No Shortage of Conspiracy Theories Blaming Jews

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times

To the Editor:

There is no shortage of outrageous conspiracy theories about who is behind the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including from those who are using the rapid spread of violence by ISIS as a vehicle to vilify America and its allies (“For Many Iranians, the ‘Evidence’ Is Clear: ISIS Is an American Invention,” Sept. 11).

The Arab and Muslim world is also rife with accusations that Jews and Zionists (often a code word for Jews) founded or are funding ISIS.  These false rumors are promoted by government and religious officials. Senior Egyptian and Iranian officials and prominent Sunni and Shia religious leaders have publicly claimed that Jews and Zionists are secretly using ISIS as a vehicle to kill Muslims and destabilize the region.

Just this week, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, the premier religious center for the Sunni world, accused ISIS of being “a colonialist product working at the service of Zionism to achieve its plan to destroy the Arab region.” Similar accusations have been reported by various regional media outlets and are accepted as fact among many in the Middle East.

Leading political and religious authorities across the Muslim world should condemn ISIS, its ideology and actions. However, those efforts must not include rumor-mongering about false connections between ISIS and Jews, Zionists or the U.S.  Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders should publicly reject this rumor for the lie that it is.

The Anti-Defamation League