The Qatari owned Al Jazeera has aired countless sermons and programs vilifying Jews and Israel. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is arguably Sunni Islam’s most influential cleric in the world and wields considerable influence in the Muslim Brotherhood. Reaching weekly over 60 million viewers in his program “Shariah and Life,” he commonly spews anti-Western and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. On January 28, 2009, he stated “the last punishment was carried out by Hitler…this was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.”
The grim reality is that Muslim imams, scholars, and activists demonstrating the courage to publicly take on the antisemitism of Islamist leaders are far too few and have not made their presence known. They have neither the platforms nor the backing which petro-funded Islamist linked movements do around the world.
We must support them by heeding the warnings which the horrible history of Islamist antisemitism has shown and take action to prevent its prevalence on every front throughout the world. The Obama administration cannot even get itself to even use the word “Islamism,” let alone take a stand against the pervasive antisemitism created by Islamists at home and abroad. Just like Islamist inspired terror, Islamist inspired antisemitism cannot be treated without targeting Islamism. Instead, President Obama’s national security team has engaged Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the U.S. and oddly seems to consider the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt an ally in the making.
Our leaders have to take sides in the battle of ideas against Islamism by reviving our public diplomacy in support of universal human rights, whether popular or not. We need to systematically expose—name and shame—the antisemitic behavior and ideas promulgated by Islamist movements, including all forms of hatred against Jews, conspiracies, and anti-Americanism. Antisemitic ideas are not isolated incidents to be condemned and dismissed. We should expose their root cause, foremost of which among Muslims is Islamism.
The U.S. must engage and provide platforms for courageous reform-based civil society organizations dedicated to working against anti-Semitism. Conversely the administration must also disengage from Islamist groups and expose their ideology for what it is—incompatible with modernity. We must end the climate of political correctness and subtle bigotry, which gives Muslims a pass on accountability for the hate-filled ideas of antisemitism. We must not be seen as advocating for liberty only at home and turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism from our supposed “allies”.
We must confront Islamist groups with what Prime Minister David Cameron referred to as “muscular liberalism.” While hyper-secularists in Europe attack the faithful of all faiths, Islamists thrive in that blind multicultural environment. We ignore at our own peril what Islamist antisemitism tells us about who they are and what lies ahead for those of us in its way.
About the Author: M. Zuhdi Jasser is the author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith, and is President and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (the opinions here are his own).
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