Prominent American Islamic Scholar Calls ‘Horrific’ Antisemitism Rampant Among Muslims Antithetical to Their Religion
A prominent American Muslim scholar stated publicly last month that his community is rife with “horrific” antisemitism and racism against non-Muslims — something he said is antithetical to the teachings of Islam, the Canadian Jewish News reported.
Sheikh Hamza Yusuf — co-founder of the Islamic liberal arts school Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California — made this assertion while addressing the Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) conference in Toronto at the end of December. Yusuf bemoaned witnessing fellow Muslims expressing “some of the worst racism,” especially through “anti-Jewish rhetoric.”
Referring to his 20-year relationship with Arab Islamic scholar Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, Yusuf said he’s “never heard [Bin Bayyah] saying a bad word about Jewish people ever, and yet I’ve heard in our community so many blatant remarks [about Jews].”
According to CJN, Yusuf’s acknowledgement of antisemitism among North American Muslims went unchallenged, unlike other statements he made during his lecture — specifically when he spoke about “black-on-black” violence.
“…[T]here are twice as many whites had been shot by police, but nobody ever shows those videos. It’s the assumption is the police are racist and it’s not always the case, and I think it’s very dangerous again to just broad stroke any police now that shoots a black is immediately considered a racist…the police aren’t all racist, we cannot say that [sic].”
Muslim leaders — among them Abdullah Hakim Quick, a member of the Canadian Council of Imams — reportedly condemned Yusuf, accusing him of “cowardice.”
“Muslim leaders in the Americas who do not recognize the systematic subjugation and continued suppression of black people in the West and do not speak clearly against the organized racism that is raising its head today should step down and keep their mouths shut!!!” Quick wrote in a statement.
Yusuf later issued an apology for his comments, the report said, stating his intention was “never to offend or upset anybody.”
This is not the first time that Yusuf has spoken against antisemitism in the Muslim community. In 2006, for example, during an interview with NPR, he called on Muslims to banish Jew-hatred from their mosques and homes.
Listen to Yusuf’s remarks to the RIS conference below: