Tuesday, February 12, 2019 Interview of Dr. Andrew Bostom by Janet Mefferd
Audio, with full annotated transcript, below.
Audio link (from 13:00 to 24:55):
Janet Mefferd: Representative Ilhan Omar just can’t seem to help herself. Under pressure, as you know, the Muslim lawmaker has apologized for tweeting Antisemitic claims over the weekend that politicians’ support for Israel was quote, “All about the Benjamins,” and also for calling out the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for buying support, allegedly. But then she turned right around a few hours later and retweeted a thread that once again pushed Jewish money claims. Could it be that her Antisemitism is rooted in more than just her “Progressive” politics? We are going to get some thoughts on it now from Dr. Andrew Bostom, and Islamic scholar, and the author of The Legacy of Jihad, and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. Dr. Bostom, great to talk to you again.
Andrew Bostom: Nice to talk to you Janet.
Janet Mefferd: What do you make of the comments and retweets from Rep. Omar, in light of what you know about Islam?
Andrew Bostom: Not to oversimplify things, but I really do think there’s an enormous context. She fits very smoothly into what is at this point in history a global pandemic of Islamic Jew-hatred. Whether she imbibes these attitudes very directly from her own Islamic Center, wherever she went in the Minneapolis area, or whether they filter through the community, we are literally in an era, unlike, particularly The [Roman Catholic] Vatican, which had a Vatican II, which had a Nostre Aetate, [or] the fundamentalist Christian community in this country, which was traditionally, with exceptions, very philosemitic. The Catholic Church, and their teachings [per Vatican II/Nostre Aetate] which were even imbibed by other Churches that were not Catholic, were very specific in rooting out the Deicide allegation, and the collective guilt of the Jews, and have reinforced those teachings over the past 60-years. We are not even at the beginning of a process like that of Islam dealing with its own canonical Jew-hatred, which is just overwhelming in the context of the Koran [see in 4-parts, Andrew Bostom, “Antsemitism in the Qur’an” https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-quran-part-1.php; https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-quran-part-2.php; https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-quran-part-3.php; https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-quran-part-4.php), and the traditions (of Muhammad and the early Muslim community; see in 4-parts, Andrew Bostom, “Antisemitism in the Hadith and Early Muslim Biographies of Muhammad” https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-hadith-part-1.php; https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-hadith-part-2.php; https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-hadith-part-3.php; https://myislam.dk/articles/en/bostom%20antisemitism-in-the-hadith-part-4.php). I was summing it [these Antisemitic themes] up when I was writing The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, and finishing [the book] at the end of 2007. And it [the Koran] really reads like a prosecutorial brief, an indictment—and a conviction—of the Jews. And these [Antisemitic] themes are repeated from on high by Al Azhar Universsity which is The Vatican equivalent for Sunni Islam. Its [Al Azhar’s] last two Grand Imams—who are Papal equivalents—have been virulent Antisemites [see https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/2017/08/17/mainstream-islam-threatens-jewish-existence/], teaching the traditional Koranic Jew-hatred with all the central motifs from the Koran that are very, very Antisemitic. Specifically, the current Grand Imam [Ahmed al-Tayeb] has said that those themes, like a theme in the Koran, the 5th sura [chapter], the 82nd verse, which, perversely, says that the Jews harbor the greatest hatred for the Muslims, and therefore, of course, the Muslims have to hate them. That [verse] is a 1400 year legacy according to the current [Al Azhar] Grand Imam, Ahmed al-Tayeb. And he says that [verse] has shaped the entire relationship between Muslims and Jews, and is valid now. He also went on to say not too long ago that the Jews, for example, were responsible—in terms of the conspiratorial Jew-hatred that they [Al Azhar/al-Tayeb] teach—for the rise of ISIS [the Islamic State jihad terror organization]. He [al-Tayeb] said that twice in public. So I just think that there is such a toxic atmosphere. And we’ve had multiple examples within the last few weeks [in the U.S.]. The Middle East Media Research Institute which monitors the Arab [and broader Islamic] media, the print media, and video and radio, have come up with sermons that have repeated these themes in a Shiite mosque in Detroit, and in a Sunni mosque in New Jersey, and another Sunni mosque in Pennsylvania [NOTE mistake: actually a Pittsburgh imam’s online Muslim teaching website]. The same views that come from Al-Azhar University are repeated through the Muslim community, not only in centers of Islam in the Middle East, and in Pakistan, but in the Muslim communities that have emigrated to Europe, and the United States. And I think that it is very late in the game now for us to be dealing with this thematic material as it is being expounded by Muslim religious leaders in this country. Of course it is somewhat gratifying that even Democrats have now renounced what Ilhan Omar said, but I must say that no one is willing to come to grips with what is going on in the [U.S.] mosques, and until we do that—until politicians do that, until religious leaders do that—this is not going to change, I’m afraid Janet.
Janet Mefferd: No. I remember the report wasn’t it David Yerushalmi who had penned that report on the radicalism in the American mosques [see study findings summarized here: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2011/06/mosques_as_barracks_in_america_1.html], and something like 80% of them had radical material or were preaching radical things, and it was just studiously ignored? It was as if it was never even put out there.
