An Inquiry into Islam:
The following was written by F. W. Burleigh, author of It’s All About Muhammad.
On Tuesday, March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of the United States Congress at the invitation of the Speaker of the House John Boehner. This will take place despite strong opposition from the White House, whose approval for this event was not sought.
Netanyahu will address the danger that an Iran with nuclear weapons would represent not only for Israel, but also for the United States and the entire world. More pointedly he will seek to persuade Congress not to support a deal that the Obama administration appears to be working out with Iran that will guarantee that Iran will soon have such weapons. Allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons would be catastrophic, Netanyahu will say.
His concerns are well founded. Iran’s leaders hate Israel for merely existing, and they have a history of threatening to annihilate the Jewish state. Nuclear weapons would give them a means to do so in one strike. One of Iran’s former presidents, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a man considered a moderate by Iranian standards, said that “it is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”
It will be interesting to hear what Netanyahu has to say about “such an eventuality.” It is likely to be a momentous speech, but due to the time allotted, he will have to leave out much of what needs to be explained — chiefly, why these theocratic Iranian leaders hate Israel so much that they would love to incinerate it out of existence.
The short explanation: It has to do with an ancient hatred so thick you would need a chainsaw to cut through it.
Since it is unlikely the Israeli prime minister will address this phenomenon of hatred, I have written a speech for him that says what needs to be said about this very important subject. Perhaps he will see fit to insert this into his speech. The theme of this is Iran’s hatred for Jews and how it got that way:
“Distinguished members of Congress, I want to emphasize that this hatred did not come about as a result of creation of the State of Israel in 1948, nor from any of the conflicts, major and minor, between Israelis and Arabs that have occurred since then. The cause of the hatred goes back 1,400 years to the founder of Islam. Muslims hate Jews because Muhammad hated Jews. Muhammad hated Jews because they refused to accept his claim that he was their prophet.
This hatred is the story of Muhammad and his claim that God talked to him through an angel and dictated the contents of the Koran to him. It is the history of the rejection Muhammad first got from his compatriots in Mecca who thought he was devil possessed. Muhammad proclaimed to them that he was of the line of the Jewish prophets, and was commissioned by God to restore true faith in the one God of Abraham. They should listen to him and obey him if they wanted to achieve paradise and avoid hellfire. The Meccans put up with him for ten years before deciding they had to kill him to preserve their way of life. He fled to Yathrib, now called Medina, two hundred miles north of Mecca.
This is where the Jewish part of the story begins. Half of the population of the sprawling valley was Jewish, divided among three major tribes. The other half of the population consisted of Arabs who practiced the same polytheism as the Meccans. Muhammad built a mosque in the center of the valley and turned it into his al-qaeda, his base of operations for a war he declared against the Meccans. This consisted first of attacks on their caravans and ended in pitched battles. Within 18 months, he began to purge the Jewish population from Yathrib.
When Muhammad first arrived in their valley, the Jews listened politely to him, but when they analyzed the prophet verses he had come up with in Mecca, they realized they were not based on the Torah. They were versions of the derivative Jewish legends about the prophets, but even then there were significant variations, yet Muhammad claimed his versions were the correct ones because he got everything from God. When he insisted they accept him as their prophet, the Jews laughed in his face and began mocking him.
While in Mecca, Muhammad had developed curse prayers — hate prayers — that he and his followers recited against the Meccans. He now turned his curses on the Jews. He branded them as apes and pigs and stirred up hatred against them in diatribes from the pulpit at his mosque. “They are mischief makers. They are fools. The Jews deny the truth,” he screamed on one occasion. (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, p. 248)
He composed numerous Koran verses that seethed with the hatred he felt for the Jews for rejecting him. In verse after verse he warned them that hellfire awaited them for not believing in him. “Sufficient for the Jew is the Flaming Fire!” he said in Koran 4:55. In another he said, “There is a grievous punishment awaiting them. Satan tells them not to believe so they will end up in Hell.” (Koran 59:14)
He made life for them a hell on earth. His hatred turned deadly after a battle near the caravan stop of Badr in which his small band of 300 men defeated a Meccan army three times larger. This battle took place about 18 months after his flight from Mecca. When he returned victorious to Yathrib, he began assassinating Jewish poets who had mocked him in their poems. Within a month of his victory over the Meccans, he forced one of the Jewish tribes to leave and confiscated all of their property. He wanted to behead all of them, but was dissuaded by one of their pagan allies.
From the battle of Badr on, the Muhammad story is largely the account of atrocities he committed, particularly against the Jews. A year after purging Yathrib of the first Jewish tribe, he forced another to leave under penalty of death if they did not, and he distributed their fortresses, date plantations, and farms to the elite of his Meccan followers. This had been Jewish land for nearly a thousand years. The remaining Jewish tribe, the Qurayzas, suffered a worse fate after they took sides against him during a Meccan assault that ended in failure because of a defensive ditch Muhammad dug around Yathrib. He beheaded as many as 900 men and boys. His attacks against the Jews continued with the conquest of Khaybar, a wealthy Jewish oasis known as the date farm of Western Arabia, and other ancient Jewish centers in western Arabia.
On his deathbed he ordered his followers not to allow any religion but his to exist on the Arabian Peninsula — or anywhere else for that matter.
Hatred is as transmissible as electricity. Because Muslims believe Muhammad’s Koran came from God and that everything he did was in accordance with the will of God, the Muslims of his day absorbed his hatreds. His hatred of the Jews became their hatred of the Jews. This hatred has been passed down generation after generation, and today we see it with the Iranians. It is because of the hatred that has been transmitted through 14 centuries that the Iranians seek to destroy Israel.”
Perhaps Netanyahu can be persuaded to include these remarks in his speech. It is the story behind the story, and it is the story that people need to hear.
Frank Burleigh is the author of It’s All About Muhammad, A Biography of the World’s Most Notorious Prophet. He blogs at www.itsallaboutmuhammad.com.