The following is an excerpt from the book “Winning the Modern World for Islam” by Imam Abdessalam Yassine, translated from French by by Martin Jenni. It is about the Wound of Palestine: the Palestine Project, the Ordeal of Palestine, Islamicizing the History of Palestine, The Ungrateful Children of Israel & Arrogance and Cruelty.
The Palestine Project
For centuries, Jews lived side by side with Muslims under the protective wing of the Caliphate of Spain. Jewish historians themselves recognize and demonstrate that the golden age of their people was situated geographically and historically in Muslim Spain. At a time when the race which, according to christian belief, betrayed and crucified Christ, was disgraced and persecuted as a deicide enemy in Europe, Jews in Muslim Spain enjoyed the status that islam guaranteed minorities, particularly the People of the Book, Jews and Christians.
Long-time brothers in the bounty of a prosperous and tolerant civilization, the Muslims and Jews of Spain together fell under the repressive yoke of the Reconquista and the pitiless Inquisition that tortured and burned alive without regard to confession. Dispersed after the Spanish reconquest, the Jews once again found refuge and a viable lot in North Africa and the Muslim Mashreq. Compared to the life —or rather, to the fight for survival— that had been the Jews’ in Europe, regularly abused and massacred during periodic pogroms, that of the Jews in North Africa and the East seemed a good life, for they enjoyed at least absolute security.
The Jewish “historical theme” awakened in Europe in the course of the 19th century. It is represented by the Zionist movement motivated by a secularist ideology that turned its back on the Talmudic tradition and divorced itself from the image of the wandering Jew in long curls in order to present him with the modern features of a rich German banker or an Oxford-educated gentleman.
The Rotschilds and Hertzls were modern secularists in their frock-coats and butterfly cravats; Jews in soul and conscience however of a sort that was abominable to their brethren who led miserable lives in the ghettos of Warsaw and Russia. The Hungarian Hertzl founded the Zionist movement, the Jewish facet of secular modernity, and conceived the ambitious scheme of a Jewish state to be built somewhere in the world.
Europe needed a reservoir where it could dispose of its overflow of Jewry: the Jew is too shrewd, too active, too able a businessman —and so, too annoying. Now organized, the Jews pursued their claim, clamoring to the nation-states of Europe— on their way to becoming democratic —for their rights and a place in the sun.
The Dreyfus Affair in France well illustrates the emergence of the Jew; the era offered him possibilities for defending himself against injustice, and for rousing a segment of public opinion with the help of a free press already infiltrated by pro-Jewish finances and a Semitic intelligentsia.
The racist notion of “overflow” found the occasion to rise to the surface; historic opportunism, in the pragmatic interests of British and imperialist politics, accommodated Zionist ambitions with a home in Palestine.
After WW I, Jewish immigration into Palestine accelerated. Encouraged—indeed, openly impelled by the English government’s promise—the massive exodus of Jewry, especially Eastern European, lost no time in establishing a state within a state in the territories under British mandate. The ideological and motivational Israelite Alliance, of cosmopolitan character, was quickly supplanted by politico-terrorist activism of second-generation Zionists.
During WW II the Jews who survived the massacre took refuge in Palestine. The myth of the Exodus, perpetuated by a technicolor film, presents the sympathetic world with the image of the Jewish survivor, the victim of inhuman injustice for which Nazi Europe —and European accomplices— are responsible.
The tattered conscience, weighted with remorse, of Europe coming out of WW II, was a windfall for the Zionist movement. The lode has been much exploited elsewhere as well. Zionist leaders, whose administrations have proved their hitlerian parallel, change their act to attack the conquerors and accuse them of tacit or active complicity in the massacre of the Jews; they hold them responsible for it.
Taking the tortured conscience hostage was conducted by the hand of a master. For Europe, seating a Jewish state in Palestine solved two problems: getting rid of Jewish noisemakers, and paying a debt of honor.
The United States of America has three reasons, different from those of Europe, and more important, for supporting the Zionist state, both initially and ever after:
The first is on confessional grounds: the advent of the Kingdom of Zion is a dogma common to both Jews and Protestants, great readers as they are of the Jewish Bible.
The second is that Arabic countries harbor the most important petroleum sites in the world, and that they need a steady guardian to watch over the treasure at close hand —in the event of a “desert storm.”
Both economic and dogmatic considerations merge and develop as a third reason, which is political and in direct control of the events: the existence of a Jewish lobby in Washington, sustained and financed by six million American Jews, rich, very powerful, active, and influential.
The European and American aid that the Jewish state receives is diverse, without counting the contributions of a rich and ardently solicitous diaspora; the American-Israeli pact of mutual defense, along with European reparation, translates into an uninterrupted pipe-line of military, financial, technological, diplomatic, and security assistance —and whatever else may be desired.
The Ordeal of Palestine
The affair of Palestine is a series of painful ordeals, a path of suffering strewn with landscapes of desolation: disaster in 1948, scourge in 1956, catastrophe in 1967, calamity in 1973, and many other reverses of fortune along the way.
The Arab defeats at the hands of the tiny state of Israel have laid bare the deadly dislocation of Arabic societies and the ineptness of their governments. They have revealed very sad truths: what kind of nameless treachery was it when those in power armed their soldiers in 1948 with defective ammunition and rifles that did not fire, or when in 1967 there were no Egyptian generals —they were too busy with their debauchery to respond— during the Israeli blitz attack.
The lack of response from a depraved general staff was perhaps Egypt’s last chance to fight as equal to equal against the Zionist state, since Uncle Sam would soon settle that score. In 1973, while the penitent Egyptian army took to the field under its rallying cry, “Allahu akbar” (God is great), America, Zion’s unconditional protector, unleashed an air-lift worthy of its might to flood the field with warplanes and tanks.
Uncle Sam’s protection was called into play once again when it flung its veto at the heart of the U.N. to decisions running counter to the Zionist state. Sure of its rear, the U.S. dismissed the resolutions of a world of law like so many useless scraps of paper.
Spoiled child of Protestant America so fervent in its Biblical mythologies, the state of Israel and its formidable propaganda apparatus in the U.S. —press, radio, and television channels in particular— inflated the number of Hitler’s victims at will and drew from common Biblical sources such motivational themes such as Exodus and Shoah.
The slogan “a land without people for a people without land” made of Palestine a no man’s land, a waste ground and lost heritage found again by the chosen people.
A recovered “promised land,” Palestine is only the beach-head for the expansion of a “greater Israel” depicted on published Zionist maps, embracing a large part of the Arab East: Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt. Israel acts, confident and certain of its allies. Its principal ally is the profound sense of guilt developed after the so-called Holocaust.
During WW II, the Vichy government was steeped in Jewish persecution; afterwards, France was persuaded that it owed the Jewish people an historic debt. This debt had to be repaid clean at the cost of squandering the democratic principles by which human rights are upheld.
To redeem Europe, this debt would have to be paid by Arabs. Not only would Arab lands be occupied and split up to receive Jews called to the land of their ancestors, but the same myth that lies at the base of the Jewish claim is preserved at any cost. The Gayssot-Fabius law, enacted in France and promulgated in 1990, severely sanctions all criticism of the Zionist political creed; casting doubt on the existence or extent of the “Holocaust” is a crime, and the doubter is prosecuted at law.
Thanks once again to Jewish propaganda, Hitler, the enemy of the human race and the instigator of a war that had fifty million victims -twenty million of whom were people of the Soviet Union— passed into history merely as a slaughterer of Jews. At Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the numbers are gently reduced so as to be believable; the six millions long sung and lamented have become four million, and this is pared back to a million and a half. This is the official tally engraved on the commemorative steles.
Inflating the number of victims adds nothing to the horror of Hitler’s carnage; a single innocent victim, Jew or not, is already one too many according to our deeply held Islamic convictions.
The favored child of America is also cherished by Hollywood. Jewish production funds and Jewish cinematic talents have combined to honor a mythical Schindler, casting a deaf ear to the protests of his widow who denounced the falsification of the facts.
Serviced by such prestigious advocates, the Jewish cause is omnipresent in the world’s conscience while other causes are erased forever. Neither side erects plaques to mourn the sixty million Native Americans exterminated by the white Protestant American pioneer. No stele commemorates the hundred million dead black Africans packed in the compartment of the slave ships. America’s cotton fields never received more than one out of ten of these human cattle, nine having passed beyond the realm of the living at the time of their capture, or chained and crammed for the crossing. Who thinks any more of them? Only the Jewish state lays claim to attention and memory!
Let us not allow the martyr image, maintained by the Jews to promote and exploit, turn us from the Zionist scheme or prevent us from discerning certain character traits and precedents of the protectors of the Zionist state.
Both the protected and the protectors demand the impossible. They have had the audacity and historical mindlessness to work towards the goal —projected sometime in the future— of having seven million Jews occupy the lands and the economy of 300 million Arabs, already there and backed by a billion and a half Muslims who are surely mindful of the Palestinian stakes and are always capable of responding to the appeal of their brothers!
When the impossible is demanded, when it is known to be out of reach —and when one possesses a nuclear arsenal— the temptation to use it will one day prove irresistible. Will humanity wake up one day to hear the news of a new Hiroshima in some Arab capital?
The menace no longer seems uncertain, judging by the arrogance, irresponsibility, and want of maturity on the part of the current head of the Zionist government, Netanyahu. When we consider the Jewish dogma by which “gentiles” (non-Jews) are ripe for exploiting, whether it be financially (through usury) or any other manner, nuclear aggression can no longer to be excluded. According to the Jewish Bible, “gentiles” can and ought to be exterminated if they stand in the way of the plans of the chosen people. What better means of exterminating than nuclear weapons?
The nightmare cannot be excluded when you think that the head of the Jewish state, at the end of October, 1997, provoked a popular storm when he cast into doubt certain Bible verses threatening the enemies of Israel with extermination, and that the extremist rightwing in power, whose justification rests on such passages as justification for Israel’s insatiable expansion, cried scandal.
The very existence of this artificial and menacing Jewish state is itself menaced with self-destruction by being constituted of a rabble of heterogeneous peoples. The heavy burden of a nuclear arsenal that a fit of temper of a paranoid head or the self-arousal of a military general staff might compel the government to activate, contributes to internal malaise as well as to our worries.
The state that has maintained itself for fifty years, supported by its Western friends, is internally driven by a centrifugal dynamic. The façade of democracy that has operated thus far cannot hold the building together indefinitely: the edifice will crumble sooner or later.
Still, we must not dream that our aggressor will fall of his own accord, brought down by some invisible magic. We must not dream! We must understand and act! We must understand history and prepare ourselves for the conditioned promise God makes to us in the Qur’an. It is written thus:
Afflict not others (O Muslims) nor let yourselves be beaten down. You are most high so long as you have faith. If a wound enfeebles you, the same wound enfeebles your enemy. We make the days (of rising and falling) alternate among the peoples so that God may recognize the faithful (by their conduct) and that He may choose you among the martyrs. God loves not the unjust.
These verses were revealed after the defeat of the Muslims at Uhud, but the Qur’an is not a record of events limited in time, it is the living Word of God, invaluable instruction for all “days,” the promise of a rotation, of a rise after a fall.
Thus the kingdom of Jerusalem founded by the Crusaders lasted two centuries. The Francs were chased out after that. The feudal regime of the ancient kingdom of Jerusalem, though iniquitous and inhuman, seemed stable. Even though under this cruel and enslaving regime the land was sold or inherited along with serfs under the whip, it seemed to exist as if it would last for ever.
Modern democracy in Israel has proved to be a system not for liberating the people but for subjugating them. It will not last for ever; it is here for only a certain time. It is there as our ordeal, an ordeal for Arabs and Muslims. The ancient crusader regime was overthrown by a Muslim society united around a sultan. Saladin the Kurd gathered Arabs and non-Arabs behind him.
Today, when the ethnic wars between Muslims are a gaping wound, tearing us apart in fratricidal fury, all of this seems distant. Today, conquered Muslims are divided into little entities: they are no more than Afghans or Turks or Arabs or Berbers…
The Ordeal of Israel will remain for some time until that scattered billion and a half Muslims become aware of their true identity. The Ordeal —by which God recognizes the faithful and distinguishes them from those who are not— is a central notion in islam. God willing, we shall return to it.
God’s explicit promise in the Holy Book is bound up with certain conditions: faith, political and social readiness, resistance, and martyrdom. Let us take a long breath in preparation for the “day” of rotation. Victory is earned!
On the theme of historical challenge and the psychology of a people, the phenomenon of the rotation of civilizations has been attentively observed by the British historian Toynbee.
It is difficult for Western civilization to admit its decadence and downfall, however, since it is beclouded by so much force, so much wealth, and such great capacity to exploit and tame (and so, destroy) nature. But the student of the psychology of modern man —that of the Zionist Jew, for example— discovers irrefutable signs of a certain and inevitable downfall.
That may be, but the Muslim is not in the ideal position. To his moral depression is added material misery, under-development, social injustice, political disenfranchisement —the list is long.
Observations of historical contingency and the psychology of peoples makes Muslims highly improbable candidates for playing an honorable role on the world stage, and casts doubt on Toynbee’s cyclical theory.
But let us leave the historians to their cold examination of conjunctures; let us bring to mind the history of the Prophets of God recorded in the Qur’an. Whenever an unjust city attained the zenith of power and rebelled against God, it was cursed and struck down, to leave its place for others more just and less corrupt. That was the fate of ‘Ad, the people of the Prophet Hud, of Thamud of the people of Salih, of Pharaoh the enemy of Moses, and of many others.
The scorned and sorely tried of yesterday are the very ones to whom victory is promised tomorrow, of course, but it would be false to think that our faith is compatible with contemplative waiting and confident quietism. Victory, God’s gift, is to be earned —we can never repeat that enough!
Islamicizing the History of Palestine
It would be pointless and nonsensical to read history through a non-Islamic grid when we are proposing to seek the means of winning the modern world for islam. Modernity is the current face of the Ordeal.
The history of the Prophets is recorded for us in the Qur’an not for our entertainment, but as an example. The Zionist challenge is altogether operative in the lived reality as psychology of Arabs, Muslim and non-Muslim. Taken on its own and magnified by our preoccupations and suffering, it seems insurmountable; but considered on the scale of the history of Islam, it is only a passing squall. A Qur’anic reading of history brings the pain of the moment and the deceptions and defeats of the hour into relative proportion.
Seen across this grid, historical “questions” and “problems” become inscribed in the broader circumstance, in the complexity post-modernity thinkers love to talk about. They are also inscribed in the long term. That is why the snapshots and flash pictures of impressionism tapped by political crises cannot bring us into a true relationship with history.
Mankind’s acts and words and the necessity of responding and reacting should not sever our connection with the Absolute, the divine Plan. There is absolutely no way we can flee the current fight except by claiming ourselves once again with the divine in a suprahistoric continuity. The unconquerable vivacity and audacity of Islamic organizations in Palestine and southern Lebanon demonstrate that men of faith are not inevitably nonchalant fatalists. Hamas sends its best elements into martyrdom; so do the Jihad and the Hezbollah.
In the struggle waged by oppressed peoples, their courage and resistance distinguish these groups in no aspect more than their motivation, at once highly spiritual, patriotic, and ideological. The human bombs in occupied Palestine yield in no degree in terms of self-denial and sacrifice to the Buddhist monks and Tibetan patriots who set themselves ablaze. Only the elevated nature of their goal hoists the former to the plan of History,
while the patriotism and revolt against injustice classifies the others according to an ordinary human plan.
Called by a spiritual aspiration, the Islamists resisting Israeli occupation cannot however permit themselves contemplative ecstasy at the moment of the ultimate decision, the moment of losing or winning the fight. They cannot escape the earthly rule of combat, nor the scourge of defamatory propaganda: like all other Islamists, the Palestinian combatants are pilloried vulgar terrorists.
It is humanly irresistible to besmirch one’s enemy with lying propaganda. It is also the rule of the divine Plan to suffer the assaults of the enemy: Did we not read above about the wound in both camps as a condition preceding the “rotation of days”?
Islamicizing history means bringing about a reading that is just and concurrent with the reality of the Qur’an; the Word of God illuminates reality. To submit to the rule of God’s Plan is the contrary of the sanctimonious nihilism of wait-and-see.
To Islamicize history is to accept the conditions of the fight just as the Prophets of God did (grace and peace be upon them!), by accomplishing, like them, the duty of the hour with firmness and constancy, without becoming distracted by scrimmages and wounds. The prize is the “rotation of the days.” Like the Prophets, we must attack piece by piece, on the ground, step by step, resisting the aggressor and responding to hostile fury with the tenacity of those who know they are in the right.
To Islamicize history is not to fly in the clouds or collapse on the soft couch of fatalism. Pretending it to be God’s Plan when it is my fault that catastrophe arrives is to place myself outside of history.
One of the great faults among conquered peoples is to seek refuge and compensation in the consoling dream of grandiose schemes, without the least concrete effort. That is the worst way of being beaten, since the inertness of the dead is added to intellectual ineptitude.
For a long time, modern Arabs have cherished the dread of a unity that never materializes, the utopia of a world role that is more than ever out of reach, the dream of an independence and power that dissipates as soon as it is formulated. Now that Islamic dynamism has been launched, it is no longer the time to build sand castles, it is the hour to act surely, without haste, without violence, without needless words, but with determination and confidence in God (may His Name be magnified and exalted!).
It is time to act, knowing that action will be met by the enemy’s blows. It is in the spirit of the verses cited above, enjoining us never to let ourselves be afflicted and thrown down —that those blows should be received. The history of the Prophets, our models forever, is full of examples: their peoples, rebelling against God— before the “rotation of the days” removed them from history —offended and humiliated them, hunted and tortured their disciples, and confiscated their possessions.
The Qur’an assures us as well that resistance to injustice and tenacious combat will always bring an end to the haughty, closing one chapter of history and opening another. Those who today look down on the lowly will be cast down tomorrow. We have God’s promise for it.
The Ungrateful Children of Israel
Let us read the Qur’an to enlighten ourselves regarding the rule which directs the “rotation of the days” by lingering over the example of the ungrateful children of Israel, rebelling against God in modern times, and afloat in illusion. Let us read the Qur’an to find God’s testimony concerning His Jewish creatures. It is a reading that will lift a corner of the veil that envelops the divine Plan.
Verses 78-82 of Sûrah Al-Mâ’idah describe the children of Israel in vigorous terms. The renegades among the children of Israel (which allows us to understand that some were not) are reproached.
Nine times in the Qur’an the Jews are mentioned by the generic noun yahud. Forty-three times, the “children of Israel” are cited or summoned as such. Christians are on the agenda a mere fifteen times. The historical circumstances of the era of the Prophet during law-suits and battles between Jews and Muslims, you say? It is, rather, a history in which Jews participated significantly.
The numerous Prophets sent by God to the Jews are cited by name, as well as the treason of the renegades among the children of Israel, whence the summoning of the children of the Prophet Jacob, the Israel of the Bible and the Qur’an. The first betrayal by the renegades is their invention of blasphemous and stupid farce: God (exalted be His Name!) is measured against Jacob and the latter bests Him in single-handed combat. Playing on the sense of the two Hebrew words (close to the Arabic), “isr” and “El,” they interpreted them as “conqueror of God” in stead of “servant of God.” The renegades do not intend it as a blasphemy, but they come to the very edge! The verses of Sûrah Al-Mâ’idah read:
The renegades from among the children of Israel were cursed by the voice of David and by Jesus, son of Mary, because they rebelled (against their Prophets) and transgressed (the Law). They did not forbid themselves any crime. Reprehensible conduct! You see a great number of them going with the infidels. What a sinister inspiration which has merited the wrath of God and eternal punishment! If they truly believed in God and in His Prophet, they would not have gone with the infidels. But most of them were scoundrels. You will surely admit that those who are most fiercely hostile to the faithful are the Jews and non-believers. As you will note, those with the closest affinity of friendship with the faithful are found among those who call themselves Christians. It is among these latter that you find priests and monks and those who are not arrogant.
At the time of the Prophet Muhammad (grace and peace upon him!) relations between Muslims and Jews were extremely strained: knavery and scheming of a rich and cunning minority, Jewish alliances with the Muslims’ enemies, betrayal of the pact of solidarity that the Prophet had concluded with the Jewish tribes upon arriving in Medina. After years of evasions and offences, above all after the Jewish betrayal of their Muslim allies at the “battle of the trench” (al khandaq), the Jews were definitively driven from Medina.
Elsewhere they did not forget this trench in the history of their people, and today, Zionist pretensions do not stop at the Biblical territories of Palestine, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt; they stretch towards Medina, which they consider to be part of their patrimony. Talk about the covetousness and rapacity of the tiny Israeli state!
Whether declared or concealed, the Zionist aims of our time are served by an insolent temerity. Their insolence surpasses all measure when, in the annexed territories, they bulldoze the homes of their powerless owners and before the eyes of an entire world that has become indifferent and blasé from daily repetition of the same images.
It is true that Muslim (and Christian) youths of the intifada have moved, for a while, the spectators of Jewish soldiers attacking stone throwers with machine guns, wounding or killing them. Still, the protests of human rights organizations are raised less and less often. What good is it, when the American veto has rejected more than thirty Security Council decisions in order to protect Israel, and when it has determined to reject them again and forever? The White House’s services to the Zionist state are so generous and unconditional now that the Jewish counselors of the democratic administration no longer count them.
The Qur’an verses we have just reviewed end in the affirmation that “those who call themselves Christians” are a category of people capable of nourishing feelings of friendship for Muslims. The president of the United States does not seem to be among them when he announces during a speech before the Jewish parliament that he feels fraternal affinities with his hosts. Does such a remark arise from sincere convictions or from electoral expediency? It is true that in general, politicians are not persons of principles, whatever they say, whatever they call themselves, and however they are spoken of.
There remain the men of the Church who, always calling themselves Christians, seek dialog with Muslims and have, since Vatican II, been declaring that it is time to turn the page and inaugurate a new era of understanding and cooperation with Islam. With exception of theology, where no progress is possible, cooperation with them is welcome.
If, as the Qur’an counsels us, we avoid the apple of discord, theological controversy, we could, as persons of good will, cooperate in view of a better future for humanity. If our heavens are not of the same color, our earth is the same, and on it we contend with the same urgent problems: material and moral misery, the destruction of the biosphere, the lot of children and minorities, wars and many other human ills.
Perhaps we may arrive together at establishing in every corner, for every people, for each human being, for each living creature, universal charity, peace in the world, and love for our neighbor; all of these are virtues that our Law and our Book teach and enjoin us. Did not the holy Prophet Muhammad (grace and peace upon him) welcome the disciples of Jesus (peace and grace upon him) who came from Najran? He sheltered them in his mosque, most holy place that it is, and he conversed with them.
