The bad news I just received is that it is a “mainstream” Muslim view that the Dajjal, the “Anti Christ”, “the deceiver”, “the imposter”, who will bring humanity to its knees prior to the End of Days, will be Jewish.
The good news is that it can’t be me – because I don’t have “enough hair”.
I was visiting a number of bookshops in Sydney’s Bankstown, talking with scholars-on-duty and discussing attitudes towards Jews. Material relating to Christianity and/or interfaith dialogue is generally abundant, some in the form of intellectual argument, some in the form of testimony by former Christians who have embraced Islam, some in the form of insulting or antagonistic attacks on Christianity, Christians and/or the Bible. However, almost the only material available on Jews were references to the Jewish background of the Dajjal and anti-Israel political texts (on a spectrum from far right to far left).
However, deep within the bowels of one of the shops, I came across a copy of Henry Ford’s notorious antisemitic polemic, The International Jew, which included insane allegations of Jewish efforts to control the world.
Crazed conspiracy theories are, obviously, not restricted to Muslims.
Indeed, 15 years ago, in an Australian court, I was cross-examined by a person of Russian Christian heritage who claimed that the Talmud, a central text of Judaism, is a handbook for immoral and malevolent behaviour.
It was a bizarre, and to the best of my knowledge, unique, experience. Although my testimony was accepted as persuasive by the Court, my inquisitor appeared to completely believe that Judaism was not just an existential enemy of humanity but that Jews made public their teaching material as to how to destroy morality and other foundations of civilisation.
In late July, after the incident at the Israeli Embassy in Jordan, in which an Israeli security guard was stabbed and the assailant and a second Jordanian shot, the Arabic media outlet Hamrin News commented:
“Those who want to know the secrets of Jews and their hatred of others hidden inside them must read their Talmud . . . The Talmud, despite its intellectual primacy, continues to be the spiritual force that drives them to perpetrate evil.”
That article also alleged that, in the Talmud, “The Jews do not cease to slander God.” (Translation via Google Translate).
While the final call of the Hamrin News article was for Jordan to sever diplomatic relations with Israel, some American Muslims were being rallied to even more drastic action.
On July 21, in the Islamic Center of David, North California, Imam Ammar Shahin was recorded on video calling for American Muslims to “play a part in” a global movement to “annihilate” Jews.
In his Friday sermon, he railed: “The Prophet Muhammad said ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah . . .’ They will not say: Oh Egyptian, oh Palestinian, oh Jordanian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani. The Prophet Muhammad says that the time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place.”
Describing Jews as the source of “filth”, he prayed “Oh Allah, destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon them, and the wonders of Your ability. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.”
From Canada to Germany, Australia to Iraq, Indonesia to the UK, such open antisemitism continues to be observed, documented and, not often enough, condemned.
Our understanding of the relationship of Muslims and Jews, and of the situation of Israel, is greatly diminished if we belittle, or worse, ignore, this phenomenon.