Several prominent public figures in parts of the Muslim World, including religious figures, elected officials and scholars, are promoting a conspiracy suggesting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)was created by the Jews and Zionists to tear Islam apart.
ISIS has engaged in a murderous terrorist campaign and has conquered significant territory stretching between Iraq and Syria over the past several months. In June it declared its advances to be the latest Caliphate and renamed itself the Islamic State.
The following are some examples that demonstrate the growing popularity of the absurd accusation that Jews and Israel are responsible for the creation and rise of ISIS.
- August 7: The World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates, an umbrella group based in Egypt for scholars connected to Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s top religious authority, published a statement on its website describing how ISIS and other extremist groups are “[a] Jewish product under various names that change every now and then.” The statement cites the head of the association’s chapter in Pakistan, Sheik Sahib Zadeh Aziz, as saying, “The terrorist organization ISIS is a Zionist plot which aims to murder Muslims, shed their blood, and rape [their] women and girls.”
- August 6: During an interview with Dijlah, an Iraqi-based satellite television station, popular scholar Ahmed al-Kubbaisi said, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi [ISIS leader]…..is no more than a Jewish agent... and even Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism is a hundred percent Jewish product.” He added, “I am responsible for this statement before the lord. [I swear] by God, this is an organized Jewish movement to tear apart the Ummah [Islamic Nation] and it did tear it apart.” In response to his attack on the founder of Wahhabism, the official version of Islam implemented in Saudi Arabia and a number of other Arab-Gulf states, the Mufti of Saudi Arabia and other prominent scholars in the region attacked al-Kubbaisi for affiliating ibn Abd al-Wahhab with the Jews - an ultimate insult in the Arab world. Consequently, a Saudi lawyer submitted charges to the Dubai police, which submitted the complaint to the attorney general in Dubai.
- August 4: Iran’s Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, Mohsen Rezae, said during a TV interview with the Tehran-based Alalam TV that the “Zionist Entity” is behind ISIS. He said that because there is a small number of “Zionists” worldwide, they usually try to get rid of others by making them fight each other. “There is information that al-Baghdadi himself [ISIS leader] received training and instructions at the Israeli Entity,” Rezae said.
- July 29: A prominent Shia’a cleric in Iraq, where ISIS has conquered significant territory over the past few months and killed many Shia’a Muslims, Ayatollah Sayed Mortada Al-Qazwini, reportedly described ISIS during an Eid sermon in Kerbala as “a Jewish Israeli organization, established to tear apart the land of Muslims.”
Several Arab newspapers and TV stations have also circulated a story claiming that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a Jewish Mossad agent by the name of Simon Elliot. This claim originally appeared in the anti-Semitic and conspiratorial American publication Veterans Today. In addition, an ad campaign against ISIS appearing on Afaq, an Iraqi satellite television station, showed a snake with the mark of ISIS coming out of the Jewish Star of David.
Even the notorious anti-Semitism of a group such as ISIS is not enough to prevent some in the Muslim world from claiming Jews are responsible for the ISIS reign of terror in Iraq and Syria.