In our sacred Book we read —and shall read until the end of our days— those verses that suggest that we be well disposed towards those who call themselves Christians. In what the Holy Book records for us of renegades of whatever stripe, and especially renegade Jews, everything should inspire us with absolute suspicion.
Arrogance and Cruelty
The arrogance of the latter know no limits, encouraged and supported as they are by other renegades who call themselves christian but who are atheist and iniquitous.
As to Jewish arrogance, God revealed these verses of the Qur’an:
We have established this with the children of Israel in the book (of Destiny): twice you shall commit great disorders on earth and will exhibit great arrogance.
The founding Jewish dogma is arrogance itself: the Jews should be God’s chosen people. Such a dogma is shot through with the principle of racism. The first time spoken of by the verse above where Jewish racism demonstrates a haughty arrogance is perhaps that of which we find an echo in the Biblical account:
On that day, Joshua took possession of Makkedah and put it and its king to the sword: he vowed them to destruction, along with every person found there. He let no one survive, and he treated the king of Makkedah just as he had treated the king of Jericho.
The account continues, “putting to the sword” and exterminating the kings and inhabitants of Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, and Hebron.
We can well believe the Bible when we read of the cruelty of the Jews, since we are eye witnesses of the same today; but, that aside, what credibility can these bloody recitals have that present a Prophet, Joshua, as a tyrant awash in blood? In contrast to the Qur’an which has been consigned to writing during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (grace and peace upon him) as dictated by him, the Bible is merely a collection of oral traditions accumulated and reported during the centuries after Moses (grace and peace upon him) before having been notated in writing. The Prophets of God, Messengers of mercy, cannot be butchers of humanity; these epic recitals of extermination cannot therefore be anything than the fantasies of sick souls.
This first instance in history of the children of Israel appearing as a united people, rather than nomadic tribes wandering in the desert, was under the leadership of Joshua, who led them into the land of Canaan. But if they laid waste, killed, and exterminated, it could not have been until after his death. Does not the Qur’an inform us that the Jews had the habit of killing the Prophets themselves? The Prophets were not the initiators of the violence of the children of Israel, though they were its victims.
The Bible account, a fabulation and medley of popular confections, is in itself a falsification based on epic models that reveals the intentions —still lively in our time— of putting the “gentile” to the sword whenever an occasion for “ethnic cleansing” presents itself. It is instructive to consult a book by Maurice Bucaille to be edified about the confabulating genius of the authors of the Bible:
Before it became a collection of books, it was a popular tradition that rested entirely on human memory…. Enlivened by the function of story-telling, the narrative is never at a loss in dealing with subjects and epochs whose history is little known.
The Biblical accounts of bloody exploits, historically little known, are awash in confusion. This first time that the children of Israel showed themselves to be arrogant devastators in the land is, in any case, the object of several interpretations among the commentators on the Qur’an also.
On the other hand, the second time about which the Qur’an verse cited above informs us seems to be the current establishment of the state of Israel. The haughty arrogance of Jewish racism this time is well known. No ambiguity is possible here, since “ethnic cleansing,” an entirely modern phrase, is carried out in front of the camera and broadcast direct on the television screens of the entire world.
Before the trivializing effect of television —and before its omnipresence— the descendents of the exterminators of the nations showed what they were capable of. On 9 April 1948 Menachem Begin, the future prime minister of the future Zionist state, invaded the village of Dir Yasin with his gang of terrorists, massacring its 254 inhabitants, women, children, and men. This was the terrorist tactic of the terrorist organization, Irgun, to make the Palestinians flee by sowing terror among their populations.
Thirty years later, the arrogant state of Israel having been established and its justice guaranteeing the peace, a Jewish assassin attacked the village of Bir Kassem and wiped out its population; he was arrested so as to be “severely condemned” —and then released after paying a symbolic fine.
