This five-lesson course on propaganda is based on Sheikh Dr Yasir Qadhi's "Five Questions" that render the State of Israel "illegitimate".
The aim of this course is to help lay Muslims see how their "scholars" and sheikhs manipulate them and keep them ignorant. 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" can maintain 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 Muslims to recognise how they have been played, and to say, enough!
Some thoughts on the course so far:
If you have considered or discussed the questions at the end of Part 1, you will have noticed that I identified two levels to Yasir Qadhi's propaganda. On the face of it, it appears as if he is merely delegitimising Israel (no problem for most Muslims), but beneath that, something altogether more sinister is at play: the conceptual abolition of the Jewish people, in other words, the Final Solution by other means. You and I both know many Muslims who regret that so many Jews survived. I am assuming that you are reading this course because you are not one of those Muslims. I invited you to consider or discuss what role Yasir Qadhi has in mind for you in his "Challenging the Zionist narrative of Palestine." You, as you well know, are expected to simply "memorise it and regurgitate it out." We will return to that expectation a few times during this course.
I made a big thing of Yasir Qadhi's three percent Jewish Palestinians claim and pointed towards sources that claim substantially higher figures. This was not to say that Qadhi's figures are wrong and the figures I mentioned are correct. All good sources offering demographics for Ottoman Palestine come with caveats cautioning the reader on how much confidence one can place in the figures. The way Yasir Qadhi presents his figures to you, though, is with the same absolute certainty he expects you to take anything he says about Islam, as does every other sheikh. The compulsion on you to hear and obey, and your instinct to comply, serves him well. The likelihood is that you will go out and repeat his three percent claim exactly, and we, people interested in evidence, will challenge you and prevail, just as we did when you so loyally repeated the perfect preservation claims.
The idea that there are only truth and lies, two polar opposites, weakens everyone who believes that truth comes from revelation. That includes Christians, Muslims, Jews, anyone who looks to God for facts about reality. This does not mean that in order to know reality, you have to give up religion. But the more religion informs what you know, the more likely you are to be ignorant of reality and the more vulnerable you are to being exposed the moment you make any claim. It is far safer to learn as much as there is to learn with an open mind (we will talk about what Yasir Qadhi means by 'open mind' later in this course). To say, this is our best understanding at this point in time, is far better than to say "it says so in the Qur'an." You saw for yourself what happens to Muslims who try that. Don't worry, the same applies to any scripture attributed to God, not just the Qur'an.
Now you may be thinking, but if the kufaar don't know, how can they say that the Muslims don't know? This brings us to something you need to understand about modern people. When you're dealing with reality, belief is not enough. Christians and Jews have already learnt this; Muslims have not, and today suffer for it. Let me put it to you another way. Imagine two groups of people, call them group A and group B. In group A's religion, they believe that the world is flat. In group B's religion, they believe that the world is round. What shape is the world?
Of course, you can say that the one with the true religion is right, but how do you know which one has the true religion? Each one of them clings to his religion in the belief that his is the true religion, while at the same time insisting that the other is false. Yes, I know, this is where you insist "but Islam is true." This is the hardest thing for a religious person to understand, because what he believes is the truth, and the others are stubborn for not accepting it. Christians feel sad if you say 'no thank you' to their Lord and Saviour, Muslims feel offended if you say 'no thank you' to their Allah (and that's putting it mildly). Eventually, one of them "proves" the truth by killing the other. If they did not have the truth, they'd be the ones lying dead.
Neither of them will have seen any need to look at the real world and actually measure it. When group A has killed all the people in group B, has the world now become flat? When group B has killed all the people in group A, has the world now become round? If you have taken the trouble to read this far, then you must see that the world would still have its shape even if the two groups wiped each other out. Neither of them knows, yet they're both prepared to die for it. People who do not rely on religion for their knowledge of the world very often do know, or at least know better than your Qur'an does, but are also not prepared to die for it, let alone kill for it. That is one reason we always win, and you always lose.
