Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Antisemitism in the Quran


  • Qur’an 2:61

    “And humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them and they were visited with wrath from Allah. That was because they disbelieved in Allah’s revelations and slew the prophets wrongfully. That was for their disobedience and transgression.”

    My colleague and friend, the gifted and remarkably courageous independent scholar Robert Spencer, has kindly posted a long essay of mine, Antisemitism in the Qur’an: Motifs and Historical Manifestations at his indispensable Jihad Watch/Dhimmi Watch website.

    For those getting impatient with the delayed release of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (now due out in late May), this essay derives almost entirely from the book, and as such, provides a preview of the book’s extended introductory survey. Below, I have provided the Abstract and Introduction to this lengthy essay. The full text is available at Dhimmi Watch.


    The essential nature of the Qur’ranic “revelation,” as understood by Muslims, was elaborated in 1891 by Theodore Nöldeke (whose seminal 1860 Geschichte des Qorans remains a vital tool for Qur’ranic research):

    “To the faith of the Muslims…the Koran is the word of God, and such also is the claim which the book itself advances…” And to this day, as the contemporary Qur’anic scholar Ibn Warraq notes, for all believing Muslims, and not merely “fundamentalists, ” the Qur’an remains Allah’s “uncreated” words, “…valid for all times and places; its ideals are, according to all Muslims, absolutely true and beyond any criticism.”

    The Qur’anic depiction of the Jews—their traits as thus characterized being deemed both infallible and timeless—highlights, in verse 2:61 (repeated in verse 3:112), the centrality of the Jews “abasement and humiliation”, and being “laden with God’s anger,” as elaborated in the corpus of Muslim exegetic literature on Qur’an 2:61, including the hadith and Qur’anic commentaries. The terrifying rage decreed upon the Jews forever is connected in the hadith and exegeses to Qur’an 1:7, where Muslims ask Allah to guide them rightly, not in the path of those who provoke and must bear His wrath. This verse is in turn linked to Qur’anic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), having been “…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” (5:78). Moreover, forcing Jews, in particular, to pay the Qur’anic poll tax “tribute,” (as per verse 9:29) “readily,” while “being brought low,” is consistent with their overall humiliation and abasement in accord with Qur’an 2:61, and its directly related verses.

    An additional much larger array of anti-Jewish Qur’anic motifs build to a denouement (as if part of a theological indictment, conviction, and sentencing process) concluding with an elaboration of the “ultimate sin” committed by the Jews (they are among the devil’s minions [Qur’an 4:60], accursed by God [Qur’an 4:47]), and their appropriate punishment: If they do not accept the true faith (i.e., Islam), on the day of judgment, they will burn in the hellfire (Qur’an 4:55). As per, Qur’an 98:7:

    “The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures.”

    After presenting a full spectrum of the major anti-Jewish motifs in the Qur’an, additional illustrations demonstrating their persistent influence on Muslim attitudes (and resultant behaviors) towards Jews, are provided. Four themes are considered, and their historical application illustrated, across space and time, through the present: (I) the Jews being associated with Satan and consigned to Hell (Qur’an 4:60, 4:55, 58:14—19, and 98:6); (II) the imposition of the Qur’anic poll-tax (jizya; Qur’an 9:29) on Jews, specifically, and (III) the related enforcement of the Qur’anic (2:61) “curse” upon the Jews for killing the Prophets, and other transgressions against Allah’s will, meriting their permanent humiliation and abasement; and, last in connection to this curse, (IV) the Jews’ transformation into apes/swine, as punishment (Qur’an 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166).

    The contemporary case of Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, author of a 700 page scholarly treatise rationalizing Muslim Jew hatred, Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna [Jews in the Qur’an and the Traditions], and current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, demonstrates the prevalence and depth of sacralized, “normative” Jew hatred in the contemporary Muslim world. Even if all non-Muslim Judeophobic themes were to disappear miraculously overnight from the Islamic world, the living legacy of anti-Jewish hatred, and violence rooted in Islam’s sacred texts—Qur’an, hadith, and sira—would remain intact. The assessment and understanding of Islamic antisemitism must begin with an unapologetic analysis of the anti-Jewish motifs contained in these foundational texts of Islam.


    Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi wrote these words in his 700 page treatise rationalizing Muslim Jew hatred, Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna [Jews in the Qur’an and the Traditions], originally published in the late 1960s, and early 1970s, and then re-issued in 1986/87:1

    [The] Qur’an describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah, corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness…only a minority of the Jews keep their word….[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims, the bad ones do not. (Qur’an 3:113)

    Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by being named Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in 1996, a position he still holds. These are the expressed, “carefully researched” views on Jews held by the nearest Muslim equivalent to a Pope—the head of the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, Sunnis representing some 85% of the world’s Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi has not mollified such hatemongering beliefs since becoming the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his statements on the Jews as “enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs”2, the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews,3 or “dialogue” with Jews (just below), make clear.4

    …anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward. My stance stems from Allah’s book [the Qur’an], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews…[I] wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah. I still believe in everything written in that dissertation. [i.e., from above, in Banu Isra’il fi al-Qur’an wa al-Sunna]

    Tantawi’s case illustrates the prevalence and depth of sacralized, “normative” Jew hatred in the contemporary Muslim world. Even if all non-Muslim Judeophobic themes were to disappear miraculously overnight from the Islamic world, the living legacy of anti-Jewish hatred, and violence rooted in Islam’s sacred texts—Qur’an, hadith, and sira—would remain intact. The assessment and understanding of Islamic antisemitism must begin with an unapologetic analysis of the anti-Jewish motifs contained in these foundational texts of Islam.


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    Andrew G. Bostom is the best-selling author of The Legacy of Jihad and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.

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    Comments Notes: Keep comments short. Our system cannot separate paragraphs. Comments must be relevant to the topic of the article. We did not regulate the comments but if irrelevant comments, materials, adds of other websites etc. are being uploaded, we will have to regulate the comments and even ban the IP addresses of such nuisance posters.

    Name: oh my humanity!!!
    Date: Thursday April 10, 2008
    Time: 22:54:30 -0700


    it is really shocking. I have never read these type of irrational material like quron. that is he reason why muslims separate themselves and intolerant

    Name: vbv
    Date: Thursday April 10, 2008
    Time: 23:42:18 -0700


    Muhamad was the vilest and the meanest person in the history of human race. He was a self-glorifying megalo-egomaniac and a sex-pervert. We can see the cause of his virulent hatred of jews ,polytheists and others - he hated the jews most because they rejected his claim to 'prophethood' and called his bluff. Any spiritually endowed person will not stoop to the level of Muhamad and his mad ,zealous followers bent on exterminating a people because of the aforementioned reason. This explains his utter barbaric ,uncivilized and uncultured behaviour in personally beheading the male members of the jewish tribe 'Bani Quraiza' and taking their women as sex slaves. Such behaviour in unprecedented in human history - it would pale PolPot, Stalin ,or Mao in comparison. Muhamd is in fact worse than those worthies ,since used Allah ,his God,as the tacit approver of all his attrocities! The point is these brain dead zombies , muslims,still want to follow his ludicrous and evil behaviour to this day ,in the twenty first century. Infact they feel proud to replicate Muhamad's foul,evil and immoral behaviour rather with pride! These Zombies are unable to see that the quran is not holy,nor was it dictated by that crazy Allah ,but it is wriiten by Muhamad to justify all his evil misddeds and lechery!

    Name: balam
    Date: Saturday April 12, 2008
    Time: 02:21:03 -0700


    Quran is nothing but the inspired words of Mohammad attributed to pre- islamic pagan moon god allah. Mohammad got his geneology link with Ishmael, the son of Hagaer, the bonded Egyptian woman, who was thrown out by Sarah, the real wife of Abraham- When Isaac, the legitimate son of Abraham was born. This is one reason that the Muslims are indoctrinated that the Bible has been changed, in case the Muslims find out the truth. The hatred of Ishmalite for the decendents of Abraham through Isaac Whom God blessed will continue till eternity. The Muslims should be encouraged to read the Bible and find out the truth because it only the truth which would set them free.It is ironic that on one hand keep telling the world that the Bible has been altered and changed and at the same time they keep quoting the same Bible to link Mohammad as a prophet to come.This absurd logic is beyond me.Islam is Mohammads revenge agaist Jews and Christians. Mohammad was the ANTI-CHRIST because he did not acknowledge the divinity of Christ, but promoted himself as the last prophet-THE FALSE PROPHET and moral degenrate.

    Name: Mohammad
    Date: Saturday April 12, 2008
    Time: 16:04:20 -0700


    How about these biblical verses? "2KI 24:20 It was because of the LORD'S anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence..." "2CH 33:11 So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon" "Exodus 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said: 'LORD, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, that Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?" "Numbers 11:33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague." "Numbers 25-3,4 And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel. " Do you want more? Then why blame Quran for what is more evident in Torah and the Bible? Are these two books also anti-semitic?

    Name: ZO
    Date: Sunday April 13, 2008
    Time: 08:43:42 -0700


    PLEASE NOTE: WHEN I REFER TO GOD, I DO NOT MEAN ALLAH! To Mohammad: No, the Bible is not anti-semitic. The Jews are indeed a nation chosen by God by whom all nations shall be blessed. But that does not mean that they are perfect! They are not better than other people, but they have received great blessings from God. God Himself declares that the Nation of Israel is the apple of His eye, but He also calls them hardhearted and stiffnecked as we all are. They were and are therefore also subject to God's judgement and correction, as we can see from the verses that you have picked out when they fell into idolatry, turned away from God, persisted in disobedience etc...

    Name: Mohammad to ZO
    Date: Sunday April 13, 2008
    Time: 12:43:27 -0700


    And why is that any different from what Quran says. Quran also mentions that the Jews were the chosen people but then they committed crimes against God and themselves. Why is one anti-semitic and the other isn't? Did you know that arabs are also Semites? So how could a book that is sent to arabs be accused of anti-semitic? Quran only condemns those among the Jewish people who are distorting god's words and covering up the truth with falsehood. Quran in fact praises those Jews who are committed to their religion and holy book. You may find this link useful:

    Name: Albert
    Date: Monday April 14, 2008
    Time: 02:34:26 -0700


    The Odyssey of Homer, Book X offers a better literature. Circe turns Ulysses' men into pigs by a stroke of her wand...

    Name: ZO to mohammad
    Date: Monday April 14, 2008
    Time: 15:24:28 -0700


    What is the difference? The difference is that the Bible is the word of God (not allah) and recounts the origin and history of the Jews and their relationship with God. In the Bible God guides and instructs His people throughout, making an everlasting covenant with them and declaring that anyone who blesses them will be blessed and anyone who curses them will be cursed. The koran is not from God and condones and commands torture and murder of the Jews for the reason that they would not bow down to mohammad's false god or his religion. The Jews (and the christians) are reviled and cursed by mohammed in the koran in many places and in countless hadiths, obviously none of these heinous acts could ever be sanctioned by the Bible! The reason for this particular hatred of both of these groups of people is that they put up the most resistance to mohammed and his armies. mohammed certainly put his own commands into practice as he proceeded to attack the Jews many times and to personally behead between 600-900 in one day! How anyone could deny the koran or mohammed's anti-semitism is beyond any sane reasoning. How anyone could compare the koran with the Bible is also beyond belief. As for the term 'semite', it is a broad term that may refer to arabs or Jews, however, the term 'anti-semitic' is used specifically to refer to a hatred of the Jews, (ever-present in the koran) not the Arabs.

    Name: TO: The comment above
    Date: Saturday April 19, 2008
    Time: 09:33:10 -0700


    The two gaeneologies of Jesus are not contradictory!!-----------------------------------------------------------Matthew and Luke give two different genealogies for Jesus because Matthew tells us Joseph's line and Luke tells us of Mary's line! -------------------------------------Verses 31–38 of Luke’s account are the same as Matthew’s account because Mary and Joseph were both descendants of David.--------------------------------------------------The two gaeneologies then split into Mary's line and Joseph's line. ----------------------------------------Note also that in Luke's account we have the words 'The son' used i.e. which was 'the son' of Heli, Which was 'the son' of Matthat etc. These words are in italics (in the King James) which means they were not in the original language. ----------It simply says 'which was of heli' - and this can mean either a direct son or a SON IN LAW. We know in this case that it means 'son in law' because Heli was Mary's father, as recorded in The Jerusalem Talmud (Haggigah, Book 77, 4). -----------------Even without this evidence, it is logical to assume that if there are two gaeneologies given for one person, one must be the father's and one must be the mother's!----------------------------------------------------------------- These points are further backed up by the fact that Matthew's gospel is written from Joseph's perspective, and Luke's gospel is written from Mary's perspective.----------------------------------------------------------------There are no contradictions in the Bible, it is consistent with history, science, itself etc. The koran cannot claim consistency with respect to any of these areas. For example science: - 'Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.' (Quran 018.086). Obviously the sun does not go down into a 'muddy pond' at night!!!-------------On the other hand, the Bible talks about 'the circle of the earth' and that it 'hangs upon nothing': Isaiah 40:22 'It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in'--------------------------------------------------Job 26:7 'He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.'----------------This is extraordinary as these verses were written thousands of years ago, when mankind could not possibly have known the earth was round and suspended in space. Science finally caught up with the Bible. ------------------------------------------------Whenever the Bible touches on anything scientific, it's accuracy is always confirmed by emirical scientific fact. -------------------------------------------------------as for the apostle Paul, he saw the resurrected Christ in a vision and was converted. He continued to receive visions and revelations from the Lord throughout his ministry and his teachings are perfectly in line with the teachings of Chist and the rest of the Bible. His writings are inspired by God (I don't mean allah).

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