Two years ago Doctor Baruch Goldstein, a settler of American origin and gallant knight of terror, entered as conqueror the mosque of Al Khalil and machine-gunned the Muslims bowed down in prayer, killing twenty-seven and wounding more than fifty others. His tomb has become an object of a veritable cult, a site of pilgrimage and a place of worship.
But if a Muslim, seeing his house reduced to rubble by a bulldozer, his fields confiscated, and his children gunned down in the street, should attack a single Jew, international protest is immediately unleashed, leading to a media lynching: Islamist terrorist! Extremist! Barbarian!
No one imputes the savage massacres perpetrated by the Serbs in Bosnia to the Orthodox religion, nor the bombs of Ulster to the Catholic Church; yet this is the image that a certain sort of modernism seeks to give Islam, at the cost of truth, objectivity, and fairness.
It is objectivity that Europe needs in its effort to unite and in its quest for a new communitarian identity. Perhaps it is to be found in a ready and open spirit of cooperation with the Other, the strongly isolated identity of the Arab and the Muslim, and in mutual respect. Perhaps it is to be found if Europe refuses to succumb to the siren’s song from across the Atlantic that spouts the theory of a “clash of civilizations” like a battle cry for a new Crusade.
I do not wish to close this chapter on a note of resentment and bitterness, the petty ideas and sentiments that are destined to vegetate in sick minds like great untruths, barren and harmful.
Let us instead speak of a great common project, useful to humanity and beneficial to individuals, that should attract the good will of those who have goodness to impart and love of neighbor to dispense. When generous souls lend good graces to the call of wisdom, the embittered will see the procession of a reconciled humanity, a procession where the means of modernity will serve the final goal of islam, which is justice on earth and hearts filled with spirituality.
Everything will pass, the ephemeral sojourn of individuals and civilizations, each following its determined cycle and age, following the “rotation of the days” and the predestination of each.
Everything will pass; what remains is the human person who dies and is raised up by God to give an account of his acts in this world below.
Everything will pass; what remains is the human person for ever, a welcome guest in the presence of the Eternal, or racked for ever by the flames of Gehenna.
We have begun, in the preceding pages, to lay out the contentious record of islam and modernity. This careful exposition is necessary in order to overcome mutual recriminations and to escape the perpetual torments that make us each other’s opponents; for this merely distracts us from the final purpose of humankind on earth, and it beclouds our horizons.
To see clearly into the past and into the present is the condition for conceiving the future and to be guided towards it without going astray. If we have recalled the historical and ideological genesis of modernity and its corollary —which we have called “Holy Secularity” (the expression of a European)— it is in order to ask of secular modernity about the bases of its knowledge and its concept of humankind, to question its foundations so as then to draft the general outline of our economic and politically communitarian scheme.
I cite from memory the Roman philosopher Seneca: “the boat that knows not where it is going cannot profit from favorable winds.” God’s promise is both the lighthouse that signals danger by showing the banks of salvation, and the favorable wind of sure sailing. It is for us to get under way, keeping our eyes on the horizon —without failing to note the treacherous undertow.
 TN: Mideast.
 Sephardic Jews, immigrated from Arab countries, are, like Israel’s Arab citizens, treated with distrust. Begrudged of their rights, they ruminate bitterly against the Ashkenazi minority of European origin who are the sole masters of the Zionist state. There is much to be said about the dissensions between master-citizens and slave-citizens of dubious status.
 Sûrah [Al-’Imran]: verses 139–40.
 TN: About the ‘Ad people, see in particular Sûrah 26 [Ash-Shu’arâ]: verses 123– 40; the Thamud were their successors (cf. Sûrah 7 [Al-‘A’râf]: verses 73–79).
 Sûrah 17 [Al-Isrâ’]: verse 4.
 Joshua 10:28.
 Cf. Joshua 10:29–37. TN: The place names have been cited as they appear in the New Jerusalem Bible.
 Maurice Bucaille, op. cit., pp. 17–18.