The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism (Review)

August 18, 2011

Book cover for "The Jew is Not My Enemy" by Tarek Fatah.Title: The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism

Author: Tarek Fatah

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 272

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Review copy from the publisher

From the cover:

A liberal Muslim and critically acclaimed author explores the historical, political, and theological basis for centuries of Muslim animosity towards Jews, debunking long-held myths and tracing a history of hate and its impact today.

More than nine years after 9/11 and 60 years after the creation of the state of Israel, the world is no closer to solving, let alone understanding, the psychological and political divide between Jews and Muslims. While countless books have been written on the subject of terrorism, political Islam, and jihad, barely a handful address the theological and historical basis of the Jew — Muslim divide. Following the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, in which Pakistani jihadis sought out and murdered the members of a local Jewish centre, Tarek Fatah began an in-depth investigation of the historical basis for the crime.

In this provocative new book, Fatah uses extensive research to trace how literature from as early as the seventh century has fueled the hatred of Jews by Muslims. Fatah debunks the anti-Jewish writings of the Hadith literature, takes apart the Arab supremacist doctrines that lend fuel to the fire, and reinterprets supposed anti-Jewish passages in the Quran. In doing so he argues that hating Jews is against the essence of the Islamic spirit and suggests what needs to be done to eliminate the agonizing friction between the two communities.

I really loved the over-arching message in this book. Going against the widespread notion that Muslims should hate Jews is something that more people should be doing. I particularly enjoyed that Fatah used evidence from the Quran and the Hadith to back up his point is key, since lots of Muslims the world over (particularly the fundies) use these texts to justify their hatred.

As someone who was interested in learning about – and then later converting to – Islam in large part because of its egalitarian and anti-discriminatory stance. Unfortunately, that’s not the way that a lot of people practice Islam. In The Jew is Not My Enemy really debunks the myth that Islam is inherently an anti-Jewish faith, and goes into detail about what we can do about changing the attitudes of the Muslim community to be more in line with the ideals that we’re supposed to be following.

I will say that at times, it felt like Fatah was going a bit too far into apologetics, and I was left feeling a bit uncomfortable with the points that were made in these instances. As an overall book, though, I really learned a lot and felt like Fatah did a good job of explaining the way things are and how they can be improved.

The Jew is Not My Enemy is a good book to read for just what the title implies: learning to counter the myth that Muslims and Jews hate each other and could never get along. I think this is a great contribution to the non-fiction works currently available on this topic.

Rating:


This book is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month.

You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.

One Comment

  • Amy August 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Definitely an important message to share – as much for non-Muslims with incorrect views as for the Muslims themselves I think!

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