David Hayden

Walid N. Arafat wrote a provocative article entitled "New Light on the Story of Banu Qurayza and the Jews of Medina" in 1976 for the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. After outlining the Ibn Ishaq version of the story, Arafat offers this interpretation: "On examination, details of the story can be challenged. It can be demonstrated that the assertion that 600 or 800 or 900 men of Banu Qurayza were put to death in cold blood can not be true; that it is a later invention; and that it has its source in Jewish traditions. Indeed, the source of the details in earlier Jewish history can be pointed out with surprising accuracy" (Arafat 1-2). Three years after Arafat's article appeared, Barakat Ahmad, an Indian Muslim, wrote Muhammad and the Jews: A Re-Examination in which he suggests the Muslims beheaded only 16 or 17 Qurayza leaders while the rest were taken captive.

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President Obama touched on an important idea this morning in his press conference dealing with Syria, the Boston bombing, and other political issues.  Alluding to the Tsarnaev brothers, he spoke of the trouble in identifying lone terrorists who may not be part of a terror network:

"One of the dangers we now face are self-radicalized individuals, who are already here in the United States, and in some cases may not be in any kind of network, but because of whatever warped and twisted ideas they may have decided to carry out an attack."

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