The Real Roots of Muslim Hatred

The Real Roots of Muslim Hatred
June 3, 2004

By Andrew G. Bostom

“Are you Muslim or Christian? We don’t want to kill Muslims.” That’s
what the Islamic terrorists reportedly told their innocent prey during
a murderous shooting spree last Saturday in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, that
left at least 17 civilians dead in the initial assault.(1) How are we
to interpret such repeated acts of terrorism, targeting non-Muslims?
Perhaps the most influential contemporary doyen lecturing to us about
“Islamic fundamentalism” has asserted, in multiple writings since 1990
(2), the following: fundamentalism and its accompanying “Muslim rage”
derive exclusively from a steady decline in the geopolitical power of
Muslim states, evidenced, most dramatically, by the official dissolution
of the Ottoman Caliphate after World War I, and the creation of the
State of Israel after World War II. Despite his erudition, this doyen
appears unwilling to examine an obvious alternative explanation for
the etiology and persistence of Muslim animus toward non-Muslims- what
Muslim children, for generations, have been taught to think about the
infidel “other,” regardless of the geopolitical circumstances.

E.W. Lane wrote an informative firsthand account of life in Egypt,
particularly Cairo and Luxor, composed after several years of
residence there (first in 1825-1828, then in 1833-1835). James
Aldridge in his study Cairo/ /(1969) called Lane’s account “the most
truthful and detailed account in English of how Egyptians lived and

behaved.”(3) Egyptian Muslims, Lane explains, regarded/ /”persons of
every other faith as the children of perdition; and such, the Muslim
is early taught to despise…I am credibly informed that children in
Egypt are often taught at school, a regular set of curses to denounce
upon the persons and property of Christians, Jews, and all

other unbelievers in the religion of Mohammad.”(4) Lane, who had
perfect command of Arabic and went on to write a colossal
Arabic-English lexicon, translated the prayer below from a
contemporary 19th century text Arabic text. It contains curses on
non-Muslims,/ /”which the Muslim youths in many of the schools in
Cairo recite, before they return to their homes,* *every day of their
attendance.”(5) One typical curse is:

“I seek refuge with God from Satan the accursed. In the name of God,
the Compassionate, the Merciful. O God, aid El-Islam, and exalt the
word of truth, and the faith, by the preservation of thy servant and
the son of thy servant, the Sultan of the two continents (Europe and
Asia), and the Khakan (Emperor or monarch) of the two seas [the
Mediterranean and Black Seas], the Sultan, son of the Sultan (Mahmood)
Khan (the reigning Sultan when this prayer was composed). O God,
assist him, and assist his armies, and all the forces of the Muslims:
O Lord of the beings of the whole world.* *O God, destroy the infidels
and polytheists, thine enemies, the enemies of the religion. O God,
make their children orphans, and defile their abodes, and cause their
feet to slip, and give them and their families, and their households
and their women and their children and their relations by marriage and
their brothers and their friends and their possessions and their race
and their wealth and their lands as booty to the Muslims: O Lord of
the beings of the whole world.”(6)

Not surprisingly then, Lane describes how the Jews, for example, were
“often…jostled in the streets of Cairo, and sometimes beaten merely
for passing on the right hand of a Muslim…(The Jews) scarcely dare
ever to utter a word of abuse when reviled or beaten unjustly by the
meanest Arab or Turk; for many a Jew has been put to death upon a
false and malicious accusation of uttering disrespectful words against
the Qur’an or the Prophet. It is common to hear an Arab abuse his

ass, and, after applying to him various opprobrious epithets, end by
calling the beast a Jew.”(7)

Over five decades later, in Tunis, 1888, the following personal
account reveals further evidence of the visceral abhorrence and
hostility inculcated in Muslim children, specifically, toward
non-Muslims: “(The Jew) can be seen to bow down with his whole body to
a Muslim child and permit him the traditional privilege of striking
him in the face, a gesture that can prove of the gravest
consequence. Indeed, the present writer has received such blows. In
such matters the offenders act with complete impunity, for this has
been the custom from time immemorial.”(8)

