gaza-based parent organization of Hamas, the Islamic Society, al-Jamiya al-Islamia.

Zakkout is extremely forthright in his support for Hamas. In August 2015, he stated in Arabic on Facebook, “Hamas is in my heart and on my head.” In February 2015, over a graphic of now-deceased Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, Zakkout wrote in Arabic, “It is an obligation to kill those who left our religion. It is an obligation to kill those who fight our religion and to intimidate our enemies and the enemies of the religion. Everything is from the Quran, not from me.” And he signed it, “Sofian.”

Only days ago, on February 4th, Zakkout posted on his Facebook site an old video of Ahmed Yassin lying in a hospital bed, while being visited by different figures, including King Hussein of Jordan (deceased) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat (deceased), who kissed Yassin repeatedly. Seen in the video, Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook stood by Yassin’s side smiling. Of the piece, Zakkout wrote in Arabic, “The most amazing video!” And he signed it “Sofian.”

In 2007 and 2008, the US Justice Department named CAIR a co-conspirator for two federal trials dealing with the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas – the same Hamas that is found on the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) – the same Hamas that conducts suicide attacks and sends rockets into Jewish neighborhoods. During the trials, CAIR’s founding as part of Marzook’s network was revealed by the Justice Department. Why then, after less than a decade, would the same Justice Department open its doors to CAIR?

And equally if not more so, why would it open its doors to Zakkout?

Homeland Security rep Kareem Shora may have the answer.

When Shora took his job at DHS, he left the position of National Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which itself has been an apologist for Hamas and has partnered and continues to partner with CAIR. Ironically, under his leadership as ADC Legal Director, the ADC initiated a lawsuit against the Department of Justice and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

According to CAIR, during his presentation, Shora “openly commended CAIR Florida for organizing previous events where he was able to present the South Florida Muslim community with avenues to identify resources and grants through DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the protection of places of worship.”

The January meeting with Hamas-linked individuals set up by the Justice Department and including officials from the US Attorney’s office, the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security and the Miami-Dade Police Department sends a chilling message to the American people that, rather than protecting the homeland, our government is busy figuring out ways to stand with our enemies – and even provide them with money.

If you wish to voice your concern about this meeting, you may call the office of US Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer at 305-961-9001 or send an email to,, and You can call the office of FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro at 754-703-2000 or send an email to You can call the office of ATF representative Ari Shapira at 305-597-4800 or send an email to You can call the office of Miami Police Chief Rudy Llanes at 305-603-6640.

Please be respectful in any and all communications with these individuals and/or organizations.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

Joe Kaufman was the 2014 Republican nominee for United States House of Representatives in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. He is an expert in the fields of counter-terrorism, foreign affairs and energy independence for America. He has been featured on all major cable networks, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and C-SPAN. Joe has been instrumental in getting terrorist charities shut down and terror-related individuals put behind bars. Exactly one month prior to the September 11 attacks, he predicted the attacks by stating that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was no aberration and that it would happen again.


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Islam: Has It “Always Been Part of America”? - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Obama’s mosque speech vs. history.

President Barack Obama spoke for the first time as president at a U.S. mosque on February 3, 2016. His choice was the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque, where he portrayed Islam as having “always been part of America.”

The Islamic Society of Baltimore was established in 1969. If Obama had wanted to speak at “the oldest purpose-built mosque that is still in use today” in the United States, in order to try to demonstrate that Islam has “always been part of America,” he would have found it in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It would not have helped his cause, however. This mosque, known as “the Mother Mosque of America,” dates way back – drum roll, please – to 1934. The oldest mosque in the U.S. was built in North Dakota in 1929.

To provide some perspective on how short a time it has been since the first mosques in the United States were built, the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America, was completed in 1763.

Nevertheless, in making the case that Islam has “always been part of America,” Obama noted that Muslims were arriving on our shores as far back as colonial times.

“Starting in colonial times, many of the slaves brought here from Africa were Muslim,” Obama declared.

It is worth recalling the National Prayer Breakfast about a year ago, when Obama charged that “Slavery…all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” He evidently believes that the early waves of Muslims coming to America as slaves were entirely the victims of a Christian-based slavery system. He won’t admit the truth: that their Muslim brethren in Africa had sold some of “the slaves brought here from Africa” in the first place. These Muslim slave traders were jihadists operating in West African territories that had been forcibly taken over by Muslim warriors and turned into Islamic theocracies.

Muslims brought to America as slaves, approximately 10 to 15 percent of the overall slave population, carried with them the attitude of Islamic supremacy that they had grown up with in Africa.

“To live as a Muslim in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century West Africa was to live in an increasingly intolerant society,” Michael A. Gomez wrote in his article entitled ‘Muslims in Early America’ (Source: The Journal of Southern History).  “This was the period of the jihad, of the establishment of Muslim theocracies, of self-purification and separation from practices and beliefs that were seen as antithetical to Islam.”

Some Muslim slaves – “professors of the Mahomedan religion," as a slave owner described them - were placed in positions of authority over their fellow slaves and helped put down slave insurrections. One of these “professors of the Mahomedan religion" referred to non-Muslim slaves as "Christian dogs."

Perhaps such loathing in general for the majority Christian colonial population explains why only four or so Americans with Muslim-sounding names fought for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. By contrast, more than 100 Jews served on the American side, 15 of whom served as officers.

In any event, America’s first war against foreign states since achieving its independence was against Muslim powers. Muslim potentates from the Barbary States - Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania - were plundering American commercial vessels and holding Americans hostage for ransom in the years beginning shortly after the United States won its freedom from Great Britain. They went to war with the United States when their demand for tribute was refused by President Thomas Jefferson. It took two Barbary Wars to defeat this Muslim threat.

Both Jefferson and John Adams had confronted the theocratic ideology of Islamic jihad first-hand years earlier, when they sought to negotiate an end to attacks by the Muslim Barbary Coast pirates and the holding of American captives for ransom. While Jefferson was serving as ambassador to France and Adams was serving as ambassador to Britain, both men met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the ambassador to Britain from the “Dey of Algiers.” They wanted to know why the Muslim rulers were sanctioning attacks on American merchant ships and taking Americans hostage when the young United States had done nothing to provoke any of the Muslim Barbary States.

As Jefferson and Adams described in a letter to John Jay on March 28, 1786, the Muslim ambassador explained that the conduct of the Barbary Coast pirates “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

In short, when the newly independent United States was at its most vulnerable, our country faced Muslim enemies animated by jihad.

Nevertheless, in his remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque, President Obama attempted to demonstrate the positive influence of Islam on the Founding Fathers. He alluded to the fact that “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran.” True, but this tells only part of the story.

For example, Obama neglected to share with his audience the unflattering opinion of Islam that appeared in the preface of the particular edition of the Koran that John Adams chose to purchase:

“This book is a long conference of God, the angels, and Mahomet, which that false prophet very grossly invented … Thou wilt wonder that such absurdities have infected the best part of the world, and wilt avouch, that the knowledge of what is contained in this book, will render that law contemptible...”

John Adams evidently believed what the preface commentary to his Koran had concluded. In a letter that Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson on July 16, 1814, Adams lumped Napoleon, “Mahomet” and other famous warriors in history together under the label “Military Fanatic.” Adams added, as translated from Latin to English: “he denies that laws were made ​​for him, and claims everything by force of arms.”

John Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams, was even blunter: “The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.”

