Tunisian Philosopher Mezri Haddad: Islamists ‘Have Reduced the Koran to a Nauseating Antisemitic Lampoon’

Tunisian Philosopher Mezri Haddad: Islamists ‘Have Reduced the Koran to a Nauseating Antisemitic Lampoon’

In a blog entry, Tunisian philosopher Mezri Haddad attacked the Muslim world’s tolerant attitude toward the antisemitism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; stated that there was no such thing as a moderate Islamist; and suggested that Muslims reinterpret potentially anti-Jewish Koranic passages, as the Vatican had done with similar passages in the New Testament.

The following are excerpts from Haddad’s blog entry: [1]

“Arab Public Opinion… Has Found, in Antisemitism, the Perfect Catalyst For All Its Narcissistic Wounds and Social, Economic, and Political Frustrations”

“The young Iranian president’s deliberately outrageous, mortifying, and extremist [statements] aiming at Holocaust denial have provoked stupor and indignation everywhere in the world, with the quite symptomatic exception of the Islamic countries… This deafening silence cannot be explained solely by the fear of suffering from terrorist attacks, as in the heyday of Khomeinist obscurantism. It is also explained by the necessity of getting along with Arab public opinion, which, after years of galvanization by the most reactionary forms of nationalist casuistry and Islamist dogmatism, has found in antisemitism the perfect catalyst for all its narcissistic wounds and social, economic, and political frustrations.

“It must be admitted that some Koranic verses, intentionally isolated from their historical context, have contributed even more to the anchoring of antisemitic stereotypes in Arab-Muslim mentalities. Incidentally, one could say the same about the New Testament, certain passages of which served, in the distant past and the not-so-distant past, to give a theological patina to the most abominable of anti-Jewish persecutions. The Church had to carry out its own ‘aggiornamento‘… in order to deprive Christian extremists of any evangelical legitimacy.

“All this is to say that the petrifaction of Arab-Muslim mentalities is not at all irremediable – provided that Islamic thinkers show intellectual audacity. Since they cannot purge the Koran of its potentially antisemitic dross, they must closely examine this corpus with hermeneutical reasoning…

“If the West’s indignation [at Ahmadinejad's statements] is perfectly understandable and justified, their stupor shows, on the other hand, a certain credulity in their very conception of the Iranian regime. Those who were surprised by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s heinous stigmatizations are the very same people who – distinguishing between the regime and the people who comprise it, and swallowing the fable that there are ‘moderate’ Islamists and ‘extremist’ Islamists – have long believed in the normalization of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and in its ineluctable democratization. As Jesus said [John 20:29], ‘Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed’…

“It is true that this rehabilitation of the fundamentalist Iranian regime was possible only following the irruption, on September 11, 2001, of a new, mutant form of the most extreme kind of Islamism: Al-Qaeda and its macabre cortege of candidates for martyrdom… Bin Laden’s triumph, his true miracle, consists in not only having given a civilized appearance to hideous theocracies, but also in having given a human, or even humanist, face to neo-fascist movements who aspire to power: Hamas in Palestine… Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and their alter egos everywhere in the Arab world…

“Like amnesiacs, no one wanted anymore to remember on what ideological substratum this Shiite theocracy rested… What was forgotten was that Islamism – this theocratic, fundamentally totalitarian, and clearly antisemitic ideology -… is doctrinally inalterable. Following the most unexpected geopolitical paths, giving in to the demands of realpolitik, Islamism can demonstrate a great degree of pragmatism in its relations with Western powers. Nonetheless, it will not renounce its strategic objectives: in domestic policy, an obsolete shari’a on all of its subjects; and in foreign policy, hegemonic expansion, international proselytizing, and the eradication of ‘the Zionist tumor.’ Semantic changes within ideological continuity – that is the essence of Islamist Machiavellianism…”

“One Cannot Reform A Theocracy; One Must Throw It Back Into The Wastebasket Of History”

“It is because people for so long believed in the illusion of an Islamism one can live with… that they had recourse to every possible and imaginable ratiocination in order to make sense of the Iranian president’s fundamentally antisemitic diatribes. In this anatomy of anathema, every analytical tool was employed… [but] one has to go back to the original purity of the Khomeini’s doctrine in order to understand the congenital antisemitism of the current Iranian president…

“On August 30, 1979, Khomeini declared at Qom: ‘Those who demand democracy want to drag the country into corruption and ruin. They are worse than the Jews. They should be hanged. They are not men…’ In his pamphlet ‘Political, Philosophical, Social, and Religious Principles,’ he reproduced all of the stereotypes propounded by Islamist rhetoric…: ‘The Jews, may God lay them low, have manipulated the editions of the Koran… These Jews and their supporters have a project to destroy Islam and to establish a Jewish world government.’ Whence this categorical imperative: ‘Israel, this cancerous tumor, must disappear, and the Jews must be damned and fought until the end of time.’

“But in the meantime, Ayatollah Khomeini could beg Israel for arms and military assistance in order to resist the Iraqi invasion. We can thus easily guess from whom Rafsanjani, Khatami, and the other emblematic figures of ‘enlightened Islamism’ derived their cynical pragmatism!

“Therefore one should stop viewing the Iranian regime with naive eyes, as some people perpetuate the myth of an opposition between ‘reformists’ and ‘conservatives,’ which, while it expresses a real – but utilitarian -political nuance, does not, however, imply a doctrinal antagonism. One cannot reform a theocracy; one must throw it back into the wastebasket of history, from which it never should have cropped up [in the first place].

“In Iran, and in general in the Muslim world, the line of demarcation does not pass between ‘moderate’ Islamists and ‘extremist’ Islamists, but rather between theocrats and democrats, between fundamentalists and secularists, between those who have reduced the Koran to a case of nauseating antisemitism and those who, having seized the spirit and put the letter in perspective, know that Jews, like Christians, are Muslims’ brothers in monotheism and in humanity, and that the Muslims’ God is much more tolerant than the Islamists’ divinity…”

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