Friday, 7 October 2011

Support For Jews From An Unlikely Source

The American Interest

It’s not often you hear loud and public support for Jews in Arab newspapers, which is why Egyptian journalist Sharif ‘Abd Al-Ghani’s recent article in a Qatari paper is cause for celebration. Al-Ghani attacks Muslim preachers for their hateful language toward Jews. How, he asks, can preachers lead hateful discussion of Jews, yet venerate Moses?
Why does our sheikh – and we behind him – shower all these curses on the Jews, but then add the expression ‘peace be upon him’ when speaking of their prophet Moussa [Moses]? Are the Jews not people of the Book and among those whom the Koran orders us to treat kindly so long as they do not fight us? And how could Allah have created them so impure and damned if they are the disciples of a prophet?
He also points out that many inventors and scientists who have changed the world with their work were Jewish. Muslims have benefited from these scientific and medical advancements, he argues, yet Jews are attacked with violent rhetoric in mosques across the world.
The absurd thing is that after cursing the Jews, the preacher never forgets to urge the attendees to donate [money in order to establish] a dialysis unit in the village… which will treat thousands of patients… But it doesn’t occur to him, or to any of the attendees who say amen after the curses and curse the Jews themselves – many of whom suffer kidney failure – that the man who invented the treatment for this condition is the Jewish doctor and scientist Willem Klofkim [sic, apparently Kolff]!
O you, those who curse and besmirch the Jews, do you not know that the ‘impure and damned’ Jew Baruch Blumberg discovered the viral liver disease Hepatitis [B] and the treatment for it – a disease that afflicts 12% of Egyptians?
It’s always worth pointing out advancements in religious tolerance, especially of Muslims toward Jews in the Middle East. Via Meadiahopes that Al-Ghani’s common sense, intellectual honesty and tolerance prove contagious.
It seems to be a general law of modern life that those who hate and fear Jews are condemned to backwardness and irrelevance: not, as anti-Semitic loons pathetically imagine, because Jewish cabals manipulate capitalism to frustrate their enemies, but because without intellectual clarity and a sincerely tolerant worldview, it is very difficult to prosper in a world like ours.
In Libya, unfortunately, Al-Ghani’s message hasn’t been received.  According to Hadeel Al-Shalchi (@hadeelalsh), on hearing news that a Libyan of Jewish origin was trying to rebuild a synagogue, a mob of ignorant haters assembled outside the hotel in which he is staying, baying for blood in the traditionally chilling and evil (but also pathetic and contemptible) way that they have.
When I think of the potential of the Arab Spring, it is to courageous voices like Sharif ‘Abd Al-Ghani and Hadeel Al-Shalchi.  Political problems with Israel are one thing; unreasoning hate of a people is something else.

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