Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, released the following statement:
“For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar (University) has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning,” declared then-U.S. President Barack Obama, during his much ballyhooed June, 2009 address in Cairo, Egypt. Obama further opined that “Islam—at places like Al-Azhar,“ maintains “a proud tradition of tolerance.”
Al-Azhar’s learned, authoritative Muslim theologians issued a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, October 19, 2023, pertaining to the ongoing conflict sparked by Hamas’ October 7, 2023 invasion of southern Israel. Notwithstanding Mr. Obama’s affirmation of Al-Azhar’s vaunted “learning and tolerance,” and absent any mention of Hamas’ jihad carnage—murdering, dismembering, torturing, raping, and burning some 1,200 largely non-combatant Israelis, including infants, children, women, and the elderly—the fatwa ruled that all of Israel’s citizens remained legitimate targets for such heinous jihad depredations. This Al-Azhar ruling was celebrated by Al-Qaeda, and came on the heels of an earlier official Al-Azhar statement celebrating the jihad depredations of Hamas as “the resistance efforts of the proud Palestinian people.”
This latest fatwa by Al-Azhar in fact reflects an “updated” 75-year continuum of similar edicts issued since 1947, sanctioning the jihad genocide of modern Israel’s Jews, namely: just after the announcement of the 1947 partition plan, upon Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence, and following the defeat of the Arab Muslim jihad war, at the close of 1948. These Al-Azhar edicts, were redolent with classical Islamic jihadism, and conspiratorial Islamic Jew-hatred.
Seven years after the 1949 armistice agreements, two complementary fatwas, one by then-grand mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Hasan Ma’moun, written January 5, 1956, and another January 9, 1956, signed by the leading members of the Fatwa Committee of Al-Azhar, and Al-Azhar’s major representatives of all four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence, re-stated and elaborated the rationale for the jihad against the Jews of Israel. Bearing in mind that Egypt then occupied Gaza, and Jordan occupied Judea/Samaria (the West Bank), nonetheless, these religious rulings maintained that all of historical Palestine—modern Jordan, Israel, and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza—having been conquered by jihad, was a permanent possession of the global Muslim umma (community), “fay territory”—booty or spoils—to be governed eternally by Islamic law.
Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have usurped the territory of Palestine and attacked its people and their property in any manner which allows the Jews to continue as a state in that sacred Muslim territory. [As] Jews have taken a part of Palestine and there established their non-Islamic government and have also evacuated from that part most of its Muslim inhabitants. . . . Jihad . . . to restore the country to its people . . . is the duty of all Muslims, not just those who can undertake it. And since all Islamic countries constitute the abode of every Muslim, the Jihad is imperative for both the Muslims inhabiting the territory attacked, and Muslims everywhere else because even though some sections have not been attacked directly, the attack nevertheless took place on a part of the Muslim territory which is a legitimate residence for any Muslim… Everyone knows that from the early days of Islam to the present day the Jews have been plotting against Islam and Muslims and the Islamic homeland. They do not propose to be content with the attack they made on Palestine and Al Aqsa Mosque, but they plan for the possession of all Islamic territories from the Nile to the Euphrates.
A year after Israel’s decisive victory during the 1967 war, Al-Azhar convened the 4th Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research in Cairo, which assembled prominent Muslim theologians not only from the Middle East, but Asia, Africa, and Europe. This seminal, if ugly Conference, marked the formal abandonment of pseudo-secular “Arab Nationalism” as a guiding ideological rationale for the simmering conflict with Israel. Published in English as a 935-page tome in 1970, the Conference Proceedings were the subject of late historian David Littman’s pioneering analysis, in 1971. Littman summarized the Conference’s six key “recurring themes,” as follows:
1) “Jews are frequently denoted as the ‘Enemies of Allah’”
2) “Jews manifest in themselves an historical continuity of evil qualities…as described in the Qur’an”
3) “The Jews do not constitute a true people or nation”
4) “The State of Israel is the culmination of the historical and cultural depravity of the Jews…It has to be destroyed by a Jihad”
5) “The superiority of Islam over all other religions is brandished as a guarantee that the Arabs will ultimately triumph”
6) “It is outrageous for the Jews, traditionally kept by Arab Islam in a humiliated, inferior status, and characterized as cowardly, to defeat the Arabs, have their own State, and cause the contraction of the ‘abode of Islam’”
Espousing the jihad annihilation of Israel and its Jewish population at Al-Azhar has continued unabated till now. Al-Azhar’s two most recent spiritual leaders, Grand Imam Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi (who held that position from 1996-2010), and his successor, current Grand Imam, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, have each reinforced this ignoble tradition of promoting jihadism and Islamic Jew-hatred directed at Israel, and Jews, generally. Both Tantawi and Tayyeb sanctioned homicide bombing of any Israeli Jews including non-combatant children and women. Grand Imam Tantawi, a leading modern Koranic commentator, has championed the most virulent Koranic themes of Jew-hatred in his authoritative interpretations, including Jews as “apes and pigs” (Koran 5:60) whose immutable perfidy merits eternal debasement (Koran 3:112), even exhorting Muslims to,
“…use force with them and treat them in the way you see as effective in ridding them of their evil. One may go so far as to ban their religion, their persons, their wealth, and their villages.”
Tayyeb, during 2013 and 2017 Egyptian national television interviews, rationalized permanent Muslim hatred of Jews by riveting on Koran 5:82, which epitomized an alleged 1,400 years of Muslim “suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference.”
The ZOA demands that Al-Azhar University revokes its October 19, 2023 “fatwa” declaring all Israelis legitimate targets of jihad terror, and apologizes for 75-years of similar edicts that have given Islamic “religious” sanction to the jihad annihilation of Israel’s Jews.