A short course in propaganda (for Muslims), courtesy of Yasir Qadhi — Part 1
Three things are needed for propaganda: a critical mind to create it; an uncritical mind to accept it; and an intention to manipulate. All three are present in Yasir Qadhi's "Challenging the Zionist Narrative of Palestine: facts vs myths".
This five-lesson course on propaganda is based on Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi's "Five Questions" that render the State of Israel "illegitimate".
Yasir Qadhi is quite right: you don't have to be a Muslim to see the history of the Jews returning to Israel the way Qadhi sees it. The May 2021 Arab Muslim pogrom against Jews in Israel sprang from within Israel, within Gaza, and within Judea and Samaria, as well as from within the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and elsewhere, in fact, "wherever you find them," bolstered by the Muslims' useful idiots, illustrating the shocking extent to which "we are all Muslims now," has poisoned the minds of otherwise well-meaning people around the world. You don't have to be a Muslim to go on a Jew-bashing spree; it's become a virtue signal in the same way as Black Lives Matter has turned racism into a virtue signal.
For every Muslim "scholar", Yasir Qadhi included, it is vital to control what Muslims know and what Muslims think. These scholars set themselves up as "the guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge,” and since Islam is intrusive, all-pervasive — right down to how you clean your anus — "religious knowledge" means practically all knowledge. The architects of Islam were extremely particular about Muslims independently knowing anything about their religion, discouraging it in the strongest possible terms. Imam Muhammad Idris ibn al-Shafi‘i, one of Islam's original "scholars" and founder of one of its four schools of jurisprudence, insisted:
It is fitter for them [lay Muslims] to confine themselves to contentment with the above-mentioned absolute certainly [to believe in everything brought by the Messenger of Allah …and to credit it with absolute conviction free of any doubt].
Shari'a manual Reliance of the Traveller informs us that this same al-Shafi‘i, gentleman scholar:
…went to the greatest possible lengths in asserting that [lay Muslims] engaging in scholastic theology is forbidden. …He insistently emphasized its unlawfulness, the severity of the punishment awaiting those who engage in it, the disgrace of doing it, and the enormity of the sin therein.”
The Qur'an commands Muslims "...say, We hear and we obey," (24:51). So, under the combined weight of the holy texts and scholarly pressure, one should not wonder at the Muslim aversion to thinking, an attribute that the "scholars" exploit to the full, as we shall see on this course, using Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi as our case study.
It can sometimes be quite hard to tell whether a "scholar" knows or doesn't know a particular piece of information, or whether he is just playing the Muslims. To jump the gun just a little, Dr Qadhi tells Muslims, for example, that Jews constituted three percent of the population of Palestine at the turn of the 20th century and for millennia before then. That someone with five degrees is unable avail himself of more plausible figures stretches credulity. Of course, this preposterous claim is what Qadhi wants Muslims to believe, and they will believe him because he is a "scholar"— we hear and we obey, or, "they memorise it and regurgitate it out," in the great sheikh's own words. But Dr Qadhi knows that his claim is untrue. On this course we will ask, why does Yasir Qadhi want Muslims to "know" that the Jewish population of Palestine was three percent around 1900, and for millennia before that? In answering this question, we will uncover how a sheikh manipulates the Muslim, and why he succeeds.
In this vein, Dr Qadhi offers Muslims five highly mendacious questions supposedly as their first line of defence when engaging non-Muslims on the question of Israel. He does not warn Muslims that any kafir familiar with Israel will immediately see the propaganda wrapped up in the questions, and will give the Muslim a really hard time over it. It is the same da'wa method that got faithful Muslims into so much trouble over Muhammad's disastrous character flaws, no doubt admirable traits fourteen hundred years ago, and then again over the supposed perfect preservation of the Qur'an.
"Memorise it and regurgitate it out," except that while Muslims are not allowed to know anything other than what their wise "scholars" vouchsafe for them to know, the kufaar generally know a great deal more than Muslims do. Increasing numbers of kufaar know much more about Islam than lay Muslims do. Think about it: the kufaar to not have "scholars" telling them what to know, yet they know more about Islam than ordinary Muslims do.
Those kufaar who retain their critical faculties know, for example, that when "scholars", such as Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, tell Muslims to memorise something they say and to regurgitate it out, they are setting such Muslims up for public humiliation, because the kufaar know what the "scholars" withhold from Muslims. When facts, that is, haram knowledge, are put before the poor Muslims so confident in their ignorance, they go to pieces. And it doesn't end there. We live in a world of global media. Muslims have become the laughing stock of YouTube, not least because they memorise what they "scholars" tell them and regurgitate it out, only to find themselves irrefutably contradicted. No scholar ever warns them that this might happen. Regurgitate and the kufaar will embrace Islam, thats what they are told. Now they are told, regurgitate and the kufaar will embrace the Palestinians—mate, the Arabs are abandoning them! The one Muslim who knows where the truth ends and the lie begins is the one who made up the propaganda.
In the broadest sense, propaganda is information carefully selected and presented to arouse a particular response in the recipient. The response is the point, the information and its presentation being merely the means to accomplishing it. If a piece of propaganda is intended to make you angry, but does not, then it has failed, the truth or otherwise of its content is irrelevant. It doesn't matter to Yasir Qadhi what he says to you; what matters is how you react to it. Not all propaganda is malicious, but political propaganda generally is, which is why in its narrow sense, propaganda refers specifically to political propaganda. It is propaganda in this narrow sense that we are concerned with here.
We have just celebrated the first anniversary of Yasir Qadhi's infamous Holes in the Narrative debacle, and the whole thing is about to start all over again, courtesy of none other than the interminable sheikh himself. Dr Qadhi is urging Muslims to challenge Israel on the basis of a mendacious concoction of spurious statistics, half-truths and outright lies, not to mention and entire people and whole wars involving the standing armies of several countries, disappearing down the many gaping holes in his narrative. The body of writing on Israel is vast. Muslims can be grateful that the good sheikh has approved for them the scribblings of one anti-Israel Israeli academic. The only problem with this is that the kufaar have read everything, and those Muslims who will arm themselves with Yasir Qadhi's unassailable five questions plus one approved Israeli will be walking right into a major public catastrophe yet again.
The aim of this course is to help lay Muslims see how their "scholars" and sheikhs manipulate Muslims to keep them ignorant, and to keep themselves relevant. To be a proud Muslim, it is necessary to be ignorant. This works, if the Muslim only ever interacts with Muslims. In the modern world, ignorance is a distinct handicap. But the lay Muslim's ignorance is the only way the "scholars" have of maintaining their social power over ordinary Muslims. So they keep Muslims ignorant despite Muslims now having access to alternative information to that which their sheikhs tell them to memorise. It is for the Muslim to recognise how he has been played, and to say, enough!
Yasir Qadhi's first question:
What gave the United Kingdom the right to promise Palestine to a group of Europeans?
Lies, half-truths and cynical interpretations (underlined): "Neither did England own this land, nor did the Europeans they promised it to have anything to do with it in recent history. This is where the history of the illegitimate state of Israel begins. Before this point in time, there is no actual history, and the biggest culprit to set everything in motion is the United Kingdom. ...Palestine is the last settler colonisation of pre-modernity, and we are still suffering from the consequences. ...Philistine had been ruled by the Muslims since the time of 'Umr ibn al-Khattab uninterrupted except for a brief interlude under the Crusaders. ...There has not been a single case of civil war, of religious strife, in the time of the Muslims. Muslims lived with Christians, with Jews, together, until the Crusaders came and shed blood for the first time, and then the Zionist enterprise was founded in the 1940s. ...Zionism is a European project begun by secular Jewish people, not religious Jews, in 1897. ...Around 1900, there were barely three percent Jewish people in Palestine. This was the standard percentage for many millennia. These are Jewish Arabs. They speak Arabic. They're living amongst the Muslims. The promise [to Zionists] is based on a very racist, superiorist (sic), nationalistic mindset. ...Europeans ...did not view Arabs and Muslims as being equally human. Those brown and coloured folks, they're not the same as us. And deep down inside they had remnants of their Christianity, even though they claimed to be secular. ...deep down inside, they felt that by promising Palestine to the Zionists, they are fulfilling a Christian, messianic promise that Jesus will only return when the Jews have gathered in the Holy Land. ...[They are] associating modern Judaism with the ancient Children of Israel, and modern Palestine with the ancient Kingdom of David."
The trap you're walking into
"Kingdom of David": Muslims, there was no such kingdom. Yasir Qadhi is trying to avoid drawing your attention to the long history of Jewish kingdoms, and in doing so, he is setting you up. If you regurgitate this term, we, the kufaar, will take you to pieces. Check what your scholars tell you to memorise.
"the illegitimate state of Israel": the twelve tribes of Israel; the united Kingdom of Israel and Judah; the (Samarian) Kingdom of Israel; the Kingdom of Judah; the Hasmonean Dynasty; the Herodean Dynasty; the Roman Province of Judaea; the First Jewish-Roman War; the Kitos War; Bar Kokhba's Revolt; etc. Again, Muslims, in anguish you will plead, "I don't know about that. I will have to ask a scholar." If you are repeatedly embarrassed by your institutionalised ignorance, you might want to dip their toes into Wikipedia, just Wikipedia, nothing haram... insha-Allah.
The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt (Hebrew: המרד הגדול ha-Mered Ha-Gadol), or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in Roman-controlled Judea, resulting in the destruction of Jewish towns, the displacement of its people and the appropriation of land for Roman military use, as well as the destruction of the Jewish Temple and polity.
Following the suppression of Bar Kokhba's revolt, the emperor Hadrian changed the name of the province [from Judea, AP] to Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem became Aelia Capitolina. Most scholars, including Hayim Hillel Ben-Sasson believe this was done to erase the historical ties of the Jewish people to the region. However, this did not prevent the Jewish people from referring to the country in their writings as either "Yehudah" (Hebrew: יהודה) or "The Land of Israel" (Hebrew: ארץ ישראל).
Despite the upheaval brought by the revolt and the destruction of the Temple, Jewish life continued to thrive in Judea. Though dissatisfaction with Roman rule eventually led to the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132–136 CE. The religious reaction to the destruction was evident through changes in halakhah (Jewish law), midrashim, and book of 2 Baruch, all of which mention the agony of the temple's destruction.
Many of the Jewish rebels were scattered or sold into slavery. Josephus claimed that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, 97,000 were captured and enslaved and many others fled to areas around the Mediterranean. A significant portion of the deaths was due to illnesses and hunger brought about by the Romans. "A pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly."
The Great Revolt of Judea marked the beginning of the Jewish–Roman wars, which radically changed the Eastern Mediterranean and had a crucial impact on the development of the Roman Empire and the Jews. ...Major Jewish communities throughout the Eastern Mediterranean revolted in 117 CE. The revolt, known as the Kitos War in 115–117, which took place mainly in the [Jewish] diaspora (in Cyprus, Egypt, Mesopotamia and only marginally in Judea). ...Although only the final chapter of the Kitos War was fought in Judea, the revolt is considered part of the Jewish–Roman Wars. ...The third and final conflict in the Jewish–Roman Wars erupted in Judea, known as the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–136 CE, concentrating in Judea province and led by Simon bar Kokhba. ...Roman effort defeated Bar Kokhba's rebels. The result was a level of destruction and death that has been described as a genocide of the Jews, a ban on Judaism, and the renaming of the province from Judea to Syria Palaestina, with many Jews being sold into slavery or fleeing to other areas around the Mediterranean. ...The Jewish population of Judea had been greatly reduced.
Yasir Qadhi tells the Muslims that, "Zionism is a European project begun by secular Jewish people, not religious Jews, in 1897." Diaspora Jews have been praying L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim, Next Year in Jerusalem, in one form or another since at least the 1oth century, yearning for their homeland and rebuilding their temple. You don't need to be a Muslim to appreciate that this hope is at least as much religious, as it is secular. Yet most Muslims will believe Qadhi.
Muslims, of course you can memorise what your sheikhs tell you to memorise, but if you regurgitate to the kufaar the nonsense you have memorised — you don't know it's nonsense, but we do — we will decimate you, just as we decimated you when you regurgitated the nonsense about the Qur'an being perfectly preserved, and when you regurgitated the even worse nonsense about Muhammad being the perfect human being. Once again you are being programmed like robots to go out there and say: "before this point in time  there is no actual history [of Israel]"; "There has not been a single case of civil war, of religious strife, in the time of the Muslims"; the Jews are "Europeans" who "colonised Palestine".
To believe a falsehood is not immoral, but to knowingly impose that falsehood on others is. This is one falsehood that Yasir Qadhi knowingly imposes on Muslims: "Around 1900, there were barely three percent Jewish people in Palestine. This was the standard percentage for many millennia." No doubt he saw this three percent figure somewhere, but he does not give us a reference, so we cannot check his source. There can be absolutely no doubt that there are a great many estimates of the Jewish population of Palestine, both around 1900, and over many millennia. People who have critical thought would expect to be told of those sources and shown why the figures in those sources are less compelling than the one source he has chosen. Just to make the point, it took me about one second to find this:
This compilation of sources suggests that the Jewish population of Palestine stood at 3% only once between 1517 and 1917, namely, in around 1533, being higher ever since, standing somewhere between 8% and 13.6% in 1900. It is, of course, possible that Qadhi is right, and that the Jewish population of Palestine did stand at 3% for millennia up till 1900. But he gives his Muslim audience no inkling that other figures exist. If you are Muslim, you are expected to simply believe what a "scholar" says because he has knowledge and you have none. This is how Yasir Qadhi, and every other sheikh, abuses Muslims.
They also abuse history. Yasir Qadhi wants you to understand that Palestine's troubles began when "Zionist Europeans colonised Palestine," with the connivance of the British imperial power. Before that, Palestine was ruled by Muslims and so was just fine. Not only is Ottoman imperial rule over Palestine treated as correct and desirable—he condemns the Sherif of Mecca for attacking the Ottomans—their being imperial occupiers is completely glossed over for their being Muslim.
Now Muslims, you might agree with Yasir Qadhi that Arabs being ruled by foreigners is a problem if those foreigners are kufaar, but not a problem is the foreigners are Muslims, but take a look at what history has to say. History says that life for Arabs, not only in Palestine, but all over the former Ottoman Empire, became incomparable better than after the "Zionist Europeans colonised Palestine," than before:
Two events distinguished the early years of twentieth-century Palestine from its Middle Eastern neighbors: 1) the immigration into Palestine of European Jews, accompanied by European capital and European technology, and 2) the creation of the British Mandatory Government in Palestine whose responsibilities included the economic development of Palestine. As a result of the mandate conferred by the League of Nations, British capital and British technology followed the British flag. ...These two events generated a momentum of economic activity that produced in Palestine a standard of living previously unknown in the Middle East.
We have to ask the same question of this source as we must of Yasir Qadhi: what evidence do you have? Yasir Qadhi offers no evidence, but this source does:
As a direct result of Zionism, Palestine became significantly wealthier than surrounding Arab states. "Real net domestic product per capita soared, doubling during 1922-31, from 19.4 LP (Palestine pounds) to 38.2 LP." The evidence is here:
Now that we have all this information, let us look at history, as Yasir Qadhi urges us to do, and see what history can show us:
1. Between 1922 and 1931, Palestine became a much wealthier place than any other place in the Middle East.
2. The Jewish population of Palestine more than doubled, from 83,794 to 174,610 (+108%), between 1922 and 1931, while the non-Jewish (presumably predominantly Arab) population increased from 637,388 to 861,211 (+35%) over the same period. In absolute numbers, the Jewish population increased by 90,816, while the Arab population increased by 223,823, leaving the Jewish population as a percentage of the total virtually constant (17% to 16.9%).
