[Medina] September 622 he left Mecca for Medina, where he took up residence. Here he encountered the Jewish problem for the first time. He believed in the victorious power of good in the world, he was firmly convinced that the religion of the one and only God, with its easy, practical, reasonable, basic laws for human life was nothing other than the original religion. He wanted to take mankind out of the current turmoil and lead it toward the original, clear vision of God. But since he had to deal with people who had been influenced by both Christianity and Judaism, he said that it was the religion in which Abraham (Ibrahim) had already believed, andwhich Christ and Moses had proclaimed, only each time it had been distorted by human beings. He said that this had been revealed anew to him by God. He wanted to make the path easy to follow for both Christians and Jews; thus at first he allowed his followers to pray facing toward Jerusalem. He repeatedly emphasized that he only wanted to purify the existing religions, to establish the restored, newly revealed faith. At the same time he was a skilled statesman. When the Arab tribes were unified, theJews became a minority in Medina. Muhammad provided them with a kind of protectorate agreement: they were to retain their administration and their forms of worship, help the faithful defend the city, not ally themselves with Muhammad’s opponents, and contribute to the faithful’s wars. The Jews could have been satisfied with this. But they began a general hate campaign against Islam, which proclaimed a pure conception of God.
Citing (or referring to) the relevant foundational text sources (i.e., Qur’an 13:36; 8:55–58; 59:1-15; the sira and canonical hadith descriptions of the fate of individual Jews such as Abu Afak and Ka’b ibn Ashraf and the Jewish tribes Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayzah, as well as the Jews of the Khaybar oasis), von Leers chronicles Muhammad’s successful campaigns that vanquished these Jews, killing and dispersing them, “or at most allow[ing] them to remain in certain places if they paid a poll tax.” Von Leers further describes the accounts (from the hadith, and, more elaborately, the sira) of Muhammad’s poisoning by a Khaybar Jewess, and also notes the canonical hadith that records Caliph Umar’s rationale for his putative expulsion from northern Arabia of those remaining Jews who survived Muhammad’s earlier campaigns:
On his deathbed Mohammed is supposed to have said: “There must not be two religions in Arabia.” One of his successors, the caliph Omar, resolutely drove the Jews out of Arabia.
And von Leers even invokes the apocalyptic canonical hadith that forty-six years later became the keystone of Hamas’s 1988 charter sanctioning a jihad genocide against the Jewish State of Israel:
Ibn Huraira even communicates to us the following assertion of the great man of God: “Judgment Day will come only when the Moslems have inflicted an annihilating defeat on the Jews, when every stone and every tree behind which a Jew has hidden says to believers: “Behind me stands a Jew, smite him.”
Von Leers’s 1942 essay concludes by simultaneously extolling the “model” of oppression the Jews experienced under Islamic suzerainty and the nobility of Muhammad, Islam, and the contemporary Muslims of the World War II era, foreshadowing his own conversion to Islam just over a decade later:
They [the Jews] were subjected to a very restrictive and oppressive special regulation that completely crippled Jewish activities. All reporters of the time when the Islamic lands still completely obeyed their own laws agree that the Jews were particularly despised. . . .Mohammed’s opposition to the Jews undoubtedly had an effect—oriental Jewry was completely paralyzed by Islam. Its back was broken. Oriental Jewry has played almost no role in Judaism’s massive rise to power over the last two centuries. Scorned, the Jews vegetated in the dirty alleys of the mellah, and were subject to a special regulation that did not allow them to profiteer, as they did in Europe, or even to receive stolen goods, but instead kept them fearful and under pressure. Had the rest of the world adopted a similar method, today we would have no Jewish question—and here we must absolutely note that there were also Islamic rulers, among them especially the Spanish caliphs of the House of Muawiyah, who did not adhere to Islam’s traditional hostility to Jews—to their own disadvantage. However, as a religion Islam has performed the immortal service of preventing the Jews from carrying out their threatened conquest of Arabia and of defeating the dreadful doctrine of Jehovah through a pure faith that opened the way to higher culture for many peoples and gave them an education and humane training, so that still today a Moslem who takes his religion seriously is one of the most worthy phenomena in this world in turmoil.
Seven decades ago, University of Notre Dame historian Waldemar Gurian, and Protestant theologian Karl Barth, each elucidated the profound attraction of Islam for a hardcore Nazi ideologue such as von Leers—which also underpins the subsequent Islamic-Nazi symbiosis so evident in post World War II Egypt.
Gurian, a refugee, who witnessed first hand the Communist and Fascist totalitarian movements in Europe, concluded (in 1945) that Hitler, in a manner analogous to the 7th century precedent of Muhammad, had been the simplifier of German nationalism.
A fanatical simplifier who appeared as the unifier of various German traditions in the service of simple national aims and who was seen by many differing German groups — even by some people outside Germany — as the fulfiller of their wishes and sharer of their beliefs, with some distortions and exaggerations — such, as long as he had success, was Adolf Hitler.
Based upon the same clear understandings, and devoid of our era’s dulling, politically correct constraints, Karl Barth [from, The Church and the Political Problem of Our Day] had offered this warning, published in 1939:
Participation in this life, according to it the only worthy and blessed life, is what National Socialism, as a political experiment, promises to those who will of their own accord share in this experiment. And now it becomes understandable why, at the point where it meets with resistance, it can only crush and kill — with the might and right which belongs to Divinity! Islam of old as we know proceeded in this way. It is impossible to understand National Socialism unless we see it in fact as a new Islam [emphasis in original], its myth as a new Allah, and Hitler as this new Allah’s Prophet
Investigative journalist John Roy Carlson’s 1948-1950 interviews of Arab Muslim religious and political leaders provide consummate independent validation of these Western assessments. 32 Perhaps most revealing were the candid observations of Aboul Saud, whom Carlson described as a “pleasant English-speaking member of the Arab League Office.” 33 Aboul Saud explained to Carlson that Islam was an authoritarian religio-political creed which encompassed all of a Muslim’s spiritual and temporal existence. He stated plainly,
You might describe Mohammedanism as a religious form of State Socialism…The Koran gives the State the right to nationalize industry, distribute land, or expropriate the right to nationalize industry, distribute land, or expropriate property. It grants the ruler of the State unlimited powers, so long as he does not go against the Koran. The Koran is our personal as well as our political constitution.
And after interviewing Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna himself, who “preached the doctrine of the Koran in one hand and the sword in the other,” Carlson observed:
It became clear to me why the average Egyptian worshipped the use of force. Terror was synonymous with power! This was one reason why most Egyptians, regardless of class or calling had admired Nazi Germany. It helped explain the sensational growth of the Ikhwan el Muslimin [Muslim Brotherhood]
However, as Brynjar Lia’s 1998 analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s formative years (1928-1942) points out,
…al-Banna was anxious to distance himself from the aggressive chauvinism and racism that flourished in several countries in the 1930s, and rejected racial theories as utterly incompatible with Islam. In fact, the Muslim Brothers used to make fun of the Young Egypt Party (Misr al-Fatah) which they saw as trying to imitate the German Nazis.
Lia acknowledges how Al-Banna’s and the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision remained steadfastly Islamic—hence its deep resonance with the timeless aspiration of the Muslim masses to establish a transnational Muslim Caliphate via jihad.
Quoting the Qur’anic verse [2:193] “And fight them till sedition is no more, and the faith is God’s,” the Muslim Brothers urged their fellow Muslims to restore the bygone greatness of Islam, and to re-establish the Islamic empire…[T]het even called for the restoration of “former Islamic colonies” in Andalus (Spain), southern Italy, Sicily, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean islands…When they did express admiration of certain aspects of Nazism or Fascism, it was usually in the context of demonstrating that the Europeans had implemented some of “the principles of Islam,” such as modest dress code, encouragement of early marriage, a strong patriotism, and a military jihad spirit.
Remarkably concordant views on jihad were expressed by von Leers during the same era, prior to his formal conversion to Islam. I was able to obtain (from the Russian State Military Archive of captured Nazi documents), and have translated from the original German, an unpublished ~ 6000 word essay Leers’ wrote during World War II (apparently in 1942-1943), entitled, “Philosophies of Peace and War in Islam.”
Disingenuously ignoring the explicit imperial designs of jihad—to subjugate all of mankind under Islamic Law, as detailed with lucidity in the Koran, sunna, and a millennial continuum of Muslim jurisprudence—von Leers provides this hagiographic overview of Islam’s bellicose institution for global conquest, linked to his condemnation of Western European Christendom:
For quite a long time, however, the great colonial powers have been using treaties between themselves and smaller nations merely as a mutual means of help, that is, until one nation has become stronger than the other in its leadership and its means of war. The Qur’an intends and demands that treaties be established upon the bases of justice and equal rights of access, without ulterior motives or underhanded intentions – otherwise, there will never be peace upon the earth.
Leers amplifies this traditional Muslim apologetic in his assessment of the Koranic injunction—verse 9:29—for timeless jihad against Judeo-Christian societies.
“Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled” (9:29, Arberry translation). One must therefore fight against those who possess the Book and who threaten the land and life of the Muslims, who oppress the people or want to convert the Muslims to their faith. This enemy, when defeated, must pay tribute….This payment, therefore, is not a “payment of reparations” in the European sense, by which the enemy is completely ruined.
Predictably, Leers also highlights this traditional Koranic statement of Jewish perfidy in relation to wartime treaties. But again, Leers “exegesis” on Koran 8:55 is entirely consistent with the gloss on this verse in the seminal, mainstream Koranic commentary Tafsir al-Jalalayn which maintains that 8:55 refers specifically to the Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza.
The Qur’an considered the Jews, who never remained true to the treaties they made with the Prophet, to be lower than cattle. It says concerning them, “ Surely the worst of beasts in God’s sight are the unbelievers, who will not believe, those of them with whom thou hast made compact, then they break their compact every time, not being godfearing” (8:55-56, Arberry translation)
Until his death in 1965, von Leers remained unrepentant about the annihilationist policies towards the Jews he helped advance serving Hitler’s Reich. Indeed he was convinced of the righteousness of the Nazi war against the Jews, and as a pious Muslim convert, von Leers viewed the Middle East as the succeeding battleground to seal the fate of world Jewry. His public evolution over the course of three decades illustrates starkly the shared centrality to these totalitarianisms — both modern and ancient — of the Jews as “first and last enemy” motif. 47
Over fifty years later ignorance, denial, and delusion have engendered the sorry state of public understanding of this most ominous conversion of hatreds, by all its potential non-Muslim victims, not only Jews. This lack of understanding is little advanced by the spate of contemporary analyses which seek “Nazi roots” of the cataclysmic September 11, 2001 acts of jihad terrorism, and see Nazism as having “introduced” antisemitism to an otherwise “tolerant”, even philosemitic Islamic world beginning in the 1930s. Awkwardly forced, and ahistorical, these analyses realign the Nazi cart in front of the Islamic steed which has driven both global jihadism and Islamic antisemitism, since the 7th century advent of the Muslim creed, particularly during the last decade of Muhammad’s life.
Finally, an October 1957 US intelligence report on von Leers’ writing and activities for Egypt and the Arab League confirmed his complete adoption of the triumphal Muslim worldview, desirous of nothing less than the destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization by jihad:
He [Dr. Omar Amin von Leers] is becoming more and more a religious zealot, even to the extent of advocating an expansion of Islam in Europe in order to bring about stronger unity through a common religion. This expansion he believes can come not only from contact with the Arabs in the Near East and Africa but with Islamic elements in the USSR. The results he envisions as the formation of a political bloc against which neither East nor West could prevail.
MT: Tell us about your forthcoming book, Sharia versus Freedom – The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism.
AB: Robert Conquest, the pre-eminent historian of Soviet Communist totalitarianism, harshly criticized those numerous Western academics and writers of the 1930s through the 1950s who were willfully delusive about the Soviet Union. Conquest appositely characterized as “mindslaughter” this genre of Western apologetics regarding the ideology of Communism, and the tangible horrors its Communist votaries inflicted. Sadly, his critique of the Western intelligentsia highlights a cultural self-loathing tendency which has persisted and intensified over the intervening decades, through the present. Sharia Versus Freedom—The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism provides copious documentation of our era’s comparable Western intellectual “mindslaughter” regarding the existential threat posed by Islam’s living, self-professed mission — to impose Sharia, its totalitarian, religio-political “law,” globally.
Sharia Versus Freedom is a collection of my own recent essays on the Sharia, introduced by Andrew C. McCarthy’s foreword. Divided into four thematic sections, the book elucidates, unapologetically, the Sharia’s defining Islamic religious principles, and resultant consequences of its application across space and time, focusing upon contemporary illustrations. A wealth of unambiguous evidence is marshaled, distilled, and analyzed, including: objective, erudite studies of the Sharia by leading scholars of Islam; the acknowledgment of Sharia’s global “resurgence,” even by post-modern, “anti-colonial” (i.e., against Western colonialism, albeit not Islamic jihad colonialism) academic apologists for Islam, combined with an abundance of recent polling data from Muslim nations, and Muslim immigrant communities in the West confirming the ongoing, widespread adherence to the Sharia’s tenets; the plaintive warnings and admonitions of contemporary Muslim intellectuals—freethinkers and believers, alike—about the incompatibility of Sharia with modern, Western-derived conceptions of universal human rights; and the overt promulgation of traditional, Sharia-based Muslim legal systems as an integrated whole (i.e., extending well beyond mere “family law aspects” of the Sharia), by authoritative, mainstream international and North American Islamic religio-political organizations.
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