C. Holland Taylor, Taqiyya, Tantawi, …and Topo Gigio

C. Holland Taylor (left) and His Ineffectual Topo Gigio “Gus Dur” (right), and The Topo Gigio: Feckless Auto-Dupes and Purveyors of Islam’s Corrosive Institutional Taqiyya (i.e., Taylor And Wahid; not Topo Gigio!)

C. Holland Taylor (center) paying homage to the mainstream apotheosis of Islamic jihad hatred and its corollary virulent Islamic Jew-hatred, the late Sunni Muslim Pope Sheikh Tantawi (right)

Friday, 3/16/12, Diana West wrote an illuminating, trenchant commentary on the ill-advised press release issued that same day by Dr. Mohammed Z. Jasser et al of the American Islamic Leadership Council (AILC). West excoriated Jasser’s/AILC’s immoral equivalence between the Breivik massacre and the so-called “Balandai incident,” and the press release’s additional inflammatory speculation about both acts somehow being rooted in an “Islamophobic” milieu.

I have allowed the calumnies and twists of illogic to mount up for maximum head-spinning impact. What just happened? Most significantly, Anders Breivik, the diagnosed paranoid schitzophrenic who massacred 77 people and wounded 151 others in and around Oslo in two terror attacks last summer, has once again been deployed—as he has so often been deployed by forces of Islam and the Left—this time by AILC member C. Holland Taylor against “the growing radicalization of Western opinion.” Opinion. In other words, as Taylor declares in this press release –supposedly written to condemn (gratuitously?) the wholly exceptional, non-doctrinal and outlaw action of a likely battle-fatigued, highly decorated and twice-wounded American soldier (traumatic brain injury and loss of part of his foot)—the twin terror attacks by a reportedly wealthy madman in Norway are supposed to cancel all scholarly or popular pursuit and cultivation of informed opinion on Islam. Quite noxiously, “the Balandai incident”—now it’s got a moniker—is being used here to boost Breivik as a weapon in what Hillary Clinton has called a needed campaign of  “peer pressure and shaming” to further censor analysis and opinion drawn from the facts of Islam—its history, its law, its supremacism, its warlike nature.

And West concluded, appositely,

…[A]ccording to the AILC, Breivik = “the Balandai incident,” both of which are “warning signs” about “the growing radicalization of Western opinion” that the AILC must “head … off.” Meanwhile: “Islamist terrorism is fueled by a pervasive ideology of hatred, supremacy and violence, and is completely antithetical to the ethical and spiritual teachings of Islam itself and other religions as well.” Says which man’s Koran?

By Sunday (3/18/12), I received an unsolicited e-mail from Mohammed Z. Jasser (copied to about 12 others). Although de-emphasizing the linkage between “the problem presented in our [AILC’s] press release as ‘Breivik syndrome’,” and certain ideological (i.e., implicitly “Islamophobic”) “public stances” by writers who address Islam’s mainstream doctrinal, and as a consequence, living historical pathologies too bluntly for the tender sensibilities of Jasser/AILC et al, Jasser’s message refused to disavow this defamatory allegation. But even Jasser’s faint-hearted backtracking was followed by a discursive series of unsolicited e-mails from Jasser’s AILC colleague, C. Holland Taylor, who proudly acknowledged writing the “Breivik syndrome” language in the AILC press release, and vociferously defended the heinous comparison made. Taylor pronounced:

With reference to the ‘Breivik syndrome,’ and what our press release stated in this regard: I am personally responsible for urging the inclusion of those references, and stand by them fully.

Who is C. Holland Taylor? He introduced himself, thusly:

I am a universalist and a mystic, grounded in the traditions of Christian, Muslim and Hindu spirituality. The Muslim leaders with whom I work tend to be mystics as well, this being particularly true of my friend and LibForAll’s co-founder, former president Wahid of Indonesia.

I have a much greater interest in what may be termed “the state of islam,” than the dogmas associated with any given sect within the formal religion of Islam, as you may see from my statement of “what Islam means to me,” on AILC’s website: “I share the view of spiritual ulama who teach that in its “universal” sense (e.g., as used in the Qur’an), the term “islam” refers not to an institutionalized religion, but rather, to a state of self-transcendent awareness of and surrender to Divine Will, apprehended moment-by-moment in the silence of an illumined heart that is constantly attuned to God. From this perspective, a muslim is one living in that state of awareness (i.e., a saint), who may or may not be a follower of the Prophet Muhammad (saw.), but whose ‘prayer, worship, life and death are for God [alone]’ (Quran 6:162).

Immediately, it is notable—well-nigh pathognomonic—that Taylor’s treacly, vapid “universalistic” muddle, which emphasizes his personal rendering of Koran 6:162, is put forth absent any apparent understanding of the classical, mainstream Koranic tafsir (Koranic commentary[ies]) on 6:162, and the intimately related preceding, and following verses 6:161, and 6:163. For example, Taylor might have consulted the seminal Tafsir al-Jalalayn of Suyuti (and al-Mahalli), before burbling his ignorant gloss on Koran 6:162.

Al-Suyuti (1445-1505) was born in Cairo, where his father taught Shafii law (one of the four major schools of Sunni Islamic Law), and acted as a substitute kadi. He is recognized as the most prolific author in the realm of Islamic literature. A brilliant multidisciplinary scholar, Al-Suyuti was a learned jurist, historian, and biographer. Among his many scholarly contributions are about twenty works of Koranic studies, including seminal Koranic commentaries (Tafsir). Tafsir al-Jalalayn, meaning “The Commentary of the Two Jalals,” is named after its two authors, Al-Suyuti, and his mentor Jalalu’d-Din al-Mahalli (1389-1459), who wrote the initial half of this classic work. Al-Suyuti completed Tafsir al-Jalalayn following al-Mahalli’s death. These apt comments heralded the appearance of a 1378 pp. English translation of Tafsir al-Jalalayn in 2008 by an accomplished contemporary Arabic to English translator:

The publication of this book is a landmark in the history of Islamic literature in English. With this work, for the first time, a complete translation of one of the great classical commentaries on the Holy Qur’an becomes available to English-speaking readers. For half a millennium Tafsir al-Jalalayn has been considered the essential first step in the study of the meanings of the Qur’an by teachers and students throughout the Islamic world Although it is among the shortest and simplest .of the ‘complete commentaries, it is at the same time both wide-ranging and profound. This translation gives non-Arabic speakers access to one of the seminal works of classical tafsir literature. It is hoped that it will prove a valuable aid to the correct understanding of the Qur’anic Revelation throughout the English-speaking world….Aisha Abdurrahman at Tarjumana Bewley is one today’s most prolific translators of classical Arabic work into English. Aisha Bewley not only understands Arabic but she is also aware of the basic meanings and nature of teachings and history of Islam. Her knowledge is born of experience and direct transmission, not merely academic theory and learning by rote. For more than twenty-five years she has been concerned with making the contents of many classical works in Arabic more Accessible to English-speaking readers for the first time…

Tafsir al-Jalalyn makes plain that mainstream, supremacist Islam, alone, is the sole point of reference, not some new-age “mystical” syncretism borne of Taylor’s uninformed, perfervid imaginings. Regarding verses 6:161-163, Tafsir al-Jalalyn states (on p. 324):

[v.161] Say: “My Lord has guided me to a Straight Path [Islam], a correct din [religion; again, Islam], the religion of Ibrahim [a Muslim; see Koran 3:67, and its exegesis {p.134} : “Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but a man of pure natural belief, a hanif who inclines from all other religions to the Straight Din; a Muslim and affirmer of the Divine Unity.”] He was no idolator.[v.162] Say: “My prayer and my rites—referring to [Islamic] acts of worship in the hajj and elsewhere—my living (my life) and my dying (my death) are for Allah alone., the Lord of the worlds…[v. 163]…who has no partner in that. I am commanded to be like that in respect of affirming tawhid [i.e., the oneness of Allah, often simply meaning “There is no god but Allah”] and I am the first of the Muslims of this community.”

The further exchanges I was drawn into with Taylor focused primarily upon several matters elaborated below, but each was consistent with his aggressively asserted, albeit witless Weltanschauung, as already illustrated with regard to Koran 6:162. These additional discussions involved taqiyya (an issue raised by Taylor in the context of this blog about his colleague Jasser), Taylor’s solicitation of support from Al Azhar University and its then Grand Imam Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi in May, 2008, and Taylor’s fanatical devotion to the late former Indonesian President Wahid (“Gus Dur”).

Taylor (in a 3/18/12 e-mail) maintained that the notion of  taqiyya—sanctioned Islamic dissimulation—being “an intrinsic part of Muslim doctrine and practice,” was merely a factitious “widely-propagated narrative”—presumably by inveterate, Breivik massacre-inciting Islamophobes. Notwithstanding Taylor’s false claim, Koran 3:28, and the seminal classical Koranic and modern commentaries on this verse make plain the doctrinal centrality of taqiyya. Below are two translations of Koran 3:28 and its mainstream exegesis or interpretation from classical works of Koranic commentary by renowned Muslim commentators. They provide a remarkably consistent millennial long continuum of interpretation dating from Tabari (d. 923) the greatest early commentator, through two luminaries of the 14th and early 16th centuries, Ibn Kathir, and Suyuti, respectively, concluding with the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan,  Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi (1898-1976)—the most important modern Koranic commentator in Urdu.

