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!
In the course so far:
Thank you for coming back. I hope that you've found some time to consider or to discuss with another Muslim, how you would prove: "fifty-five percent of that region was allocated to Jewish Zionists; forty-five percent was given to the local Arabs." In doing this, you might have looked for proof of the kind that makes hadith "sahih": who said it and how many believe it. In a time and place where irrefutable evidence is scant, access to such evident unavailable, and knowledge on how to interpret evidence non-existent, such as in the Muslim lands of over a thousand years ago, it might be that the best evidence available for any claim was a matter of who said it and how many people believed it. So hadith are "sahih" because someone you for some reason trust said that someone he trusts heard it from someone that person trusts, who heard it from someone that next person trusts, and so on and on. What's wrong with that, you may ask. They are all Muslims. And that is your first problem.
You accept what people say based on who they are, and not on whether what they say corresponds with reality, or worse, whether what they say even corresponds with what they say. This state of affairs has existed amongst Muslims for over a thousand years because all knowledge, while Muslims had no contact with the wider world, was religious knowledge. This is why Yasir Qadhi still uses the stupid formulation "student of knowledge", implying that outside of Islam, there is nothing to know.
But you know that those people who have only Islamic knowledge, like members of Tablighi Jamaat, or madrassa teachers, or many graduates from Islamic universities, etc., are basically useless, yet conduct themselves like great sages. Would you ever challenge them? No, you would not. And why not? — because they command your respect. Despite their spectacular ignorance, they command your respect because they can say more about Islam than you can. The knowledge they have that makes them so special is completely useless, except that it enables them to command your respect. And it is respect that you readily give. This is because you have accepted they have knowledge and you do not. Worse than that, you have accepted that they can have knowledge and you cannot. This is your second problem.
It is not for you to decide what knowledge a sheikh or "scholar" can have and what knowledge not. You need knowledge to make such a distinction. When Yasir Qadhi makes claims about the world, about history, about psychology, about culture, and so forth, you accept what he says without question because not only does he have knowledge that you do not have, he has knowledge that you cannot have. But it is worse than even this. The knowledge that you do not have and cannot have, you also may not have. The "scholars" are quite firm that it is a grave sin for you to have whatever knowledge they have. You have accepted this scam right from your madrassa days.
What would you do to prove that, "fifty-five percent of that region was allocated to Jewish Zionists; forty-five percent was given to the local Arabs?" Where would you even begin? You have only one way of finding out anything: ask a sheikh. That's it. And why would you ask another sheikh if one sheikh has already told you? Do you not believe? Do you have doubt? Are you an imbecile, a weakling? Are you a kafir?
Of course you will not try to look it up in a book, because how do you know that that book has the truth if you sheikh did not tell you to read it? The only book that you can trust is the book that your sheikh tells you to read. So you are back where you started. The only reason your sheikh or "scholar" tells you to read a book is because that book says what he says. And here the sheikh plays another trick on you. He pretends to be humble. Don't just take my word for it, go read that book, go, go read it. That writer says it too, and he is a Jew. He is not even a Muslim. Right there, your sheikh insults you twice over.
When Yasir Qadhi says that someone who is "not even a Muslim" says something that supports what Muslims say, and therefore what he says must be true, he is saying that everything that Muslims say is true because they are Muslims. It is possible that you think so, too, in which case you see no insult. But then Yasir Qadhi quotes a Jew who agrees with Muslims against Jews, and therefore what that Jew says must be true, he is saying that anyone, no matter what their religion, can only say what their religion tells them to say. No one is capable of thinking for themselves. If someone goes so far as to say something against their own religion, against their own people, then surely, that person speaks the truth.
More than forty years ago, when I was still a Muslim, I did exactly what Yasir Qadhi's selected Jew did. I realised that all religions are bad and Islam is the worst of all existing religions, and I went so far as to say so. Now I ask you this question: was I speaking the truth because I was a Muslim, or was I speaking the truth because I was prepared to go so far as to speak against Islam, my own religion? By the logic that Yasir Qadhi wants you to read the truth the Jew speaks, you must accept that I, too, speak the truth. Note, though, that I do not agree with this logic. The truth has nothing whatsoever to do with who I am.
Yes, there is a neat trick where you can say that when a Muslim disagrees with Muslims, then he is no longer a Muslim anyway, but then you still have to answer the question of why you will not accept it when one kafir, an ex-Muslim, disagrees with Muslims, but you are quite eager to accept what another kafir, a Jew, says when that Jew agrees with Muslims. If this is the way you think, then you are still a long way from proving: "fifty-five percent of that region was allocated to Jewish Zionists; forty-five percent was given to the local Arabs," and Yasir Qadhi will continue to treat you as someone only fit to memorise and regurgitate, as your sheikhs and "scholars" have been doing for over a thousand years.
The ummah is not in a mess because they've "strayed from the straight path" or because the colonialists waged wars against you or because whites are such nasty people, no. The ummah is in a mess because its sheikhs and "scholars" have turned it into a mess. And they have done this by telling you that you cannot have knowledge, and they succeeded because you accepted that.
Yasir Qadhi's third question:
What gave the newly-found (sic) State of Israel the moral right to, on the eve of its inauguration, as soon as it is born, to immediately launch a full-out offensive, to immediately force almost a million people to flee, to massacre thousands of people ...and to acquire almost 80% of the land?
Lies, half-truths and cynical interpretations (underlined): ...in August (sic) of 1948 the State of Israel declares its inauguration (sic). Immediately, the next day, they launch an offensive, against whom? Against armies? Against the standing trained soldiers? No, against farmers and peasants; against people who have been farming there for generations and centuries. Against people who don't have weapons. ...And the army of Israel, armed to the teeth, the precursors to the IDF, they now start attacking villages. Over 450 villages were attacked. Massacres occurred in dozens of places, most infamously, Deir Yassin. ...We have documented evidence. The Israeli Ministry has plenty of paperwork that they try to cover up, and even Israeli historians ...the most significant historian in this regard is Ilan Pappe, write his name down, purchase all of his books. He is an Israeli, born and raised, historian at I believe Ben-Gurion University, and he had to leave his position because of his research. He was getting death threats [from] his own fellow citizens, and he is currently living in England. But he is somebody who's researched the creation of Israel, and he has discussed and documented all of the cases of massacres. ...Over 450 villages were wiped out. ...Their people had to flee for their lives. ...They're interviewing old people about their memories of 1948, about the massacres that they saw, about their women and children being killed, about husbands in Deir Yassin over 100 people were gunned down—villagers—and then thrown into the well of the village. Now, what's going to happen if you are in the next village and you hear that 100 people have just been killed? You're going to flee for your life, and that's exactly what happened. Almost a million Palestinians, mass panic, mass chaos, and this is called the first catastrophe, the Nakba. What gave this illegitimate state the right to engage in war crimes, to massacre, to terrify and terrorise almost a million people, and those people who fled, those are the ones now across the globe. Over seven million Palestinians are in the diaspora. ...It [Israel] was given 55%, ...but the were not happy. They are never happy. Zionist greed knows no bounds. No matter what you give them, they want more. They were given the majority of the land, nope! They don't want that much; they want more. The day they're born, they go to war, and they conquer more than 80%. Make no mistake about this. This was a planned and calculated offensive. They knew that they wanted more land. They were not happy at the UN Resolution giving them 55% of the land. They wanted more and they got it: ...Almost two-thirds of what was assigned to our Palestinian brothers and sisters was taken in 1948.
The trap you're walking into
Over 450 villages were wiped out. ...Their people had to flee for their lives. ...They're interviewing old people about their memories of 1948, about the massacres that they saw, about their women and children being killed.
So says Yasir Qadhi. Why does he make such an obviously preposterous claim? He does so because he takes it for granted that you will simply believe him, and you will. You will believe him because what he says makes Muslims look good and Jews look bad, and such talk is exactly what you want to hear. And all of that is fine; we are all free to believe absolutely anything we want. Except...