Andrew Bostom: Right. And that was really a very specific study which wanted to deal with the theme of basic Islamic law, Sharia, and Sharia compliance, how that might relate specifically to—again it was narrow—the preaching of jihad. They didn’t get into the kind of specific Antisemitic themes that are regurgitated. Just as an example, this Shiite mosque in Detroit—and this [is led by] a Shiite leader who was educated in Najaf, which is one of the Shiite centers in Iraq. He [the Shiite imam] was talking very specifically about usury [see Koranic accusation against Jews in verses 2:275, and esp. 4:161]. This is the invocation that Ilhan Omar is making about money, and [returning to the Shiite imam] how Jews have distorted their texts [see Koran 4:46], and Jews have sanctioned the killing of prophets [see Koran 2:191 and 4:155; and in the traditions, Sunni and Shiite, the Jews are accused of a conspiratorial poisoning of Muhammad that caused his death, while the Shiite traditions claim Jews are further responsible for the deaths of Ali and his son Husayn]. These are themes that are repeated over and over again in the United States. We’ve even had a couple of examples [see: https://www.memri.org/reports/houston-texas-imam-sermon-our-duties-towards-al-quds-jerusalem-denies-jewish-connection; https://www.memri.org/tv/north-carolina-antisemitic-sermon-abdullah-khadra-haifa-acre-jaffa-muslim-land] in the last couple of years that were called out—and of course Sunni apologetics were made for them—where mosques were invoking the tradition of Muhammad [see: Sahih Muslim Book 041, Hadith Number 6985] where he’s saying that Jews must be killed en masse to usher in the messianic times. This has been repeated in mosques again and again [see dating back over 10 years: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2007/11/clevelands_imamate_of_jew_hate.html]. And of course the argument always is it’s being taken out of context. Well the context is a genocide to usher in what Muslims believe to be their messianic age. It’s absurd to frame it any other way. And by the way that [Muhammad’s canonical call for Jew annihilation] is embedded in the Hamas Charter, that particular hadith, or tradition [Sahih Muslim Book 041, Hadith Number 6985; Hamas Charter, Article 7]. But Janet, I am at my wits end after studying this for the last 15-years. It seems unavoidable that if we don’t deal with these canonical [Islamic] sources and how they’re taught, and how they’re preached, over and over again—and I understand [with] Ilhan Omar, there is a nexus between the Left and Islam, and a lot of what she says sounds like typical Socialist, hard Left claptrap. But that’s not where she’s really coming from in terms of her visceral Jew-hatred. It’s coming from Islam. And we can’t continue to ignore this, or we might as well ignore the whole phenomenon. Because it is not going to go away, if we say she’s just an Antisemitic Leftist. No, she’s much more than that.
Janet Mefferd: Well that’s right. And we’ve got this report about Rashida Tlaib, the other Muslim representative who apparently wrote an oped back in 2006 for Louis Farrakhan’s publication “Final Call.” And people are reacting to this stuff and saying this is shocking; this is amazing. But doesn’t this pose a real political awkwardness for the Democratic Party, long-term, if you continue to see these kinds of folks elected? And in Minnesota, of course, they have a growing Muslim population, and its politically fine, I would imagine with a certain number of voters in Minnesota that she [Ilhan Omar] thinks this way if they think the same way, but what does this mean, do you think for the Democratic Party long-term, if they will align with people who think this way from the Muslim community about Jews, and we are willing to make comments that are so Antisemitic?
Andrew Bostom: It’s corrosive. But I would argue it’s not just corrosive to the Democratic Party. I have respect for [N.Y. Rep.] Lee Zeldin who was the first person to call her [Ilhan Omar] out. But I’ve grown to expect more of him at this point. He has to educate himself about these [Islamic] religious themes. We don’t accept it [Jew-hatred] from Christianity. But Christianity is so different and always had a very strong mea culpa sense. It’s really hard to find this [mea culpa] within Islam, but we’re going to have to force it in there if we’re going to be able to live comfortably with Muslims in this country. And I think it is the responsibility of politicians, including the Republican Party, including the Republican Jewish Committee. If they continue to ignore the thematic elements that are viscerally Antisemitic in Islam, they’re just sort of pissing in the dark. I’m sorry to be so crude about it. But this has to stop. What has to stop is the denial that there are very, very specific sources in Islam for this type of hatred, this type of Jew-hatred. They are being expounded by not marginal institutions, but the leading Islamic institutions, both Sunni and Shiite alike. That’s where it starts. That’s where it comes down from on high. But these themes are being imbibed and repeated in mosques throughout the world, including in the United States. And there are countless examples of them already. Once in a while a stink will be raised about it, but not the core teachings. And they’ll instantly be labeled as “radicals,” as opposed to traditionalists. That’s all they really are. It’s terrible that the Democratic Party is taking these people [Antisemitic Muslim politicians] in in increasing numbers. But it is almost as bad that the Republicans are too timid, too afraid of being called “Islamophobes,” to deal with the [Islamic] sources. The sources are not complicated, Janet. They are very specific, very numerous. The themes are repeated over and over again so that people can become familiar with them. [Jews as] Apes and pigs [Koran 5:60]—this is another theme that is repeated in the United States [see: https://www.memri.org/reports/following-interfaith-gathering-unity-islamic-center-jersey-city-new-jersey-centers-imam], and I think it is late in the game for politicians to continue to ignore this material.