As for Thomas Jefferson, he studied his copy of the Koran to understand its jurisprudence. He rejected some of the harshest prescriptions of sharia law, such as the cutting off of limbs as a punishment for stealing. Such disproportionate punishments, he said, would “exhibit spectacles in execution whose moral effect would be questionable.”

After further study of the Koran and of various materials about Islam, as well as learning from his experience with the jihadist Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, Jefferson concluded that there could be no negotiation or compromise with the jihadists. As president, as already noted, he launched attacks against the Muslim powers. President Madison’s follow-up attacks led ultimately to the Muslim powers’ defeat.

In his work “How Thomas Jefferson read the Quran,” Professor Kevin J. Hayes wrote: “What Jefferson found most disturbing about the Qur’an was the Islamic claims to its infallibility.”

Apparently, Obama does not share Jefferson’s concerns about rigid Islamic dogma. He continues to harp on his contention that Islam has “always been part of America.” Yet the first major wave of voluntary immigration of Muslims to the United States occurred between 1880 and 1924, while the first wave of Sephardic Jews arrived in the colonies during the seventeenth century.

Obama mentioned during the course of his remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore that “Muslim Americans worked on Henry Ford’s assembly line, cranking out cars.” He offered this as an example of how “Generations of Muslim Americans helped to build our nation.” Jewish immigrants joined Muslim Americans on the assembly line. But it was a Jewish architect, an immigrant from Prussia named Albert Kahn, whom Henry Ford hired to design the first factory where a continuously moving assembly line could be used to manufacture the Model T.

President Obama claimed that Muslim Americans include “scientists who win Nobel Prizes.” As of 2015, only one of the three Muslim Nobel Prize winners for science worldwide is a Muslim American, who won the award in 1999.

The first Jewish American Nobel Prize winner in science, Albert Abraham Michelson, was an immigrant from Prussia. He received the award in 1907. At least 80 Jews who won the Nobel Prize in the sciences have been from the United States.

In the field of law, it took all the way until 1981 for the first Muslim in the nation’s history to serve as a judge. That is when Adam Shakoor, an African-American Muslim, was appointed as a judge of the Common Pleas Court for Wayne County, Michigan. The jihadist Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) honored Judge Shakoor with a banquet in 2015. “I thank Allah, and I thank Allah, and I thank Allah for the service that I have been able to give,” Mr. Shakoor said in accepting CAIR’s award.

According to a recent poll of Muslim Americans, commissioned by the Center for Security Policy, a majority (51%) agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.”    

The first-in-the nation Muslim judicial appointment of Adam Shakoor occurred 71 years after Robert Heberton Terrell, the son of slaves, became the first African-American to serve on a Federal court in 1910. Terrell had delivered a speech in 1903 entitled “A Glance at the Past and Present of the Negro,” in which he said that the descendants of the slaves who came from Africa had “acquired the language and adopted the religion of a great people.” He referred to God five times in his speech, not Allah. He referred to Christianity, not Islam, as a source of inspiration for the liberation of the slaves.

In sum, to single out Islam as an unabashedly positive force that has “always been part of America” is simply not supported by the historical record. No mosques were even built in the United States until the early twentieth century. Muslim slave traders enabled the market for slaves to grow in America. The first war that the young United States fought against foreign powers was against Muslim states. The founding fathers cited by Obama who owned copies of the Koran were not comfortable with the rigidity of Islamic doctrine and its warrior mentality. Muslim Americans’ contributions to such fields as science and jurisprudence, such as they are, did not begin in earnest until well after the middle of the twentieth century.

If Obama decides to speak at another U.S. mosque while he is president, he would do better to focus his remarks on encouraging Muslim Americans to assimilate more fully into American culture. This would include respect for the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


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Iran's Proxies to Create "Islamic Republics" - Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Dollars flow to expand Islamist ideology of Iran and its proxies.

Iran has created an Islamist empire through its loyal proxies in dozens of countries. More recently, these Iranian Islamist proxies have become empowered and emboldened to an unprecedented level. Their leaders are publicly announcing their desire to create Islamist states, which are modeled after the Islamic Republic of Iran.

For example, this week, the Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Naim Qassem, pointed out in an interview, to a state-owned Iranian outlet, that he truly believes that “Islam is the solution to all of man’s problems, in all places and at all times.” As a result, he contends that it is a “doctrinal and cultural imperative” to overthrow the secular state in Lebanon and set up an Islamic Shiite political system. He also desires the new state to precisely resemble the one created by Ayatollah Rooh Allah Khomeini, the autocrat founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran who tried to establish a political establishment similar to that of Muhammad over 1400 years ago.

Hezbollah is not the only ideological Islamist proxy that is coming out with such blatant announcements. Others of Iran’s proxies−including Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), Badr Organization, Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas (LAFA), Kataib Al Imam Ali−have publicly reasserted their mission of creating a state similar to that of Khomenei’s.

Leaders of Hezbollah and other Shiite Islamist groups funded by Iran have made their allegiances to Iran by believing in the concept of “Absolute Wilayat al-Faqih” (Guardianship of the Jurist) which was coined by Ayatollah Khomeini. The concept of  “Absolute Wilayat al-Faqih” follows that all domestic, social, economic, political and foreign policy maters are in the hand of one person (who is elected by Allah: The Supreme Leader). This is similar to how things were ruled in Muhammad’s era. The Supreme leader has the right to enact, suspend, and abolish any laws based on his discretion, Shari law and Islamic Jurisprudence.

These Islamist groups would also desire to implement Khomenei’s Islamist rules that non-Muslims can not run for high political positions, women should follow the same dress code and Hijab across the country, men ought to grow beards, drinking and listening to music should be banned, stoning of women and executions of homosexuals, political prisoners, and juveniles, to name a few, will become law.

But more importantly, another related question to address is why are Iran’s Islamist groups publicly announcing their mission of creating Islamist state at this particular time?

Well, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been on a shopping spree across Europe to reap benefits from the nuclear deal and business deals worth billions of dollars.

Behind closed doors, while human rights demonstrators were protesting the Iranian presidential visit, more than 30 business agreements were signed, with various industries, including petrochemicals, construction, cars, planes, transportation, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, health care, etc. The car manufacturer, Peugeot Citro├źn, signed nearly a half billion dollars with Iran Khodro and Total made a contract to buy 150,000 to 200,000 barrels of oil everyday from Tehran.

Unfortunately, some European politicians are eagerly welcoming Iranian diplomats. To show their special welcome, some of these politicians even took further steps undermining their own cultural values; for example, the French took the wine off the menu list, Italy covered their nude statues, red carpet was repeatedly rolled out for Mr. Rouhani, and he was invited to most crucial locations in Europe, such as Les Invalides, to speak with business and political leaders.

So, where are these billions of dollars heading? The lifting of the economic sanctions by the United Nations Security Council has empowered the Islamic Republic and billions of dollars are being directed towards Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and supporting Iran’s Islamist proxies−designated as terrorist groups−across the world.

The mullahs are telling the world that they are open for “business.” But, one should not fall in the trap of the hypocrite moderate image that the mullahs and President Rouhani are projecting to the world. To survive and support its Islamist Empire of proxies, the Islamic republic has become moderate only in “doing business” with the rest of the world and enjoying the rewards of capitalism. Nevertheless, Iran’s domestic reality and regional policies do not show any signs of moderation.

