Amir Taheri has written a great deal of worthwhile material, but I can’t add his New York Post piece “No One Speaks For All Muslims” to the list. It’s a classic example of the dhimmitude that whitewashes any blot on the master’s record. To wit:
“. . . many commentators in the West, especially in the United States, have presented Mahathir as a spokesman for the Muslim world as a whole. Mahathir has no such position.”
OK, Amir, I’ll grant you that. But this is a straw man. What about the fact that millions of Muslims around the world agree with Mahathir?
“There is no mechanism through which any particular opinion could be presented as that of all, or even a substantial number, of Muslims. . . . No, Mahathir was not talking on behalf of Islam. He was talking as a political leader who happens to be a Muslim, in a country where non-Muslims account for nearly half the population. Some Muslims liked what he said, and some did not. But this could be true of a statement made by any politician anywhere in the world.”
This implies that all, or a substantial number, disagree with Mahathir. But there are some reasons to suspect that this is not the case. For one thing, Muslims are set against Jews in core texts of Islam, as witness this famous Hadith: “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him” (Sahih Muslim, book 41, no. 6985, and many other places). The Qur’an (Sura 5:59-60) says that the People of the Book were cursed by Allah, who turned them into apes and pigs. Muslims make this connection all the time, particularly for Jews, such that the “apes and pigs” epithet is quite commonly applied to Jews by Muslims worldwide. Even the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Sunni Islam’s most influential voice, has declared Jews “the enemies of Allah, descendants of pigs and apes.”
But from Taheri you get none of this. To him, Mahathir is just a lone politician shooting his mouth off. Is Taheri aware of the traditional bases for Islamic anti-Semitism? Or is he just hoping that we’re not?