Anti-Islam Hate in City of Brotherly Love

Though the First Amendment protected the right of American Nazis to march through Jewish neighborhoods of Skokie, Illinois, in 1978, the provocation was universally condemned. Now, an Islamophobic group is posting Muslim-bashing ads on Philadelphia buses, notes Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

On April 1, an anti-Muslim advertisement started appearing on 84 municipal buses in the Philadelphia regional area. The ad space was purchased for a four-week period by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which paid $30,000 to run its message: a picture from the early 1940s of Adolf Hitler speaking to Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti (chief Muslim religious authority) of Jerusalem, with an accompanying text, “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran” and a call to “end all aid to Islamic countries.”

Philadelphia is just the latest city to experience this sort of offensive Islamophobia. Indeed, running Islamophobic attack ads on transit systems across the nation seems to be AFDI’s specialty.

The Islam-hating poster displayed on buses in Philadelphia. (Photo via Forward)

The Islam-hating poster displayed on buses in Philadelphia. (Photo via Forward)

The AFDI is part of an extremist organization called Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), which is led by the hyperactive Islamophobe and strident rightwing Zionist Pamela Geller. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has long tracked right-wing extremist organizations, has labeled the SOIA a “hate group.”

Philadelphia’s regional transit authority (SEPTA) tried to refuse the advertisement because it so blatantly did what it incorrectly alleged the Quran does – promote hatred. But the AFDI took SEPTA to court and won with a freedom of speech argument.

Analyzing the AFDI Advertisement

The ad now appearing in the Philadelphia area is actually a piece of propaganda. There is no accurate context given for the photo it displays, and the reference to the Quran lacks a citation. So let’s fill in what is missing with some analysis.

-The Photograph of the Grand Mufti Speaking to Hitler: Amin al-Husseini (1895-1974) was a member of a leading family in Jerusalem. Early in the British occupation of Palestine he was appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, making him one of the most influential Muslim leaders in the colony.

The British assumed they could control Husseini, who was only 26 years old at the time, and hoped that his appointment would placate Arab nationalist feelings. However, they had seriously underestimated him. Husseini’s goal was to achieve independence for Arab Palestine, and that made him a staunch opponent of the Zionist colonial project.

When a major anti-colonial Arab revolt broke out in 1936, the British mistakenly believed that Husseini was one of its major organizers and sought to arrest him. If they had managed to do so he probably would have been deported to one of Britain’s African colonies. To avoid this fate, Husseini fled to Iraq, which at this time was also a British colony in open revolt. When the British suppressed the Iraqi rebellion, Husseini fled to Fascist Italy from where he was eventually moved to Germany.

The advertisement that now appears on Philadelphia area buses shows Husseini speaking with Adolf Hitler. The implication, which is false, is that Palestine’s Muslim religious leader was himself a Nazi. If one does the research, one can find other pictures and documents that show Husseini recruiting Muslim soldiers in the Balkans to fight in the German army. He also did propaganda broadcasts in Arabic for the Germans urging resistance to British imperialism.

Thus, it cannot be denied that he collaborated with Nazi Germany during the war years. However, none of this activity was undertaken because he was a Nazi. It was done because he was opposed to British imperial rule in Palestine and other Arab territories. If the British had been at war with Sweden instead of Germany, Husseini would have sought refuge among the Swedes and broadcast propaganda for them.

The same can be said for Husseini’s attitude toward a Jewish Palestine. He was adamantly against it. When he proclaimed, as part of his pro-German propaganda, that he wished to see Jews driven from the Arab lands, the most logical interpretation of this statement is that it was Zionist Jews he sought expelled, for in other statements to German leaders of the time he said the best solution for Palestine was for the Jews to go back to their countries of origin.

Thus, Husseini’s statement seems to have no relevance for Palestine’s indigenous Sephardic Jews. There is no convincing evidence that he supported the Holocaust (though he was aware of it) despite an on-going Zionist effort to make it appear that he did.

Whatever one might think of the Mufti’s activities in wartime Germany, he was driven to them not by any belief in Nazi doctrines, but by the ongoing oppression of his native land by British policies in support of Zionist ambitions. Much like the British and American wartime alliance with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union or, for that matter, the U.S. alliance with Osama bin Laden and the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, Husseini’s alliance with Hitler’s Germany was a function of the enemy of my enemy is, at least for the moment, my friend.

– “Jew Hatred” and the Quran: The AFDI bus ad goes on to declare that “Jew Hatred” can be found in the Quran. It is hard to take such a charge seriously, because the Quran, like the Old and New Testaments, is a book of scripture in which one can find, and then misinterpret, almost anything one wants.

Thus, through selective and out-of-context quoting, or by simple innuendo, one can make outrageous accusations. Of course, the present bus ad forgoes quotation or citation and just makes an unsupported declaration.

One has to keep in mind that the Quran is approximately 1,500 years old, and so framing the attitude of all modern Muslims in terms of a few statements critical of early Seventh-Century Jews (while ignoring statements that are positive) is like saying that all educated English people dislike Jews because they revere the same Shakespeare who, in the late Sixteenth Century, wrote the Merchant of Venice.

Actually, if you compare the Quran and the Old Testament on the violent treatment of “the other,” the Old Testament is much worse. It is a very bloody affair (for instance, see book 1 of Samuel), featuring a wrathful deity who arranges cruel fates for any group that gets in the way of ancient Hebrews.

My personal opinion is that such a God deserves to be avoided rather than worshipped. On the other hand, the Quran’s portrayal of hell is pretty awful, but then its pains and tortures are attributed to that same wrathful deity found in the Old Testament.

Just to be even-handed on this topic, the New Testament’s Book of Revelation seems to inspire many Christian fundamentalists to earnestly yearn for global annihilation.

-Stop the Aid!: Finally, the ad calls for a halt to aid going to Islamic countries. Actually, this might not be a bad idea, considering that a lot of this aid is made up of loan guarantees to dictatorships for the purchase of U.S. weapons. If we could balance this out by halting the yearly $3 billion-plus in aid to Israel, we would have a win-win situation. However, on both counts the U.S. munitions manufactures would scream bloody murder (pun intended) because they are the ones profiting from such “aid.”

When a bigoted extremist like Pamela Geller places misleading and hate-promoting propaganda on buses, the Zionist establishment has nothing critical to say. They treat it as if it is all very proper and upheld by “free speech.”

However, when supporters of the Palestinian cause put up billboards picturing a series of maps that show the absorption of Arab Palestine by Zionist settlers between1948 and today, pious rabbis and Zionist lobbyists protest and call it “anti-Semitic.” Hypocrisy is the name of the game.

This is all about the ongoing battle to control the message: that is the history and reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the early 1970s, when I started supporting the Palestinian cause, the Zionists had a near monopoly on that message. There were almost no venues that would allow someone who was pro-Palestinian to speak or publish, and on the rare occasion that one found a platform, one was subjected to heckling and threats.

The situation has really changed. At least outside of the Washington Beltway, those who support Palestinian rights are on the offensive, and the Zionists on the defensive. However, the Zionists certainly have not given up, and the most egregious of them, such as those at the AFDI, still lash out with hate-filled messages. So, the fight goes on.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

15 comments for “Anti-Islam Hate in City of Brotherly Love

  1. art
    April 28, 2015 at 19:37

    So revolted to read this lies about anti-Islam hate. Read the statictics The Jews are most likely the victims of hate crimes in the US and perpetrators of these crimes are overwhelmingly Muslims (which almost always is concealed by mass media) both in the US and particularly Europe. When courageous Jews point to this undisputable fact in the absence of any arguments it is called Islam hate. Really rich.

  2. Peter
    April 19, 2015 at 05:12

    I think the article makes good points. When I read the headline – having read parts of the Quran – I realised that there are a number of verses that can be construed as anti-Jewish. But I immediately thought of books of the Old Testament like 1 Samuel. Yahweh helped the early Hebrews in a number of genocides at least as is recorded in those books of the Bible.

    There was of course the Jewish rabbi and (according to the Quran) prophet of Allah, Jesus of Nazareth. He famously said “Love your enemies.” He made it clear he meant it literally. But his own followers have been some of his worst adherents.

    Everyone should take the log out of their own eye before criticising the mote in the other’s eyes.

  3. seriously?
    April 18, 2015 at 20:30

    This is one of the very few poorly written article in consortium news. The analogy between Quran and Shakespeare shows how clueless the author is. Part of the definition of being a Muslim is to follow the teaching of Mohammad as laid out in the Quran while following Shakespeare is hardly part of being an Englishman. Worse, every sane Englishman knows that Shakespeare’s work is a fiction while every Muslim should by definition believe that quran is true. Sure, not every “Muslim” truly follows the teaching of Quran but most people know these people are nominal Muslim just like those nominal Christians who dont believe in ressurection. Next, he tried to engage in comparative religion while clearly having no expertise in the topic. Try to poll Muslim in those “moderate” Muslim countries like those in South East Asia and most have negative perspective on Jews because they are taught that way by their imams despite most of them probably cant differentiate Jews from Caucasian. I share most writers and readers of consortium belief that the main cause of terrorism is a blowback, but the influence of Islam cant be discounted.

    • Khalid Talaat
      April 19, 2015 at 08:30

      Who do you think you are talking to? A bunch of goyim.
      The Quran took twenty years to complete.
      Context is indispensable to understanding it.
      It is true that the Quran talks of the disobedience of the Jews to God’s commandments after He chose them over “both worlds.”
      God describes the treachery of the Jews, their hypocracy and arrogance. All of which is exhibited in full view lately by Israhell’s treatment of the Palestinians and their false flag ops king pin Netyahoo.
      The Quran warns the Jews who have caused corruption in the earth twice and have been exhiled from the holy land that if the Jews return to corruption that God will return to punishment.
      The establishment of the illigitimate government of Israhell is an unprecedented example of corruptiin in the earth man has ever seen.

      Who financed Hitler’s gas chamber? It was not the Mufti of Jerusalem it the was the head of the Khazari Mafia, the Rothchilds. Oh the terrible few, can’t you see, the world has had enough drinking the swill you call propoganda.

      Zionists you will never rule the world rom Jerusalem. And God will bring down your temple on your head before you can use your Samson option.

  4. Alec
    April 17, 2015 at 21:12

    “Anders Breivik, the rampant Islamophobe responsible for the Norway massacre, was a fan of Pamela Geller. He praised her blog, and referenced her writing in his manifesto. In return for his adoration, Geller defended Breivik’s actions by saying the youth camp Breivik targeted was an anti-Israel “indoctrination training center.”

  5. Jay
    April 17, 2015 at 16:49

    Theses ads have been on buses for years in NYC.

    Pam Geller is a massive xenophobe and a hypocrite, but this hate is allowed speech.

    • dahoit
      April 18, 2015 at 11:57

      Xenophobe?These posters are on US buses.Shes a foreign provocateur.(the 5 towns area on LI are Israeli occupied territory.)

  6. Abe
    April 17, 2015 at 02:13



  7. Abe
    April 17, 2015 at 02:06



  8. Randy
    April 16, 2015 at 21:47

    I often wonder where the hate for Hitler comes from… Reading his book has completely opened my eyes to the reality of the world. I mean the people who write for this site and come to this site obviously know the U.S. Government has been lying to the people for a very long time now, so why is it that you still believe what they say about big bad Hitler?

    • KarlVonMox
      April 16, 2015 at 23:51

      Who let the troll Randy in here?

      • dahoit
        April 18, 2015 at 11:54

        Never liked Nazis.Their militarism caused millions and millions of dead people.
        But, such as with the art criticism,that he was a terrible artist,and was actually a house painter,is totally belied by his long obscured pretty damn good artwork.All reviews in the West are by his victims.Like listening as gospel the tales of victims of crime being on the jury of the alleged perps.
        The guy was a vegetarian,animal loving being,and much liked and admired by his fellow travelers.Even the once king of England was a staunch supporter,until the war made him choose sides.
        And,of course,his claims of German victimization post ww1 were totally true,as Germany was truncated and many many Germans were ostracized in their new forced nation,so there was at least some reasons for his bellicosity.
        His wartime experiences,where he won a iron cross are belittled by pos that ran from every battle of their lives.
        Again,not my type of guy,but the propaganda about him is preposterous,and with the post ww2 actions of Nato(US) and Israel,their depredations are Rehab Adolf.How many dead innocent victims of our bombs and dictators are there,10 million?

  9. mark
    April 16, 2015 at 21:37

    Not too long ago the Southern Poverty Law Center successfully sued the man a the top of a skin head group who did not commit violence himself but incited others to violence against US citizens — and it would be good to see Pamela Geller get the same just reward. And because Zionists also collaborated with the Nazis to further the Zionist cause, that would make them equally as guilty as numerous other collaborators. The intentional misleading of an unsuspecting American public as stated in the article, is actually indicative of one aspect of Zionism’s historic philosophy and method for achieving “success” by propaganda to keep American support for Israel. So if we all hate Muslims then they deserve whatever injustices Israel hands out – or so Israel and Pamela Geller want us to believe.

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