Canadian Islamic group says antisemitism exists among Muslims

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Pro Palestinian demonstration in Toronto Oct-16-2015 Photo

The Islamic Organization of North America Canada (IONA), based in Mississauga, ON, describes itself as “an organization dedicated to reviving the Qur’an in the hearts of Muslims while bringing its message to non-Muslims.”

According to IONA’s website:

“The obligations of a Muslim, as ordained by the Qur’an and Sunnah, can be understood as having four levels:

1. A Muslim is required to develop real faith and conviction in one’s heart — Iman

2. A Muslim is required to live a life of complete submission to the will of Allah (SWT) — Ibadah

3. A Muslim is required to propagate and disseminate the message of Islam to humanity as a whole —Shahada ‘alan-Nas

4. A Muslim is required to try his/her utmost to promote and struggle for the establishment of Justice — lqamat-ud-Deen

The objective of IONA is to assist North American Muslims in fulfilling the above obligations as well as inviting non-Muslims toward Islam, for the sake of our salvation in the hereafter and for seeking the love and mercy of God Almighty.”

Here are excerpts from IONA’s flyer on titled “Anti-Semitism”:

We do not deny the existence of anti-Semitism among contemporary Muslims. However, it is very important to recognize that the hatred of Jews that one sometimes finds in Muslim societies has no roots in Islamic scripture, theology, law, or in Muslim history. Instead, it is a product of specific political events of the twentieth century, i.e., the Israel-Palestine issue. Several Jewish historians have acknowledged that there was no antiSemitism in Muslim societies before the nineteenth century and very little before the twentieth-century

To understand the origin of anti-Semitism among Muslims, one must recognize the blurring of the boundary between scripture-based religion and secular nationalism that has taken place in modern Judaism. Even though Zionism began in the nineteenth century as a secular and socialist movement among non-religious Jews, it has now become part of the religious identity of a large proportion of the Jewish population.

“Due to this blurring of the boundary between religion and nationalism, political debates frequently take a religious hue. Similarly, religious sentiments are ofen invoked when the issue in question is purely political and ought to be addressed on pragmatic grounds alone. Another very unfortunate side-effect of this blurring is that a principle-based moral criticism of specific political policies can be easily misunderstood or misconstrued as religious or racial hatred.”

Hamza Yusuf: “The anti-Jewish rhetoric here in the Islamic community is horrific”

Hamza Yusuf Hanson is president, co-founder, and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College located in Berkeley, California.

He is an advisor to the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union and also serves as vice-president for the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, which was founded and is currently presided over by Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah.

In an interview with Mehdi Hassan at the Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) conference in Toronto (December 24-27, 2016), Hamza Yusuf said among other things the following:

“A lot of the problems in the United States with the black community being shot by the police – we have about 15,000, between 15 to 18 thousand homicides a year, 50 percent are black on black crime, literally 50 pe[rcent]… One black person being shot or white, there are twice as many whites had been shot by police, but nobody ever shows those videos. It’s the assumption is the police are racist and it’s not always the case, and I think it’s very dangerous again to just broad stroke any police now that shoots a black is immediately considered a racist and sometimes these are African-American police officers… It is an important debate though, because I think, you know, we can’t, the police aren’t all racist, we cannot say that…

“We should all be against any ideologies of superiority of one people over another people. It is completely antithetical proposition, but we have some of the worst racism in our own community… We have some of the worst racism in our own community. The anti-Jewish rhetoric, you know, here in the Islamic community is horrific.

“And one of the things about Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah who is an Arab Sheikh – I’ve never over 20 years I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him saying a bad word about Jewish people ever, and yet I’ve heard in our community so many blatant remarks [about Jews].

“Also, do you know what it is like to be a Pakistani in a lot of Gulf states or in India or from Kerala even worse. Do you know? Talk about people, talk about white privilege, what about Arab privilege over non-Arabs in the Middle East? I mean, I just feel like we have so little moral capital while pointing our finger at other people and it actually makes me a little sick to my stomach when I see all these people rising up about this anti, you know, anti this kind of white privilege and all these things and it’s like our community is rife with these things [racism] and our religion is so profound… [Question: How do you deal with that in our community?] by practising Islam, that would be a good start.”