Op-Ed: Behind the Scenes: Muslim Anti-Semitism in Holland
Dr. Manfred GerstenfeldThe writer has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards...
“I have personally heard a number of imams in the Netherlands use verses from the Koran and other Islamic texts to preach hatred against Israel and the Jews. Thus theological propaganda has become political hate-mongering. The same hatred enters Dutch Muslim society via Arab television. One hears more of the same from family members, Muslim neighbors and classmates.”
Samar is a young woman who was born a Muslim to traditional Moroccan parents in the Netherlands. Over the years, she witnessed Jew-hatred in Muslim circles and began to monitor it. She can only tell her story using a fictitious name.
“During my years at university, I spoke with an estimated 150-200 Muslims. It struck me that almost all held the same opinions. It didn’t matter whether they were Moroccans, Turks, Kurds or Muslims from Suriname. In all those years, I only met two Muslims who did not hate Jews or Israel. One was an Ahmadiyya boy, the other an Allawite girl from Turkey. They belong to minority groups which are considered heretics by other Muslims.
“Muslims at university saw me as ‘one of theirs.’ However, I didn’t consider myself a Muslim anymore. In conversations, they were fully open with me, while I kept my opinions to myself. Almost all Muslim youngsters I met at university denied the Holocaust. They did not believe in the so-called ‘two state solution’ for Israelis and Palestinians. They wanted Israel wiped off the map. They believed Jews had to be driven out of Israel so that it could again become a Muslim state.
"There was no difference in opinion between boys and girls. In The Netherlands one often hears statements that female Muslims are more tolerant than men. That is certainly not true as far as hatred of Jews is concerned.
“These students also believe that Muslims are superior to other people. In particular, they look down on Jews in contempt. They believe Jews descend from apes and pigs. This is stressed in particular by those who know the Koran where this is written. It’s not that they think Jews change into monkeys during a full moon. Rather, they believe that Jews are not fully human. This message is also broadcast on Arab TV stations.
“Among those who do not express anti-Semitism in ordinary conversations, it is conveyed on special occasions. This can be when there is a collection for the Palestinians for instance, or after some have attended an anti-Israel demonstration, or at the festivities at the end of Ramadan. What is striking is that no anti-Semitic remarks are made in the presence of non-Muslims. For instance, when Dutch people attend an iftar meal, Moroccans, Turks and other Muslims I’ve met will speak very differently than when they are only amongst themselves. This is in particular true when they speak about Jews.
“Since in Amsterdam a university course for training imams has started, there are more Salafist students. For them, mosques play a large role. This fuels the Jew-hatred they received at home. Among those students, there are fanatic Islamists and extreme anti-Semites.
“For a short time I had a fellow student who was an Iraqi Jew. Tens of Muslim students called him an ‘occupier,’ ‘dirty Jew,’ and ‘Nazi.’ He never responded to them.
“For a study project, I visited a number of Muslim organizations of various backgrounds. I also talked to others who carried out similar projects among such groups. The only Muslim organization I ever met which was willing to collaborate with Jewish groups was the Ahmadiyya. As said, they are considered heretics by other Muslims. When one talks to official Muslim representatives, the conversation remains ‘politically correct.’ There one will not hear remarks about Holocaust denial, for instance.
“Due to my projects, I also came into contact with Dutch Jews, among whom several had functions in Jewish organizations. I was surprised by their reactions, which were the opposite of those from the Muslim groups. I found a great willingness to dialogue with Muslim organizations and collaborate with them to engender more mutual understanding.
“Many Dutch Jews didn’t want to hear the truth I was telling them. They preferred to fool themselves. The only ones who believed me were Orthodox Jews who wear kippot. Their children go to Jewish schools and also wear kippot. Whoever is recognizable as a Jew in the Netherlands suffers from anti-Semitic name-calling and sometimes violence.
“Official Muslim representatives and also a number of Jews tell the same story publicly. They claim that problems of anti-Semitism and verbal violence against Jews are caused by a small group of so-called ‘street Moroccans.’ My experience is that this is not the entire truth. I have never met a ‘street Moroccan.’
"My knowledge about the widespread Muslim anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel derives from my contacts with students at the university.”