Recently, a Pakistani religious leader, Pirzada Muhammad Raza Saqib Mustafai, said: "When the Jews are wiped out ... the sun of peace [will] begin to rise on the entire world." The same preaching is routinely done not only by clerics, but by politicians -- in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere. This is not just Ahmedinijad; it is at the heart of Islamic theology that world peace will be established only when all the Jews are wiped from the earth. But few people in Western media are alarmed by this kind of rhetoric or care to expose this dreadful dark side of Islam's obsession with Jew-hatred.
I do not believe that one has to be an authority on human behavior or group thinking to find out the obvious pathology in Islamic Jew-hatred. It is time for all of us to uncover and expose this atrocity against the Jewish people. We owe that to humanity and the truth.
No true Muslim can see that such hatred is unbecoming and unholy for a world religion to focus on and that the credibility of Islam is tarnished by such hatred. No Muslim is allowed to go far enough to self-analyze or ask why such hatred. Muslims defend Jew-hatred by claiming that Jews betrayed Muhammad and thus deserve of this kind of treatment. Even when I was a Muslim, I believed that the one-sided story against Jews by Islam was enough to justify all the killing, terror, lies, and propaganda by Islamic leaders against Jews. To the average Muslim, routinely cursing Jews in mosques feels normal and even holy!
After a lot of thinking, analysis, research, and writing, I discovered that Jew-hatred in Islam is an essential foundation to the Islamic belief system that Muslims cannot seem to be able to rid themselves of. Jew-hatred masks an existential problem in Islam. Islam is terrified of the Jews, and the number-one enemy of Islam is the truth, which must be constantly covered at any cost. It does not matter how many Muslim men, women, and children die in the process of saving Islam's reputation. The number-one duty of Muslims is to protect the reputation of Islam and Muhammad. But why would a religion burden its followers like that? This is why:
When Mohammed embarked on his mission to spread Islam, his objective was to create a uniquely Arabian religion, one created by an Arab prophet, which reflected the Arabian values and culture. Yet to obtain legitimacy, he had to link it to the two previous Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Christianity. He expected the Jewish tribes who lived in Arabia to declare him their Messiah and thereby bring him more legitimacy with Arabs, especially with his own tribe in Mecca, the Quraish. Because his own tribe had rejected and ridiculed him, Mohammed needed the approval of the Jews, whom he called the people of the book. But the conversion of Jews to Islam was part of the scenario that Mohammed had to accomplish in order to prove to Meccans that they had made a mistake by rejecting him.
That was one of the reasons Mohammed chose to migrate to Medina, a town that had predominantly been settled by Jewish tribes and a few impoverished Arabs who lived around the Jews. The Jews allowed Mohammed to move in. At the beginning, the Koran of Mecca was full of appeals to the Jews, who were then described as "guidance and light" (5:44) and a "righteous" people (6:153-154), who "excelled the nations" (45:16). But when the Jews rejected the appeasement and refused to convert to Islam, Mohammed simply and completely flipped. The Quran changed from love to threats and then pure hatred, cursing, and commandments to kill Jews. Rejection by the Jews became an intolerable obsession with Mohammed.
Not only did the Jews reject him, but their prosperity made Mohammed extremely envious. The Jewish Arabian tribes earned their living from legitimate and successful business, but Mohammed earned his living and wealth through warfare -- by attacking Arab tribes, some of whom were from his own tribe -- and trade caravans, seizing their wealth and property. That did not look good for a man who claimed to be a prophet of God. The mere existence of the Jews made Mohammed look bad, which led Mohammed to unspeakable slaughter, beheading of 600 to 900 Jewish men of one tribe, and taking their women and children as slaves. Mohammed had the first pick of the prettiest woman as his sex slave. All of this senseless slaughter of the Jews was elaborately documented in Islamic books on the life of Mohammed -- not as something to be ashamed of, but as justified behavior against evil people.