3. The wealth that the Zionists both brought into Palestine and multiplied within Palestine attracted a quarter of a million Arabs from outside Palestine into Palestine.
It is possible to reject point 3 as a mere conjecture. It is not directly proven. What evidence do we have that the leap in the Palestinian Arab population between 1922 and 1931 is due to Arab immigration from outside Palestine? This is exactly what critique means. When we look at history, and the certainty of what we see is not 100%, the data is not necessarily useless. The historian is still able to present the data to his or her audience, provided they caution the audience about the uncertainty. Here is an example:
The above-average population growth of the Arab villages around the city of Jerusalem, with its Jewish majority, continued until the end of the mandatory period. This must have been due—as elsewhere in Palestine under similar conditions—to in-migrants attracted by economic opportunities, and to the beneficial effects of improved health services in reducing mortality—just as happened in other parts of Palestine around cities with a large Jewish population sector.
By the words, "this must have been due," the writer is telling the reader that he is convinced of this, even though he can only prove it indirectly, and then offers his indirect proof: "as elsewhere in Palestine under similar conditions—to in-migrants attracted by economic opportunities, and to the beneficial effects of improved health services in reducing mortality—just as happened in other parts of Palestine around cities with a large Jewish population sector." This is a legitimate use of history.
What might a propagandist do with such uncertainty? A Zionist propagandist might claim that there is no direct documented evidence of Arab migration into Palestine (true), and from that go on to assert that there were no Arabs in Palestine (untrue). A Palestinian or a Muslim propagandist might similarly abuse the lack of direct documented evidence to claim the Palestine was full of Arabs and no Arabs had migrated there. Of course, as a Muslim you might prefer there to have been mostly Arabs right from the start, but that does not make it true.
At the end of Yasir Qadhi's first trap for Muslims, just a quick note on how we, the kufaar, deal with sources. First of all, we acknowledge them, especially when we engage in serious discourse, in particular, polemics. We make sure that our audience can find and check our sources. What we do not do, is find a source that says something we agree with and then refer to that source as authoritative confirmation of our claims. This is hard for a Muslim to understand, I know. The Muslim "scholar" will find many sources that contradict what he holds to be true. He will discard them all until he finds the one that agrees with him. That's the one he'll quote and praise and tell you to buy all the books of. I'm afraid that's not how we establish truth, or even likelihood. There'll be more on this later in the course.
If our readers do not know of them already, we inform them of conflicting positions on the same point, that is to say, both those who agree with us and those who do not agree with us. But why? you ask, would anyone do a stupid thing like that. Don't worry. you are not alone in your bafflement. People in China are exactly the same. For them, too, your point is proven by "as we all know", "everybody knows", "the whole world knows", "so-and-so says", etc. Truth is what authority says it is and what most people believe. Truth is that which brings you closer to the group. Truth is an aspect of conformity. Not so with the critical mind, and murtadds have very critical minds. No one lies to them and gets away with it.
We look at everything with the same eyes, that means, ignoring who said it or how many say it. We want to know which accords better with reality. And yes, this sometimes means that we turn against our group, or are expelled from our group, or in an extreme case, we get shunned by everybody. in one way or another, we get "cancelled".
Things to think about, or to discuss with other Muslims:
Yasir Qadhi repeatedly refers to Jews not as Jews, but as "people of a Zionist background" and as "Europeans", while he describes the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa as "Jewish Arabs".
1. Is this connected to his claim that the Jewish population of Palestine around 1900 was only three percent, and had been at that level for millennia?
2. Is this connected to PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh's claim three weeks later that, "there is no connection between the Israelis and the Jews. ...they are the Khazar Jews, who converted to Judaism in the sixth century CE"?
3. Why is Yasir Qadhi suddenly interested in all this, and why is he telling you?
- The following tables, figures and quotations are from Fred M. Gottheil, The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2003, pp. 53-64. https://www.meforum.org/522/the-smoking-gun-arab-immigration-into-palestine