[Pickthall] Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying.

[Arberry] Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends, rather than the believers — for whoso does that belongs not to God in anything — unless you have a fear of them. God warns you that You beware of Him, and unto God is the homecoming.

Tabari’s (d. 923) gloss on Koran 3:28 (English translation by Raymond Ibrahim), notes:

If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … [know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.

Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), another important classical commentator who is still widely read, and revered, maintained, regarding Koran 3:28,

The Prohibition of Supporting the Disbelievers: Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships, rather than the believers. Allah warned against such behavior when He said, (And whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way) meaning, whoever commits this act that Allah has prohibited, then Allah will discard him. Similarly, Allah said, (O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them), until,(And whosoever of you does that, then indeed he has gone astray from the straight path.) [60:1]. Allah said, (O you who believe! Take not for friends disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves) [4:144], and, (O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends, they are but friends of each other. And whoever befriends them, then surely, he is one of them.) [5:51]. Allah said, after mentioning the fact that the faithful believers gave their support to the faithful believers among the Muhajirin, Ansar and Bedouins, (And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, (and) if you do not behave the same, there will be Fitnah and oppression on the earth, and a great mischief and corruption.) [8:73]. Allah said next, (unless you indeed fear a danger from them) meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.” Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, “The Tuqyah [taqiyya] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.” Allah said,(And Allah warns you against Himself) meaning, He warns you against His anger and the severe torment He prepared for those who give their support to His enemies, and those who have enmity with His friends, (And to Allah is the final return) meaning, the return is to Him and He will reward or punish each person according to their deeds. Say: “Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allah is able to do all things.” On the Day when every person will be confronted with the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil. And Allah warns you against Himself and Allah is full of kindness with the servants.

Suyuti’s (d. 1505) important exegesis on Koran 3:28 contends,

The believers should not take unbelievers as friends and protectors rather than believers. Anyone who does that and befriends unbelievers has nothing whatsoever to do with the din [religion] of Allah [Islam]—unless it is because you are afraid of them, unless it is dissimulation out of fear of them so that the befriending takes place with the tongue alone and not the heart.

And Muhammad Mufti Shafi (d. 1976),  former Grand Mufti of Pakistan, in the gloss on Koran 3:28 from his contemporary Maariful Quran, observed,

..the purpose is to stay safe from any possible harm coming through them. The words (“unless you have a fear of them”) appearing in this verse means that…friendship with disbelievers is not permissible except when you are in a situation where you want to defend yourself against them

Adding insult to irony, C. Holland Taylor’s willful blindness to the classical, mainstream Islamic doctrine of taqiyya was displayed graphically during a 2008 “pilgrimage” to Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. As captured on the LibForAll website in words and images (hat tip Diana West), Taylor/LibForAll paid homage to Al Azhar, and its then Grand Imam Sheikh Tantawi, in May, 2008, seeking “endorsement” for a film project.

Since its founding in 973 A.D., Al Azhar University (and its mosque) have represented a pinnacle of Islamic religious education, which evolved into the de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam. Unfortunately, during that same millennium, through the present era, Al Azhar and its leading clerics have represented and espoused the unreformed, unrepentant jihad bellicosity and infidel hatred at the core of mainstream Islam. The irrefragable truth of Al Azhar’s persistent Medieval obscurantism (i.e., from any rational non-Muslim, if not Islamic perspective!), can be readily gleaned from a sampling of fatwas (Islamic religious rulings) and statements issued during 1739, till now. Moreover, the late Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Tantawi’s own writings, statements, and career trajectory represent the apotheosis of these ugly realities.

Because it was excerpted in Bat Ye’or’s pioneering The Dhimmi, I obtained Moshe Perlmann’s (1975) complete translation of a 1739 essay on the Churches of Cairo. Written by Sheikh Damanhuri (1689-1764), a highly esteemed leader of Al Azhar, the learned jurist’s tract was a reply to a query in that year when, “…the dhimmis began the construction of a church in Cairo…causing great agitation among Muslims.” The good sheikh notes,

When I learned of the rise of this deplorable affair, and that in this community no longer is the prophetic injunction heeded to deter the infidels, the enemies of the faith, from their goal, I began to write the answer…by explaining the right path

Sheikh Damanhuri entitled his reply—in accord with the conclusion of his learned, Islamically-correct argument, “The presentation of the clear proof for the obligatory destruction of the churches of Old and New Cairo.”