The Islamic Republic has executed more than 800 people in 2015, breaking the world record in execution per capita. Iranian journalists, human rights defenders, and bloggers are frequently being imprisoned for expressing their opinion. Even Iran’s foreign policy has not shown any signs of moderation. Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds force are operating in Syria and Iraq, helping Assad’s forces, which are involved in wars against humanity, and assisting Shiite militias across the region financially, militarily and advisory.

The mission of Iran’s Islamist proxies−establishing Islamic Republics modeled after Iran−is not a far-fetched ambition. We should not forget that to spread its Islamist ideology, Iran masterfully created political realities, powerful foreign armed forces, and an empire of proxies from these militia groups that were once considered trivial. The socialist politicians should also be cognizant of the fact that helping Iran by any means to receive more dollars, will be contributing directly to advancing Iran’s and its proxies Islamist, hegemonic ambitions, as well as anti-Western and anti-Semitic sentiments.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf Project at Columbia University. He can be reached at Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


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Satellites Show Mystery Construction at Iran’s Top-Secret Military Site - Kimberly Dozier

by Kimberly Dozier

A series of images, taken from space, show furious construction at a key Iranian facility. Was it to hide nuclear weapons work?

Newly released satellite images of Iran’s top-secret Parchin military complex reveal that even as Iran was working to negotiate a nuclear deal, it was apparently working to hide its atomic work of the past and hedge its bets for the future.
Forecasting site says the images published Monday show Iran building a tunnel into a heavily guarded mountain complex inside the Parchin facility, some 20 miles southeast of Tehran, while also working to erase signs of alleged high-explosive testing at another area on the site.

“We’re not saying they’re cheating on the nuclear deal,” Stratfor analyst Sim Tack told The Daily Beast. “The images show Iran was going through the motions to hide what it’s done before, and it is still…developing facilities that the IAEA may or may not have access to,” Tack said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The progression of satellite images tracking construction at Parchin from 2012 to 2015 show how Iran’s leaders apparently worked to keep regime hardliners happy by moving forward with weapons programs, even as the leadership worked to erase signs of an illegal nuclear weapons program, Tack said.
The satellite images appear to show new paving around the building that was alleged to be a test site for high-energy explosive charges used to detonate a nuclear weapon. Comparing satellite images from 2010 to one taken this year, Tack points out that the area has been paved, and plants and trees surrounding it removed and the soil scraped—all steps one would take to hide the radioactive fallout of nuclear weapons testing.

courtesy of Stratfor

The IAEA sent a team to inspect the site last fall, one of the final steps up to the adoption of a deal that will give the country tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
“In September, IAEA Director General [Yukiya] Amano visited the inside of the suspected explosives test chamber building, and found it had been emptied,” said Andy Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. He added that in his opinion, Stratfor’s analysis “tracked well with the photos.”
While the destruction of that controversial building has been reported before, Tack said the publication of images of the near-simultaneous construction of the tunnel entrance to another part of the complex is new.
“The imagery showed they were working on a tunnel entrance within the Parchin complex…and it looks like it’s complete,” Tack said. A 2014 image Stratfor did not release showed construction equipment outside tunnel entrance.
“They were still going forward with that construction during the talks,” he said.
The mysterious subterranean complex could be part of Iran’s ballistic missile program that triggered new U.S. sanctions in January, even as the nuclear sanctions were being lifted. The U.S. first detected that Iran was testing missile engines at the site in 1997.
Parchin was also the site of a large explosion in 2014 that the Iranian government never explained.

courtesy of Stratfor

“It could have come from a test of rocket fuel or conventional warheads,” Tack said.
Whatever’s hidden beneath that mountain, the IAEA didn’t get a look at it last September, he said.
“There are places where nobody knows what’s going on,” he said.
The IAEA declined to comment on the new satellite photos.
The Iran’s U.N. Mission did not respond to requests for comment.
Iran has dismissed questions about suspicious construction at Parchin before. The Iranian official news agency IRNA reported that when IAEA chief Amano inspected the facility, he “visited construction works at Parchin, about which there are some irrelevant claims.”
Obama administration officials would not comment on what the photos show, but insisted that IAEA inspectors can check it out if they see fit.
A senior Obama administration official said the nuclear deal, known by the cumbersome acronym JCPOA, for Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, “means the IAEA will have the access it needs to any suspicious location going forward. Such transparency will ensure that these past activities will not occur again, and if they do, that they will be quickly detected.”
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to defend a deal that is described as the cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy.

Kimberly Dozier


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Christians Who Demonize Israel - Part II - Denis MacEoin

by Denis MacEoin

  • It is commonly repeated by Palestinians that there were never any Jews in the Holy Land before the 19th century and that the first and second Jewish Temples never stood in Jerusalem. Not only do these claims fly in the face of over a century of archaeological work and the records of Greek, Roman and other historians in antiquity, they flatly contradict and annul the texts of both the Old and New Testaments. By their own rejection of Jewish rights in Israel, Christians unwittingly repudiate their own rights and history.
  • Christians in St Thomas Church did not once criticize or deplore the Palestinian glorification of violence, this delight at the murders of children, this dancing in the streets when innocent throats are cut.
  • Is it the Christian thing to demand that hospitals and doctors across the globe should refuse to use Israeli medicines or surgical devices or advanced medical equipment? Would Christians who work with bodies like Christian Aid call on countries damaged by natural and man-made calamities to ban Israeli aid teams?
  • Abandoning Israel will not soothe the hearts of the Palestinian people or make the Christians less vulnerable -- as we are now seeing from the throat-slittings and mass displacements throughout the Middle East, done not by Jews but by Muslim fanatics.

(See also Part I: Christians Who Demonize Israel: Kairos)

Christians make up only some 1.5% of the Palestinian population. They live in an overwhelmingly Muslim atmosphere and are, given the threats they face from Muslim extremists, naturally loath to express a Christian narrative that differs from the dominant Palestinian narrative, which openly rejects many fundamental Christian beliefs. It is commonplace for Palestinians to express denials of history. Thus, it is repeated that there were never any Jews in the Holy Land before the 19th century and that the first and second Jewish Temples never stood in Jerusalem. Not only do these claims fly in the face of over a century of archaeological work and the records of Greek, Roman and other historians in antiquity, they flatly contradict and annul the texts of both the Old and New Testaments.

Jesus, it would seem, was not a Jewish teacher but a Palestinian Arab who never set foot in Herod's Temple because it did not exist, and there were never any Jews in the Holy Land. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, has actually argued that there is no DNA connection between Jews (ancient or modern) and Jesus, but that he himself, as a Palestinian, has such a link. By associating themselves closely with this Palestinian historical fabrication and never asserting the Biblical record (as to do so might be regarded as supportive of the Jewish right to a homeland), many Palestinian Christians are in danger of supporting by omission the Qur'anic claims that the Torah and Gospels have been falsified by rabbis and priests.

By denying that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people and claiming that Jews have no right to return there after two millennia, Muslims give no space at all to the history of the Christians with regard to the Jews, and their more modern relationship. Christian churches have inflicted lasting harm on Jews through pogroms, inquisitions, and ghettoization. Many Christians came to the rescue of Jews during the dark days of the Holocaust. Others stood by in silence. The creation of Israel in 1948 and the return of Jews, including Holocaust survivors, to the Holy Land was, in some degree, reparation for centuries of persecution and contumely. But today, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (now in the eleventh year of a four-year term) repeatedly and openly declares that not a single Israeli will be allowed to live in a future State of Palestine. It must be assumed that by Israelis he means Jews, as Arab-Israelis would be considered Palestinians by default.

Recently, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Abbas rejected Israel's right to exist in any borders: "For how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years, how long?" In other words, the "occupation," according to him, really began 67 years prior, in 1948, when the State of Israel declared its independence within the terms of UN Resolution 181. Many Palestinians and their supporters, including Christian supporters, have also for decades been declaring: "Palestine will be free from the river [Jordan] to the [Mediterranean] sea," signaling that a future Palestine will ideally be free of any Jewish inhabitants.

Last September, during the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel -- an initiative of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches, St Thomas The Martyr Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, hosted an event titled "Walls Will Fall". The event featured deeply one-sided presentations and literature, denying Jewish rights in Israel.

By their own rejection of Jewish rights in Israel, Christians not only unwittingly repudiate their own rights and history, they also defy all the love and striving for forgiveness that has characterized the endeavor of bringing justice to the Jews in recompense for the suffering kings and churches had caused them.

Many Christians claim that they work for peace and justice in the Holy Land. The truth is that those taking part in events such as "Walls Will Fall" do not. They present a viciously biased condemnation against only one side, Israel, and its main inhabitants, the Jews, while refusing to mention unremitting Arab, Muslim and Palestinian violence from the 1920s on. There is no mention of the five Arab armies that attacked the tiny Jewish state on the day of Israel's birth in 1948, while openly boasting of an imminent genocide of all the Jews. There is no mention of the Arab coalition of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq that mustered to attack Israel in 1967, again boasting of an imminent slaughter of all the Jews. There is never any mention of the 1973 invasion of Israel by Egypt and Syria, supported by nine Arab states and Cuba, and preceded by threats by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat, who said he was willing to sacrifice a million soldiers to destroy Israel. No mention of thousands of terrorist attacks. No mention of the Arab policy of "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it." Not a single mention of Hamas and its 1988 Charter, in which it is stated "there is no solution to the Palestinian question except through jihad," and which declares peace talks, international efforts for peace, and any compromise as "a waste of time," and that calls for the slaughter of all Jews in the world.

On October 1, 2015, Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a young Jewish couple, Rabbi Eitam Henkin and his wife Naama, who were driving home through the West Bank with their four children. Mahmoud Al-Aloul, a member of the Fatah Central Committee (an institution that is part of the Palestinian Authority) posted on its official Facebook Page that Fatah was responsible for the shootings: "The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement Fatah, accepted responsibility for the Itamar operation [murder of Eitam and Naama Henkin], carried out against settlers, leading to their deaths."
Leading members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, 'Azzam al-Ahmad and General Sultan Abu'l-Einen, praised the attack. General Al-Einen, who serves as Abbas's adviser on NGOs, called for more attacks on Israelis. There were celebrations across the West Bank. The festivities included the launching of fireworks and the waving of flags in the streets. Such celebrations take place every time Jews are killed in the area.

Two days later, on October 3, a Palestinian man stabbed to death two Jewish rabbis and injured the wife and two-year-old child of one of the rabbis. The widow reported from hospital that she attempted to escape from the terrorist after the stabbing began. "I ran for dozens of meters with a knife in my shoulder, bleeding. Arabs in the area who saw this horrible scene clapped and laughed, and told that they hoped for my quick death.... I felt I was about to faint," she said. "I tried to hold on to someone who passed by, and they just... shook me off and kicked me, and said 'die.'"

Since then, deadly attacks have become a daily feature of Israeli life. Knives are the weapon of choice. It is, on a small scale as yet, a third intifada, known now as the Knife Intifada. Even children are going out with knives, in order to kill.

The Israeli government, as any government, has no choice but to protect its citizens, as it has had to so many times in the past. This response may mean tightening security and more restrictive actions. More checkpoints may have to go up. The security fence may have to be strengthened. Palestinians will suffer. Those who work in Israel may lose their jobs or experience greater inconvenience. Yet Kairos and other Christian organizations apparently express approval when they exonerate the Palestinians of all blame and focus their wrath on Israel and the Jews alone.

Israeli Jews do not go out onto their streets to celebrate the deaths of even the most vicious murderers -- terrorists who have killed twenty, thirty or more people in an attack. No one sent up fireworks or handed out sweets when Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust, was hanged in 1962 -- the only person ever executed in Israeli history -- in the Israeli city of Ramla. People may be pleased when they hear of the death of a terrorist, just as we are: innocent lives may have been saved.

St Thomas Church chose to say nothing about such Palestinian killings, or else preferred to blame them on the so-called "occupation" or Israel's clearly needed security measures.

Palestinian authorities name schools, sports grounds and teams, parks and streets after mass murderers, and put their faces on large posters to decorate walls and schoolrooms, acclaiming them as role models. They teach their children in schools and summer camps to admire terrorists as heroes and heroines, and to aspire to become killers and martyrs themselves. There is nothing remotely like this in Israeli schools or youth clubs. Instead, the walls of Jerusalem's Holocaust research institute, Yad Vashem, are covered with the photographic images of individual Jews and entire Jewish families shot and gassed and starved to death in the death camps or by the einsatzgruppen squads. And there is also a garden filled with names next to flowers to commemorate the righteous Christians who risked their lives to save Jews.

Yet Christians in St Thomas Church did not once criticize or deplore the Palestinian glorification of violence, this delight at the murders of children, this dancing in the streets when innocent throats are cut (as in the massacre of the Fogel family in 2011), this elevation of killers to the ranks of saints. Instead, they cast bitter criticisms of the slightest Israeli misdemeanour, and censure Israel even when it behaves in entirely legal and moral ways -- the same way they would expect of their own government if their people were being targeted by rockets, run over or stabbed.

In Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian religious and political leaders preach their longing for the extermination of a democratic and tolerant state, and prophesy the coming genocide of men and women and children whose parents and grandparents and great-grandparents perished in the concentration and death camps of Nazi-controlled Europe. The Israeli government and people have for over 67 years prayed and called for a peaceful two-state solution and for co-existence with their neighbors. The Jews have never agitated for the elimination of a Palestinian state or the killing of its citizens.

Yet Christians in St Thomas Church chose to say not a word about Palestinian, Arab, and wider Islamic incitement. They chose instead to describe Israel as an imperialist, colonial, and apartheid state – in flagrant contradiction to historical facts and Israel's record in repeatedly pulling out of territory -- the Sinai, Lebanon, and Gaza -- in a concrete and irreversible search for peace. Apartheid exists nowhere in Israeli law or daily life, and claims of its existence ignore the growing status of Israeli Arabs, who serve as full members of Israel's parliament, as judges (including on the Supreme Court), as professors in the universities, diplomats, as hospital administrators and chief physicians, in the media and entertainment, in the police, the army, the air force and elsewhere, with exactly the same rights as Jews.

This deliberately twisted view of Israel is wrong; it is morally wrong and it is ethically wrong. It is bearing false witness against thy neighbour: It is a sin. It is wrong from the perspective of Christian ethics, wrong in the context of peacemaking and justice, an affront to honesty. It is not simple one-sidedness; it is gross moral blindness.

Hatred for Israel and the Jewish people -- who have only one country in the world in which to take refuge in a time of need -- will not bring peace. Abandoning Israel will not soothe the hearts of the Palestinian people or make the Christians less vulnerable -- as we are now seeing from the throat-slittings and mass displacements throughout the Middle East, done not by Jews but by Muslim fanatics.

Obstruction of Israeli security measures will not bring safety. Support of Palestinian rejection of the peace process and refusal to compromise will not bring security to either side. On September 30 this year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared before the General Assembly of the United Nations that he has abandoned the Oslo Accords, the basis on which the peace process takes place. Describing terrorists as freedom fighters will not bring justice to their victims, or to their families, or to the four little children who saw their parents gunned down and buried.

What one could read and hear during Walls Will Fall was a wholesale denial that Israel had any genuine security risks, a totally ahistorical claim that terror attacks must be blamed on a spurious "occupation", and a fatuous assertion that the "occupation" and Jewish settlements are illegal in international law, which they are not.[1]

There is no question that the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank suffer greatly and that it is a Christian duty to care for them and work to alleviate their suffering. It is also the case that many actions, legal rulings, and displays of force by Israel and the Israel Defense Forces have been wrong-headed and harmful to Palestinians. These are all things that are open to discussion and that must be part of any Christian work for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

But it must be self-evident that to take the side of one party, while expressing hostility for the other, is not the way to a resolution of the problem and sadly exposes to question much about the decency and integrity of the people crying hatred aloud. Christians who claim that Israel is an "apartheid state", for example -- a charge made in some of the literature displayed on the stalls in St Thomas Church -- have adopted a singular falsehood and taken it as fact, even while seeing for themselves the reality that not a single apartheid law or practice exists in the country. Not only that, but, disquietingly, there is never a murmur about the truly apartheid policies of Saudi Arabia, where even the display of a Bible is illegal, where non-Muslim laborers can be beaten and treated as sub-human, and where non-Muslims are not even allowed to enter the city Mecca, and may enter Medina only as a visitor.

This argument has been recently advanced by a South African MP Kenneth Meshoe, president of the Christian Democrat Party, who has argued against the claims of the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement. "There are many Christians that support Israel, but they don't come out," he has said.
"Those who know what real apartheid is, as I know, know that there is nothing in Israel that looks like apartheid. ... The view that Israel is an apartheid state, is an empty political statement that does not hold truth. You see people of different colors, backgrounds, and religions [coexisting in Israel]. The BDS movement is a real pain... to us in South Africa who love the truth. [The] BDS movement is not a democratic movement; they are a movement of intimidation, a movement that performs hatred. People who don't believe in hatred should not allow the BDS movement to stop them from doing the right thing."
Yet the economic, academic, and cultural squeeze of boycotts, divestment and sanctions was praised and recommended strongly throughout the Kairos workshop at St Thomas Church. No alternative approach was suggested, no questions were asked, no explanation of the real dangers of the BDS movement to cultural, academic, scientific, medical, or commercial life was even hinted at. Although the work of BDS -- ostensibly to drive out Israeli settlements from the West Bank, but actually to try to destroy Israel by crushing it economically -- is hailed as support for the Palestinians. It has, in fact, severely harmed them. When the Israeli company SodaStream moved out of its West Bank factory last year, some 500 Arab workers lost their jobs. They also lost salaries of four to five times the standard rate for the area. Those who were able to find jobs in the new factory in the south of Israel have to travel for hours each day. Now, SodaStream has offered jobs to 1,000 Syrian refugees. This is the true impact of BDS on Palestinians who used to work side by side with their Jewish colleagues under identical conditions. BDS creates apartheid where there was none. Is that something Christians should support?

Perhaps this may be best illustrated by a local example. Retinal detachment and macular degeneration are two serious medical conditions that lead to complete blindness. They are often incurable. Researchers at Newcastle University's medical school (one of the UK's leading medical research centers) are working on a film that may replace retinas and restore a large measure of sight to the blind. They are working alongside teams from Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, combining semiconductor nanorods and carbon nanotubes to create a wireless, light-sensitive, flexible film that could potentially act in the place of a damaged retina. But BDS activists will insist that Newcastle University should break off this relationship with two Israel universities, in accordance with the principles of their academic boycott.

When a Kairos leader spoke at St Thomas church, she spent a lot of time on support for the BDS movement. It must be asked whether a Christian should endorse, let us say, a boycott of a research enterprise that promises so much to blind people. And it is essential to add that Israel is a world leader, next only to the United States, in science, technology and medicine. Its drugs and medical devices have saved lives and improved life for the sick and disabled. Is it the Christian thing to demand that hospitals and doctors across the globe should refuse to use Israeli medicines or surgical devices or advanced medical equipment?
Israel is a world leader in the management of water resources and has taken the lead in many Third World countries, especially in Africa, to end drought. Should Christians call on those countries to boycott Israeli water treatment and agricultural advances? Israel is always among the first countries to respond by sending aid teams, field hospitals, equipment and supplies to foreign countries in times of disaster. Would Christians who work with bodies like Christian Aid call on countries damaged by natural and man-made calamities to ban Israeli aid teams? Surely BDS is, in all respects, an un-Christian policy that plays into a bigoted and inhumane narrative.

St Thomas The Martyr Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (left) recently hosted an event in which a Kairos leader advocated a boycott of Israel. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

It is clear that much of the pro-Palestinian work carried out within Christian churches is inspired by aspects of Liberation Theology. Undoubtedly, the concern of liberation theologians and others with the poor, the oppressed, the sick and the persecuted is a valid expression of Christ's message, and we have no complaints whatever about that approach while it remains within the religious sphere. But Liberation Theology was inspired by materialist Marxist theory and praxis, and then strayed into the political realm.

The Soviet Union was responsible for the spread of the view that oppression can be attributed largely to economics and materialism, or to imperialism and colonialism, and to a fixation on Israel as the chief bearer of that original sin. The application of such terms to Israel is historically and conceptually incorrect: Israel has no colonies, is not the seat of an empire, and has from its inception advocated a two-state arrangement as predicated in the 1947 UN partition plan. But many Christians now view Israel through a false and distorted lens. This view is simply a matter of political bias, a bias exacerbated (as elsewhere), not only by a refusal to admit Israel's stunning human rights record for women, religious minorities, ethnic communities, and LGBT citizens, but also by a notable failure to hold sessions on regimes that genuinely oppress, persecute, torture and deny full rights to their citizens.

Why, for example, do Christians animated by zeal for the oppressed never hold meetings to uphold the rights of Iran's large Baha'i community, whose members are hanged, tortured, imprisoned, and denied all civil rights and access to higher education, and whose holy places and cemeteries have been bulldozed in an ISIS-style desecration? Why do they meet only to condemn Israel, the only country in the Middle East to celebrate the Baha'i presence and to protect the important Baha'i World Center in Haifa and the two most important Baha'i shrines, visited by pilgrims from around the world? Surely this obsession with an open and democratic country, alongside their apparent indifference to the human rights abuses of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and others, is a clear distortion of the Christian vision and the underlying ideals of a non-politicized gospel of liberation.
Dr. Denis MacEoin has lectured and written about the Middle East since the 1980s.

[1] This point has been argued coherently by many experts in international law. See, for example, Alan Baker, "Israel's Rights Regarding Territories and the Settlements in the Eyes of the International Community", in Israel's Rights as a Nation-State in International Diplomacy.

