Since its founding in 973 C.E., 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, institutional Islam.
Al Azhar’s contemporary espousal of sacralized Islamic animosity has been directed, unsurprisingly, against Jews and Israel, dating back to the 20th century origins, and ultimate creation, of the modern Jewish State. Despite nearly universal willful blindness by media, academic, and policymaking elites, this critical issue of sacralized incitement of Muslim Jew-hatred by Islam’s Sunni Muslim Vatican, remains center stage.
Islam’s canonical texts—the Koran itself (see here), and the “traditions” of Islam’s prophet Muhammad (the hadith, and sira; see here)—are redolent with Islamic Jew-hatred. This hateful material was catalogued—and extolled—by the late Sunni Muslim Papal equivalent, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who served as the Grand Imam of Sunni Islam’s Vatican, Al Azhar University, for 14 years, from 1996, till his death in March, 2010. Tantawi’s “academic” magnum opus, a 700 page treatise entitled, “Jews in the Koran and the Traditions”, includes this summary Koranic rationalization for Muslim Jew-hatred:
[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [see Koran 2:61/ 3:112 ], [and see al-Azhar Sheikh Saqr’s contemporary Koranic citations, “Jews’ 20 Bad Traits As Described in the Qur’an”] 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.
More ominously, Tantawi’s exhaustive modern analysis of Islam’s defining, canonical sources concluded by sanctioning these bigoted—even violent—Muslim behaviors towards Jews:
[T]he 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’s successor, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, publicly reiterated this sacralized, Jew-hating bigotry. During an interview with Al-Tayeb, which aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV, October 25, 2013, he gave a brief explanation of the ongoing relevance of the Koranic verse 5:82 which has been invoked—“successfully”—to inspire Muslim hatred of Jews since the advent of Islam:
A verse in the Koran explains the Muslims’ relations with the Jews…This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism…Since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims. The Koran said it and history has proven it: “You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews…”
Now, less than a year later—consistent with his belief in (and promulgation of) Islam’s “sacralized,” conspiratorial Jew-hating canon—Grand Imam al-Tayeb is insisting that the scourge of jihad terrorism, ravaging the Middle East, epitomized by IS/IL, is due to the machinations of “Global Zionism,” i.e., Jews. During a televised statement which aired on Channel 1 Egyptian TV, September 8, 2014, al-Tayeb intoned:
All the [fundamentalist terrorist groups] are the new products of imperialism, in the service of global Zionism in its new version, and its plot to destroy the [Middle] East and tear region apart.
Both Tantawi’s and his successor Ahmad Al-Tayeb’s career trajectories to the apogee of Sunni Islamic religious education, despite their own public endorsements of virulent, if “sacralized” Islamic Jew-hatred, reflect the profound moral pathology at the very heart and soul of mainstream, institutional Islam.