Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Arab Inquisition

The Reasons Beyond and Similarities Between Christian and Muslim Criticism of Judaism

The layman interested in worldly religious matters generally believes there to be a distinction between Christianity's and Islam's historical treatment of Jews and Judaism. He might argue, and not altogether illogically, that Islam was a far cry more just to Jews than Christendom ever was, that is to say, that Islam did not produce anything on the level of Inquisition, Crusade, or Concentration Camp. If he were to say this, then in this he would be absolutely correct. In the Muslim lands the Jew was subject to Islam's hierarchical pyramid, on which the Jew was near the bottom, but generally speaking he was relatively safe in his society and which cannot be argued for European Christendom.

But that this is generally true conceals an element of truth regarding Islam's outlook on Jews and Judaism. If we scratch the surface but a little we begin to see a set of similarities between the most negative of Christianity's viewpoints on Judaism and a strong correlative in Islam, especially in its contemporary expressions. We can rationalize then that similar behaviors will be produced forth from both Christianity and Islam owing to their similar ideologies regarding Judaism.


"German historians and Bible-critics were motivated by animosity towards our people. For more than a century they labored, in vain, to tear apart our Scriptures and to destroy their authenticity; and they endeavored to belittle our entire past. Their bias against us, augmented by their knowledge that their religious books could not withstand scholarly criticism, caused them to fabricate countless reckless theories (107-124) against our Scriptures. They challenged and ridiculed every statement, they ascribed the latest possible date for their composition and they accused our prophetic writers of forgery and plagiarism."

*I took this quote from Avigdor Miller's book, "Rejoice O Youth!"

One can present many objections to this point, the first one being that the German Bible-critics were atheists whom also attempted to decompose Christian Scripture. But a cursory look at the history of Bible criticism shows that indeed many professed Christians were involved in that intellectual crusade to destroy Judaism. Nowadays we are accustomed to seeing a "different kind of Christian," not one whom believes that the essence of his religion is the destruction of Judaism. However, that some sixty years ago, or less, a Christian was likely not held up by any "liberal" preoccupation with respecting the Jews and it was to him that the end of Judaism was seen partially as a Christian religious duty. This "type" of Christian was very much like today's Jihadist Muslim, and therefore the parallel between Inquisitionist Christian and Jihadist Muslim is almost perfect.

Today, this type of Christian has gone "underground" and a new Christian has emerged, one whom loves and respects the Jewish people and whom sees their text as his own. The underground Christian continues to hate the Jew, but privately, and those who do not have realized the limits of criticizing Jewish Scripture if they are to maintain belief in their own religion. One result is a series of "pro-Jewish" Christian movements, such as "Jews for Jesus" and "Messianic Judaism," and are sugary attempts to accomplish an older Christian goal, albeit in an entirely different manner, of the decomposition of Judaism's parts and their rearrangement as Christianity. It is in Christianity's lifeblood to forever attempt this conversion and it will seek any means to do so; the price of failure is the end of Christianity. It follows that broken Jewish individuals make the best targets, given that the religious duty is to break down and rearrange Judaism into Christianity; a broken Jewish individual is easy to convert into a Christian. A broken Jew is like a mathematical equation, it (the individual) is reduced to its simplest form and converted into another form. If the parallel between the Inquisitive spirit and the Jihadist spirit is valid, then we have entered a time in which a broken Jew is also a sitting duck for conversion to Islam. It is possible that this is not the first time in history in which such a phase was apparent.

But a Muslim would offer a rebuttal against the statement, "They challenged and ridiculed every statement, they ascribed the latest possible date for their composition and they accused our prophetic writers of forgery and plagiarism." Firstly, he would argue, that they do not challenge and ridicule every statement, but only the statements that were falsified by Jews with hidden motives. One basic Muslim belief, and if you think I might be slandering Islam then ask a Muslim, is that there were Jews in history who falsified and corrupted certain texts of the original revelation that they received. The purpose, they continue, was to change documented history in their favor and also to cheat Ishmael and later his descendants out of their proper birthright. The rebuttal against this is that every stated truth in the Tanakh, the Jewish Scriptures, which did not serve to confirm Islam was explained away by Islam as having been falsified by Jews. This served the purpose of using "the Jews" to filter out whatever Muslims could not rectify as foundations of their faith, and so they simply proclaimed that those things were corruptions and conveniently ignored them.

