Jim Wagner
Islam’s conversion of the Jews
By Jim Wagner
May 8, 2024

Current rioting at our major universities draws our attention once again to the perennial conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors. But more ominously, it reveals that college-indoctrinated young Americans have adopted the Antisemitism of a time and place we long thought the world would “never forget.” These young people now chant the mantra of a culture of hate we rightly imagined would remain forever foreign. But they did not invent this hatred. We have imported it for them. Recent polling suggests that a vast majority of Levantine and Maghrebi Muslims support a policy of driving Israel’s Jews “from the river to the sea,” (i.e. exterminating them). But, one might ask, was this always so? Or is it only an immediate reaction to the “oppression” Jews in the region have allegedly been inflicting upon the so called “Palestinian” Arabs in Gaza?

More than ten centuries ago, when Muslim armies began to invade and occupy the formerly Christian regions of North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Persia, Byzantium and a host of other lands, 97% of the world’s Jews fell within the broad classification of Sephardic. That term is an ethnic designation which incorporates several Jewish subgroups, including even one in India. What the Sephardic Jews held in common was that nearly all of them lived within Islamic or soon-to-be Islamic regions. By contrast, only 3% of the world’s Jews at that time were ethnically Ashkenazi, the classification of Jews who coincidentally lived entirely within the Christian regions of Europe.

Bear in mind that this was before the pogroms and the dreaded Inquisition for which Western Christianity must continually apologize. But here is a curious fact. After 1000 years, at the commencement of the Holocaust in 1940, the Ashkenazi population of Europe had grown to comprise 92% of all the worlds Jews. By contrast, during that same period the Sephardim of Islamic regions had been reduced to only 8% of world Jewry. How did these demographic figures come to be so dramatically reversed? What happened, one is tempted to ask, to the vast numbers of Jews who, we are assured, once lived contentedly under The Religion of Peace?

You may be surprised to learn where most of the remaining Sephardic Jews were to be found in 1940. They were living in Spain and Portugal, and southern France, where they had arrived in the Ninth Century with the Moors, who were themselves captive Berbers (in many cases Christian captives), carried along as conscripts of invading Arab armies. In other words, Sephardic Jews survived in significant numbers primarily within the one region of Islamic domination that ultimately returned to Christianity.

Surprising as this may seem, the ancestors of most of the world’s remaining Sephardic Jews freely chose to stay within Christian Iberia rather than return to Africa with the Moors when the latter were expelled in 1492. After a Christian “Reconquista” lasting five centuries, Jews were given the choice of converting to Christianity or emigrating from Spain, and vast numbers chose to convert—though many admittedly did so under coercion. Still, the demographic record suggests this was a wise choice because those Jews who returned to North Africa have left startlingly few descendants.

Some of the Jews who remained in Spain covertly continued to practice Judaism. As such these “secret Seders” were seen by the authorities of the new and fragile Spanish state as subversive. For that matter, some of them had sided with the Islamic invaders. The Inquisition was instituted in part to seek these out. No one denies that the Inquisition was at times brutal and harsh. But it does not compare with the historical treatment of infidels at the hands of Muslims.

For example, in a campaign that lasted five centuries, Islamic armies gleefully killed an estimated sixty million Indians. On documented occasions several hundred thousand Hindu prisoners were put to death at one time, and during one period festivals were held whenever more than fifty thousand were killed in a single day. Freakish torments unnecessary to recount were devised for the Hindus in particular, who were given no opportunity to convert because they were not “People of the Book.” (A detailed if gruesome accounting of these and comparable events can be found in The Legacy of Jihad, a compendium of Islamic documents translated and edited by Andrew Bostom, Prometheus Books, 2005. If the Muslim writers exaggerated, they did so with manifest pride.)

The Romani (Gypsies) of Europe, it should be noted, are refugees from this barbaric persecution. The Islamic occupation of India lasted for five additional centuries before it was curtailed by the British, and that occupation was sometimes as bloody as the jihadi invasion itself. From this perspective, the Spanish treatment of the Jews does not seem to have been an extreme persecution. In any case, the Spanish Inquisition was a civil institution and the action taken against “judios escondidos” or Marranos, as they were called, was fundamentally a political rather than a racial or religious purge. The Islamic slaughter of the Hindus was by contrast specifically religious in character. And it is but one example of hundreds or perhaps thousands of Islamic purges which, though numerically less extensive than that applied to Hindus, were equally grotesque and appalling.

Even after the Holocaust, with the loss of six million European Jews, 80% of the world’s remaining Jewish population was Ashkenazi—that is to say – European. So, one might ask, what has become of all the Sephardic Jews who historically lived under Islam? In countries like Syria, Egypt and many others, the number of remaining Jews, once in the hundreds of thousands, can now be counted by handfuls. By way of illustration, in 1932 there were 120,000 Jews living in Iraq. Of the three score Jewish souls now reported to remain in that country as of 2011, (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/iraqijews.html ), only a handful were young enough to reproduce. And yet these Iraqi Jews trace their ancestry to the Babylonian Captivity some twenty-five centuries ago. Similar tragic stories can be found across the Muslim world, from the Nile to Mesopotamia and from Gibraltar to the Adriatic.

Today, DNA studies have revealed that 20% of the people living on the Iberian Peninsula have at least one Sephardic ancestor. Yet no one was even aware of this fact until very recent advances in the study of genetics. So how severe could the prejudice against Jews in Spain have been, when one in every five Spaniards today shares DNA with them? Similar studies show that an even higher percentage of Mexicans with Hispanic blood also carry Sephardic DNA. This is because many Spanish Jews were recruited to join colonial expeditions to Mexico in the century after Columbus. Yet again, no one seems to have realized this. Parallel genetic research has revealed that many common Mexican names such as Rodriguez, Lopez, Diaz, Gomez, and Juarez are of Sephardic Jewish origin. (The Jews of Colonial Mexico, Seymour B. Liebman, Duke University Press, 1963.) There are no longer significant numbers of Sephardim to be found anywhere else in the world, other than in those regions once or presently dominated by Christian Portugal and Spain.

So, while Western Christianity was supposedly persecuting Jews as a relentless obsession, Jewish populations within Christian regions increased from a few thousand to more than thirteen million. (From mitochondrial DNA research it has been determined that all of the Ashkenazi Jews trace to fewer than 160 women; 40% of them trace to just four women who lived along the Eastern Mediterranean in the First Century A.D. Y chromosome studies of male lines tell the same story.) Meanwhile, the once populous Jews of the vast and disparate Muslim regions where, we are continually assured, they flourished under great toleration, have somehow (and I mean this literally) evaporated.

But is it even conceivable that Jews were exterminated en masse across Islam over many centuries, including during that period in which the so-called “Golden Age” of Islam is said to have taken place? Well known Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis calls that Golden Age of Jewish liberation a “myth.” He maintains that the trope was concocted in the 19th Century as a cudgel to induce more sympathetic treatment of Jews in the West—an understandable goal. And yet if Jews were exterminated wholesale by Mohammedans in that time and place, wouldn’t we have known of it? Perhaps not! One and-one half million Christian Armenians were slaughtered by Islamic Turks under the Ottoman Empire a mere 100 years ago, and almost no one remembers that genocide, despite the fact that renowned historian Arnold Toynbee documented it in an excruciatingly detailed contemporary account. (Armenian Atrocities, the Murder of a Nation, 1915.)

Indeed, the “Religion of Peace” was weaned on antisemitism. The first militant act by The Perfect Man, after he had subdued local Arab competition, was a war of extermination against the Jewish tribes of Medina. By violating a flag of truce, Muhamad was successful in this ambition, and he personally beheaded many of the captives. The details of his enslavement and slaughter of the now extinct Qurayzah Jews are amply documented in Islamic sources. To be fair, some of the more attractive women were spared for purposes perhaps too indelicate to mention, or to be sold in exchange for horses and weapons. But you get the picture. One of these women, Rayhana, the daughter of one such slaughtered Jewish prisoner, was taken by Muhammad himself as a concubine.

All of this was done, it might be noted, with Allah’s explicit approval. Scholar and missionary to Egypt William Gairdner, relying exclusively on Islamic sources, translates one account as stating that “Allah has commanded you (Muhamad) to give this judgment” (of condemnation and extermination) against the Jews. One Farsi text sums all this up rather succinctly. At the conclusion of this massacre the participating Muslims “celebrated and enjoyed the beautiful women.” According to Muslim sources, the spared daughter Rayhana gratefully entertained Muhamad with a meal of poisoned lamb, three years subsequent to which he died as a result.

If the demographic record outlined above tells us anything, it is that for this offense against “the Perfect Man” the followers of the Prophet continue to exact a thorough and relentless revenge against the Jews. And today they are abetted in this by a shameful number of young Americans.

© Jim Wagner


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Jim Wagner

Jim Wagner is a retired businessman and freelance writer. His degree is in Psychology with a minor in English from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where he lived, worked, farmed and studied for nine years after his repudiation of the Vietnam War... (more)


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