No matter how hard or how often we Muslims try, we are never able finally to end the connection our lives seem to have with the lives of the Jews. Watching Arab and Islamic television, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, brings the viewer to the inescapable conclusion that we have no real lives of our own, no unity and no value: our only motivation is having the Jews as a common enemy, with our lives dependent on them. We treat the Jews the way the rabid Christian anti-Semites treated them in the Middle Ages, blaming them for every illness, tragedy and misfortune. We blame them for the failures of Islam while only we are at fault for the catastrophes that befall us.
Almost no Ramadan evening goes by without tedious "historical" dramas on Al-Jazeera and the other Arab TV channels, whose objective is to brainwash viewers with anti-Semitic propaganda. They deal with the Jews' denial of the Prophet Muhammad's message, Jewish attempts to poison him and their betrayal of him at the Battle of the Trench in Al-Medina. Almost all the series' end on the same note: the message is always that the fate of the Jews in the Palestine they stole from the Arabs will be the same as that Muhammad wreaked on them at Khybar, they will be slaughtered and their women and children will be sold into slavery.
A still shot from the anti-Semitic TV miniseries "Khaybar". (Image credit: MEMRI)
That kind of incitement lends the Jews a Satanic power, it makes us think they can manipulate events around the world and are historically responsible for planning and carrying out every evil that exists. In reality, however, all it does is glorify their capabilities and achievements to the extent of turning them into a self-important legend. Thus we ourselves construct the myth of the genius of the Jews, their intellectual might and creative talents, while personally I am not entirely sure they deserve the reputation: they are mere mortals like everyone else, and often less.
In my opinion, the situation has reached such proportions within the nation of Islam that it is now a national mental illness, a collective obsession for which I see no cure. We accuse the Jews of wanting to rule the world, but one of the causes of our illness is that we expect Islam to take over the world.
Regression and the lack of social and governmental flexibility, along with poverty and ignorance, perpetuate the impotence of the nation of Islam and make it impossible for us to change, develop and progress -- a frustrating, ugly situation. While we have dreams of ruling the world, we wallow in disease and poverty, and we are behind the times in all the modern fields of endeavor. Our various regimes enjoy religious and tribal backing, that is why they are anti-democratic and cannot be saved. We find comfort only in recklessly bringing untold masses of children into a world with nothing to offer them.
The countries of western Europe were all lucky enough, or wise enough, to cast off the political rule of fanaticism in the Middle Ages and to separate church and state. Today Christianity is a normative social value, a matter of personal conscience, and it dictates and practices enlightenment rather than violence and oppression. The separation of church and state made it possible for Europeans – and Americans – to progress, and it gave them a tremendous advantage over the rest of the world. We, on the other hand, are still living in the Dark Ages.
The Christians' enlightened, moderate attitude toward the Islamic communities in European cities, which is partially a function of fear, causes our extremist Muslim brothers to escalate their violence toward the communities hosting them, mistakenly assuming that Christian moderation is the result of the weakness of Western society. The result is that as time passes Islamophobia grows greater.
Despite the new Enlightenment, many Europeans, among them the leaders of the European Union, are still fundamentally and militantly anti-Semitic. Instead of attacking the Jews head-on the way their ancestors did -- by simply passing discriminatory laws, forcing them to live in ghettoes and killing them -- they now politically correctly attack Israel, pretending that Israelis are not Jews. Beneath their political correctness their ancient, inbred anti-Semitism still smolders. For some Christians, as for the Muslims, hatred of the Jews is built on an ancient religious foundation, a legacy from the Middle Ages, and it is so basic and so well rooted that they are willing to support the Muslims in almost anything, as long as it harms the Jews in some way.
The result is that we Muslims make the mistake of thinking Europeans really care about them, especially the Palestinians. We are wrong: Europeans simply hate the Jews more than they hate and fear us. The bitter truth is that the Europeans usually intervene in a crisis only if it gives them the opportunity for Jew-bashing. When hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Muslims are slaughtered – by other Muslims, such as the massacre in Syria and the recent upsurge of violence in Darfur – the apathetic European leadership does not lift a finger. At the same time, the European Union is obsessed with its need to condemn, sanction and boycott the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. It does not even mention Syria, with its hundred thousand civilians murdered by the government and its millions of refugees, or the atrocities being committed in the Arab-Muslim world, the rapes of women and children, the beheadings and the wanton cruelty and murder, to say nothing of exploitation, discrimination, slavery and other crimes against humanity.
To my great sorrow, everywhere in the world where there are Muslims there is murder, mass bloodshed and terrorist attacks. We should leave the Jews alone, they are not responsible for our tragedies and hating them will not cure the nation of Islam or bring it successfully into the 21st century.
Ali Salim is a scholar based in the Middle East.