Monday, September 24, 2007
Fantasies and falsehoods
On Aug. 31, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, gave a speech to the Islamic Society of North America. Today IslamOnline ran a report on this speech, the full text of which is here. The fantasies and falsehoods in Yoffie’s discourse would be discomfiting in any context; coming from so prominent a leader of American Jews, they are absolutely appalling.
... there is no shortage of voices prepared to tell us that fanaticism and intolerance are fundamental to Islamic religion, and that violence and even suicide bombing have deep Koranic roots. There is no lack of so-called experts who are eager to seize on any troubling statement by any Muslim thinker and pin it on Islam as a whole.
“No shortage .. no lack” of knowledgeable critics of Islam? What utter nonsense. In fact there are but a handful, who are assiduously excluded by the mainstream media in favor of willful ignoramuses mouthing multiculturalist cant.
... the time has come put aside what the media says is wrong with Islam and to hear from Muslims themselves what is right with Islam.
And what should the media put aside? They already do their utmost not to identify the protagonists in “sudden jihad syndrome” incidents as Muslims, as witness the New York Post’s presposterous assertion that the religion of a young man arrested for making threats after distributing leaflets urging conversion to Islam “was not immediately known.”
Anti-Semitism is not native to Islamic tradition ...
It would take an entire book to catalogue the elements of Islamic tradition that refute this, and just such a book has been compiled by Andrew Bostom. Suffice it here to cite but two Qur’anic verses:
“Why do not the rabbis and doctors of law forbid them from their habit of uttering sinful worlds and eating of things forbidden? Evil indeed are their works.” (5:63)
“The Jews say: ‘Allah’s hand is tied up.’ Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the blasphemy they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from Allah increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And Allah loveth not those who do mischief.” (5:64)
(Abdullah Yusif Ali translations.)
... but a virulent form of it is found today in a number of Islamic societies ...
Can Yoffie identify any such societies in which said virulence is not found today?
... and we urgently require your assistance in mobilizing Muslims here and abroad to delegitimize and combat it.
And how, pray, is this to be done, given the Qur’anic basis for Muslim enmity? How are the many Qur’anic verses that are inimical toward Jews to be “delegitimized,” given that Muslims hold them to be the eternal, uncreated word of God, transmitted to “the Prophet” Muhammad by the angel Gabriel?
Eric Yoffie’s efforts to reach out to Muslims are like the efforts of a dying man in a desert who crawls toward the water that appears just ahead of him. Both are equally hallucinatory, and both have about the same prospect of success.