And traditionally, the place that Islamic theology, as well as those Muslim civilisations, accorded to Jews in this ecumenical outlook is that of a powerless, contemptible and weak people. Despite referring to Jews as the "People of the Book" in the Qur'an, Muslim scholars have, in their works, by and large emphasised Jews as an example of an inferior people. An examination of the ancient stories in the Qur'an that talk at length about God, Moses and the “transgressions” of the Children of Israel, provides a religious basis for this Muslim view. This is why, in traditional Islamic theology, as well as in history, Jews have by and large been accorded much tolerance by Muslims, but not necessarily respect.
And herein lies a very important point. This is yet another problem being faced by many Muslims, and especially Muslim opinion leaders (many of which ascribe to some sort of Islamism). When one hears about them pontificating on how Muslims should grant respect to others, there is, more often than not, a distinct difference in their usage of the word “respect”. It does not signify respect per se, as an Anglosphere resident would have it, but approximates only tolerance, almost always used in a sense of forced patience (e.g. see this previous post). In this manner, Muslim clerical views of non-Muslims, but especially where Jews and Christians are concerned, do not preclude Muslim feelings of superiority over them. This is how it has been in the centuries past, and unfortunately remains to this day. Many other religions have seen fit to dispense with, or at least significantly tone down, this believer/non-believer dichotomy; with some religions it did not constitute a bastion pillar of belief. Not so with Islam. Jews were by and large accorded tolerance in past Islamic civilisations, but the state only conferred upon them then what would now be considered as second class status. They were universally regarded as weak, cowardly and contemptible, and such stories emphasising such supposed attributes were commonly fed to the new generations of Muslims at the time.
There's lots more. I don't know if it's right, but it would explain why one Palestinian being killed in Israel prompts Muslim outrage, while hundreds of Muslims being killed in India is virtually ignored. posted by David Nieporent at 4/17/2002 02:54:00 AM |