Yasir Qadhi's "people of knowledge" are people who know Islam, but know Islam only as Islam wants to be known. To the shuyukh, even the world's greatest expert on Islam cannot be a person of knowledge if he is not a Muslim, because, as you know, if someone really knows Islam, he would be a Muslim, right? You accept that your sheikh is a person of knowledge and you are not, because you have not studied Islam. Yet you are happy to call yourself a Muslim. Never having studied Islam for yourself, you are convinced you know better than the kafir who has studied Islam that it is better to be a Muslim than to not be a Muslim. What makes you so sure? Oh, your sheikh says so, of course. That's how you get into trouble.
The reason critical people can challenge you and always win is because, even though neither you nor they might know something, they know that they don't know, while you are convinced that you do know, because your religion tells you so. Reality is far stricter than faith, my dear Muslim. One religion says one thing and all those people believe it. Another religion says exactly the opposite and all those people believe it. This makes faith the deadliest joke. Thousands of years ago, when we knew almost nothing about reality, we defended "the truth" by killing the people whose religion said something different to our own. Today, there's only one religion left in which people still do that: yours.
We don't need to kill one another anymore. We can actually observe. We can inspect. We can measure. We can check. We can analyse. We can reason. We can empathise. We can even discuss, debate, agree and disagree. We can change our minds. We are constantly chasing reality. Sometimes we catch it, sometimes it eludes us. Either way, we constantly learn. We know more than the people who have gone before us. That is how our lives get better. That is what makes our lives exciting. We also know that the only thing that lives on after we die is the legacy we leave behind in this world. Make it a better place, not a worse one. Because we constantly improve, the best people are in the future; not the generation of fourteen centuries ago, which only gives us reason to remain the same as them: ignorant and worse.
All of this Yasir Qadhi denies you when he tells you simply that around 1900, the Jewish population of Palestine was three percent, and that it had been that way for millennia. When he does that, he treats you as a Muslim. We expect better than that of you, and will argue with you because we treat you as a human being. That's different, and that's the other reason we always win, and you always lose.
Yasir Qadhi's second question:
What gave the United Nations the right to legislate the majority of the land of Palestine to Europeans of a Jewish background? What gave them the moral right to then take the Balfour Declaration and make it a part of their resolution?
Lies, half-truths and cynical interpretations (underlined): "the majority of the land of Palestine to Europeans of a Jewish background. ...The United Nations was a newly-formed body ...it's a new organisation ...in one of its earliest resolutions, without consulting the local Arabs, without caring about what the Palestinian delegate said in their convention, the resolution divided the region of Palestine into three separate and distinct areas: fifty-five percent of that region was allocated to Jewish Zionists; forty-five percent was given to the local Arabs; and the city of Jerusalem was mandated to be independent, neither Jewish, nor Arab. ...We are now talking 1947. In these few decades, the Jewish population has risen from 3% to 30%. In one generation, it has multiplied ten-fold, not because they're having children, but because Europeans are migrating and taking over the land. European money is financing the purchase. And also, terrorist gangs are terrorising Palestinian farmers, getting rid of them, by hook or by crook, they're acquiring land. Still, by 1947, only 7% of land was owned by people of the Zionist background. 93% is still in the hands of Arabs and Muslims. ...Yet in 1947, what does the United Nations decide? The bulk of the land will go to those just recently migrated, literally in that generation, and a smaller amount will go to the local Arabs. The Arab delegates at the United Nations challenged this."
The trap you're walking into
What gave 'Umr ibn al-Khattab the right to make war on the people of Syria, subjugate them, impose his Islamic caliphate on them and legislate his so-called "Pact of 'Umr" on the conquered peoples? This, dear Muslims, is one obvious question that we, those who are against Islam, can throw right back at you when you regurgitate your sheikh's second question at us. And this will open up the whole question of why you should be allowed to do your jihad, which is both multiple war crimes and multiple crimes against humanity. Yasir Qadhi's second question lays your whole religion open to attack. Of course you will not be able to answer because Yasir Qadhi has not prepared you for it, and you, uncritically memorising what every sheikh tells you, will not be expecting it. Each Islam critic potentially knows more than Yasir Qadhi, or any "scholar" for that matter, could ever know because no knowledge is forbidden to us. If you try this second question on us, the videos will go viral on YouTube all over again, and yet another of your heroes, this time 'Umr ibn al-Khattab, will be shown up for a monster that Islamic tradition reveres.
So, let us take a closer look at what Yasir Qadhi is doing to your mind. Qadhi asks you to demand: "What gave the United Nations the moral right to take the Balfour Declaration and make it a part of their resolution?" Here is the Balfour Declaration:
This depicts the original document signed by Lord Belfour himself. The operating phrase in this document is "a national home for the Jewish people." Please note the date: 2 November 1917. Below is the United Nations Charter:
The United Nations came into existence on 24 October 1945. Between 2 November 1917 and 24 October 1945, the following happened (keep an eye on the Balfour Declaration, and especially its operating phrase "a national home for the Jewish people"):
- On 11 November 1918, the Ottoman Empire, one of the aggressors in the First World War, found itself defeated by the defenders, who included the United Kingdom.
- As with all wars up till then, defeated aggressors cede territory to victorious defenders. The Ottoman Empire had to cede all its subject territories to the Powers that it and its allied aggressors had attacked. Whichever way you look at this, formerly Ottoman-occupied Palestine was going to end up in the hands of one of the winners of the war.
The victors of the First World War, those attacked by the Ottoman Empire and its allied aggressors, could have imposed their own "Pact of 'Umr" on the conquered Ottoman territories. Instead, they imposed mandates upon themselves to restrict their sovereignty in those territories. In the League of Nations official Journal, we read,
"A mandate was a self-imposed limitation by the conquerors on the sovereignty which they exercised over the conquered territory. In the general interests of mankind, the Allied and Associated Powers had imposed this limitation upon themselves, and had asked the League to assist them in seeing that this general policy was carried out, but the League was not the author of it; the duty of the League, which was a most responsible and difficult one, was first to see that the terms of the mandates were in conformity with the principles of the Covenant and, secondly, that these terms would, in fact, regulate the policy of the Mandatory Powers in the mandated territories."
Not only did they not impose a "Pact of 'Umr" on Palestine, they took upon themselves the responsibility to expend their own resources in developing the mandate territories, including Palestine, to independence. We further read:
"The task thrown upon the Palestine mandatory was one of great delicacy and difficulty, and it was also one requiring the obtaining of large pecuniary resources. Until Great Britain could so develop the economic capacities of Palestine as to enable it to support a much larger population in much greater comfort than was at present possible, her hopes for success were bound to suffer disappointment. Money and productive capital were, therefore, required. The present abnormal condition of the world and the difficulty of obtaining large sums of money for any purpose were well known, and therefore anything which seemed to postpone in any degree the final and definite settlement of this problem discouraged lenders."
3. The Covenant (Charter) of The League of Nations was signed on 28 June 1919.
Article 22 of the Covenant of The League of Nations provided for the creation of Mandate territories, to be administered by European Powers. Territories liberated from Turkish imperialism were determined "to have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations could be provisionally recognised." The Power that is assigned the Mandate will have the responsibility to provide "administrative advice and assistance until such time as they [the population of the Mandate territory] are able to stand alone."
Note: 1. this was not a permanent, or even long-term, arrangement, 2. this was not colonial conquest, and 3. under Turkish rule, there was no possibility whatsoever of Palestinians, whatever their religion, ever receiving "administrative advice and assistance until such time as they are able to stand alone."
4. The League of Nations, based on this Covenant, is formally established on 10 January 1920.
5. The League of Nations adopts the Mandate for Palestine (its eastern border undetermined), incorporating into it the Balfour Declaration's pledge of "a national home for the Jewish people."
6. The League of Nations San Remo Resolution on 25 April 1920, assigns the Mandate for Palestine to the United Kingdom.
7. On 21 March 1921, in final settlement of the post-WWI peace terms, the United Kingdom added Article 25 to its Palestine mandate. Article 25 set the still undetermined eastern boundary of the Palestine mandate as effectively the western border of Mesopotamia and the northwestern border of Arabia, resulting in the Palestine mandate now comprising both Palestine and Transjordan. Simultaneously, the United Kingdom determined to restrict the national home for the Jewish people to Palestine alone, reserving Transjordan for an exclusively Arab state. On 12 August 1922, the League of Nations endorsed both the expansion of the Palestine mandate to henceforth include Transjordan, and excluded Transjordan from the national home for the Jewish people.
Muslims do not see what they do not want to see. You know this, I know this, the sheikhs and the "scholars" all know this. Muslims are sitting ducks for "scholars" and sheikhs. The article from The Times, above, points to several holes in Yasir Qadhi's Palestine narrative:
- It was by no means a foregone conclusion that Great Britain would be assigned the Mandate for Palestine. — Yasir Qadhi tells you that Great Britain invaded, conquered, occupied and colonised Palestine.
- "The British colonizing methods are based upon the notion of giving free scope to the peoples under British protection." — Yasir Qadhi fails to mention this British reputation for giving free scope to the peoples under their protection.
- "Another factor which undoubtedly contributed to the granting of the Zionist demands is their great moderation." — "Zionist greed knows no bounds," says Yasir Qadhi.
- "Jewish energy and capital will begin to flow towards Palestine ...to the benefit of all its inhabitants." — Yasir Qadhi spins this as: "Europeans are migrating and taking over the land. European money is financing the purchase," to make it sound iniquitous. The arriving Jews, not the "three percent" who are already there, bought the land from whoever would sell. They did not steal it, they did not expropriate it, they did not occupy it, and they did not gain it by extortion — in other words, not "by hook or by crook," as Yasir Qadhi would have you repeat. No one was forced to sell. It was a free exchange for an agreed price that left both parties satisfied.
Let me remind you of Yasir Qadhi's question: "What gave them [the United Nations] the moral right to then take the Balfour Declaration and make it a part of their resolution?" when the United Nations did not come into existence for another twenty-eight years, more than a generation later?
Because 1945 and the re-founding of Israel in 1948 is where Yasir Qadhi wants to start his Palestinian narrative. And why 1945, when the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917 and adopted already in 1920? Because ignoring everything between 1917 and 1945 neatly jumps over a whole string of inconvenient truths that are holes in Qadhi's Palestinian narrative. Below is just some of what Yasir Qadhi decided is not wise for you to know:
- Although Mandatory Palestine (1920-1948) was called 'Filastine' in Arabic, it was called 'Eretz Yisrael', Land of Israel, in Hebrew.
- Jewish wealth flowed into Palestine.
- Arab immigration flowed into Palestine from outside Palestine.
- There was widespread enthusiasm for Nazism, and especially Hitler, amongst the Arab Muslim intelligentsia, and the small matter of Hitler's buddy, Mufti Amin Al-Husayni.
- Arab Muslims massacred Jews in 1920-21.
- Arab Muslims massacred Jews in 1929.
- The 1936-39 Arab Revolt.
- The 1944-47 Jewish Insurgency.
- Jews ended up accepting an ever-shrinking national home.
- Pan-Arabism, Arab nationalism, Arab tribalism and the surrounding Arab leaders' rivalry for Arab and Islamic pre-eminance, as well as their greed to each carve out a piece of Palestine for themselves, and also their intense distrust of one another, contradict Yasir Qadhi's idealisation of the ummah, the Arabs and the (Arab) Palestinians during this period, as well as his aim of portraying Zionism as expansionist.
- The Arabs did not need the duplicitous, double-dealing British to stab them in the back; they were doing that perfectly well by themselves.
- There was a great deal of history before 1948, contrary to Yasir Qadhi's assertion that there was none. Muslims killing Jews is a continuous thread running from the First World War right through 1948 all the way up to today.
Starting his Palestine narrative in 1945 enables Yasir Qadhi to keep the First World War out of the picture. If you simply memorise and repeat what your sheikh says, you will be surprised when Islam critics counter your claims by pointing out that the United Kingdom did not "invade" Palestine, but conquered it from the Ottoman Empire that had attacked the United Kingdom and its allies. This is what happens when you are the aggressor and you end up losing the war. The victorious defender takes territory from you. Yasir Qadhi wants you to believe that the United Kingdom took Palestine, rather than that the United Kiingdom was assigned lost Ottoman territory to advise and assist, as it was assigned Mesopotamia, and as France was assigned Syria.
