In his introduction, Calvert presents Qutb as a supremely moral being. He was bent on propagating Allah’s message to humanity, and that message was beneficent and moral.
Benny Morris, in his review of John Calvert's Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism
In his review, Qutb and the Jews, Benny Morris describes Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), the subject of Calvert's book, as, "the major ideologue of modern, ultraviolent Islamic fundamentalism"--so at a time when the current explanation for the Israel-Arab conflict is that it is an issue over land, it is helpful to see what Qutb has to say.
Calvert is straightforward about Qutb's overall goal:
Qutb, says Calvert, saw jihad as the instrument of an essentially expansionist Islam. “For Qutb, as for the classical jurists, it is important that Islam be elevated to a position of power over [all] the peoples of the earth.”That is a description that does not necessarily fit with Calvert's claim that "Qutb never would have sanctioned the killing of civilians, which several of the militant groups committed."
Be that as it may, when it comes to Qutb and the Jews, Morris writes that Calvert is even more oblivious:
Calvert never says, simply, that Qutb was an anti-Semite; perhaps it is politically incorrect to forthrightly accuse a major Muslim thinker of such a predilection. But “the Jews” appear to have been important, if not central, to Qutb’s worldview, at least after the Arab disaster in Palestine in 1948. From that year onward Qutb was wont, like most contemporary Islamists, to refer to the Muslims’ “Crusader [i.e., Christian] and Zionist” enemies.These days, the West overlooks such descriptions of Jews by Arabs and doesn't even bother to condemn the anti-Semitism such words reflect--after all, since it is contained in the Koran, it is part of Islam and we can't very well complain about that, can we?
But Qutb’s anti-Semitism was religious and deep-rooted, originating in the Koran and its descriptions of Muhammad’s antagonistic relations with the Jewish tribes of Arabia (who simply rejected the Prophet and his message and were consequently slaughtered, enslaved or exiled by him), not in the contemporary struggle with Zionism. (Though the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, no doubt, exacerbated his anti-Jewish prejudices. He often compared what he saw as Jewish misdeeds in seventh-century Hejaz—the Jews turning their backs on divine revelation, trying to poison the Prophet and fighting the believers—and twentieth-century Palestine.)
In or around 1951 Qutb published an essay entitled “Our Struggle with the Jews” (reprinted as a book by the Saudi government in 1970). Calvert devotes a paragraph to this screed—but would have done well to elaborate further. In the essay, Qutb vilified the Jews, in line with the Koran, as Islam’s (and Muhammad’s) “worst” enemies, as “slayers of the prophets,” and as essentially perfidious, double-dealing and evil.
Qutb uses Nazi language. The Jews, he wrote:
Free the sensual desires from their restraints and they destroy the moral foundation on which the pure Creed rests, in order that the Creed should fall into the filth which they spread so widely on the earth. They mutilate the whole of history and falsify it. . . . From such creatures who kill, massacre and defame prophets one can only expect the spilling of human blood and dirty means which would further their machinations and evil.Moreover, Jews, by nature, are “ungrateful,” “narrowly selfish” and “fanatical.” He continued, “This disposition of theirs does not allow them to feel the larger human connection which binds humanity together. Thus did the Jews (always) live in isolation.”
In his essay, written six years after the Holocaust, Qutb stressed that the battle with the Jews—now in the guise of Zionists—had raged for 1,400 years and continued. Typical of his thinking and style of argumentation is the following mendacious anecdote, proffered in a footnote: “While entering (Old) Jerusalem in 1967, the Jewish armies shouted, ‘Muhammad died and had fathered only daughters.’”
But that is the point, such anti-Semitism is part and parcel of the Koran and Islam. You can read about how that has played out over history from the time of Mohammed in Andrew Bostom's The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History, long before Arabs were accusing Jews of stealing their land--after all: there were plenty of other things to accuse Jews of.
Thus, in his review of Sir Martin Gilbert's new book, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, Aryeh Tepler writes
Throughout, he [Gilbert] poses one question to his material: was the Jewish minority protected, or persecuted? When Muslim rulers treated their Jews as a "protected people," the Jews, he shows, repaid the favor by contributing immensely to Muslim culture and society. When the Jews were persecuted, not only they but the society they lived in suffered. By proceeding in this fashion, Gilbert succeeds in exploding the myth, manufactured by Islamic ideologues and peddled by left-wing apologists, to the effect that pre-modern Jews always lived harmoniously with their Muslim hosts. Sometimes this was the case; often it was not.The fact is that anti-Semitism is found in the Koran, it is found in the writings of jihadist thinkers and the resultant Muslim persecution of Jews over the centuries precedes by centuries the reestablishment of the state of Israel.
And it continues today, ignored by the West, even at it spreads among them.
[Hat tip: Yaacov Lozowick]
Technorati Tag: Sayyid Qutb and Muslim Anti-Semitism and Jihad.