The genocidal aspect of today’s global Islamic jihad has received scant attention from the media or from human rights activists. Yet it is unmistakable. The jihadists aim to eradicate or subjugate all non-Muslim peoples, and to destroy and efface not only all non-Muslim governments, but all societies and cultures that are not Islamic.
The most prominent non-Muslim society in the jihadists’ sights is, of course, Israel. Islamic leaders have repeatedly reaffirmed their desire that the Jewish State cease to exist – an outcome that could only become reality in a genocidal context. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the President of Iran, has expressed this on many occasions, saying flatly that “the annihilation of the Zionist regime will come.” He has affirmed that “the Islamic umma (community) will not allow its historic enemy [Israel] to live in its heartland.” Israel’s end is near: “There is no doubt that the new wave [of attacks] in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot [Israel] from the face of the Islamic world.” America’s, too: “The accomplishment of a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible.”
Khalid Mashal, one of the principal leaders of Hamas, openly exults in what he sees as Israel’s inevitable destruction: “You [Jews] will be defeated with God’s help. Victory’s day is approaching with God’s help. Before Israel dies, it will not escape humiliation and surrender.” Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas Foreign Minister, has said: “I dream,” he has said, “of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it.”
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Shi’ite jihadist group Hizballah (party of Allah), has often made similar statements, saying: “The Jews are a cancer which is liable to spread again at any moment.” He has rejected all negotiated settlements: “There is no solution to the conflict except with the disappearance of Israel.” And his genocidal vision goes beyond Israel’s borders:
“If they all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” For its part, Hamas’s Charter says: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
Islamic sermons broadcast on Palestinian Authority have also been openly genocidal, while grounding their bloodlust in Islamic traditions. In July 28, 2000, a spokesman declared on Palestinian television declared: “We the Palestinian nation, our fate from Allah is to be the vanguard in the war against the Jews until the resurrection of the dead, as the prophet Mohammed said: ‘The resurrection of the dead will not arrive until you will fight the Jews and kill them...’ We the Palestinians are the vanguard in this undertaking and in this campaign, whether or not we want this...”
The speaker was referring to an Islamic tradition that Muslims generally consider authentic. In it, the Islamic prophet Muhammad says that the end times “will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
While Islamic law for non-Muslims is not strictly genocidal, this Islamic vision of the end times is. Thus the dreams of genocide harbored by some Muslims toward the Jews will not end until the genocidal goal of Islamic eschatology is challenged and rejected by peaceful Muslims. For it has severe consequences even now. Since Israel voluntarily left Gaza in 2005, uprooting 9,000 Israelis in a gesture of good will toward the Palestinians, the Palestinians of Gaza have fired over 3,600 rockets and mortar bombs into Israel, with no concern over whether or not they will hit civilians. Iran is training Hamas jihadists and supplying them with weapons and money, which are smuggled into Gaza from Egypt. Over 130 tons of explosives have passed through Gaza-Egypt tunnels since the Israelis withdrew from Gaza, and Hamas is now building a system of bunkers and rocket launchers along the Gaza border with Israel.
The Islamic tradition about killing Jews so as to usher in the end times, so beloved of Hamas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the rest, as well as another in which Jesus returns at the end of the world and kills or Islamizes the non-Muslim population -- must be forthrightly cast aside, or radically reinterpreted in a way that will blunt its force for incitement. The use that jihadists make of elements of the Qur’an and Muhammad’s teaching in general to justify violence against and even genocide of non-Muslims makes it incumbent upon peaceful Muslims to perform a searching reevaluation of how they understand those elements, so as to neutralize their capacity to set Muslims against non-Muslims.
And it is likewise incumbent upon responsible figures in the media to begin to challenge Muslim groups on this. These groups must condemn and repudiate not only this tradition and similar ones, but the Hamas Charter and statements by Hizballah, Ahmadinejad, and the rest – and meanwhile, affirming the right of all people to live in freedom and dignity; the freedom of the individual conscience: to change religions or have no religion at all; the equal dignity of women and men; and the right of all people to live free from violence, intimidation, and coercion.
As long as all this is not done, for all too many Muslims the goal toward which history is tending is the utter destruction of Jews and Christians. As long as they hold that view, Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims will continue to be victimized, long before the end of the age.