Jewish Tribune Article: "Persecution Based On Koran ‘Alive And Kicking,’ Professor Says

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Jewish Tribune Article

JERUSALEM – Antisemitism based on the Koran is “alive and kicking” today because of the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, in which later verses replace earlier verses they would otherwise contradict, according to Raphael Israeli, professor, Islamic, Chinese and Middle Eastern History at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Rafael IsraeliIsraeli addressed a small group of Canadian journalists at Yad Vashem recently on the topic of Antisemitism in the Arab/Muslim World Today as part of a media visit sponsored by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem and the Adelson Family Charitable Foundation.

Israeli said he listens every Friday to broadcasts of sermons given in mosques and “it’s harrowing stuff.” Israeli added that multitudes of Muslims around the world, many illiterate, listen to these weekly sermons in which antisemitic verses are often repeated. “Those old stereotypes against the Jews that are mentioned in the Koran are relevant: they are alive. It’s not that they were said and then forgotten: they were not.”

There is “a long and sorry history” of persecution of Jews, Israeli said, which has its origins in Mohammed’s anger at the Jewish community for rejecting his calls to convert to Islam.  The relationship between the ancient people of Israel and the leader of the new religion of Islam didn’t start out that way.

When Mohammed left his home in Mecca to become the ruler of Medina in 622 CE, his first mission was to convert the inhabitants of Medina to Islam. To this end, he told members of Medina’s four Jewish tribes that, rather than starting a new faith, he was reviving the old faith of their common ancestor, Abraham.  To further “lure” them, he made Yom Kippur a day of compulsory fasting for Muslims and instructed his followers to pray facing Jerusalem.  The verses in the Koran which are positive toward the Jewish people were “revealed” to Mohammed during this period. After it became clear to him that the Jews of Medina would not accept Islam voluntarily, the divine revelations he claimed to receive about Jews were “horrible.”  

“Therefore, you find two parts of the Koran…. The Prophet Mohammed realized that he could not convince those Jews to follow him, yet they remained a challenge to his authority because they were very powerful economically and politically, so he had to fight them. But on what authority? How could he convince (the local Arabs) to rise and harass, exterminate or expel the Jews with whom they had lived in good neighbourly relations for 500 years? The only authority he could (invoke) was divine inspiration: ‘G-d told me so,’” Israeli said.

One of the new revelations, which Mohammed claimed he was given by G-d, was that Jews are “the descendants of pigs and monkeys” and this verse is still repeated in sermons around the world.

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