In the 20th century, antisemitism has signed its name to great disasters, one of the most horrible being the cruelty and murder inflicted by the Nazis on the Jews. Besides this, in many countries authoritarian regimes have targeted Jews and subjected them to cruel treatment. Fascist organizations have harassed Jews and arranged bloody attacks against them.
In our times antisemitism is still an ideology which threatens world peace and targets the well-being and security of innocent people.
So, how should a Muslim regard antisemitism?
The answer is obvious. Every Muslim must oppose antisemitism as he would oppose every other racist ideology; he must resist this ideology of hatred and defend the rights of Jews as he would defend the rights of all other people. Every Muslim must recognize and defend the rights of Jews whether in Israel or in the diaspora to live in peace, to worship, to protect their identity and to express themselves.
Today, Muslims justly condemn the cruel and aggressive policies of the State of Israel. But to condemn Israel and criticize its official Zionist ideology has nothing to do with antisemitism. The reason we object to Zionism is because that Zionism is also racism. For the same reason we reject antisemitism.
Antisemitism: The Product of Neo-Paganism
A basic fact that must be appreciated about antisemitism is that it is a pagan creed that no Muslim could ever espouse.
In order to make this clear, we must examine the roots of Antisemitism. This term is generally understood as meaning "anti Jewish," but its basic meaning is a "hatred of Semitic peoples". The Semitic peoples are basically made up of Arabs, Jews and a few other Middle Eastern ethnic groups. There is a great similarity between the languages and cultures of the Semites; for example, Arabic and Hebrew are much alike.
The second largest linguistic and racial group in the world is the Indo-European community of nations. Most of the countries of present day Europe have Indo-European roots.
All these various civilizations have had their prophets who proclaimed the existence and the unity of God and made His commands known. But when we examine recorded history, we see that Indo-European peoples from ancient times always believed in paganism. The Greek and Roman civilizations, the Teutons, Vikings and other Barbarian peoples living in southern Europe at that time were all polytheistic pagans. For this reason, these communities remained completely without moral guidance. Violence and savagery were regarded as praiseworthy; homosexuality and adultery were widely practiced. (The most important historical representative of Indo-European civilization was the Roman Empire, and we must not forget that it was a savage society that delighted in seeing people torn apart in the arenas.)
These peoples who ruled Europe encountered monotheism through Jesus Christ, a prophet sent to Semitic people. Sent as a prophet to the children of Israel, the teaching of Jesus spread throughout Europe in the course of time and all the formerly pagan peoples gradually accepted Christianity.
But in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the weakening of Christianity and the growth of ideologies and philosophies that promoted the rejection of religion, a strange current of thought circulated in Europe: Neo-Paganism. The leaders of this movement claimed that European societies must reject Christianity and return to ancient pagan beliefs. According to the adherents of Neo-Paganism, the way European societies understood morality in ancient pagan times (i.e., a warlike, pitiless, bloodthirsty, unbounded barbarous morality), was much superior to the morality they adopted when they accepted Christianity (i.e., a humble, compassionate, peace-loving and religious morality).
One of the most important representatives of this trend is also one of the greatest theorists of Fascism: Friedrich Nietzsche. He hated Christianity; he believed that it had destroyed the warlike spirit of the German people, that is, it’s very essence.
The adherents of Neo-Paganism were hostile to Christianity; at the same time, they adopted a great hatred for Judaism which they saw as the source of Christianity. Indeed, they saw Christianity as the disseminator of Jewish ideas throughout the world and regarded it as a kind of Jewish plot.
So, this Neo-Paganism, on the one hand incited hostility against religion and, on the other, gave birth to fascism and antisemitism. Especially when we look at the foundations of the Nazi ideology, we can see clearly that Hitler and his confreres were, in fact, pagans.
Nazism: 20th Century Paganism
One of the greatest roles in the development of the Nazi ideology was played by a thinker by the name of Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels. Lanz fervently believed in the ideas of Neo-Paganism. He was the first person to find in ancient sources the swastika which was later to become the symbol of the Nazi party. The Ordo Novi Templi (Order of the New Temple), an organization founded by Lanz, devoted itself totally to the rebirth of paganism. Lanz freely proclaimed that he worshiped Wotan, the imaginary "War God" of the ancient German people. He thought that the worship of Wotan was the true religion of the German people and that Germans could be saved only by returning to this religion.
