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Preacing ared a Darmou
By Ilya Feoktistov

"The Messenger of Allah said, 'The Last Hour will not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews, until a Jew will hide himself behind a stone or a tree, and the stone or the tree will say: 'O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.""

I'd seen this passage before I read it on the Al Nur Dartmouth Muslim Student Association website. It is part of a literary collection of "sayings of the Prophet" called the Hadiths, which are the second holiest literature in Islam after the Koran. It is often preached in the mosques, on the television, on the websites and in the newspapers of the Arab and Muslim world. The effects of it, and other passages like it, are evident in the rampant anti-Semitism infecting many Muslim communities.

Of course, there are many Muslims who don't hate Jews. There are many Muslims who will not be incited to kill Jews just because some imam tells them that some book says they have to do it in order to bring about "The Last Hour." I am sure that most, if not all, Dartmouth Muslims belong to this category. In fact, I'm sure that there is some sort of allegorical explanation that moderate Muslims use to change the meaning of this passage from calling for a new Holocaust to something totally different. After all, many religions have similarly hateful and barbaric verses in their holy texts, which are not supposed to be taken literally according to modern and moderate interpretations.

Fortunately, the text containing this passage on the Al Nur website is a special copy of a Hadith collection called "Ryadh As Saliheen," a copy that "is the exclusive property of Al-Nur Muslim Student Association at Dartmouth College." It actually contains a commentary to every passage by a modern Muslim religious authority from Pakistan. I was sure, when I realized this, that my anger over the anti-Semitic passage would be quelled by an interpretation that would disavow any hateful or violent intent on the part of the Prophet. After all, moderate Dartmouth Muslims would surely choose a moderate religious authority's interpretation for their "exclusive property."

I was wrong. The commentator had the following things to say about the passage: "When Allah wills, He will give mastery to the Muslims. He will help them even by means of plants and stones which will assist the Muslims against the Jews by informing them about the whereabouts of the Jews. The Jews have predominance over the Muslims in spite of the fact that they are a minority. But according to this true narration, the situation will definitely change before the Day of Resurrection, and the Muslims will dominate the Jews."

The man does not stop there. Even in verses where there is not a single mention of Jews, he somehow finds ways to express his hatred for the Jewish people. A verse which discusses the nature of the Muslim antichrist, the Dajjal, and which has no mention of Jews, merits the following from the Al Nur commentator: "Dajjal would be a descendant of the Jews … A large portion of the Jews will be with him." A verse mentioning King Solomon's trial of two women disputing ownership of a baby has this commentary: "However, those tricks which are used to avoid the law are a great sin for which the Jews are well-known." Again, Jews are never mentioned in the verse itself.

Anti-Semitism is not the only problem faced by Islam today and it is also not the only thing I found alarming on the Al Nur website. Not only does he like Jew-bashing, the Al Nur commentator seems to have a fondness for militant violence as well. A verse in a chapter of the text called "The Book of Jihad" quotes the Prophet Mohammad saying, "Strength is in archery, strength is in archery, strength is in archery."

The commentator interprets that verse in a way that would make Osama Bin Laden proud: "In the present-day world, archery has lost its value as it has been replaced by other inventions like tanks, guns, missiles, atom bombs, etc. … In the present-day context, the injunction of the Noble Koran to acquire power means manufacturing and possession of all these devices.[sic] It is incumbent on the Muslims that they equip themselves with all this material and show no carelessness in this regard … It is incumbent upon the Muslims to overpower the might and power of the infidels for the glorification of Islam."

The examples I gave above are just a portion of the incendiary and hate-filled passages that can be found on the Al Nur website. Furthermore, this phenomenon is not restricted to Dartmouth. The website links to the webpage of the Muslim Student Association of the University of Southern California, where even more hateful sentiments can be found.

The presence of this filth on our school's website should be alarming to non-Muslims and Muslims alike. In an age where Islamic fundamentalism sows conflict and death all over the world and translates into the highest rate of anti-Semitic attacks since World War II, we must vigorously challenge and condemn all propaganda within our own community that aims to legitimize and encourage Islamic violence and hatred.

How can we expect the extremists of Iran not to attempt to procure nuclear weapons, when even the Dartmouth Muslim Student Association website demands of all Muslims to do so? How can we expect the Muslim Palestinians to peacefully live side by side with the Jews in Israel when the Dartmouth Muslim Students Association website calls for wholesale murder of Jews by Muslims? And how can moderate and peaceful Muslims deny the false accusations that all Muslims are violent and hate non-Muslims when the public voice of the Muslim students at an Ivy League institution seems to suggest otherwise?

I urge Al Nur to thoroughly review and edit their website. The removal of the highly offensive material will only serve to better the relationship between Muslim students and the broader community. More importantly, it will demonstrate that there are many Muslims who refuse to yield to the hatred and militancy that affects their more infamous co-religionists. It is those kinds of actions, not the killing of Jews, the manufacturing of nuclear weapons or the overpowering of infidels, which make for a true 'glorification of Islam.'

Posted on July 21, 2005
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