According to John F. Burns in today’s New York Times, a group of Islamic schools and clubs in the UK are purveying not only vile anti-Semitic views, but recommending horrible punishments based on sharia law. This information came from a half-hour BBC video (see below).
A British network of more than 40 part-time Islamic schools and clubs with 5,000 students has been teaching from a Saudi Arabian government curriculum that contains anti-Semitic and homophobic views, including a textbook that asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, according to a BBC documentary broadcast on Monday.
The 30-minute “Panorama” program quoted the Saudi government-supplied textbook as saying that Jews “looked like monkeys and pigs,” and that Zionists set out to achieve “world domination.” The program quoted a separate part of the curriculum — for children as young as 6 — saying that someone who is not a believer in Islam at death would be condemned to “hellfire.” . . .
One of the textbooks, according to the BBC program, prescribed execution as the penalty for gay sex, and outlined differing viewpoints as to whether death should be by stoning, immolation by fire or throwing offenders off a cliff. Another set out the punishments prescribed by Shariah law for theft, including amputation of hands and feet. A BBC video accompanying an article on the program’s Web site showed a textbook illustration of a hand and a foot marked to show where amputations should be made.
Note that these schools and clubs are under the direction of the cultural ministry of the Saudi embassy in the UK, and so are the responsibility of the Saudi government. The anti-Semitic characterization of Jews as swine and apes comes, of course, straight from the Qur’an, while the homophobia and punishments come from both the Qur’an and the hadith.
Remember, this is not the Middle East, but the United Kingdom. Those who so fervently assert that Islam is a “religion of peace,” and who claim that such vile hatred is not part of “mainstream Islam,” might pay some attention. Before asserting that these views are purely extremist and not “normal” Islamic belief, let’s have some data, not just assertions based on wishful thinking. How many Islamic anti-Semites and homophobes will it take before we retract the ridiculous characterization of Islam as a “religion of peace”? 10%? 30%?
I’d be delighted if the Muslim community of Britain, and all of its imams, would immediately denounce this practice. I’m not holding my breath; judicious silence is what you see in these situations.
Isn’t it ironic that the religious commentators on yesterday’s Guardian/Observer discussion so quickly denounced Richard Dawkins as “militant” for simply expressing his atheism, while not mentioning the many Muslims who want Jews and gays tortured and killed? Do these people know what “militant” means?
Here is the entire BBC program from YouTube.
h/t: John Brockman