Nazi ideology developed on the road prepared for it by Lanz and other devotees of Neo-Paganism. One of the most important Nazi ideologues, Alfred Rosenberg, thought that Christianity could not provide the spiritual energy needed by the new Germany being established by Hitler, and declared openly that the German people must return to their ancient pagan religion. According to Rosenberg, when the Nazis came to power, religious symbols in churches should be removed and replaced by swastikas, a copy of Hitler’s book "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle) and swords symbolizing German invincibility. Hitler adopted the views of Rosenberg, but, thinking it would cause too much of a reaction among the people, he did not put this new theory of German religion into effect. 
Nevertheless, during the Nazi regime, some important practices of Neo-Paganism were instituted. Shortly after Hitler came to power, the holy days and feasts of Christianity began to be suppressed and replaced by the holy days of pagan religions. At weddings, oaths were sworn to such imaginary gods as "Mother Earth" and "Father Sky". In 1935, students in schools were forbidden to say Christian prayers and later, lessons with any Christian content were completely discontinued.
Hitler once revealed his attitude toward Christianity when he bluntly stated that religion is an:
… organized lie [that] must be smashed. The State must remain the absolute master. When I was younger, I thought it was necessary to set about [destroying religion] … with dynamite. I’ve since realized there’s room for a little subtlety … The final state must be … in St. Peter’s Chair, a senile officiant; facing him a few sinister old women… The young and healthy are on our side … Our peoples had previously succeeded in living all right without this religion. I have six divisions of SS men absolutely indifferent in matters of religion. It doesn’t prevent them from going to their death with serenity in their souls. 
As we can see, Hitler saw only one idea as having importance in the spiritual realm: the idea that would lead people to "go to their death with serenity in their souls". He found it in abundance in such pagan concepts as "the German spirit" and "honor in battle". He saw monotheistic religions as beliefs that must be "destroyed with dynamite" but, for political reasons, he acted more moderately.
The Nazi hatred for Jews was a part of this anti-Theistic ideology. Nazis who hated Christianity saw it as a "Jewish plot." That Jesus Christ, a prophet of Israeli origin, should be loved and revered by Germans, who regarded themselves as the "master race", was for them unthinkable. For the Nazis, it was not a prophet of Israeli origin that would be a guide for Germans, but the barbarous and cruel warriors of pagan German culture.
So, this is the real truth about Nazism and antisemitism in general. Today, the leaders of antisemitism are various Neo-Nazi and Fascist groups. If we look at them, we see immediately that every one of them has an anti-religious ideology and what they say is based on pagan ideas.
Antisemitism and Every Kind of Racism is Contrary to Islam
From the facts that we have examined so far, the following is clear:
Antisemitism is an anti-religion ideology that has its roots in Neo-Paganism. Therefore, it is unthinkable that a Muslim would espouse antisemitism or feel sympathy for this ideology. Anti-Semites have no respect for Abraham, Moses or David who were blessed prophets chosen by God to be examples for humanity.
Antisemitism and other kinds of racism (eg. prejudice against Blacks) have no place in true religion; they are perversions arising from various ideologies and superstitions.
Furthermore, when we examine antisemitism and other forms of racism, we see clearly that they promote ideas and a model of society that is totally contrary to the moral teachings of the Qur’an. For example, at the root of antisemitism lie hatred, violence, and lack of compassion. An anti-Semite may be so cruel as to support the murder of Jewish people without distinguishing between women, children and the aged, and condone their being subjected to torture. However, the moral teaching of the Qur’an enjoins love, compassion and mercy for all people. It also commands Muslims to show justice and be forgiving even to their enemies.
On the other hand, anti-Semites and other kinds of racists balk against living together in peace with people of different race or creed. For example, German racists (Nazis) and Jewish racists (Zionists) were opposed to Germans and Jews living together; each side rejected this in the name of their respective race as a degeneration. However, in the Qur’an, there is not the slightest distinction between races; the Qur’an advises that people of different faiths live together in the same society in peace and happiness.
According to the Qur’an, Muslims, Jews and Christians Must Live in Friendship
Jews and Christians (called in the Qur’an the "people of the book") are much closer to Muslims than idolaters (pagans or the atheists). The people of the book, like Muslims, believe in one God and are subject to His commands.
The people of the book, while they rely basically on God’s revelation, have moral precepts and know what is lawful and what is not. For this reason, if one of the people of the book cooks some food, it is lawful for Muslims to eat it. In the same way, permission has been given to a Muslim man to marry a woman from among the people of the book. On this subject God commands:
Today all good things have been made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Book is also lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste women from among the believers and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you have given them their dowries in marriage, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. But as for anyone who disbelieve, his actions will come to nothing and in the hereafter he will be among the losers. (Surat al-Mai’da: 5)
These commands show that bonds of kinship may be established as a result of the marriage of a Muslim with a woman from the people of the book and that those on each side of the union can accept an invitation to a meal. These are the fundamentals that will ensure the establishment of equitable human relationships and a happy communal life. Since the Qur’an enjoins this equitable and tolerant attitude, it is unthinkable that a Muslim could take an opposing view.
Monasteries, Churches and Synagogues Must Be Respected
Another important fact we learn from the Qur’an is that Muslims must respect Jewish and Christian places of worship. In the Qur’an, the places of worship of the people of the book, ie. monasteries, churches and synagogues, are mentioned as places of worship protected by God.
"…if God had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where God’s name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed. God will certainly help those who help Him – God is All-Strong, Almighty." (Surat al-Hajj: 40 )
This verse shows to every Muslim the importance of respecting and protecting the holy places of the people of the book.
Indeed, in the Qur’an, God commands Muslims not to harbor any enmity toward any people. In many verses, friendship is recommended even with the idolaters. God even refers to the idolaters at war with Muslims like this: "If any of the idolaters ask you for protection, give them protection until they have heard the words of God. Then convey them to a place where they are safe." (Surat at-Tawba: 6)
Jews and Christians, however, are much closer to Muslims than idolaters. Each of these religions has its book, that is, they are subject to a book sent down by God. They know what is right and what is wrong, what is lawful and what is unlawful. They know they will give an account to God and they love and revere His prophets. This shows that Muslims and the people of the book can live easily together.
Islam And The People Of The Book
Islam is a religion of peace, love and tolerance. Today, however, some circles have been presenting a false image of Islam, as if there were conflict between Islam and the adherents of the two other monotheistic religions. Yet Islam’s view of Jews and Christians, who are named "the People of the Book" in the, is very friendly and tolerant.
This attitude towards the People of the Book developed during the years of the birth of Islam. At that time, Muslims were a minority, struggling to protect their faith and suffering oppression and torture from the pagans of the city of Mecca. Due to this persecution, some Muslims decided to flee Mecca and shelter in a safe country with a just ruler. The Prophet Muhammad told them to take refuge with King Negus, the Christian king of Ethiopia. The Muslims who followed this advice found a very fair administration that embraced them with love and respect when they went to Ethiopia. King Negus refused the demands of the pagan messengers who asked him to surrender the Muslims to them, and announced that Muslims could live freely in his country.
Such attitudes of Christian people that are based on the concepts of compassion, mercy, modesty and justice, constitute a fact that God has pointed out in the verse:
…You will find the people most affectionate to those who believe are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’ That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 82)
The Common Beliefs and Values of the People of the Book with Muslims
Christian and Muslim belief have many aspects in common. Judaism too shares many beliefs with Islam. All true adherents of these three great religions:
- believe that God has created the entire universe out of nothing and that He dominates all that exists with His omnipotence.
- believe that God has created man and living things in a miraculous way and that man possesses a soul granted him by God.
- believe that besides Jesus, Moses or Muhammad, God sent many prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Joseph throughout history, and they love all these prophets.
- believe in resurrection, Heaven and Hell and angels, and that God has created our lives with a certain destiny.
The beliefs of the People of the Book are in harmony with Muslims, not only in terms of faith-related issues, but also of moral values. Today, in a world where such immoralities as adultery, homosexuality, drug addiction and a model of egoism and self-seeking cruelty have grown widespread, the People of the Book and Muslims share the same virtues: Honor, chastity, humility, self-sacrifice, honesty, compassion, mercy and unconditional love…
The Common Enemies of the Faith
Another important fact that draws Christianity, Judaism and Islam together is the atheist philosophies that are so influential in our time.
Among the best-known and most harmful philosophies of our age can be cited materialism, communism, fascism, anarchism, racism and secular humanism. Many people who believed in the fake diagnoses, deceptive descriptions and explanations of these ideas on the universe, society and man, have lost their faith or doubted it. What is more, these ideologies have dragged people, societies and nations into great crises, conflicts and wars. Their share of the blame for the pain and troubles that humanity suffers today is immense.
While they deny God and creation, all the above-mentioned ideologies are based on a common framework, a so-called scientific basis; Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Darwinism constitutes the basis of atheist philosophies. This theory claims that living beings have evolved as a result of coincidences and by means of a struggle for life. Therefore, Darwinism sends this deceptive message to people:
"You are not responsible to anyone, you owe your life to coincidences, you need to struggle, and if necessary to oppress others to succeed. This world is one of conflict and self-interest".
This evil morality advises people to be egoistical, self-seeking, cruel and oppressive. It destroys such virtues as mercy, compassion, self-sacrifice and humility, the moral values of the three great monotheistic religions.
This being the case, it is necessary for the people of the Book and Muslims to cooperate, since they believe in God and accept the morality that He teaches. The followers of these three religions should expose to the world the fallacy of Darwinism, which has no scientific basis, but which is trying to be preserved for the sake of materialist philosophy. They should cooperatively carry out an intellectual struggle against all other deceptive ideas that serve atheism. Once this is realized, the world will, in a very short time, embrace peace, tranquility and justice.
Conclusion: "Let us Rally to a Common Formula"
In a Muslim’s outlook on the world, one of his basic criteria is justice. No matter whom he may oppose, he cannot depart from justice. He acts not according to his feelings, but with his reason and conscience. He removes himself from fanaticism and bigotry, and makes his decisions according to wisdom.
What God teaches us in the Qur’an about different peoples and creeds is clear:
- The morality of the Qur’an excludes every kind of racism.
- It is commanded in the Qur’an that, a tolerant and friendly attitude must be maintained toward other religions.
The crimes committed by Israel in the present day against humanity are painfully well known, but all this must not be taken by Muslims as a cause to feel hostility against Jews. The crimes committed by a group of Jews in allegiance to their Zionist ideology will never be blamed on Judaism or the Jewish people.
Our wish is that a world will be established in which people will be able to live together in peace no matter to what race or religion they belong, in which every racist perversion will be rejected, everyone’s rights will be regarded and everyone will be respected.
At a time when anti-religious, atheist and materialist ideologies surround the world, similarities among theistic religions should be emphasized, and cooperation should be established for common aims.
Concerning the People of the Book, God gives Muslims a command in the Qu’ran to rally to a common formula:
O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God. (Surat Al ‘Imran, 64)
This is indeed our call to Christians and Jews: As people who believe in God and follow His revelations, let us rally to a common formula – "faith". Let’s love God, Who is our Creator and Lord, and follow His commands. And let us pray God to lead us to an even straighter path.
When Muslims, Christians and Jews rally to a common formula this way;
When they understand that they are friends not enemies,
When they see that the real danger is atheism and paganism,
then the world will become a very different place.
The fighting that has raged for ages, enmities, fears -and terrorist attacks- will come to an end, and a new civilization based on love, respect and peace will be established upon this "common formula".
Notes:. Michael Howard, The Occult Conspiracy: The Secret History of Mystics, Templars, Masons and Occult Societies, 1.b., London: Rider, 1989, p. 130. . Hitler, A., Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1944, with an introductory essay on The Mind of Adolf Hitler by H.R. Trevor-Roper, Farrar, Straus and Young, New York, p. 117.