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“Itbah al Yahud!” or “Khaybar ya Yahood!”?

Noor Rashid, the Oxford student who shouted “Itbah al Yahud!” (Slaughter the Jews) is now claiming that he used a different expression, “Khaybar ya Yahud” (Remember Khaybar, Jew). Maybe he did, but the question is, does it make any difference? To understand the answer to that, you have to learn a little of the history about Islam’s rise to power in the first half of the seventh century.
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Slaughter the Jews call ‘misunderstood’
By Jonny Paul

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Oxford student says he referred to Battle of Khaybar, not killing Jews.

LONDON – The Oxford student who shouted “slaughter the Jews” in Arabic at Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon during his talk at the university last week says his remark was misunderstood.

The Oxford Student newspaper named the student as sophomore Noor Rashid and said that Rashid claimed he used a classical Arabic chant “Khaybar ya Yahod” which commemorates a seventh-century battle between Arabs and Jews.

The battle of Khaybar was an attack launched by the prophet Muhammad in 629. It led to the defeat of the Jewish community in the Arabian peninsula, forcing the Jews to pay half their income to the Muslim victors.

“My version went: ‘Khaybar, O Jews, we will win.’ This is in classical, Koranic Arabic and I doubt that apart from picking up on the word ‘Jew,’ that even the Arabic speakers in the room would have understood the phrase,” Rashid told The Oxford Student.

“As you can see, I made no reference to killing Jews,” he said, adding that the remark had “absolutely no derogatory or secondary meanings.”

Rashid – who on his Facebook page is a “fan” of Abdul Rahman al-Sudais – the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca – and veteran anti-Israel activist British MP George Galloway – claimed in the article that “Jew” and “Israel” were interchangeable terms and that he had been misunderstood.

Sudais has publicly prayed to God to “terminate” the Jews, and as a result has been barred from conferences in America, and been refused entry to Canada. In 2002, in a sermon, Sudais called the Jews “monkeys and pigs.” He was listed as an example of theological anti-Semitism by the Anti-Defamation League, when he called curses down upon Jews and labeled them the “scum of the earth” in his sermons.

Rashid said, “There was a great deal of confusion and several people were shouting at the same time so I do acknowledge that people may have misheard me and assume that I uttered something else – namely to “slaughter the Jews,” which is something that I do not believe.

“I express the deepest regret if my remarks were misunderstood or misheard to mean anything that even comes close to encouraging the slaughter of innocents. I will be writing letters to all my Jewish friends to express my sincere apologies, and also to clarify my remarks,” Rashid added.

Thames Valley Police are investigating the verbal attack on Ayalon and said they were taking the matter “very seriously.”

“We have received an allegation of racial abuse that happened whilst the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, was giving a speech within the student union on Monday, February 8,” Detective Chief Inspector Colin Paine said in a statement on Friday.

“We take reports of this nature very seriously and are working closely with staff at the university to carry out a full and thorough investigation. Everyone has a right to express their political views, but not to express racial hatred.”

The police also said that a protester had thrown himself in front of Ayalon’s car after the event.

“On the same night, at around 8:53 p.m., some members of the Israeli ministerial staff, were leaving the venue and driving along New Inn Hall Street [in Oxford] when a male protester moved in front of the car and appears to have made contact with it.

“The car was driving slowly and the man sustained minor bruising and grazes. Fortunately, the whole incident was captured on CCTV which I have viewed and can confirm that no offenses have been committed by the car driver,” he said.

Oxford University has promised a full enquiry once the police have concluded their investigation and the university’s student union condemned the “anti-Semitic remark,” saying it will take disciplinary measures against Rashid.

Ayalon received a hostile reception at last Monday’s event at the university and was heckled throughout his talk with accusations of “war crimes” and racism by protesters. Another student carrying a Palestinian flag tried to approach the platform from which Ayalon was speaking and was ejected by security staff.
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The expression “Itbah al Yahud!” has been used in the Arab world before and during massacres of Jews for over a millennium to whip the crowds into frenzy and its meaning is quite plain. The term Noor Rashid claims to have used, “Khaybar, ya Yahud!” is more obscure and requires a bit of study to understand its meaning and significance.

Khaybar is an oasis located in what is now Saudi Arabia, about 150 km. to the north of Medina. In Mohammed’s time the people living in and around the oasis were Jews. For whatever reason (different historians give several reasons why Mohammed attacked Khaybar, some claiming the Khaybar Jews were acting against Mohammed, others saying it was an attempt to raise his standing after the treaty with the Quraysh (which was unpopular with many of his followers).

Whatever the true reason was, the result is plain: three quarters of the male fighters were killed, the remainder were forced to pay a “tax” of half their future produce to avoid expulsion. The remaining Jews were expelled from Khaybar 14 years later by the Caliph Umar.

The terms imposed upon the Khaybar Jews were the basis for future “Dhimmi Laws”, making non-Muslims second-class citizens in their own lands, subject to taxes, humiliation, discrimination in the eyes of the law and more. Considering the fact that during the fighting, three-quarters of the Jewish fighters were killed, the cry of “Khaybar ya Yahud!” is no less an incitement to slaughter Jews than is “Itbah al Yahud!”

Since that’s the case, it doesn’t really matter whether he shouted “Itbah al Yahud!” or “Khaybar ya Yahud!”—the meaning is the same. In other words, Noor Rashid is actually confirming what he said.

In trying to explain the “difference” in what he shouted, he only manages to dig himself into a deeper hole: “Rashid… claimed in the article that “Jew” and “Israel” were interchangeable terms and that he had been misunderstood.”

With this statement, Noor Rashid confirms that he himself does not differentiate between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. If “Jews” and “Israel” are one and the same for him, then it logically follows that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are also one and the same.

The only difference between Noor Rashid crying “Khaybar ya Yahud!” (or “Itbah al-Yahud!”) at a lecture by the Israeli deputy Foreign Minister and a Texas redneck shouting “Remember the Alamo!” at a meeting of Mexicans is that the former promises to re-create a past slaughter while the latter promises to avenge a past slaughter. Both are incitement to slaughter.

Will Oxford University take appropriate “disciplinary action” against Noor Rashid as the administration promised? Will they even take the time and make the effort to find out the real meaning of what Noor Rashid claims he shouted? Noor Rashid seems to be depending on the Oxford University administration’s ignorance of Islamic history and their laziness or reluctance to do some research. The only appropriate disciplinary action I can see for such incitement is expulsion, so I doubt that the university administration will do anything more than give Noor Rashid a slap on the wrist.

For some interesting insight on the meaning of the expression Rashid claims to have used (and the context it’s used in by others, including those whom Noor Rashid supports on his own Facebook page), take a look at these articles:

Battle of Khaybar

Khaybar, Khaybar

Read them, then decide whether or not Noor Rashid is guilty of incitement.

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