The Pittsburgh massacre was the latest in a string of antisemitic attacks around the globe. It reminded us of the 2014 massacre at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem in 2014, where 6 lost their lives. In both cases, the victims were attacked because they were Jewish. In both cases, it was driven by antisemitism.
I must admit that I whilst mourning for the victims, for a split second I breathed a sigh of relief when Robert Bowers was named as the suspect in the Pittsburgh shooting. It was not a Ali or Hussein. That doesn’t of course mean that Muslim antisemitism is not rife, but also capable of killing.
Antisemitism, whether Christian or Muslim, cannot be excused and certainly cannot be explained. It is simply hatred for no reason. As Muslims, we struggle in combatting antisemitism in our own communities. Muslims Against Antisemitism aims to tackle antisemitism within Muslim communities head on. We are aware that this is not an easy task amongst some sections of the Muslim communities who have succumbed to extremist preaching and indoctrination. The alleged Pittsburgh terrorist shouted “I just want to kill Jews” as he committed the massacre, a scream that echoes the chats of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 in Egypt, with chants of “one day kill all Jews”. The unholy alliance of Islamist extremists and the far right could not have an uglier manifestation than this.
As governments have largely succeeded in tackling groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, the ideological roots of them remains as potent as ever. Whether it’s the Muslim Brotherhood or Hizbollah, both remain groups with large spread support amongst Muslim communities in Britain and around Europe. Whilst the Pittsburgh massacre was not committed by a Muslim, it is our moral, religious and moral duty to combat all forms of antisemitism. Muslim antisemitism thrives on Western antisemitism, with copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion readily available in the Arabic speaking world.
Mainstream Arabic media, at the forefront of which is Al Jazeera Arabic has done more to spread antisemitism in the Arabic speaking world than any other medium in the modern age. It gave Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and de facto spiritual guide to Qatar’s emir, a platform to spew his antisemitic venom across the world. His antisemitic videos are widely available on the internet.
The Labour government in Britain has banned Qaradawi from entering the UK in 2010, and rightly so. But his teachings continue to spread amongst Muslim communities in Britain via Aljazeera and mosques and schools run by Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups.
The Pittsburgh massacre is a reminder to all of the civilised world that antisemitic preaching should no longer be tolerated, even if espoused by large sections of society. Combatting antisemitism will not be an easy task amongst Muslim communities, thanks to powerful and well funded groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizbollah, but staying silent is no longer an option.
If anything positive has come out of the Pittsburgh massacre, it is the outpouring feelings of grief and support of Muslims to Jews. Muslims raised nearly $500,000 to support victims of the Pittsburgh massacre. Those are the Muslims who make us as Muslims confident that our struggle against antisemitism will prevail. It is time for moderate Muslims to rise against the forces of darkness that have for too long acted like a reign of terror amongst Muslim communities.
As Muslims, we need to intensify our war against antisemitism, because if we don’t, not only we will be culprits, but will also become victims.