How Turning a Blind Eye to Anti-Semitism Paved the Way for the Colleyville Attack

Jan. 19 2022

Malik Faisal Akram, who held four Jews hostage at gunpoint in a Texas synagogue last Saturday, was a British Muslim who came to the United States apparently for the purpose of carrying out a terror attack. Since then, English police have taken two people into custody in connection with the case, and it seems that Akram should have raised red flags. Daniel Johnson writes:

Where did Akram acquire the beliefs that led him to commit such an act of terrorism? In Blackburn, where he lived, there is a large Muslim community; he is reported to be related to some of its most influential members. How is it that Akram’s hatred of Jews seemingly aroused no surprise or resistance in the community? Opinion polls have long suggested that Muslims are much more likely to hold anti-Semitic beliefs than the average Briton.

It is of course also true that Muslims are themselves subject to prejudice and attacks. This may explain but does not excuse the fact that reports on the BBC and other mainstream media made virtually no reference to Islamist anti-Semitism as a factor in Akram’s decision to target the Texas synagogue. Yet such lethal hatred is a daily reality for Jews on both sides of the Atlantic.

Turning a blind eye to “the oldest hatred” is not the action of a great nation and could never be condoned by decent Britons of all faiths and none. The transatlantic investigation of Akram’s crime must be rigorous and thorough. But the Muslim community, not only in Blackburn but elsewhere across Britain, should also take responsibility for the culture of casual anti-Semitism that allowed him first to drift into extremist territory, then to hatch his plot and carry it out, without anyone sounding the alarm. There have been too many Akrams before for him to be dismissed as just another “lone wolf.”

Read more at The Article

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, United Kingdom

When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount