The Rabbis Who Saw Sanctity in Islam

In a daring passage in his code of Jewish law, Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) asserted that both Islam and Christianity are part of a divine plan to bring faith in the One God to the Gentile world. Despite his personal experience with Muslim persecution of Jews, Maimonides appreciated Islam especially for its “unblemished” commitment to monotheism. Yaakov Nagen examines these and other rabbinic observations on the close theological connection between the children of Jacob and the children of Ishmael:

[T]he Muslim story itself is built on the biblical story. The character who is mentioned most frequently in the Quran is Moses (more than 100 times, in contrast to Mohammad who is mentioned only four times), and the Jewish people are mentioned dozens of times. Islam, like Christianity, became a vessel for spreading the biblical story throughout the world.

In contrast to Christianity, our relationship with Islam also has an ethnic aspect, because Jews and Arabs see each other as descendants of Abraham. Indeed, our similarity, both theologically and ethnically, has led to Islam often being treated differently from other non-Jewish faiths in rabbinic sources.

Rabbi Jacob Emden (1698-1776) took another step. Following Maimonides, he saw the hand of God in the spread of Christianity and Islam: “The two families that God chose to subdue many nations, to bring them under the yoke of the beliefs and positions that are necessary for settling the world and improving the national collective.” . . . In his eyes, Islam, like Christianity, contains truth, and these religions are fitting for the nations of the world.

A more far-reaching approach is that of the sages who saw Islam—and particularly the Quran—not only as a product of divine providence but also of divine revelation.

Read more at Lehrhaus

More about: Islam, Moses Maimonides, Muslim-Jewish relations, Quran

Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus