Har Nof and Charlie Hebdo, a Contrast in Muslim Reaction

As I write this article, France, still reeling from an unprecedented terror attack that claimed the lives of 12 French citizens, has experience yet another atrocity that has claimed the life of a French policewoman. France, through indifference and inaction has allowed its Muslim citizens to run amok and engage in an orgy of violence, anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. It has allowed a cancerous malignancy to fester and metastasize to the point where it is now nearly uncontrollable.

During Operation Protective Edge this past summer, France’s Muslims took to the streets and engaged in what could only be described as modern day pogroms. Jewish synagogues were attacked and business ransacked. Jewish children attending school were set upon by mobs of frenzied Muslims out for blood. French Muslim leaders and Imams stoked the flames of hate through malevolent “religious” sermons and speeches, encouraging their flock to do “The Prophet’s” bidding and seek vengeance against the infidel – the Jews and Crusaders.

French officials watched and waited, and when the violent demonstrations reached the tipping point, issued an emergency declaration banning protests. Just days later, Muslim demonstrators were out in force again chanting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slogans as French policemen attempted to intervene with mixed results.

The Charlie Hebdo and numerous other attacks clearly demonstrate that France’s radicalized Muslim population, now constituting 10% of the French population, feels emboldened. But sometimes their leaders recognize that the flock moves quicker than the shepherd and they must intervene and apply the brakes.

As I predicted, like clockwork, France’s Muslims have invoked the Muslim doctrine of Taqiyyah (a concept by which Muslims are permitted to lie when in a position of weakness) to express sympathy with the victims of the Paris massacre and condemn the barbarous actions of the perpetrators. A litany of condemnations and expressions of empathy with the victims poured forth from various Imams and French Muslim leaders as rage in France and Europe following the terrorist attack grows and gains momentum.

These Muslim leaders are keenly aware that they are in a position of weakness, inferior in numbers and political clout and are compelled to issue contrition and condemnation. But the sad reality of the matter is that they don’t mean what they say and their words are as hollow as Muhammad’s signed treaty with the Quraish tribe in 628 in Hijaz. He was compelled to come to terms with the Quraish because of military weakness but once achieving military parity, he abrogated the treaty and went to war to kill, rape and plunder.

How can I be so certain that these condemnations, these expressions of sympathy and outrage are fake? The answer to this question lies in a synagogue situated in a quiet, peaceful neighborhood of Jerusalem called Har Nof. That peaceful quiet was shattered on November 18, 2014 when two Palestinian terrorists, armed with pistols and hatchets burst into the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue during prayer services and engaged in an orgy of depravity, shooting and hacking anyone they saw all while shrieking, you guessed it, “Allahuakbar.” That attack claimed the lives of five innocent people and seriously injured many others.

The silence of the Muslim world over the attack was deafening. There were a few half-hearted condemnations, and I’ll get to those shortly but by in large, Muslim leaders either stood by in silence or actually praised the attackers.

The Jordanian parliament held a moment of silence in memory of the terrorists while other Jordanian parliamentarians went on Jordanian national TV to spew forth anti-Semitic venom. It should be noted that Jordan is a nation ostensibly at peace with Israel. Palestinian Authority TV hailed the terrorists as victims of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and Jordan’s Prime Minister, Abdullah Ensour, sent condolence letters to the terrorist’s families and these good folks belong to the so-called “moderate” camp.

Muslim condemnation of the terrorist attack was universally qualified and tempered with banal references to the “cycle of violence” and “injustice to the Palestinian people.” They simply could not bring themselves to issue an unqualified condemnation of barbarism.

Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa took to his Twitter feed to note that, “the murder of innocents in the synagogue will not be worth the price paid for it, (which will be) more collective punishment of the Palestinian people and more injustice and aggression.” That “condemnation,” if it can even be characterized as such, in addition to tacking on the usual moral equivalency baggage, implies through negative inference that if Israel did not respond with collective punishment, the murderous actions at Har Nof might be worth the price.

Palestinian “president” Mahmoud Abbas belatedly condemned the attack after some arm-twisting from John Kerry and even then, came woefully short of expectations. Abbas condemned the “killing of worshipers in a synagogue and all acts of violence regardless of their source.” He then added a call for an end to “incursions and provocations by settlers against the Aksa Mosque.” In Abbas’s warped mind, the slaughter of five innocent people is akin to a perceived trespass.

So why are Muslims so outraged over the Charlie Hebdo atrocity while at best, indifferent to the massacre at Har Nof? The answer lies in an analysis of the balance of power and the doctrine of Taqiyya.

France maintains a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and is an extremely influential member of the European Union. As such, France holds much political clout. Moreover, at present, Muslims are currently a minority in France and could potentially be vulnerable to a backlash, one that would involve stricter immigration regulations, tougher criminal sanctions, greater surveillance, deportations and other measures designed to stymie the emerging Islamist threat. French Muslim leaders are cognizant of this possibility and have invoked the doctrine of Taqiyya in an effort to distance themselves from the Charlie Hebdo attack and stave off negative repercussions.

By contrast, Muslims in the Mideast, who constitute the majority don’t face these challenges. Moreover, Israel lacks the same political clout as France and there is therefore no need to demonstrate empathy with Israeli victims of terror. To the extent that some qualified condemnation was forthcoming, it was disingenuous and designed to placate the United States and other Western powers rather than offer real empathy.

So there you have it. Two equally heinous acts of depravity, one targeting the French and the other, Israelis but the Muslim reaction to the two is markedly different and dictated not by what morally correct but what is politically expedient and necessary for survival. When Muslims in France reach sufficient numbers and attain the necessary political clout and muscle, Muslim reaction to a similar atrocity will be decidedly different and not dissimilar to their reaction to the Har Nof massacre.

About the Author
Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor. He has authored several articles covering political and military issues concerning Israel, the United States and the Mideast at large.