Except that Yasir Qadhi wants you to go out there and say these things to the world so you can support Palestine. If you do that, the very first thing critics are going to do is find those interviews with those old people and hear for themselves what they had to say about those massacres of 1948. This is what you should do, but you will not, for all the reasons I've already outlined. We, critics of Islam, did that, and this is what those old people had to say:
How We Really Became Refugees. That is the title of the old people's video. why did they leave their villages? In these testimonies of thirteen people, all fleeing for their lives from massacres, as Yasir Qadhi describes it, no one seems to remember any of these massacres. Only one of them, a gentleman by the name of Mahmoud Abbas, mentions a massacre:
The [Arab] Salvation Army withdrew from the city [Safed in 1948], causing the [Arab] people to begin emigrating. In Safed, just like Hebron, people were afraid that the Jews would take revenge for the [Arab] massacre of 1929... (Note: sixty-five Jews were murdered in Hebron, eighteen in Safed). [In 1948,] the people were overcome with fear, and it caused them to leave the city in a disorderly way. ...They took us east, east of Safed, to the Jordan River" – PA Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, refugee from Safed, northern Israel.
Yasir Qadhi wants you to memorise that "they launch an offensive, against whom? Against armies? Against the standing trained soldiers? No, against farmers and peasants."
Oddly, every single one of the people interviewed seems to have imagined things called "the Palestinians, the fighters", "the Jordanian Army", "The Arab Salvation Army", and "the Arab armies" that were "fighting", engaging in "battles", holding a "frontline", and so forth. They seem to remember, "war between Arabs and Israel", rather than an Israeli, "offensive against farmers and peasants". Each and everyone of them recalls the "Arab Salvation Army" telling them things like, "We have come in order to exterminate the Zionists and their state." They even say, "The Arab armies entered Palestine, along with the [Arab] Salvation Army." Here are some more testimonies:
The one who made us leave was the Jordanian Army, because there were going to be battles and we would get under their feet
— Fuad Khader, from Bir Ma'in, central Israel.
The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us, 'Get away from the frontline!'
– Anonymous, from Ein Karem, Jerusalem.
Cars with megaphones roamed the streets demanding that people leave so the fighting would succeed. They called us in Arabic to leave our homes. We, the Palestinians, the fighters, want to fight, and don't want you to impede us. so we ask you to leave the city [Jaffa] immediately. All of us... left any way we could. We went to the port and boarded a ship.
– Former Jordanian MP, Tala Abu Ghazaleh, from Jaffa, central Israel.
We heard sounds of explosions and gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the Nakba . We were told that the Jews attacked our region and it is better to evacuate the village and return when the battle is over,
— Asma Jabir Balasimah, from Kafr Saba, central Israel.
Our [Arab] district officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdal is a traitor. The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this.
– Head of Islamic Movement in Israel, Ibrahim Sarsur, whose grandfather was from Majdal, southern Israel.
The Arab armies entered Palestine, along with the [Arab] Salvation Army. ...We and those who fled with us... headed for Lebanon
— Sadek Mufid, from Dir Al-Qasi, northern Israel.
In the Palestinian Nakba, the first war between Arabs and Israel had started, and the Arab Salvation Army told the Palestinians: 'We have come in order to exterminate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages,
— Jawad Al-Bashiti,
You [Arab] leaders are still searching for ways to provide aid ...like the armies of your predecessors in 1948 who forced us to emigrate on the pretext of clearing the battlefield of civilians,
— PA daily columnist, Fuad Abu Hajla.
When news reached us that the Jews were nearing our village, the Arab [Salvation] Army came and said, 'Leave the village so it won't happen to you like, Deir Yassin. They slaughter, and do things.' They said, 'Leave, but don't go far from the village.'
— Ali Muhammad Karake, from Allar, central Israel.
