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The educational component

The educational component
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We have already discussed how Islamism does not manifest itself only in violent acts. From its early days, the ideals of the movement included an important educational component. As part of their desire to return to a more authentic past, Islamist organizations put a major emphasis on spreading what they believe to be the true undiluted Islamic world view. This includes their selective interpretation of historical Muslim-Jewish relations and their belief in the global threat Jews and Judaism posed to Islam. As we will now see, this component of Islamism can be found in Europe today as well. Some think of Muslim identity as being in opposition to Jewish identity.
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So they think that the Jews and the Muslims are enemies and therefore they think they also have to dislike Jews. If it becomes part of the identity, though, it’s very difficult to get out of that part, especially if that’s not criticized by anybody. We have Muslim organizations and this is something that has also a long history - that radical Muslim organizations that are affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, that they run a lot of mosques in European countries. Some are not directly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood but to similar Islamist organizations.
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They do not call for violence but they have an Islamist ideology, and in this Islamist ideology, they want a world that is ruled by Sharia law, and in this Islamist ideology that you can see with the Muslim Brotherhood, antisemitism is part and parcel of this ideology. So these organizations, they influence a large number of mosques in Europe and they emphasize education. So they do their educational work with material that is often antisemitic. So you have that as well from young people who go to the mosque, who are maybe not really interested in this material, but they get it from there. They get stories. Not even sometimes in the mosque.
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It’s also important to see what happens outside, in front of the moque, when people talk about things related to Islamic history, and often what is prominent there is also hostility against Jews. And of course historically there was a conflict between Muslims - Mohammed and Jewish tribes. And so what the average person might just know is just some stories, hearing that there was a conflict between Jews and Muslims and often they internalize it. So they don’t contextualize it in history. It’s internalized and it feeds into this idea that the Jews and the Muslims are enemies.

Prof. Günther Jikeli

Islamism does not manifest itself only in violent acts. From its early days, the ideals of the movement included an important educational component.

How is education used today by Islamists as a means to spread their distorted interpretation of historical Muslim-Jewish relations as well as their antisemitic ideology?

References

  • Jikeli, Günther, “Anti-Semitism within the Extreme Right and Islamists’ Circles,” in Olaf Glöckner and Haim Fireberg, eds., Being Jewish in 21st-Century Germany (Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2015), pp. 188 – 207.

  • Jikeli, Günther, European Muslim Antisemitism: Why Young Urban Males Say They Don’t Like Jews (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015).

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Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

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