Sabine Volk wrote an article Are Muslims the New Jews:Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Europe. It’s a follow-up to “Fearing the Other: Islamophobia in the United States”
My short answer is:”No.” Her answer is in italics. But she is not the only one to say such things. I present Bernie Farber Executive Director of Mosaic Institute. “In many ways, today’s Muslims are like yesterday’s Jews. There is a level of acceptance of Islamophobia in this country(Canada) we don’t like to admit. But it’s there.”
This was London, England in 2013
In times where hate crimes against Muslims and Islamic religious sites become more frequent in European countries, and the new American president calls for surveillance against mosques and a total shutdown of Muslim immigration, one cannot help but wonder: are Muslims the new Jews? After all, it is easy to draw parallels from now to past times where Jews were heavily discriminated against and excluded from social life in both Europe and the US. And still, comparing the contemporary situation of Muslims in Western, predominantly Christian societies with the situation of Jews in the past might be an illegitimate endeavor. Right-wing populist hate speech against Muslims is terrible, no doubt, but it does not include the genocidal rhetoric that was spurred in Nazi Germany. At least not yet.
There is no comparison. Why? Because Muslims don’t duck and hide. There is no innate fear of being murdered. No genetic programming to run.They don’t lay low. They are not afraid to go to war. Or lose a war. Calls to action from their many and various leaders take place on a regular basis. Threats to others, not a problem. And there is always terror as a tool.
And let us not forget that Muslims have many homes. There have been successful Caliphates, led by a supreme religious and political leader in one form or another for most of the 1,400-year history of Islam.The collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago marked the end of the last caliphate, an extraordinarily powerful one that had survived for more than four centuries. Today, there are 50 Muslim majority countries, some Sunni, some Shia. “The majority of Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85% and 90%.The Middle Eastern countries with the greatest proportion of Sunnis are Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with Sunnis making up 90% or more of the population.Shia make up roughly 10% of all Muslims, and globally their population is estimated between 154 to 200 million, according to a 2009 report from the Pew Forum.Iran has the largest Shia majority, with more than 66 million making up nearly 90% of the population.Shia are also in the majority in Iraq and Bahrain. There are sizable Shia communities in Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”
Muslims have not been expelled from countries nor put into ghettos or been the recipients of pogroms. There is no historical real fear of the other.
There is no comparison because Jews have been trained like Pavlovian dogs to retreat-either literally, by hiding, then running to another county; or figuratively; as don’t rock the boat. Jews have been taught over the millennia to lay low until it passes. It being the persecution, prosecution or pogrom. Or they have learned to take care of things quietly behind the scenes. Not make a fuss.
The most egregious use of the “lay low, don’t make a fuss, fit in crowd” came from Rabbi Stephen Wise who was the most prominent leader of the American Jewish community during the 1930s and 1940s, and served as “president of both the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress. As a leader of the Jewish people he advised President Franklin Roosevelt not to meet with the 400 Orthodox Rabbis that marched on Washington in 1943. It has been written that Wise tried to tone down any criticism of FDR. It has been reported that he said to those fighting to get Jews out of Europe that it was more important to be an American first and not fight so hard for Jews in Europe. And six millions were murdered: for being Jewish.
“Looking at how right-wing populists all over Europe and the U.S. use Islamophobia to push their hateful political agendas, it seems as if Islamophobia has similar functions as anti-Semitism had in the past, such as the construction of Western identity by creating a scapegoat for current issues and challenges. Hence, Islamophobia not only resembles anti-Semitism, but has also replaced anti-Semitism in public discourse. Indeed, although anti-Semitism still exists in the Western World, it is publicly tabooed and sanctioned since World War II (especially, but not only in Germany)”
When was the last time you heard a Muslim leader say hide or run? Or lay low? On the contrary Muslims are fearlessly calling for death to the Jews from their mosques in the streets, on social media. There is no dearth of Muslim chanting echoing the calls of the Nazis.
