Rabbi Shmuley, Meet Habib Umar bin Hafiz, the Rabidly Jew-Hating “World’s Most Influential Muslim”

Pop culture icon Rabbi Shmuley Boteach recorded, then recounted, a harrowing interaction with a run-of-the-mill Muslim family in New York City’s Times Square, Christmas eve. The Rabbi was accosted by a young Muslima who recognized him, and told him to kill himself, ostensibly for his support of Israel. This was followed immediately by her younger brother repeatedly kicking Rabbi Boteach, while his sister continued to suggest he commit suicide. Their Muslim mother did nothing to stop her young miscreants, rather, as the Rabbi noted, she “smiled broadly and proudly as if she had done her job well to inculcate within her children a lethal hatred of Jews.” The miscreants’ father, also beaming, added, “You will never defeat Islam, because it is too strong and too large.”

Exhibiting profoundly uninformed, willfully blind denial, Boteach then proffered this self-assured, Chelm-like wisdom:

“And I make the pivotal point that I am not speaking about Muslims, but Islamists. Muslims are our brothers and sisters under God. Islamists are hate-filled miscreants who abuse and defile a great world religion.”

Rabbi Boteach, please meet this year’s designated “World’s Most Influential Muslim.”

Toward the end of each year, The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center (RISSC)—a pre-eminent avatar of mainstream, “moderate Islam”—issues its annual rankings of “The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims.” This year’s top ranking was bestowed upon Yemeni theologian Habib Umar bin Hafiz, “one of the foremost scholars, spiritual guides, and preachers within the Islamic tradition today,” whose direct influence extends to “hundreds of millions of Muslims around the globe.” Upon release of the rankings in early October, 2023, a fawning report gushed that Habib Umar bin Hafiz “played an instrumental role in shaping the ethical and moral compass” of Muslims worldwide, concluding he represented, “the true essence of the religion [Islam]—one that promotes peace, tolerance, and understanding.”

Those previously unfamiliar with these yearly rankings and their ostensible promotion of ecumenism—”peace, tolerance, and understanding”—might be dubious of that goal when noting the third ranked individual was inveterate, annihilationist Jew-hater, and authoritarian theocrat, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Examining Habib Umar bin Hafiz’s public pronouncements since the unprovoked, brutal Hamas jihad carnage and atrocities in southern Israel, 10/7/23, indicates, with the tragic predictability of our age, that the current “World’s Most Influential Muslim,” is also a virulent Jew-hater.

On 10/10/23, ignoring the precipitating murderous brutality wrought by Hamas just 3-days earlier, and anticipating Israel’s understandable defensive response, bin Hafiz launched into a diatribe against Jews employing standard Qur’anic motifs of sacralized Jew-hatred, “spreading corruption” (5:33; 5:64), and “propagating falsehood” (3:75; 5:41). He further invoked Qur’an 41:15 condemning Israel’s/the Jews’ “arrogance”, “without right”, and threatening Allah’s retribution. Illustrating Islam’s religious supersession and negation of Judaism (and Christianity), bin Hafiz intoned, “They do not belong to our Master Moses, nor our master Jesus, nor our master Muhammad. They have falsely claimed a connection to Moses.” Habib Umar bin Hafiz concluded his diatribe with a genocidal declaration, repeating the canonical tradition of Jew-annihilation attributed to Muhammad himself, and also featured in Hamas’ Covenant, article 7: “When one of them seeks refuge under a tree and stone, the trees and the stones will cry out, ’Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah! Behind me is a Jew, come and kill him.’ This was repeated by the most truthful of people. No doubt that day will surely come.”

In follow-up pronouncements issued 10/21/23 and 11/1/23, bin Hafiz denied there was any evidence Palestinian Muslims killed Israeli children on October 7th (notwithstanding gruesome video and forensic findings, confirmed by captured Hamas jihadists), contended the Jews were “even more debased than insects and animals (7:179; 98:6),” reiterated the Jews/”Zionist oppressors” sought only “corruption on earth (5:33; 5:64),” and claimed those among them who died, like Pharoah and his minions, are burning in Hell (40:46).

Finally, bin Hafiz’s most recent, lengthier pronouncement (12/15/23) repeats the charge that Jews/Zionists fuel discord and corruption, claims they lie and deceive in a manner that “is more disgusting and foul than people realize,” before insisting all Muslims have always been the target of the Jews’ conspiratorial treachery:

“The war they wage is the same type of war from the very beginning [of Islam]. It is a war born of hatred (5:82)…You are their target. Your religion [Islam] is their target. Their aim is to destroy the Islamic laws! Their aim is to claim the earth is theirs! It is hostility towards Muhammad…It is hatred toward his divine message and revelation…It is hatred towards companions, pure family, and his Ummah (entire Muslim community). It is hatred towards the laws of the religion [Islam]…[The Jews are] the leadership of disbelief on the earth! ‘If they attack your faith, fight the leaders of disbelief. They never honor their oaths, so fight them (9:12).’…They killed prophets (2:61; 2:91: 3:112; 3:181). They have been doing this from the very beginning…So what do you expect from them? ‘Hatred has become evident from their mouths (3:118)’…’If good befalls you it grieves them, and if harm afflicts you, they rejoice (3:120).’”  

The percentage of Muslims worldwide sharing bin Hafiz’s hateful attitude towards Jews, is likely mirrored, to a large extent by those Muslims whom he represents, in terms of their “piety.” That alarming number is indicated by RISSC’s own educated estimates: “Traditional Islam,” based on Islamic Law, as represented by Habib Umar bin Hafiz, 90%; “Islamic Fundamentalism” a more politicized form of “Traditional Islam”, 9%; and “Islamic Modernism” (1%), a movement over a century old which has called for a “complete overhaul of Islamic Law,” but “remains popularly an object of derision and ridicule, scorned by traditional Muslims, and fundamentalists, alike.”

Tragically, hard Anti-Defamation League survey data revealing the grossly disproportionate prevalence of extreme Antisemitism in Islamdom, comport with these RISSC estimates of Muslim piety: the 16 most Jew-hating countries in the world, with extreme Antisemitism prevalences of 74% to 93%, are all in the Middle Eastern cradle of Islam, and 62% of French Muslims, the largest Muslim diaspora population in Western Europe exhibit this degree of Jew-hatred.

Rabbi Boteach briefly encountered the modern pandemic of “pious” Muslim Jew-hatred. It is long overdue for the good Rabbi, and those of his ilk, to acknowledge the extent of this uniquely Muslim scourge, and condemn, publicly, both the animating mainstream, traditional Islamic doctrine, and most revered Muslim religious leaders, like Habib Umar bin Hafiz, who promulgate this sacralized Jew-hatred.

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