For Yasir Qadhi's propaganda to work, it is critical that you not think of the Ottoman Empire as an empire, but as a caliphate. This way, even though the League of Nations and the British Empire had set Palestine on the road to freedom, a gain for its people, Qadhi needs you to think of the end of the Ottoman caliphate as a loss for Muslims. If you thought of the Ottoman Empire as an empire defeated in war, you might wonder why it was wrong for the British Empire to take control of Palestine, but not for the Ottoman Empire to have done so four centuries earlier. You might then also notice that it was not the United Kingdom that abolished the caliphate, but the newly-formed Turkish National Assembly at the initiative of Mustafa Kemal, after Indian Muslims of the Khilafat Movement tried to urge the Turks to preserve the caliphate, an act the Turks considered an intolerable interference in their internal affairs. I hope you are beginning to see the trouble that Yasir Qadhi is creating for you. Did he equip you to handle any of this?
But it is possible that your urge to hear and obey is strong (here your sheikhs say 'your iman is strong'), and you do not want to see that Yasir Qadhi is playing you. You don't want Muslims to fight Muslims, so why should the Arab Muslims in Palestine have fought their Ottoman overlords? Yasir Qadhi condemns the Sherif of Mecca as a stooge of the British for fighting the Turks. Muslims must acquiesce in submitting to Muslims, but must never submit to the kufaar, let alone collaborate with them against Muslims, right? But this is where critics of Islam will take you back to those pesky tables in Part 1, that show the squalid Palestine of the Ottomans booming as an economic miracle stoked by Jewish money. Are you going to run away to find a sheikh who can explain that?
The United Kingdom did not want to spend any money in Palestine, remember? they would gain nothing for their investment. Palestine was scrubland and desert, and had no oil. With the Jews came money, with Jews and their money came development, and with development came Arabs in search of a livelihood. Large numbers of Arab from outside Palestine migrated into Palestine, boosting the Arab population and reversing the proportional gains in Jewish population. The presence of Zionists (people who aspired to return to their temple in Jerusalem) in Palestine benefitted the Arabs; the Turkish presence in Palestine did nothing of the sort. From a communist source, we learn of something that does not happen without industrialisation:
During the period of Ottoman control, Palestine had no experience of trade union organization. The Ottoman associations law of 1909 allowed artisans and workers only to set up cooperative associations that protected their interests and raised their cultural awareness.
At the beginning of the 1920s, as the working class expanded and became relatively concentrated, Arab workers moved toward trade union organization, especially in sectors where the workers had permanent employment, such as in the railways, which were directly subordinate to the British occupation authorities and which employed hundreds of Arab workers. The workers also had an opportunity to discover trade union activity through contact with the Egyptian workers employed by the British on the line between Haifa and Cairo and with the Jewish workers who had had experience of trade union activity in the European countries from which they had come and who, when they arrived in Palestine, joined the Histadrut, or General Organization of Workers in Eretz Yisrael (formed in December 1920).
If you allow your sheikh to manipulate you, what are you going to do when you are confronted with this information and your sheikh is not there for you to run to?
No one is going to claim that in Ottoman times, the Jews outnumbered the Arabs. That would be silly. So while Yasir Qadhi rebuffs an argument that no one was making, doing so serves the propaganda purpose of deflecting your attention away from how attractive Palestine had become for Arabs from all over the former Ottoman territories with every Jew who migrated there. Not every Jew brought money, but every Jew brought a culture of improving themselves and their land that far exceeded both the ability and the willingness of Arab Muslims to do either. The Jews accomplished in Palestine in forty years what the Ottomans could not accomplish in 400. In short, Yasir Qadhi must avoid at all cost that you should come to the idea that the Jews are the best thing that ever happened not only to Palestine, but to all Arabs.
There are a great many more holes for you to fall into with Yasir Qadhi's second question, such as "93% [of the land] is still in the hands of Arabs and Muslims," but they start overlapping with his third question, and this is supposed to be a short course. So I shall leave it there for Part 2.
Things to think about, or to discuss with other Muslims:
Yasir Qadhi wants you to know that "fifty-five percent of that region was allocated to Jewish Zionists; forty-five percent was given to the local Arabs." If you wanted to prove this, how would you go about it? Keep in mind that your critics are on your tail, matching your every move, and if you assert, "because the Palestinian cause is just," you will have to prove that, too. Yes, thinking for yourself is hard, and no sheikh is ever going to help you with that, because they've made it haram.
- League of Nations, Official Journal, 30 June 1922. [Excerpts from League of Nations Official Journal dated June 1922, pp. 546-549] https://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/b08168048e277b5a052565f70058cef3