The Roots of Hate Speech

A recent article in the Washington Post, written by Nina Shea of Freedom House, laid bare Saudi hypocrisy in claiming to have removed hateful material from textbooks, when in fact that material remains. The Saudis export such material in large quantities to Muslims in other countries. But while the article suggests that this is a Wahhabi problem, in fact much of the objectionable material is actually derived from the Qur’an and from traditions of Muhammad considered authentic by Muslims.

The blockquotes below are from the Saudi textbooks as reported by Shea; interspersed are relevant Qur’anic verses and other material showing that all this is not just Wahhabi invention:

"Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every religion other than ______________ is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters ____________."

This is straight from the Qur’an: "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good)" (3:85).

"Whoever obeys the Prophet and accepts the oneness of God cannot maintain a loyal friendship with those who oppose God and His Prophet…"

"O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust." (Qur’an 5:51)

"They are the Jews, whom God has cursed…"

"The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah…Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!" (Qur’an 9:30)

"The clash between this [Muslim] community (umma) and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills."

"The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah…" (Sahih Muslim book 1, no. 30)

"It is part of God’s wisdom that the struggle between the Muslim and the Jews should continue until the hour [of judgment]."

"Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."’" (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4, bk. 52, no. 177)

"The greeting ‘Peace be upon you’ is specifically for believers. It cannot be said to others."

"Such non-Muslim subjects…are not greeted with ‘as-Salamu ‘alaykum’ [peace be upon you]…" (‘Umdat al-Salik, o11.5 (3-4); this manual of Shafi’i law was endorsed in 1991 by Al-Azhar University in Cairo, which is not a Wahhabi institution, as conforming "to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.")

"Jihad in the path of God — which consists of battling against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it — is the summit of Islam…."

"A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, "Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward)." He replied, "I do not find such a deed." (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4, bk. 52, no. 44)

How can Western authorities face the implications of all this? Such verses as those quoted above and others that are used by jihadists to recruit and motivate Muslims to commit acts of violence should become widely known among government and law enforcement officials. They could then ask the questions of Muslims in the West that should have been asked since 9/11 and before that: how do you understand this material? What concrete, practical steps have you taken to counter the literalist understanding of the Qur’an and Hadith that jihadists are using to incite Muslims to violence? When will you issue an explicit statement acknowledging that jihadists use these passages and others in this way, rejecting their understanding and use of them, and proposing a viable alternative?

The longer this is not done, the longer this material will continue to play a quiet and unnoticed role in the proliferation of jihad terrorism worldwide.