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February 27, 2014 1

Major Arab Newspaper Publishes “Anti-Jewish Slogans Are Not Islamic”

The deci­sion to re-publish a cri­tique of anti-Semitism by Al Quds Al Arabi, the third largest cir­cu­lated off­shore pan-Arab news­pa­per accord­ing to the Carnegie Endow­ment for Inter­na­tional Peace, could sig­nal a move toward greater plu­ral­ism and diver­sity of views in the Arab press, which is often dom­i­nated by anti-Jewish and anti-Israel narratives.al-quds-al-arabi-sinem-tezyaparin-jew

Arab jour­nal­ism has been a major plat­form for impor­tant debate and dis­cus­sion about the ques­tion of reli­gious intol­er­ance in con­nec­tion with dis­crim­i­na­tion against Mus­lims and the defama­tion of Islam. So far, how­ever, it has been ret­i­cent to address the prob­lem of reli­gious intol­er­ance more broadly, includ­ing anti-Semitism.

The arti­cle, writ­ten by Turk­ish jour­nal­ist Sinem Tezya­par in Sep­tem­ber 2013 and titled “Anti-Jewish Slo­gans Are Not Islamic,” appeared on the London-based Arabic-language Al Quds Al Arabi web­site on Feb­ru­ary 24.

Al Quds Al Arabi, pre­vi­ously known for its hos­tile posi­tions toward Israel, report­edly changed its own­er­ship last year and replaced its edi­tor. These changes may explain the deci­sion to repub­lish the article.

In her arti­cle, Tezya­par argues that anti-Jewish nar­ra­tives con­tra­dict Qur’anic teach­ings and that Mus­lims are obliged to take a stronger posi­tion against anti-Jewish state­ments. “Jews are the descen­dants of Prophets like Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon (peace be upon them all),” she writes. “A Mus­lim can­not be silent in the face of those who try to anni­hi­late the descen­dants of Prophets.”

The arti­cle rejects attempts to mis­use some Qur’anic verses to pro­mote anti-Jewish nar­ra­tives and expresses clear sup­port for, “The Jew­ish right to live in the Holy Land,” indi­cat­ing that such a right “is granted in the Qur’an by God. God says; ‘And there­after We said to the Chil­dren of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land.’”

“It is against the right con­science, and more impor­tantly, it is against the Qur’an to tell Jews to go some­where else,” she writes. In verse after verse, Tezya­par pro­motes a pos­i­tive mes­sage to con­vey that “Mus­lims and Jews can live side by side in peace.”

Hope­fully the deci­sion by Al Quds Al Arabi to pub­lish Tezyapar’s arti­cle is a sign that Arab media will find more oppor­tu­ni­ties to fea­ture coura­geous and hon­est voices against all forms of reli­gious hatred, includ­ing anti-Semitism.

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