Dr. Denis MacEoin has lectured and written about the Middle East since the 1980s.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Real Islam is not based on personal interpretations - Dr. Stephen M. Kirby

by Dr. Stephen M. Kirby

Dr. Omer Salem, Islamic intellectual, makes a distinction between Jews and G-d fearing Jews, as does the group to which Rebecca Abrahamson belongs. Dr. Kirby, Islamic scholar, believes that this is a mistaken interpretation of the Koran.

Arutz Sheva has been hosting a debate between Muslims who believe that the Qu'ran wants Jews and Muslims to live in peace  and those who consider this interpretation of Islam a fantasy. The following article, linked below to the previous ones on the topic, is part of this debate. Read the articles and form your opinion.

On January 13th 2016, Arutz Sheva posted an op-ed by Dr. Stephen M. Kirby entitled: “Jewish-Muslim coexistence through the Koran? Wishful thinking.” His article was a rebuttal to Rebecca Abrahamson’s op-ed entitled: “Dr. Omer Salem, A Bridge for Peace?” On January 24th, Arutz Sheva posted another article by Dr. Kirby, "Fantasy Islam," this in response to Adnan Oktar's article "A call for sanity: How the Qu'ran-abiding Muslims view the Jews,"  which itself was an answer to Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld's analysis and critique of the UK deciding to teach Islam in its schools. 

Omer Salem responded to Dr. Kirby on January 25th in an article entitled: "Real Islam calls for peace with the Jewish people" and Dr. Kirby's response "Real Islam is not based on personal interpretations" is below.

The rapid pace of events in Israel has put off the posting of this article, but it is important - and not just for Jews - that differing views on the possibility of a modus vivendi with Islam be debated and explored with integrity and a search for truth. Arutz Sheva's op-ed section has become a forum for the exploration of that possibility.

I would like to thank Dr. Salem for taking the time to respond to my article.  He and I are in agreement about the importance of improving relations between Jews and Muslims; our disagreement is over the efficacy and nature of his approach.  But his response has appeared to raise more questions than it answered.  The focus of my article is on addressing those questions.

 Dr. Salem wrote that the Koran he used for his response was ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation: The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an (Amana Publications, 2009).  For this article I use an edition of that same Koran translation printed by Amana Publications in 2004.

To understand the meaning of the Koran verses examined, I use English translations of the following Koran commentaries (tafsirs): Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Tafsir As-Sa’di.
So let’s begin.

God or Allah?

Dr. Salem uses the words God and Allah interchangeably when writing about Muslims and Jews.  This is because he apparently believes that Muslim and Jews all believe in the same God, of which Allah is just another name.  But what does the Muslim god Allah say about this in the Koran?

To set the stage, Allah states that the only religion acceptable to him is Islam (e.g., 3:19 and 3:85).  And Allah states that Islam is to be made superior over all other religions, even if the non-Muslims don’t like it (e.g., 9:33, 48:28, and 61:9).

Allah states that he is angry with the Jews (1:7) and he curses them (9:30).  Allah states that the Jews are among the worst of creatures who “will abide in the fire of Hell” (98:6), while Muslims are the best of creatures (3:110 and 98:7).  He forbids Muslims from being friends with Jews (5:51).  Instead, Allah commands Muslims to fight the Jews until the Jews pay the jizyah (protection tax) with willing submission and feeling themselves subdued (9:29).  And Allah specifically states that the Jews are among the worst enemies of Islam (5:82).

How could one expect Jews to believe in and worship a God who hates and curses them, orders Muslims to fight them, and condemns them to Hell simply because they are not Muslims?   In response, Dr. Salem talks about “God-fearing Jews” and “atheist Jews,” and he believes that such Koran verses are directed only toward the “atheist Jews.”

It is easy to understand why Jews would fear the god found in the Koran.  But this is not what Dr. Salem means when he talks about “God-fearing Jews.”  In his view, these “God-fearing Jews” will earn the respect of the Muslim world.

So what does Dr. Salem mean when he talks about “God-fearing Jews”?

Who are the “God-fearing Jews”?

Dr. Salem wrote:

According to the Qur’an, People of the Book are not all the same, among them are the believer and the disbeliever.

According to Salem, the “believer” is the “God-Fearing Jew,” and the “disbeliever” is the “atheist Jew.”  He wrote that there is support, in the Qur’an, for claiming that God-fearing Jews are considered people of the Book and will earn respect in the Muslim world by being viewed as People of the Book.

And throughout his article he provided the following Koran verses to support this distinction between “atheist Jews” and “God-fearing Jews,” and the purported Muslim acceptance of the “God-fearing” Jews: 2:62 (listed in the article as 2:69), 3:113, 7:159, 13:36, and 34:6.  Let’s see what our tafsirs have to say about these verses and whether or not they support Dr. Salem’s claims.

Chapter 2, Verse 62

Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians – Any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan provides a pertinent commentary:

Some modernists advance this verse as proof that all the religions, despite their apparent diversity in beliefs and rites of worship, are in essence one, and that it is not essential to believe in the prophetic mission of Muhammad and that deliverance depends on faithfully following one's own religion and doing good works.  This is an absolutely erroneous idea.[1]

The Tafsir Ibn Kathir provided a similar explanation:

...Allah does not accept any deed or work from anyone, unless it conforms to the Law of Muhammad that is, after Allah sent Muhammad.  Before that, every person who followed the guidance of his own Prophet was on the correct path, following the correct guidance and was saved.[2]

And Ibn Kathir was very specific about the change that had arrived with Muhammad:

When Allah sent Muhammad as the Last and Final Prophet and Messenger to all the Children of Adam, mankind was required to believe in him, obey him and refrain from what he prohibited them; those who do this are true believers.[3]

So 2:62 pertained only to good deeds done before the advent of Islam.  This verse actually means that, after the advent of Islam, righteousness will be accepted only if it conforms to the commands of Allah and the Law of Muhammad.

Chapter 3, Verse 113

This verse was cited throughout Dr. Salem’s article:

Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.
Let’s start off with the editor’s comments about this verse found in ‘Ali’s translation of The Holy Qur’an, the Koran used by Dr. Salem:

This verse, according to Commentators, refers to those People of the Book who eventually embraced Islam.[4]

The Tafsir As-Sa’di explained what is meant by standing for the right:

Allah now says about the faithful, [they are the ones] that are upright, that is, this is the group that remains dedicated to Allah’s ordained religion, obeys His commandments, and performs the devotions commanded from them.[5]

The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan explained that this verse talked about “good” Jews who had converted to Islam and “who act by the shari’ah and follow the Messenger of Allah.”[6]

The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn also explained that this verse referred to Jews who had converted to Islam and referred to them as “straight and holding firmly to the truth.”[7]

The Tafsir Ibn Kathir explained that this verse was “revealed” about Jews who had embraced Islam, and
a party of the People of the Scripture stand for the right for they implement the Book of Allah, adhere to His Law and follow His Prophet Muhammad.[8]

So that “portion” of the People of the Book who stand for the right are actually those Jews who converted to Islam.

Chapter 7, Verse 159

Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth.
The Tafsir As-Sa’di explained that among the people of Moses, “Allah designated leaders within them who guide them according to His teachings.”[9]  Meaning they guide them according to Islamic Doctrine.
The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan stated that this verse referred to those Jews “who embraced Islam.”[10]
The Tafsir Ibn Kathir stated that there were some Jews “who follow the truth and judge by it, just as He said in another Ayah [verse],” and Ibn Kathir referred to 3:113.[11]  So there are Jews who follow, and judge by Islam.

We can see that this verse is understood to mean that those who guide and do justice in the light of the truth are those Jews who believed in Allah and embraced Islam.

Chapter 13:36

Those to whom We have given the Book rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee: but there are among the clans those who reject a part thereof.  Say: “I am commanded to worship Allah, and not to join partners with Him.  Unto Him do I call, and unto Him is my return.”

The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan explained that some commentators believed “the Book” pertained to the Koran and this verse referred to Muslims rejoicing over that; other commentators believed that “the Book” referred to the Torah and Bible and those rejoicing were Jews and Christians who had become Muslims.[12]
The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn explained this verse in terms of those Jews who had converted to Islam being the ones rejoicing.[13]

The Tafsir As-Sa’di explained that those who reject a part thereof are those who reject parts of the Koran “and do not attest it.”[14]

The Tafsir Ibn Kathir explained that “the Book” was the Koran, and among the clans those who reject a part thereof refers to Jews and Christian who reject “the truth” that was sent down to Muhammad.[15]
So we have another verse that is talking about Jews converting to Islam and rejoicing, while other Jews reject Islam.

Chapter 34:6

And those to whom knowledge has come see that the (Revelation) sent down to thee from thy Lord – that is the Truth, and that it guides to the Path of the Exalted (In Might), Worthy of all praise.
The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn explained that this verse referred to People of the Book who had converted to Islam, and the Revelation that had been sent down to them was the Koran.[16]

The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan explained that the Truth was what Allah had revealed to Muhammad, and those receiving this knowledge were those among the People of the Book who had converted to Islam, and all Muslims in general.[17]

To sum up,:Dr. Salem has used these five Koran verses to support his claim that the Koran distinguishes between “atheist Jews” and “God-fearing Jews,” with animosity in the Koran only toward the former.  Based on these verses, it appears that the “atheist Jews” are those who do not believe in Islam or reject it; the “God-fearing Jews” are those who convert to Islam.  This throws a new light on Dr. Salem’s statement:
According to the Qur’an, People of the Book are not all the same, among them are the believer and the disbeliever.

The word “believer” is commonly used in the Koran to refer to a Muslim; the word “disbeliever” is commonly used to refer to a non-Muslim.  This explains why Dr. Salem claims that verses of the Koran that refer to Jews in negative ways are directed only at “atheist Jews” (his examples included 5:51, 5:82, and 9:29), and why he claims that the hadiths I cited that were hostile toward  the Jews were directed only against “atheist Jews.”  “God-fearing Jews” are believers, those who have converted to Islam and thus earned the respect of the Muslim world; “atheist Jews” are those who are still Jews, or disbelievers, and, inter alia, among the worst enemies of Muslims (5:82).
Greater Jihad versus Lesser Jihad

In my article I stated that there is no basis in Islamic Doctrine for the claimed distinction that Muhammad supposedly made between a “greater jihad” (an inner struggle) and a “lesser jihad” (armed fighting in the cause of Allah).  Dr. Salem disagreed and quoted Meccan verse 25:52:

Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Quran).

Dr. Salem wrote:

It is clear from this Meccan verse that Allah is instructing the newly found Ummah to strive in the path of Allah, not by the sword, but by the Qur’an—that is Jihadul Nafs.

Dr. Salem is correct in the message of this verse.  But the Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan made a crucial observation about 25:52: This verse “was revealed in Mecca and Allah had not yet given the command to the Muslims to fight the pagans.”[18]  This means that at that time in Mecca the only way the Muslims were allowed to “strive against” the non-Muslims was verbally and by teaching the verses that had been “revealed” to that date.  It wasn’t until around the Fall of 622 that Allah “revealed” verses to Muhammad that allowed the Muslims to engage in armed fighting against non-Muslims (e.g., 22:39).  So up until that time the Muslims were simply not allowed by Allah to engage in armed combat.  This changed with the “revelation” of verses such as 22:39.

The Doctrine of Abrogation is important to addressing this issue.[19]  There is an important significance to where a verse or chapter was "revealed."  While in Mecca, the religion of Islam was just starting and it was generally not well received.  Perhaps as a result of this, the verses of the Koran “revealed” in Mecca were generally more peaceful and accommodating toward non-Muslims than the verses later “revealed” in Medina.  The verses from Medina have a general tendency to be more belligerent and intolerant, and more inclined to make sharp differentiations between Muslims (believers) and non-Muslims (disbelievers).

This can lead to a conflict between the message of a Meccan verse and that of a Medinan verse addressing the same general topic.  But how can there be such a conflict if the Koran is the infallible, eternal, “revealed” word of Allah?  This was covered in Medinan verse 2:106 that introduced the concept of “abrogation”:
None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but we substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?

Abrogation therefore means that if there is a conflict between the messages of two “revelations” in the Koran, then the most recent “revelation” is the one to be followed.  Consequently, a “revelation” made in Medina would supersede a similar, earlier “revelation” made in Mecca if there was a conflict between the messages of the two.

Chapter 9 of the Koran was the last chapter to be “revealed,” so Allah’s commands found in the verses of that chapter are the final words in terms of the topics covered.  So here is Allah’s final command in terms of general armed fighting in His Cause, jihad:

9:5:      But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent [by accepting Islam], and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

There are numerous peaceful-sounding verses in the Koran, such as 25:52.  But they are mainly Meccan verses.  So when there is a conflict between the message of a peaceful-sounding Meccan verse and that of a belligerent-sounding Medinan verse, the Meccan verse is abrogated.  The Meccan verse is still in the Koran, because it consists of the words of Allah.  But it is the Medinan verse that is carrying the doctrinal authority: 9:5 abrogated 25:52.

Chapter 9, Verse 29

In 9:29 Muslims are commanded to fight Jews and Christians until the Jews and Christians pay the jizyah (a protection tax):

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
Dr. Salem wrote that this verse was directed only against the “atheist Jews.”  He said it was not directed toward the “God-fearing Jews.”  He concluded:

This verse proves my thesis that “Jews cleaving to the laws of Moses will be respected by Muslims” they [sic] will not have to pay Jizyah in a Muslim state.”

So what do our tafsirs have to say about 9:29?  In a paragraph titled The Order to fight People of the Scriptures until They give the Jizyah, Ibn Kathir explained the meaning of this verse:

Therefore, when People of the Scriptures disbelieved in Muhammad, they had no beneficial faith in any Messenger or what the Messengers brought.  Rather, they followed their religions because this conformed with their ideas, lusts and the ways of their forefathers, not because they are Allah's Law and religion.  Had they been true believers in their religions, that faith would have directed them to believe in Muhammad...Allah commanded His Messenger to fight the People of the Scriptures, Jews and Christians...[20]

In a paragraph titled Paying Jizyah is a Sign of Kufr [disbelief] and Disgrace, Ibn Kathir explained that if the Jews and Christians chose not to embrace Islam, they would have to pay the Jizyah "in defeat and subservience," and feel "disgraced, humiliated, and belittled." [21]

This was affirmed in the Tafsir Al-Jalalayn when the Jizyah section of 9:29 was being discussed:
...until they pay the jizya with their own hands - meaning the Jews and the Christians who must pay it in submission or directly with their actual hands - in a state of complete abasement - humble and subject to the judgements of Islam.[22]

The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn also pointed out that the Jews and Christians were to be fought if they did not accept Muhammad and did not accept Islam as their faith.[23]

This was also noted in the Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan:

The command to fight the pagans was already given.  Now Allah commands the believers to fight the Jews and Christians (if they do not accept Islam) until they pay the jizya and live under the rule of the Muslims.[24]

The Tafsir As-Sa’di explained this verse:

The command to fight the disbelievers includes the Jews and Christians who do not believe in Allah…They assume that they have a religion, but their religion is not the true religion for it has been changed and modified, and is not the one that Allah had originally ordained.  Or are they following a religion that now stands revoked, meaning, it was first ordained by Allah but has now been replaced with the one sent to Prophet Muhammad.[25]

This tafsir expounded on the nature of the jizyah:

These people are to be fought against until they pay the jizyah, which is the payment made to the Muslims in exchange for the right to live in the Muslim land and for security of their life and wealth…When this becomes their condition that they agree to pay the jizyah to the Muslims, live under their rule, refrain from creating chaos and mayhem, and accept whatever terms and conditions the Muslims have applied on them, which indicates their submission and is an end to their self-rule…[26]

There is nothing in these tafsirs about differentiating between “atheist Jews” and “God-fearing Jews.”  And in fact, these tafsirs directly refute Dr. Salem’s claim that 9:29 proves his “thesis” that “Jews cleaving to the laws of Moses will be respected by Muslims” and “they will not have to pay Jizyah in a Muslim state.”  Jews who do not accept Islam will be fought against until they pay the Jizyah, with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

98:6 - Among the worst of creatures

Dr. Salem wrote:

Dr. Kirby cited 98:6 saying that: “if the People of the Book don’t believe in Islam, then they are among the worst of creatures and they will abide in the Fires of Hell.” Again this is part of a verse that should be considered in context, it should be read with the verse before it and the verse after it as one unit to get to the intended meaning. Here is what the verse says:

“Those who reject Truth, among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein. They are the worst of creatures.”

Please note the conjunction “among.” It is clear that the verse does not say that “all People of the Book will be in hell fire,” it says that “Those who reject Truth, among the People of the Book… will be in Hell-Fire.”

Dr. Salem is correct in terms of the wording of 98:6, but incorrect in terms of its meaning.  The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan explains that the Truth this verse is talking about is the religion of Islam, the Koran, and Muhammad.[27] 

And no devout Jew or Christian, by definition, accepts the religion of Islam as their faith, and therefore they will be consigned to Hell-Fire.  This was reiterated by Dr. Salem’s prophet Muhammad:

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: By Him in whose hand is the life of Muhammad, he who amongst the community of Jews or Christians hears about me but does not affirm his belief in that with which I have been sent and dies in this state (of disbelief), he shall be but one of the denizens of Hell-Fire.[28]

Now for comparison’s sake, let’s look at the following verse, 98:7:

Those who have faith and do righteous deeds – They are the best of creatures.

The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan explained that “those who have faith” believe “in the Oneness of Allah, and in His Messenger (Muhammad) including all obligations ordered by Islam.”[29]  In other words, they are the Muslims.

Ibn Kathir pointed out that some Muslim scholars had used this verse

as a proof that the believers [Muslims] have a status among the creatures that is better than the angels.  This is because Allah says, “They are the best of creatures.”[30]

To sum it up, Jews and Christians, who by definition do not adhere to the Religion of Islam, are among the worst of creatures; Muslims, by definition, are the best of creatures.


Dr. Salem’s quest to improve relations between Jews and Muslims revolves around his distinction between “God-fearing Jews,” who he claims will earn the respect of the Muslim world, and “atheist Jews,” who will not.  He claims there is support in the Koran for such a distinction, and we looked at five Koran verses he used to support this claim. 

What we found was that the distinction these verses made focused on those Jews who had converted to Islam and those Jews who had rejected Islam.  These converts appear to be the “God-fearing Jews” Dr. Salem is talking about, who earn the respect of the Muslim world; those Jews who reject Islam and remained Jews appear to be the “atheist Jews” who, according to Dr. Salem, are the sole targets of the negative verses in the Koran about Jews.

Dr. Salem stated that his “interpretations” were supported by the four Koran commentaries (tafsirs) he had mentioned; but of his 25 endnotes, only five made any reference to these four tafsirs.

Dr. Salem stated that his “interpretations” were supported by his professors at Al-Azhar University; but he did not list any such professors in his article or indicate the extent of that support, and from whom, for any of his “interpretations.”

In his article he relied extensively on 3:113 of the Koran to show that the People of the Book were not all alike and to support his differentiation between “God-fearing Jews” and “atheist Jews.”  But in the tafsirs I use, and even in the translation of the Koran Dr. Salem used, we find that 3:113 was understood to refer to those Jews who had converted to Islam.

It would be very enlightening if perhaps Dr. Salem would devote an article just to his concept of “God-fearing Jews,” defining his terms, presenting criteria for determining who is a “God-fearing Jew” and who is an “atheist Jew,” presenting the supportive Koran verses with specifically referenced supportive tafsirs (with quotes translated into English when necessary), and commentary from identified professors who support his particular interpretations.

The quest for peaceful relations between Muslims and Jews is too important to leave unanswered questions, and perhaps some confusion, about the basis for that quest.

[1]              Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, trans. Mohammad Kamal Myshkat (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2010), Vol. 1, p. 71.
[2]              Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), trans. Jalal Abualrub, et al. (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2000), Vol. 1, p. 249.  This ten volume collection is the most popular interpretation of the Qur'an in the Arabic language, and the majority of the Muslims consider it to be the best source based on Qur'an and Sunni Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 1, p. 5
[3]              Ibid., p. 250.
[4]              The Meaning of The Holy Qur’an, trans. ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali (Beltsville, Maryland: 2004), p. 156. n. 437
[5]              Tafsir As-Sa’di, trans. S. Abd al-Hamid (Floral Park, New York: Islamic Literary Foundation: 2012), Vol. 1, p. 274.
[6]              Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 1, p. 350.
[7]              Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, trans. Aisha Bewley (London: Dar Al Taqwa Ltd., 2007), p. 147.
[8]              Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 2, p. 246.
[9]              Tafsir As-Sa’di, Vol. 2, p. 66.
[10]            Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 2, p. 234.
[11]            Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 4, pp. 185-186.
[12]            Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 3, p. 106.
[13]            Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, p. 532.
[14]            Tafsir As-Sa’di, Vol. 2, p. 362.
[15]            Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 5, pp. 294-295.
[16]            Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, pp. 915-917.
[17]            Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 4, p. 425.
[18]            Ibid., p. 36.
[19]            Due to space constraints, this is only a general overview.  For a more detailed look at the Doctrine of Abrogation, see Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an (Birmingham, UK: Al-Hidaayah Publishing, 1999), pp. 232-256.
[20]            Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 4, pp. 404-405.
[21]            Ibid., pp. 405-406
[22]            Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, pp. 404-406.
[23]            Ibid., p. 404.
[24]            Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 2, pp. 345-346.
[25]            Tafsir As-Sa’di, Vol. 2, p. 137.
[26]            Ibid., p. 138.
[27]            Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 5, p. 742.
[28]            Sahih Muslim, trans. Abdul Hamid Siddiqi (New Delhi: Adam Publishers and Distributors, 2008), Vol. 1, p. 103, No. 153.
[29]            Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 5, p. 743.
[30]            Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 10, p. 554.  That Muslims have a higher status than angels was also noted in Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 5, p. 743.

Dr. Stephen M. Kirby


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