Another Muslim rebuttal is that every Prophet in the Tanakh is recognized by Islam as one of their own Prophets, and therefore they would never do something as horrible and dispicable as accusing a Prophetic writer of forgery. They would even argue that for Christians to accuse the Prophets of this was one of the essential reasons that G-d sent the Prophet Muhammad to rectify their corruption. Rather, it was not the Prophets whom were guilty of forgery, but rather the Jews themselves whom saw purpose in altering the words of the Prophets for their own means. Therefore, everything in the Books of the Prophets with which Muslims disagree, they attribute to Jewish corruption and not to the actual text as written down by the Prophets themselves. Therefore, by editing the text of the Jewish Scriptures, Muslims have been able to create a text with which they fully agree and which can culminate perfectly in the Qur'an, but it involves committing the very forgery of which they accuse the Jews. Again, "For more than a century they labored, in vain, to tear apart our Scriptures and to destroy their authenticity; and they endeavored to belittle our entire past," also refers to Muslim treatment of the Tanakh. This is evidenced by the fact that Muslims refer to all Prophets and Forefathers/mothers as "Muslims," which pushes aside their Jewish identity and at the same time negates it.

Islam, and perhaps this is an inherited legacy of Arab culture, places high value on spiritual confidence and unbreakable resolution. (By the way, this is precisely why Arab and Muslim nations resent national foes, such as other countries, whom also exude this unbreakable resolution; it makes them difficult to defeat) Consider, "Their bias against us, augmented by their knowledge that their religious books could not withstand scholarly criticism, caused them to fabricate countless reckless theories (107-124) against our Scriptures." It is the psychologically confirmed behavior that a person whom is insecure in himself tends to lash out against others as a defense mechanism. Therefore, under the veneer of unshakeable spiritual confidence and total dedication to faith, Islam suffers from the secret fear that perhaps the Qur'an does not have a chance in hell of standing up to the authenticity of the Tanakh. It is that fear that inspires Islam to make sweeping proclamations that the Jews (although it never actually identifies which Jews) have corrupted large sections of the Torah - this is nothing more than an attack based in Islam's hidden fear that perhaps the Torah is superior to the Qur'an. Again, the greater the threat, the greater the fear, and the greater the fear, the greater the reaction. Hence, a large portion of the violence by Muslim groups and governments towards "Jewish projects," one of which is the State of Israel, and the other of which is, simply said, the Jewish People, is fear that the Torah is right and that therefore the Jews are doing the right thing. Islam today, like "the Christianity of old," first became accustomed to making literary attacks on Jewish Scripture and then soon moved into the realm of tangibles and began making physical attacks on Jews, not just in Israel but wherever they were. We have entered, and have been in, a Muslim Inquisition of sorts for some time now, given wings by technology and the ability to access and spread information with relative ease, a luxury that the Crusaders did not have. One earmark of danger in this Jihading spirit is the obsession with manipulating or erasing history; the denial of the Holocaust is one way to open up a possibility, G-d forbid, that it can happen again. The Crusades led to the Holocaust and now the Jihadists are denying the reality of that Holocaust but are behaving in the same way as the Crusaders. This should be a yellow light to the world, if it is sensitive. In the end, there is practically, basically, comparitively, and essentially no difference between Christianity and Islam in relation to Judaism.

Another similarity is the almost total absence of the "average Christian" in European Christendom to speak out against the horrors of the Crusades, Inquisitions, and the our own contemporary Holocaust. In almost the exact same way, today Muslims are not speaking out against the horrors being committed by Muslims involved in terrorism and murderous ideologies. They of course do sometimes say, only after being pushed to making such proclamations, that the actions of those Muslims are not it line and even antithetical to Islam, but their "gripe" is limited to words and not to actions. In other words, moderate Muslims (which is not a synonym for "peaceful") have fallen into the intellectual trap of explaining that Muslims whom commit acts of horror in the name of Islam are not really Muslims and therefore there is no reason to criticize them. If that were true, which I am to a degree willing to accept, then the real Muslims need to alienate the false Muslims, but that did not occur, which means that Muslims were not really interested in putting an end to Muslim terrorism, or at least were not able to or felt that they were not able to. This is the nature of terror; not only does it seek to put paralyzing fear into its target population, it also seeks to put fear into the hearts of those whom resist it, from its own people. Therefore, the same fear that acts on Israeli's to bend to the whims of Palestinian terror groups is the same fear that acts on moderate Muslims whom are afraid to speak out against other Muslim terror groups. A core of terror is created which paralyzes everybody and allows anything to happen, and everything that the terror group wishes. Slowly, slowly we see the re-emergence of a situation very similar to that of the pre-Holocaust reality, but in the name of Islam, not Christianity. I have Christian acquaintances whom apologize for the Crusades in the same way by saying that those people were not actually real Christians.

In truth, to a Muslim, there is no such thing as a Jew. Therefore, every Jewish endeavor is also null and void and subject to replacement by Muslim endeavors. There is so much within the Tanakh, Jewish Scriptures, that Muslims have to negate or ignore if their stated claims about the truth of Islam are to be credible. Therefore Islam must attack the authenticity of Jewish Scripture in order to survive, exactly in the same which Christianity had to. I am not here to find a way for Islam to create a way to juxtapose itself with Judaism peacefully; I have found that to be a basically useless endeavour coming from a Jew. Only Islam is able to create such a reality and comes down its will to do so. So, to use the prior quoted statement, Muslim "historians and Bible-critics were motivated by animosity towards our people," and are. This is a phase of not a Spanish, but an Arab Inquisition.


Nick said...

This is excellently stated.

I come from a place where Christianity is trying to crush Judaism.

It seems to me the first Jews to be lured into Christianity were vunerable because there was a lot of confusion about what to do with Judaism, which had been a Temple-focused religion, after the Temple had been destroyed. Jerusalem was razed and everyone uprooted and disconnected, our tradition was almost lost. It was the perfect opening for Paul to come along and tell the huge lie that the sacrificial system was now supposed to be fufilled through the human sacrifice of a god, JC. Human sacrifice, of course, is utterly forbidden in Judaism and anathema to what we believe, but to be a Christian you have to embrace it as the only way, even though how to atone and reconcile with G-d when there's no Temple is well known: fasting, tschuva and prayer. This is what the whole book of Esther (commemorated on Purim) is about, when after the first destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian exile, the Jews, led by Esther, did tschuva, fasted and prayed and merited the land again, with no Jesus or intermediary. King David atoned without a sacrifice as well, per the book of Samuel. But to be a Christian you have to explain away Exodus 20 (nothing before Me) and Deut. 4:15 (G-d has no image) and Num. 23:19 (G-d is not a mortal) and Proverbs 21:3 (righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the L-rd than sacrifice). They have to insert Jesus or reinterpret the book of Esther as well as our other books.

Thus, like you say, Christianity is the distortion of Tanakh and the utter destruction of Judaism.
And from what you've said, Islam may be as well.


jjew said...

Yashar ko'ach, and thanks for putting those links. (The Gentile) King Cyrus of Persia, whom the Tanakh refers to as "Messiah," let the Jews back into Israel and to rebuild the Temple. This was understood as a Messianic Redemption of sorts, although not the final one, and the Torah understands Redemption as G-d forgiving the Jewish nation for their sins. I once asked a Christian how G-d forgave the Jews without a sin offering, and she didn't have an answer. The bigger point about that is that the Jews couldn't have even been forgiven through animal sacrifices in that point in time because they had no Temple in which to do it - G-d let them REBUILD the Temple. G-d decided to forgive the Jews SIMPLY BECAUSE HE WANTED TO.

Peace, Yaniv...

Y-Love said...

This is not going on in a vacuum.

For instance, the clerics who -- and let's not mince words -- are distorting the words of Qur'an are often not doing so for educated populations, unlike their more moderate counterparts. To give an extreme example, Irshad Manji could not get up in front of the Islamic History professors &c she talks to and say some of the BS you would hear from a Nasrallah (jihad = "go and find the Jews wherever they are in the world?") or the religious hypocrites of 9/11. A statement like "Jews are the sons of apes and pigs", a statement analogous to the Jewish "a goy in front of Jew is like an ape in front of a man", an ignorant racist statement when not said with its commentary, and only taken literally and at face value by citizens with the MOST base thinking.

