Yemen: “There is hardly a mosque sermon that’s free of bigotry. The government’s own political rhetoric marginalizes the Jews”
Islamic Tolerance Alert, and an update on this story. Not surprisingly, this article blames Israel for supposed acts of retribution perpetrated on Yemen’s Jews.
That’s odd. Don’t the apologists like to tell us it’s not Judaism that so many modern-day Muslims are against, but Zionism? (Note how politically quiet and acquiescent the Yemeni Jews are for fear of their safety, not unlike the Jews of Iran.) On the other hand, there was no State of Israel for Muhammad to blame for his persecution of Jews. Just the imperative to create an infidel-free Arabian peninsula by any means necessary (Sahih Bukhari 19.4366). “Yemen’s Jews uneasy as Muslim hostility grows,” by Hamza Hendawi for the Associated Press, April 26:
KHARIF, Yemen — In this village in northern Yemen, where a kosher butcher slaughters chickens and the school bus carries young boys in side curls along a dirt track to their Hebrew studies, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the Arab world is fighting for its survival.
Yemen’s Jews, here and elsewhere in the country, are thought to have roots dating back nearly 3,000 years to King Solomon. The community used to number 60,000 but shrank dramatically when most left for the newborn state of Israel.
Those remaining, variously estimated to number 250 to 400, are feeling new and sometimes violent pressure from Yemeni Muslims, lately inflamed by Israel’s fierce offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza that cost over 1,000 Palestinian lives.
They face a Yemeni government that is ambivalent — publicly supportive but also lax in keeping its promises — in an Arab world where Islamic extremism and hostility to minorities are generally on the rise.
“There is hardly a mosque sermon that’s free of bigotry. The government’s own political rhetoric marginalizes the Jews, and civil society is too weak to protect them,” says Mansour Hayel, a Muslim Yemeni and human rights activist who is an expert on Yemen’s Jewry.
“The government’s policies are to blame for the suffering of the Jews,” he says.
The pressures have long existed. But an Associated Press reporter who traveled recently to the rarely visited north and interviewed Jews, Muslim tribal sheiks, rights activists and lawyers in Yemen’s capital of San’a, heard complaints that the frequency of harassment — including a murder and the pelting of homes with rocks — has markedly increased.
The testimony was particularly striking because Jews in Arab lands often refrain from airing grievances, lest they antagonize the government and provoke Muslim militants.
Yemen’s government says it is trying to stop the harassment. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has proposed that the 45 Jewish families in the farming communities of Kharif and the nearby town of Raydah in Omran province be moved 50 miles southeast to San’a, where they can be better protected. He has offered them free plots of land to build homes.
Here comes a shocker. Read this sitting down:
But the government has taken no concrete steps since presidential aides first spoke of the offer late last year.
For 18 Jewish families who moved to San’a in 2007 from Saada, another northern province, things have not gone well. They fled fighting between troops and rebels, during which some Jewish homes were ransacked and ancient books destroyed. Now they live in cramped apartments under tight guard, entirely dependent on small government handouts. [...]
In Kharif, Yahya Yaish Al-Qedeimi has a long list of complaints about how he and his fellow Jews are treated: harassment in the market, stones thrown at the school bus, insults from villagers walking past his house.
When Saddam Hussein was executed, “they pelted our house with rocks,” he said. [...]
Read it all.