Damanhuri states explicity (on p. 20) that areas “demarcated and settled by Muslims,” including Cairo, Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, Wasit, as well as “any village that was taken by force,” and not returned by a Muslim Caliph to those vanquished and dispossessed,

These are Muslim cities in which the protected people may not display any of their religious symbols, for example, erect churches, bring out wine or pork, or sound the clapper (calling to the church, a counterpart of bells). No new synagogue, church, monk’s cell, prayer assembly of theirs is allowed in these cities, by the consensus of the doctors [of Islamic law]. It has been mentioned above that our city, Cairo, is an Islamic town, started after the conquest of Egypt, under the reign of the Fatimids. Therefore, no church, synagogue, and the rest, may be erected in it.

But what Bat Ye’or excerpted in The Dhimmi that is truly fascinating, is how this learned Muslim jurist, in conformity with the prevailing orthodoxy, viewed Church construction by Christians as a form of Muslim emasculation! From (p. 21)  of Perlmann’s 1975 translation of Damanhuri’s tract:

The Prophet, peace and blessing upon him, said: “No emasculation [khisa] and no church in Islam.” The word “emasculation,” khisa follows the fial, as the verbal noun of khsy, “to emasculate.” The relation between “emasculation” and “church” is that the erection of a church in Muslim territory denotes the elimination of manliness in the people of the territory, just as emasculation, in reality, is the elimination of virility in an animal. Though the sense of the word in our context is withdrawal from women by attachment to churches. The connection is evident. By “no church” the Prophet meant no construction thereof, a prohibition, that is, that no church in Islamic territory signifies the elimination of virility in the people of that territory, which is not permissible, even as the elimination of man’s virility by castration is not.

This perverse, ugly sentiment of perceived “emasculation”—endorsed by a prototypical Al Azhar clerical leader—remains amongst Egyptian Muslims and accounts for their ongoing paroxysms of lethal mass violence directed at The Copts for simply, and peaceably, exercising what modern human beings regard as a basic freedom—freedom of worship.

Fast forward more than two centuries, and consider a fatwa written January 5, 1956 by then Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Hasan Ma’moun, and signed by the leading members of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar, and the major representatives of all four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. [English translation from State Department Telegram 1763/ Embassy (Cairo) Telegram 1256 D441214] This ruling elaborated the following key initial point: that all of historical Palestine—modern Jordan, Israel, and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza—having been conquered by jihad, was a permanent possession of the global Muslim umma (community), “fay territory”—booty or spoils—to be governed eternally by Islamic Law. The January, 1956 Al Azhar fatwa’s language and arguments are indistinguishable from those employed by “radical,” “Islamist,” Hamas (in its Covenant), revealing the same conjoined motivations of jihad, and conspiratorial Islamic Jew hatred:

Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have usurped the territory of Palestine and attacked its people and their property in any manner which allows the Jews to continue as a state in that sacred Muslim territory[as] Jews have taken a part of Palestine and there established their non-Islamic government and have also evacuated from that part most of its Muslim inhabitants… Jihad… to restore the country to its people.. is the duty of all Muslims, not just those who can undertake it. And since all Islamic countries constitute the abode of every Muslim, the Jihad is imperative for both the Muslims inhabiting the territory attacked, and Muslims everywhere else because even though some sections have not been attacked directly, the attack nevertheless took place on a part of the Muslim territory which is a legitimate residence for any Muslim…Everyone knows that from the early days of Islam to the present day the Jews have been plotting against Islam and Muslims and the Islamic homeland. They do not propose to be content with the attack they made on Palestine and Al Aqsa Mosque, but they plan for the possession of all Islamic territories from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Just over a decade later, Al-Azhar sponsored The Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research in Cairo, September, 1968, (its 935 pp. Proceedings were published in 1970), which rejected the pseudo-secular Arab nationalist campaign to destroy Israel (in reality, as noted by Silvia Haim in 1955 an ideology which was but a forme fruste of jihad), and formally embraced jihad and traditional Islamic Jew-hatred as a unifying, hostile ideologies for this purpose. The seminal 1968 Cairo Conference, which represented the entire global Muslim umma—both Islamic nations and the major Muslim minority communities of non-Muslim states—included a presentation by Sheikh Abd Allah Al Meshad, entitled, “Jews’ Attitude Towards Islam and Muslims in the First Islamic Era.”  The good sheikh includes twenty-five “vicious qualities” of the Jews as elucidated by the Koran—with Koranic citations—which “define lucidly their personality,” specifically:

[1] “Telling lies about God” (3:74); [2] “Their fondness for listening to falsehood (lies)” (5:41/42); [3] “Mutiny against Allah” (5:13); [4] “Mutiny against His Messengers” (2:55/5:24/5:70); [5] “Facility of Assassination” (2:61); [6] “Confuting the Covenants: (Breaking Promises)” (8:56); [7] “Hard-heartedness” (2:74); [8] “Argumentativness and double-facedness” (2:247/70); [9] “Suppression of the truth and Misguidance” (2:42); [10] “Hypocrisy” (2:44/4:167); [11] “Egoism” (2:87); [12] “Desire for corrupting the people” [5:64]; [13] “Their Lack of good Conscience” (5:79); [14] “Loving Malignancy for others” (3:69); [15] “Their Resentment for Benefaction done for people” (3:120); [16] “Hastening to commit sins and disobedience to Allah’s injunctions” (5:62); [17] “Self-Conceit and Haughtiness” (5:18/3:75); [18] “Exploitation and opportunism” (4:161); [19] “Trickery for Transgression” (2:65); [20] “Cowardice” (5:24/59:14); [21] “Indecency in talking” (2:93/4:46); [22] “Miserliness” (4:53/3:180); [23] “The most excessive selfishness” (3:119/75); [24] “Fear of Death” (2:96); [25] “Garbling of the Holy Books” (4:46/2:79)

Muhammad Abu Zahra (d. 1974), was a prominent member of Al-Azhar’s Academy of Islamic Research, Professor of Islamic Law at Cairo University, and prolific author. These extracts from Abu Zahra’s “Punishment in Islam,” which was also featured in the September, 1968 Proceedings of the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, provide the mainstream institutional Islamic context for the contemporary views of Sharia-based (i.e., Islamic law) punishments, which abrogate the basic rights and dignity of human beings according to modern standards of human rights:

The hadd punishments being prescribed for the protection of society, their execution is tantamount to an act of worship and equivalent to a holy war [jihad] in the cause of Allah. To purge the community of pernicious elements is a sort of holy war to safeguard religion and morals…From the words of Ibn Taymiya it appears that Hudud are prescribed as a divine blessing. This idea is further developed by al-Mawardi in his ‘al-Ahkam al-Sultaniya’.[Mawardi writes] “Hadd punishments are imposed by Allah as [a] deterrent from his prohibitions and the omission of His commandments.”

What are the so-called “hadd” punishments, condoned by Abu Zahra under the aegis of the bastion of mainstream Sunni Islamic education, Al Azhar? Defined by the Muslim prophet Muhammad either in the Koran, or the hadith (the canonical collections of Muhammad’s deeds and pronouncements), these draconian punishments include: (lethal) stoning for adultery; death for apostasy; death for highway robbery, when accompanied by murder of the robbery victim; for simple highway robbery, the loss of hands and feet; for simple theft, cutting off of the right hand; for “fornication,” a hundred lashes; for drinking wine, eighty lashes.

Nearly 40 years later, in July 2004, an Egyptian sociologist lamented the continued irredentism being inculcated by Al Azhar’s curriculum, which he arbitrarily termed, “extremist,” despite acknowledging its basis in classical, mainstream Islamic jurisprudence:

If we examine some of the extremist curricula, we will find that the principle of fighting any non-Muslim and killing him is not an offensive innovation by [founder of Wahhabism] Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab and by [ Ayman ] Al-Zawahiri, [Osama bin Laden’s deputy and the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization]. This [is] because a book of the Hanafi [school of thought], ‘ Al-Ikhtiyar fi Ta’lil Al-Mukhtar ‘ [by Abdallah Ibn Mahmoud Al-Mawsily ] teaches the next generation that “the war against the infidels is an obligation of all intelligent, healthy, free, and able men… And when the Muslims besiege their enemies in a town or a fortress, they must call upon them to convert to Islam. If they convert, [the Muslims] must cease fighting them, and if they do not convert, they must call upon them to pay the jizya [poll tax]. If they refuse to pay the jizya, the Muslims must call upon Allah’s help in the war against them, to erect catapults, to destroy their fields and their trees, to burn them, and to pelt them [with catapult stones], even if [the enemies] use Muslims as a human shield…”

…And what about after the conquest, the emigration and the taking up of residence in the conquered land alongside its non-Muslim residents, who pay the jizya ? [On this matter] there are guidelines [in ‘ Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba Sharh Zad Al-Mustaqna ‘ by Mansur Ibn Yunes Al-Buhuti ] [through which] one can see what the position of an Al-Azhar graduate [will be] towards his [non-Muslim] brother in the [Arab] homeland: “… The [hair] on their foreheads must be cut… They are permitted to ride [mounts] other than horses, such as donkeys, without a saddle… [One] must not rise in their honor or precede them in greetings… [One] must not offer them condolences, visit them in sickness or participate in their celebrations. They are forbidden to establish new churches or to rebuild those that were destroyed… They are forbidden to build a structure higher than those belonging to Muslims… They must be forbidden to raise their voice in mourning the dead.’ If a dhimmi invites a Muslim to a wedding celebration, he must not go, ‘because one must degrade dhimmis …”

…What else do these extremist curricula contain…? In ‘ Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba ‘ … we find the following legal issue concerning relations between the dhimmi and the Muslim: If someone of the People of the Book,the dhimmi, avoids paying the jizya – his life and his property are permissible. If [the dhimmi ] kills a Muslim, he must be killed, but if a Muslim kills him – the Muslim is not to be killed, but must pay blood money, and the blood money for [the killing of] a dhimmi is half the blood money for [the killing of] a Muslim. The height of justice.