PA TV Preacher: “Allah, punish Your enemies, the enemies of religion, count their numbers and kill them to the last one, and bring them a black day. Allah, punish the wicked Jews, and those among the atheists who help them. Allah, we ask that You bestow upon us respect and honor by enabling us to repel them, and we ask You to save us from their evil.” [Official PA TV, April 22, 2016]
Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr (محمد بن موسى آل نصر) led the Friday prayer at Dar Al-Arqam mosque (Mosquée Dar Al-Arqam) in Montreal. In his sermon, Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr, a Jordanian cleric, called the Jews the “most evil of mankind” and “human demons” emphasizing that their fate was predetermined by Allah to be killed by the hands of the Muslims.
Imam Omar Subedar of the Peel District School Board Faith Leaders Network has explained the prayers said in his School Board District. Here is an excerpt about the Jews.
Allah (swt) then tells us about their (Jews) regular actions and He says: They would also disobey and it would not but just be occasionally. It would be frequently. It would be habitually. They would habitually transgress the laws of Allah (swt) So now since this is the part of their (the Jews) system to her habitually disobey Allah (swt) be selective in their beliefs and if anyone is being sent for their guidance they would just eliminate that individual, this ultimately had now directed Allah’s (swt) anger to this community for the rest of eternity basically.
A California imam is under fire after a sermon he gave calling on Allah to “annihilate” Jews “down to the very last one.”
And in Denmark. More calls of death to Jews.
“Judgement day will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews.”
And there is no shortage of Muslims yearning to murder Jews. “Martyrdom for the sake of Allah is an ideal that is viewed as a supreme lofty ideal.”
It has become so frightful that too many Jews, today, have once again reverted to their historic fall-back position of ducking and hiding, laying low, not rocking the boat. This is happening all over the world but most distressing, in Germany of all places,
Speaking to rbb radio, the President of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dr Josef Schuster concerned about an increase in attacks on Jews said: “The question is whether it makes sense for Jews to make themselves recognisable by wearing a kippah (skull cap) in what I call problem neighbourhoods.”
Muslims have not suffered from thousands of years of subjugation. Arab Muslims were slave traders and pirates on the high seas. They were the subjugators while “the other” was and remains a “dhimmi, a distinctly subjugated second class non-citizen almost slave who is subjected to dictatorial deprivation of any legal and human rights since he is a non-Muslim permanent resident in a Muslim state…Discriminatory and restrictive dress and behavior codes would be enacted and severely enforced to reduce the dhimmi into a state of despair and poverty.”
We can conclude that Muslims might not be the new Jews, but Islamophobia can indeed be called the new anti-Semitism – not in the meaning of the concept itself, but in the functions that this form of racism has for right-wing populists in Western societies. The heated public debates about Muslims and Islam reveal a deeper negotiation of cultural identity and the perceived loss thereof in increasingly heterogeneous societies. Islamophobia has herewith become a tool for counter-cosmopolitan collective identity building both in the U.S. and Europe.
And then there is the fact that Jews have been hated by Christians and Muslims. For millennia. This discontent with Islam is relatively new in our worlds. It didn’t reach out and grab the world until 9/11.This word, Islamophobia, is a product of left wing liberalism gone mad. A phobia is an irrational fear of something. Fear of Jews is irrational. Fear of Islam, today, in many parts of the world, is not.
No, there is no chance that Muslims will be treated like Jews; that they will face a Holocaust. And Islamophobia, the irrational fear of Islam is nothing like antisemitism which has led to the death of millions of Jews. At this time in our history there should be billions of Jewish people. Yet, today, there are merely 14-15 million while there are 2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims. To write a paper with a question are Muslims the new Jews; and answer, well maybe, and then ask is Islamophobia the new antisemitism for the sole purpose of indicting those who wish to protect western values, values that are held by people of all colours races creeds and sexual orientation, is at the very least disingenuous and and borders on repugnant.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”