The truth is that the Jews brought a mediator to us, a person we knew and who knew us. They gave us choices. The first was that you hand over your weapons and stay on your land and live the way you live. The second choice was that you leave if you don't hand over [your weapons]. If you don't want to leave and go away, prepare yourselves for battle. All three were hard... For me, handing over my rifle at that time [was] actually like handing over my wife.
— Abu Muhammad 'Amara.
Now comes the crux of the matter. In Ridley Scott's 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven, the kings and barons of the Latin Christians of the Levant, together with the leaders of their armies, debated whether to ride out and attack Salah ad-Din. In a rowdy scene, anyone who suggested, even for very sound, practical reasons, that the Christian armies would be defeated, was immediately and roundly condemned as a blasphemer. The Christians rode out with great conviction straight into the Battle of Hattin, and the rest, as they say, is history.
More important than what Yasir Qadhi wants you to know is what he does not want you to know.
At Israel's independence in 1948, five Arab armies immediately invaded the country. The Arab Salvation Army, a.k.a. the "Arab Liberation Army," a Syrian proxy force formed to give Syria the edge over Egypt and especially over Jordan, all three wanting to annex large parts of Palestine when the British departed, had already been active inside Palestine before Israel declared independence. Now it took to harassing Arabs to leave Palestine. Why? How many Muslims were sceptical about the "back in a few days" promises of the Arab leaders and the invading Arab armies? How many Muslims wondered about the ALA's ability to defeat the Jews, given their abysmal record of defeats till then.
Certainly, there were Arabs who had reason to fear the Jews, especially in places where Arabs had massacred Jews in 1920-21 and in 1929. But it seems from the old people interviewed that many were reluctant to leave, and only did so after threats of condemnations as traitors, or being scared with ALA horror stories that the Jews "slaughter, and do things," — "do things" meaning rape. There remains a great deal still to be uncovered. Whatever the true story finally turns out to be, what is certain is that it will bear little resemblance to the narrative that Yasir Qadhi is building for you. But the more numerous the people who believe him, the more sahih his narration becomes. And that's all he needs, for now.
When a conflict between Muslims and the kufaar breaks out, you automatically support the Muslims, as is to be expected. But you go further than that. You equate anything less than complete belief in Muslim victory with wishing for Muslim defeat, and so you insist that the Muslims will be victorious, never considering whether this is actually possible or not. Every Muslim does this. The real Nakba, the real calamity, is the Muslim armies going to war on the basis of a delusion — Allah is with us, and no one can defeat Allah. The Muslim armies boasted that they would take Tel Aviv in two weeks. Such delusion they call loyalty. You, dear Muslim, suffer from this same delusion.
Yasir Qadhi relies on your accepting that when a Muslim says something, it is the truth. I think we might assume that each one of the Palestinians interviewed in this Palestinian video is a Muslim. This leaves you with a problem: either Yasir Qadhi is lying, or all these Muslims are lying. Which is it going to be? How will you decide? They cannot both be telling the truth. At least grant yourself that.
The Christians before the Battle of Hattin thought in the same way as you do, and it was easy to manipulate them into anything. The question here is not whether Yasir Qadhi is or is not telling the truth — he quite obviously is not — the Palestinians themselves, from his own chosen source, the 1948 interviews, are blasting huge holes in his Palestinian narrative. The important question is: why is he lying to you? What is he trying to get you to think or do? That is the point of propaganda.
You might have noticed that I have not touched on the massacre of Deir Yassin, or the massacre of Kfar Etzion, or any of the many other massacres. This is neither to deny, nor to trivialise these events. These tragedies are powerful and emotive, and lavishly exploited by all who can exploit them. To discuss them here would draw this course on propaganda into the rights and wrongs of either side, and dilute its focus. There is much that can be said on that topic and my views may be deduced from the general thrust of this website.
Things to think about, or to discuss with other Muslims:
Yasir Qadhi is lying to you for the same reason that the Arab rulers and Arab armies lied to the Arabs in Israel in 1948. What do you say to that?