However, in addition to all this darkness and ugly tyranny, there are anecdotes. Thus, in a chapter of ‘ Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba ‘dealing with endowments, you find that it is permitted to endow [property] for the benefit of an infidel who is not an enemy or of an apostate. Why is this? [You will] enjoy this : because it “will not be forever, since they both will be executed shortly.” In addition, one must prevent the irreverent from reading the Koran and [one must] forbid an infidel to read it even if one wants him to convert… In a chapter about amputation [as punishment] for theft, [it is written that] amputation is conditional upon the stolen [property] being respectable property. [This means that] it is permissible to steal musical instruments… This is what is taught at Al-Azhar … and there are other things that arouse disgust and are hurtful, such as the purification condition after relieving oneself… It is forbidden to use respectable paper, meaning the kind on which the name of Allah or a private name is written, such as [books of] Hadith and Shari’a [Islamic law]. However, it is permissible to use disreputable paper, the kind on which philosophical or logical sciences are written, providing one verifies that Allah’s name is not mentioned [from ‘ Al-Iqna’ fi Haqq Alfaz Abi Shuja ‘by Mansur Ibn Yunes Al-Buhuti ].

The continual, monotonous invocation by Al Azhar clerics of jihadist and antisemitic motifs from the Koran (or other foundational Muslim texts) is entirely consistent with the published writings and statements of the late Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi—Grand Imam of this pre-eminent Islamic religious institution from 1996, till his death in March 2010. My extensive and fully representative extracts in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism from Tantawi’s magnum opus—an utterly vile 700 pp. tract glorifying Islam’s incomparable output of doctrinal Jew-hatred from its core texts, i.e. the Koran Sunna, and most important Koranic commentaries—is irrefragable proof of his convictions. Here is one that bears repeating (from p. 394):

the Jews always remain maleficent deniers….they should desist from their negative denial…some Jews went way overboard in their denying hostility, so gentle persuasion can do no good with them, so use force with them and treat them in the way you see as effective in ridding them of their evil. One may go so far as to ban their religion, their persons, their wealth, and their villages.

Tantawi also wrote these words in his 700 page treatise, rationalizing Muslim Jew-hatred:

[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [Koran 2:61/ 3:112], corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness…only a minority of the Jews keep their word…[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims [Koran 3:113], the bad ones do not.

Tantawi’s subsequent career trajectory to the pinnacle of Islamic religious education, and his own fully unrepentant attitudes, reflect the profound moral pathology at the very heart and soul of mainstream, institutional Islam. What follows are additional facts regarding the “post PhD” thesis Tantawi, till literally close to the day this moral cretin dropped dead.

Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by subsequently being named Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University. These were the expressed, “carefully researched” views on Jews held by the nearest Muslim equivalent to a Pope—a man who for 14 years headed the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, which represents some 85 to 90% of the world’s Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi never mollified such hatemongering beliefs after becoming the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his statements on “dialogue” (January 1998) with Jews, the Jews as “enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs” (April 2002), and the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews (April 2002), made clear.

Tantawi’s statements on dialogue, which were issued shortly after he met with the Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Israel Meir Lau, in Cairo, on December 15, 1997, provided him another opportunity to re-affirm his ongoing commitment to the views expressed about Jews in his Ph.D. thesis:

…anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward.  My stance stems from Allah’s book [the Koran], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews…[I] wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah.  I still believe in everything written in that dissertation. [i.e., Jews in the Koran and the Traditions, cited above]

Unfortunately, Tantawi’s antisemitic formulations are well-grounded in classical, mainstream Islamic theology. However, understanding and acknowledging the Koranic origins of Islamic antisemitism is not a justification for the unreformed, unrepentant modern endorsement of these hateful motifs by Tantawi—with predictably murderous consequences. Within days of the Netanya homicide bombing massacre on a Passover seder night, March 27, 2002, for example, Sheikh Tantawi issued an abhorrent sanction (April 4, 2002) of so-called “martyrdom operations,” even when directed at Israeli civilians.

