Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Toronto Star Whitewashes Islamic Scripture--and an Imam Who Quoted From It--So That It Can Slam/Slander Israel

You have to read this Toronto Star piece in its entirety in order to believe it--and even then you may find it utterly gobsmacking. (I know I did.) In a nutshell, it's about a Toronto imam who got into hot water when he recited a hateful passage of Islamic scripture, and about how he reached out to some local Jews for absolution. The Star reporter underscores that the whole thing was a big mix-up, since Islamic scripture doesn't really say mean things about Jews, and, besides, Israel/Zionism/"the Occupation" and its mean-spirited "far right" supporters are the real problem. (The Star hired a bunch of experts in Arabic to say so.) Here's but a taste of the chicanery:
[Imam] Elkasrawy also was not referring to Jewish people when he said “slay them one by one,” a line from the Hadith that is often invoked as a cry for divine justice. This line was misunderstood as being part of his prayer about Al-Aqsa mosque; in fact, it was the closing line in a previous supplication that he made on behalf of suffering Muslims around the world, Hachimi said.  
As for “Purify the Al-Aqsa mosque from the filth of the Jews,” a more accurate translation is “Cleanse Al-Aqsa mosque from the Jews’ desecration of it,” according to Nazir Harb Michel, an Arabic sociolinguist and Islamophobia researcher at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.   
The crucial word here is danas. Arabic-English dictionaries list several possible definitions — among them “besmirch,” “defile,” and spiritual “impurity” or “filth” — so context is key in determining the appropriate translation. Harb Michel said “no translator worth two cents” would choose the “filth” definition in the context of Elkasrawy’s prayer.   
When danas is used in reference to a holy place — like Al-Aqsa — the common definition is “desecration,” the experts agreed. “He does not say ‘the filth of the Jews,’” said Jonathan Featherstone, a senior teaching fellow at the University of Edinburgh and former Arabic lecturer with the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  
But what did Elkasrawy mean by “desecration”? Again, context is instructive. Days before his prayers, he and his congregants were reading reports of Israeli police deploying tear gas and rubber-tipped bullets inside Al-Aqsa mosque — actions many Muslims would consider to be a desecration of the site, especially during the 10 holiest days of Ramadan.  
Elkasrawy now realizes how wrong it was to mention “the Jews,” especially since his intention was to pray for the mosque, not against people.   
“If I could say it in a more clear way,” he says, “it would be ‘O Allah, protect the Al-Aqsa mosque from occupation. Or preserve the sacredness of the Al-Aqsa mosque from violation.’”   
He said “Jews” is widely used in the Arabic-speaking world to mean “Israeli forces” or “Israeli occupiers,” not as a sweeping reference to all ethnic and religious Jews. But he acknowledges this common usage is problematic. And, he asks, “How is it perceived in my (current) community? It’s something I didn’t take into account.”   
“I have never thought of anything against people of Jewish faith,” he says. “In Islam, we believe that no one should be forced into any religion. We cannot hate any people, any group, because of their ethnicity or their religion.”
Really? So why did Islam's founder order heads to roll--literally?

One would have to be a complete ignoramus--or an interfaith-minded leftist with squish for brains--to swallow such bollocks, or to think that it's "good for the Jews" to abet and abide Zion-hate, the Jew-hate of our time.

Just sayin'.

Update: One of the five "experts" in Arabic the Star consulted was Nazir Harb Michel, of Georgetown University. And, quell shockeroo, Michel seems to be an old hand at misrepresenting the words of Islamic clerics. He did so, for example, when an imam in California called for Muslims to "annihilate" Jews, and, a la the Toronto Star, the Washington Post wanted to pretend that it was a case of mistranslation, not bald, unadulterated hatred (my bolds):
Post reporter Michelle Boorstein noted that [Imam] Shahin's "widely distributed sermon about Jews in Jerusalem set off controversy and fear of violence." Boorstein minimized Shahin's call for anti-Jewish violence, claiming that the sermon merely "called [for] Muslims to come together to protest the closure" at the al-Aqsa mosque" and "prayer for God to destroy Muslims' opponents at the site." 
Boorstein failed to report an earlier July 14, 2017 sermon in which Shahin called to turn "Jerusalem and Palestine into a graveyard for the Jews." 
Making matters worse, the reporter also sought to impugn MEMRI, implicitly questioning its translation and its motivations. Boorstein claimed that MEMRI monitors media coverage, "particularly about Israel," which, as noted above, is false. The Post correspondent also uncritically quoted the mosque's statement, which falsely claimed that MEMRI had "cut and past" the imam's remarks. 
Boorstein even quoted Nazir Harb Michel, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, who provided a whitewashed translation of Shahin's sermon. Michel, without evidence, "expressed concern that MEMRI was hoping to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment..." 
In fact, Shahin was advancing, not just anti-Jewish sentiment, but condoning and encouraging anti-Jewish violence. As CAMERA pointed out to in correspondence to the Post reporter, the cleric was making use of the "al-Aqsa libel"; the false claim that Jews are seeking to destroy or defile the al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinian Arab leaders have often employed this lie to provoke anti-Jewish violence (see, for example "The Battle over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount," CAMERA, July 24, 2017).
 Anyone believe that the Toronto imam wasn't making use of the same "al-Aqsa libel"?

Update: My letter to the editor:
It's so heartening to know that a prayer in Arabic describing Jews as "filth" and calling for them to be slaughtered is actually nothing more than a withering criticism of Israel's "colonialism" and the ongoing "Occupation."

I plan to file that information in the same place where I store other such, um, "clarifications," including the insight that Islam is always and only a religion of peace, and the insistence that "true" jihad is not a holy war but consists of an individual's non-violent "struggle" to hew to Islam's religious strictures.

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