Stop ignoring Islam's: Bronx bomb plot reminds us of a core religious problem

"These were people who were eager to bring death to the Jews and the Jewish community." Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder provided this apt characterization of the four converts to Islam whose plans to bomb a Bronx synagogue and a Jewish community center were thwarted.

Richard Williams, uncle of the arrested plotter Onta "Hamza" Williams, lamented that his nephew, a Baptist who converted to Islam, "…wasn’t raised this way. All this happened when he became a Muslim in prison." Indeed, Warith Deen Umar, a Muslim chaplain who worked for 25 years in the New York State prisons and was considered a highly influential cleric, reportedly boasted that this vast incarceration system was, "…the perfect recruitment and training ground for radicalism and the Islamic religion." During his chaplaincy, Umar also repeatedly gave sermons fomenting Jew hatred, witnessed by prison staff.

But beyond all this, the obvious question persists – although dutifully avoided by our learned religious, media and political elites in this sorry age of Islamic correctness: What Islamic teachings might these American Muslim converts have learned, whether in prison, or elsewhere, which caused them to target their American Jewish neighbors, specifically, for mass killing? Simply put, it is impossible to comprehend this ugly phenomenon without understanding the core, mainstream Islamic theology – still unreformed and unrepentant – which has inspired hatred of Jews since the advent of Islam?

For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, has served as the academic shrine – much as Mecca is the religious shrine – of the global Muslim community. Al Azhar University and its mosque represent the pinnacle of Islamic religious education.

A front page New York Times story published Saturday Jan. 10, 2009, included extracts from the Friday sermon (the day before) at Al Azhar mosque by Egyptian-government appointed cleric Sheik Eid Abdel Hamid Youssef. Referencing well-established antisemitic motifs from the Koran (citations provided, below), Sheikh Youssef intoned:

"Muslim brothers, God has inflicted the Muslim nation with a people whom God has become angry at [Koran 1:7] and whom he cursed [Koran 5:78] so he made monkeys and pigs [Koran 5:60] out of them. They killed prophets and messengers [Koran 2:61/3:112] and sowed corruption on Earth. [Koran 5:33/5:64] They are the most evil on Earth. [Koran 5:62 /63]"

In authoritative classical and modern Koranic interpretations, the Koran’s central antisemitic theme – its eternal curse for "prophet killing" and violating Allah’s commands – is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60 and 5:78, which describe the Jews’ transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been "…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son" (5:78). The Muslim prophet Muhammad himself repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadith (sacred collections of Muhammad’s words and deeds).

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