And during November, 2002 (“Tantawi: No Antisemitism” Associated Press 11/19/2002; also archived here), consistent with his triumphant denial, Sheikh Tantawi made the following statement in response to criticism over the virulently antisemitic Egyptian television series (“Horseman Without a Horse”), based on the Czarist Russia forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”:

Suppose that the series has some criticism or shows some of the Jews’ traits, this doesn’t necessitate an uproar…The accusation of antisemitism was invented by the Jews as a means to pressure Arabs and Muslims to implement their schemes in the Arab and Muslim countries, so don’t pay attention to them

January 22, 2008, it was reported that Tantawi cancelled what would have been an historic visit to the Rome synagogue by the imam of Rome’s mosque (Ala Eldin Mohammed Ismail al-Ghobash). The putative excuse for this cancellation was Israel’s self-defensive stance—a blockade—in response to acts of jihad terrorism (rocket barrages; attempted armed incursions) emanating from Gaza. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, commenting aptly about these events, observed that the cancellation proved, “…even so called Muslim moderates share the ideology of hate, violence and death towards the Jewish state.” Al Azhar, Corriere della Sera, further argued, which constituted a “Vatican of Sunni Islam,” had in effect issued “a kind of fatwah.” The paper concluded by noting that “What the Cairo statement really means is that Muslim dialogue with Jews in Italy is only possible once Israel has been eliminated.”

Notwithstanding all this evidence (and reams more which could be adduced), here is how LibForAll summarized their solicitous May, 2008 Al-Azhar pilgrimage, including the meeting with Sheikh Tantawi—who was in full, unabashed taqiyya mode:

In May of 2008, LibForAll Foundation expanded its operations to Egypt, home to al-Azhar—the world’s oldest university—and one of the key centers of Sunni Islam.  A LibForAll delegation traveled under the auspices the Egyptian and Indonesian foreign ministries, for the purpose of interviewing key religious leaders for LibForAll’s Lautan Wahyu (Ocean of Revelations) television series, and to expand LibForAll’s network in the Arab heartland. The Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar University and Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque—Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi—blessed LibForAll Foundation’s activities, and its mission to promote a pluralistic and tolerant understanding of Islam, at peace with itself and the modern world…[An extract from Al-Ahram’s May 27, 2008 report in the aftermath of the meeting between LibForAll is included:] “When asked his opinion about the actions of Muslims that violate the teachings of Islam, the Grand Shaykh replied that this constitutes a gross error which stems from Muslims’ own lack of knowledge and understanding of Islam, and the importance of good acts in keeping with its teachings.  In fact, within Islam, good acts [towards others] are no less important than the act of worshipping God Himself.”

Regardless, the true millennial spirit of Al Azhar, in perfect keeping with Grand Imam Tantawi’s bigoted stewardship, was recorded by the New York Times less than 8-months after the Taylor/LibForAll pilgrimage. The front page New York Times story published January 10, 2009, included extracts from the Friday sermon (of 1/9/09) at Al Azhar mosque pronounced by Egyptian-government appointed cleric Sheik Eid Abdel Hamid Youssef. Referencing well-established Antisemitic motifs from the Koran (citations provided, below), Sheikh Youssef intoned,

Muslim brothers, God has inflicted the Muslim nation with a people whom God has become angry at [Koran 1:7] and whom he cursed [Koran 5:78] so he made monkeys and pigs [Koran 5:60] out of them. They killed prophets and messengers [Koran 2:61 / 3:112] and sowed corruption on Earth. [Koran 5:33 / 5:64] They are the most evil on Earth. [5:62  /63]

Taylor’s woefully inadequate “riposte” to my discussion of Tantawi’s odious legacy in word and deed, was to ignore it, and then, non-sequitur, chastise me for failing to pay adequate homage to former Indonesian President Wahid, whom Taylor holds in saint-like reverence. Elsewhere (and prior to my recent e-mail exchange with Taylor, in essays published here, and here), I simply noted the ineffectiveness of Wahid’s modest efforts at reform within Indonesia, and the less than salutary legacy of Wahid’s (and Taylor’s) flagship “moderate Islamic party”, the Nadhlatul Ulama (NU). I summarized the NU’s Weltanschauung, and the predictable consequences of their mainstream Islamic views:

  • their view that they are ahli sunnah wal djamaah, that is, the people who keep to the sunna (usage) of the Prophet, in community with the one great umma or djamaa—in short orthodox, and irredentist unreformed, mainstream Islam
  • their role in fomenting the jihad genocide of the ethnic Chinese, via the NU and their “youth movement” ANSOR (from the Arabic al-ansar, the Medinan helpers of the Muslim prophet Muhammad) being in the forefront of these violent actions to exterminate the ethnic Chinese, indiscriminately labeling them as “Communists.” Such orthodox Islamic religious incitement was epitomized by the issuance of an authoritative fatwa in November 1965 sanctioning an annihilationist jihad as “A RELIGIOUS DUTY (caps in original),” explaining,: “This religious duty is not only recommended, but obligatory, even an individual obligation…And because this action and this struggle must be carried out by consolidating all our strength — mental, physical, and material — therefore this action and this struggle are nothing less than a HOLY WAR (JIHAD) [caps in original]. This Holy War, according to religious law, is not (only) recommended, but obligatory.”
  •  their promotion of the Shafiite school of Islamic law which advocates female genital mutilation; the female genital mutilation rate among Indonesian women persists at well over 90% in Indonesia (97% in Jakarta according to this U.N. report), and the NU opposes the banning of such misogynistic barbarity.

In short, NU’s 1926 foundational principles sanctioned Sharia-based Islamic supremacism, were reiterated and acted upon during the subsequent decades, through the present, have resulted in such “moderate” outcomes as mass murderous jihadism against Indonesian non-Muslims (ethnic Chinese; Christians), and its ongoing avowed support for female genital mutilation is “contributing” to rates of this misogynistic barbarity at well over 90% among Indonesian Muslim women.

Frankly I didn’t hold Wahid, “Gus Dur” (d. 12/30/2009), or his treacly apologetic on Islam in great esteem. I just could not get past the disingenuousness of his “assessment” which invented (without acknowledging the invention) previously non-existent Islamic “outlooks,” while denying mainstream, deeply rooted Islamic doctrine and its living consequences. There was also his ineffectual record: from a failed and truncated Presidency (i.e., his ouster orchestrated by a sizable coalition of mainstream Muslim parties), on whose watch large scale massacres of Christians occurred, to his earlier dubious apologetic about the genocidal jihad in East Timor. I do give him some modicum of credit for at least acknowledging and disavowing the NU’s role in the mid-1960s massacres of ethnic Chinese. But overall, Wahid’s record was not exactly confidence building with regard to the effectiveness of whatever it was he tried to inculcate in his native Indonesia, which raises even more basic questions about why anyone should be “optimistic”—let alone aggressive—in replicating such lack of success more broadly.

Finally succumbing to Taylor’s hectoring insistence, I viewed the ~ 8-minute video of Wahid’s Topo Gigio-like appearance at a Wiesenthal Center award ceremony for him in May, 2008. Contra Taylor’s hagiographic view, the video in fact illustrates how marginal his Gus Dur was to the enduring tragedy of unreformed and unrepentant Islamic Jew-hatred. Wahid simply passed the lowest threshold of moral decency which even a moral flatworm could navigate readily—rejecting Holocaust denial, and “acknowledging” Israel’s right to exist. That’s all and that’s it. The fact that the Wiesenthal organization gave him an award for these meager “concessions” reveals both the fecklessness of such Jewish advocacy groups, which also refuse to grapple with Islam’s mainstream Jew-hatred in doctrine and practice, and the complete absence of Muslim leadership voices worth championing that confront the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism. Wahid, Taylor’s lionized “Gus Dur,” who attended Al Azhar, never addressed the  specific mainstream Islamic Jew-hating doctrines from the Koran and Sunna—not a single one of those myriad motifs that Tantawi relished and illuminated in such detail in his 700 pp. treatise proudly published by Islam’s Vatican. Nor did Wahid ever address the tragic and at various times mass murderous consequences of these myriad hatemongering Islamic motifs. Furthermore, the ADL—even more feckless on the issue of Islamic Jew-hatred than the Wiesenthal Center—gave Turkey’s Jew-hating PM (Mas-Kom-Ya) Erdogan the “Courage to Care” award on June 10, 2005. At the award ceremony, Erdogan had piously pronounced that “Antisemitism had no place in Turkey”, and he stressed his country’s “strong support” for Israel.

I concluded my exchanges with C. Holland Taylor, as follows:

[Y]our serious problem is simple, and yet profound based upon conscious choices you have made. Instead of using the entrée your “Gus” afforded you to confront Al Azhar’s mainstream doctrinal Islamic hatred—and its apotheosis Tantawi—you put the perverse “needs” of your fantasy film first, avoided the kind of courageous confrontation necessary to affect real change, and abetted the taqiyya that allows mainstream Islam’s institutional hatred to remain unchallenged…As an ostensibly open-minded “Muslim-Christian-Hindu syncretist”, there is an intellectually honest, morally sound standard for the discussion of Islamic Jew-hatred you should strive to emulate—and it has been provided by two far more authentic and representative examples of Islamic civilization than yourself. Ibn Warraq is a native pre-partition Indian Muslim freethinker, and brilliant researcher, writer, and polymath who wrote the Forewords to both The Legacy of Jihad and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. Wafa Sultan, a Muslim freethinker and Syrian native psychiatrist also discusses Islamic Jew hatred with the requisite expertise and candor in her compelling autobiography. Study and imbibe their writings on these subjects, and when you are ready to identify and condemn mainstream Islamic jihadism and Jew hatred with an honesty and passion equal to theirs, I will be happy to correspond with you.



Comments are closed.