One does not have to be psychiatrist to see the obvious: that Muhammad was a tormented man after the massacre he orchestrated and forced his fighters to undertake to empower and to enrich himself and his religion. To reduce his torment, he needed everyone around him, as well as future generations, to participate in the genocide against the Jews, the only people whom he could not control. An enormous number of verses in the Koran encouraged Mohammed's fighters to fight, kill, and curse Muslim fighters who wanted to escape fighting and killing Jews. The Quran is full of promises of all kinds of pleasure in heaven to those who followed Mohammed's killing spree and curses and condemnation to those who chose to escape from fighting. Muslims were encouraged to feel no hesitation or guilt for the genocide because it was not they who did it, but rather "Allah's hand."
Mohammed never got over his anger, humiliation, and rejection by "the people of the book" and went to his grave tormented and obsessed that some Jews were still alive. On his deathbed, Mohammed entrusted Muslims to kill Jews wherever they found them, which made this a "holy commandment" that no Muslim can reject. Muslims who wrote sharia understood how Mohammed was extremely sensitive to criticism, and that is why criticizing Mohammed became the highest crime in Islam that will never be forgiven even if the offender repents. Mohammed's message on his deathbed was not for his followers to strive for holiness, peace, goodness, and to treat their neighbors as themselves, but rather a commandment for Muslims to continue the killing and the genocide against the Jews. Killing thus became a holy act of obedience to Mohammed and Allah himself.
Mohammed portrayed himself as a victim of Jews, and Muslims must avenge him until judgement day. With all Arab power, money, and influence around the world today, they still thrive at portraying themselves as victims. Sharia also codified into law the duty of every Muslim to defend Mohammed's honor and Islam with his own blood, and allowed the violation of many commandments if it is for the benefit of defending Islam and Mohammed. Thus, Muslims are carrying a huge burden, a holy burden, to defend Mohammed with their blood, and in doing so they are allowed to kill, lie, cheat, slander, and mislead.
Mohammed must have felt deep and extreme shame after what he had done to the Jews, and thus a very good reason had to be found to explain away his genocide. By commanding Muslims to continue the genocide for him, even after his death, Muhammad expanded the shame to cover all Muslims and Islam itself. All Muslims were commanded to follow Mohammed's example and chase the Jews wherever they went. One hundred years after Mohammed's death, Arabs occupied Jerusalem and built Al Aqsa mosque right on top of the Jewish Temple ruins, the holiest spot of the Jews. Muslims thought they had erased all memory of Jewish existence.
Mohammed's genocide of the Jews of Arabia became an unholy dark mark of shame in Islamic history, and that shame, envy, and anger continues to get the best of Muslims today. In the eyes of Mohammed and Muslims, the mere existence of the Jewish people, let alone an entire Jewish state, delegitimizes Islam and makes Mohammed look more like a mass murderer than like a prophet. For Muslims to make peace with Jews and acknowledge that Jews are humans who deserve the same rights as everyone else would have a devastating effect on how Muslims view their religion, their history, and the actions of their prophet.
Islam has a major existential problem. By no will of their own, the Jews found themselves in the middle of this Islamic dilemma. Islam must justify the genocide that Muhammad waged against the Jews. Muhammad and Muslims had two choices: either the Jews are evil sub-humans, apes, pigs, and enemies of Allah, a common description of Jews still heard regularly in Middle Eastern mosques today, or Muhammad was a genocidal warlord not fit to be a prophet of God -- a choice that would mean the end of Islam.
Then and now, Muhammad and Muslims clearly chose the first worldview and decreed that any hint of the second must be severely punished. Jews must remain eternally evil enemies of Islam if Islam is to remain legitimate. There is no third solution to save the core of Islam from collapsing; either Mohammed was evil, or the Jews were evil. Any attempt to forgive, humanize, or live peacefully with Jews is considered treason against Islam. How can Muslims forgive the Jews and then go back to their mosques, only to read their prophet's words, telling them they must kill Jews wherever they find them? It does not add up, if someone wants to remain Muslim.
That is why the number-one enemy of Islam is, and must remain, the truth. If the truth exposes Islam's unjustified Jew-hatred, Muslims will be left with an empty shell of a religion, a religion whose prophet was a murderer, a thief, and a warlord. Without Jew-hatred, Islam would self-destruct.
Nonie Darwish author is the author of The Devil We Don't Know.