All post-Judaism Abrahamic sects, from the smallest Essene group to Karaitism to, yes, Islam, has attacked some aspect of Judaism, otherwise why does it exist as a separate entity? But to hold this up as any more than its Protestant counterpart is borderline Islamophobic.

"No such thing as a Jew?" Why then did Hizb ut-Tahrir (the AK on the flag gives me a hint, these ppl aren't "moderate") distinguish between the permitted Judaism and the forbidden Buddhism when giving its plan to take over the planet, in light of the direct Qur'anic injunction against liars and hypocrites? If Jews didn't exist, fake non-entities don't belong in a declaration of cause.

I think you're too eager to find reasons to denounce Islam.

jjew said...

No, I am not eager to denounce Islam; they make up 23% of the world, i.e., provide a quarter of the world with monotheism - it would not be in my best interests as a Jew to want to denounce such a movement. You mistake me for being Islamophobic, and I understand that, but try to understand this. I perceive something true about Islam that it finds it necessary to arbitrate on our past (i.e., Tanakh) in order to justify the existence of their own religion. They have no right to do this, they are not G-d. Mind you, I DO distinguish between extremist Muslims and moderates, and I envision a very practical reality where Islam realizes the truth and beauty of Judaism and finds a way to harmonize the existence of Judaism with the Qur'an. It would be fooldhardy of me to insist that it's just the extremists who are destructive, rather, I think that there is a root of Islam which HAS to be destructive of previous religious traditions in order for their own to make sense. It's just like YOU said, "All post-Judaism Abrahamic sects, from the smallest Essene group to Karaitism to, yes, Islam, has attacked some aspect of Judaism, otherwise why does it exist as a separate entity?" I totally agree and I extend my criticism to all post-Judaism monotheistic religions (in this order, Christianity and all its counterparts and Islam and all its counterparts).

This is neither hateful nor biased, also because I believe that the same is of the monotheist (Jewish) tradition which had a similar viewpoint towards the previous polytheistic religious traditions. Simply put, the way we Jews view polytheism is the way, to a degree, Muslims view us. Now, how can it be that monotheists view other monotheists in the same way that monotheists view polytheists? Easy, they have to degrade us to a polytheistic status, even though we are monotheists, and the only way this is acheived is by degrading our text and attacking its veracity. Also, there has to be a very aggressive element in Islam for this to be accomplished because they have to get past the fact that we are indeed monotheists.

I hear your point very well about the ape-pig statements of both Judaism and Islam. I actually think that that is peripherally important because it is worst to think/believe that another religious tradition does not exist/has forfeited its right to exist than to simply call another religious traditon names. Having said that, Judaism "allows" Islam much more of a right to exist than the other way around. Clearly there is a Jewish strain of thought which lashes out against goyim, (and I have yet to learn more about this) but it does not hold them to be our precursors whom have to become like us. Islam holds that Islam is the final destination of all religious traditions, and that is a painful and bloody metaphysical battle because we will never become Muslims. Jews believe that goyim need to honor a monotheistic tradition, but we don't believe that they need to become Jews. Imagine, again, Muslims are monotheists that want other monotheists to simply adopt THEIR BRAND of monotheism. They are the holy and we are the unholy. I'm not sure if Islam has a place for us in their world view because all I've ever been told or read (which has not been much) is that Islam only conditionally accepts what we are - we cannot continue to be Jews the way we are and for Islam to accept us.

Ask yourself just exactly what "permitted Judaism" means. Is there a distinction between "permitted Judaism" and "false Judaism?" Any Judaism that is not exactly the same thing as Islam is false Judaism. And if I'm wrong, which I could shown to be, then any true Judaism, such as Orthodox Judaism, which does not submit to being subsovereign or even entirely submissive to Muslim social domination, is false. Islam sees itself as being the only possible ruling class, and so for us Jews to be down with them we have to accept a position beneath them.

I envision an Islam more or less like the Christianity of today, which is "pro-Jewish." Only then do I think that both Christianity and Islam will lose their "replacement traditions," and that's how I understand the end of shibud malchuyot. Really eager to hear how you think about this.

I know it's already Shabbat where you are, so shavua tov! Yaniv...