Skip main navigation

“The Invention of Tradition”: an invented interpretation of Muslim-Jewish history

"The Invention of Tradition": an invented interpretation of Muslim-Jewish history

Prof. Bassam Tibi, Dr. Esther Webman

Under Islamism, a new interpretation of history arose, and resentment toward the Jews of the early Islamic period was translated into an emotional and intellectual hatred, which also combined modern antisemitic perceptions and rhetoric. This selective and distorted view of the past can clearly be seen in the writings of one of the leading figures of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the 1950s and 1960s, Sayyid Qutb.

What can the writings of Sayyid Qutb teach us about the way Islamists perceive Jews and Judaism?


  • Calvert, John, Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

  • Litvak, Meir and Esther Webman, “Israel and Antisemitism,” in Albert S. Lindemann and Richard S. Levy, eds., Antisemitism: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 237 – 249.

  • Tibi, Bassam, Islamism and Islam (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012).

  • Tibi, Bassam, “Religion, Prejudice and Annihilation: The Case of Traditional Islamic Judeophobia and Its Transformation into the Modern Islamist Antisemitism,” in Anthony McElligott and Jeffrey Herf, eds., Antisemitism Before and Since the Holocaust: Altered Contexts and Recent Perspectives (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 115 – 146.

  • Toth, James, Sayyid Qutb: The Life and Legacy of a Radical Islamic Intellectual (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

This article is from the free online

Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now