Mary Boyce, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies and a pre-eminent
scholar of Zoroastrianism, spent a 12-month sabbatical in 1963-64
living in the Zoroastrian community of Iran (mostly in Sharifabad, on
the northern Yazdi plain). During a lecture series given at Oxford in
1975,(9) she noted how the Iranian ancestors of the Zoroastrians had a
devoted working relationship (i.e., herding livestock) with dogs when
they lived a nomadic existence on the Asian steppes. This sustained
contact evolved over generations such that dogs became “a part in
(Zoroastrian) religious beliefs and practices…which in due course
became a part of the heritage of Zoroastrianism.”(10) Boyce then
provided an historical overview of the deliberate, wanton cruelty of
Muslims and their children towards dogs in Iran, including a personal
eyewitness account:

In Sharifabad the dogs distinguished clearly between Moslem and
Zoroastrian, and were prepared to go…full of hope, into a crowded
Zoroastrian assembly, or to fall asleep trustfully in a Zoroastrian
lane, but would flee as before Satan from a group of Moslem boys…The
evidence points…to Moslem hostility to these animals having been
deliberately fostered in the first place in Iran, as a point of
opposition to the old (pre-Islamic jihad conquest) faith (i.e.,
Zoroastrianism) there. Certainly in the Yazdi area…Moslems found a
double satisfaction in tormenting dogs, since they were thereby both
afflicting an unclean creature and causing distress to the infidel who
cherished him. There are grim…stories from the time (i.e., into the
latter half of the 19th century) when the annual poll-tax (jizya) was
exacted, of the tax gatherer tying a Zoroastrian and a dog together,
and flogging both alternately until the money was somehow forthcoming,
or death released them. I myself was spared any worse sight than that
of a young Moslem girl…standing over a litter of two-week old
puppies, and suddenly kicking one as hard as she could with her shod
foot. The puppy screamed with pain, but at my angry intervention she
merely said blankly, ‘But it’s unclean.’ In Sharifabad I was told by
distressed Zoroastrian children of worse things: a litter of puppies
cut to pieces with a spade-edge, and a dog’s head laid open with the
same implement; and occasionally the air was made hideous with the
cries of some tormented animal. Such wanton cruelties on the Moslems’
part added not a little to the tension between the communities.(11)

Sorour Soroudi, an Iranian Jewish woman and academic, whose family
left Iran in 1970, published this recollection:

“I still remember the rhyme Muslim children used to chant when they
saw an Armenian in the streets, ‘Armeni, Armeni-dog, sweeper of hell
are you!’ “(12)

A decade later, anti-infidel discrimination intensified and became
state sanctioned policy with the ascent of the Khomeini-lead Shi’ite
theocracy in Iran.(13) Professor Eliz Sanasarian provides one
particularly disturbing example of these policies, reflecting the
hateful indoctrination of young adult candidates for national teacher
training programs. Affirming as objective, factual history the
hadith(14) account of Muhammad’s supposed poisoning by a Jewish woman
from ancient Khaibar, Sanasarian notes, “Even worse, the subject
became one of the questions in the ideological test for the Teachers’
Training College where students were given a multiple-choice question
in order to identify the instigator of the martyrdom of the Prophet
Muhammad, the ‘correct’ answer being ‘a Jewess.'”(15)

The ongoing proliferation of Saudi Arabian-sponsored educational
programs rife with bigotry against non-Muslims has been well
documented. A recent comprehensive report provided unambiguous
examples of these hatemongering teaching materials, accompanied by
this triumphal pronouncement from a Saudi royal family publication:
“The cost of King Fahd’s efforts in this field has been astronomical,
amounting to many billions of Saudi riyals. In terms of Islamic
institutions, the result is some 210 Islamic centers wholly or partly
financed by Saudi Arabia, more than 1,500 mosques and 2,002 colleges
and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic
countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia, and

Vilification of non-Muslims has been intrinsic to the religious
education of Muslim children and young adults for centuries, an
ignoble (and continuing) tradition that long antedates the modern or
even pre-modern Muslim “fundamentalist” revival movements. We must
acknowledge this reality and begin to think and act beyond the
well-intentioned but limited constructs of even our most respected
doyens. Perhaps it would be wise to heed the sober advice of this
courageous madrassa dropout and secular Muslim “apostate” Ibn Warraq:

First, we who live in the free West and enjoy freedom of expression
and scientific inquiry should encourage a rational look at Islam,
should encourage Koranic criticism. Only Koranic criticism can help
Muslims to look at their Holy Scripture in a more rational and
objective way, and prevent young Muslims from being fanaticized by the
Koran’s less tolerant verses…We can encourage rationality by secular
education. This will mean the closing of religious madrassas where
young children from poor families learn only the Koran by heart, learn
the doctrine of Jihad – learn , in short, to be fanatics…My priority
would be the wholesale rewriting of school texts, which at present
preach intolerance of non-Muslims, particularly Jews. One hopes that
education will encourage critical thinking and rationality. Again to
encourage pluralism, I should like to see the glories of pre-Islamic
history taught to all children. The banning of all religious education
in state schools as is the case in France where there is a clear
constitutional separation of state and religion is not realistic for
the moment in Islamic countries. The best we can hope for is the
teaching of Comparative Religion, which we hope will eventually lead
to a lessening of fanatical fevers, as Islam is seen as but another
set of beliefs amongst a host of faiths.(17)

Until Warraq’s recommendations are heeded, we can look forward to an
endless jihad/.


1.) Reuters, “Gunmen hunted “infidel” Westerners”
//Sun May 30, 2004 06:30 AM ET,
< html?type=topNews&storyID=520188&section=n ews>

2.) i.e., Bernard Lewis, for example, in 1990

; November/December
1998 <; “License to Kill: Usama
bin Ladin’s Declaration of Jihad”, Foreign Affairs;
2002 ;
2003 m

3.) Quoted by J.M. White, in his introduction to, Lane, E.W./ /An
Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, New York,
1973, p. v.

4.) Lane, E.W./ /Modern Egyptians, p. 276.

5.) ^ Lane, E.W./ /Modern Egyptians, p. 575.

6.) Lane, E.W./ /Modern Egyptians, p. 575.

7.) Lane, E.W./ /Modern Egyptians, pp. 554-555.

8.) Fellah. “The Situation of the Jews in Tunis, September 1888.”,
Ha-Asif (The Harvest) [Hebrew] 6 (Warsaw, 1889), English translation in,
Bat Ye’or, The/ /Dhimmi-/ /Jews/ /and/ /Christians/ /Under Islam,
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985, p. 376.

9.) Boyce, Mary. A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism (based on the
Ratanbai Katrak lectures, 1975), 1977, Oxford.

10.) Boyce, M. A Persian Stronghold, p. 139.

11.) Boyce, M. A Persian Stronghold, pp. 141-142.

12.) Soroudi, Sorour. “The Concept of Jewish Impurity and its Reflection
in Persian and Judeo-Persian Traditions” Irano-Judaica 1994, Vol. III,
p. 155 (footnote 33):

13.) See Tabandeh, Sultanhussein. A Muslim Commentary on the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, translated by F.J. Goulding, London, 1970,
pp. 17-19. Tabandeh was a Sufi Shi’ite ideologue whose writings had a
profound influence on Ayatollah Khomeini’s discriminatory policies
towards non-Muslims in Iran, as discussed in Sanasarian, Eliz. Religious
Minorities in Iran, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 24-27.

14.) Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 786: Narrated Anas bin
Malik: “A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who
ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, ‘Shall we
kill her?’ He said, ‘No.’ I continued to see the effect of the poison on
the palate of the mouth of Allah’s Apostle.”

15.) Sanasarian, E. Religious Minorities in Iran, p. 111.

16.) Stalinsky, Steven. “Preliminary Overview. – Saudi Arabia’s
Education System: Curriculum, Spreading Saudi Education to the World and
the Official Saudi Position on Education Policy,” Middle East Media
Research Institute
December 20, 2002.

17.) Warraq, Ibn. “A True Islamic Reformation,”
<;, May 19, 2003

Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown
University Medical School, and occasional contributor to Frontpage
Magazine. He is the editor of a forthcoming essay collection entitled,
“The Legacy of Jihad”.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress