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.
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.