Search the Site:
search tips / sitemap
Click for Related Articles

Throwing Stones at Jews is based in Ancient Islamic Ritual

During the Hajj pilgrimage there is a ritual in which pilgrims stone a pillar symbolising the devil near the holy city of Mecca.

Islamic sermons repeatedly emphasize the connection between the Jews and Satan.  What is the proper way to deal with an insolent Jew?  To throw stones.

Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmoud, rector of Cairo’s al-Ashar University, theologically and politically the most influential university in Islamdom: “Allah commands Moslems to fight the friends of Satan wherever they are to be found.  Among the friends of Satan—indeed, among the foremost friends of Satan in the present age—are the Jews.”1

Just after the turn of the present century, the British vice-consul in Mosul wrote a report that illustrated the nature of the "traditional relationship" between Muslim and Jew in a less volatile moment:

The attitude of the Moslems toward the Christians and Jews, to whom as stated above, they are in a majority of ten to one, is that of a master towards slaves whom he treats with a certain lordly tolerance so long as they keep their place. Any sign of pretension to equality is promptly repressed. It is often noticed in the streets that almost any Christian submissively makes way even for a Moslem child. Only a few days ago the writer saw two respectable looking, middle-aged Jews walking in a garden. A small Moslem boy, who could not have been more than 8 years old, passed by and, as he did so, picked up a large stone and threw it at them -- and then another -- with the utmost nonchalance, just as a small boy elsewhere might aim at a dog or bird. The Jews stopped and avoided the aim, which was a good one, but made no further protest.2
Perhaps the definitive historian on the North African Jews, H. Z. Hirschberg, notes that in fifteenth-century Tunis, several Jews held "positions of honor." To a Western-oriented reader, the "position of honor" would indicate freedom from persecution. Yet an authenticated and respected document of that period, written by a visiting Flemish nobleman, describes Tunisian Jews as "despised and hated." After noting the privileged positions of local Christians, the nobleman wrote:
The Jews, on the other hand, have no freedom. They must all pay a heavy ... tax. They wear special clothes, different from those of the Moors. If they did not do so, they would be stoned, and they therefore put a yellow cloth on their heads or necks; their women dare not even wear shoes. They are much despised and hated, more than even the Latin Christians....3
A teacher was sent from Beirut in 1910 to assess the constant reports of travail for the Yemenite Jews. He noted that, after
more than a week, I have made myself acquainted with the life of the Jews in all its phases.... They are exceedingly unfortunate.... If they are abused, they listen in silence as though they had not understood; if they are attacked by an Arab boy with stones, they flee...4
According to nineteenth-century historians, some Jewish families in Aleppo -which, like Alexandria, was an atypically tolerant cosmopolitan center of international commerce -- were affluent and relatively safe. Others, even in Aleppo, who were less well-connected were "subject to violence and oppression from various quarters.".5  Money was extorted by officials on every pretext, petty bullying was commonplace, and one Jew reported that "When a Jew walked among them [the Muslims] in the market, one would throw a stone at him in order to kill him, another would pull his beard and a third his ear lock, yet another spit on his face and he became a symbol of abuse."".6

1. Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmoud as quoted by Prof Paul Eidelberg, in "PLO Terrorism and the Grand Strategy", Palestinian Media Watch, March 12, 2001

2.Lewis, Islam in History, p. 319, n. 9. Lewis gives an illustration of the "traditional relationship" between Muslim and Jew from a report by H.E. Wilkie Young, the British Vice-Consul in Mosul, written January 1909, Middle Eastern Studies, vii (1971), p. 232.

3. Ansehn Adome, a Flemish nobleman, visited Tunis in 1470. R. Brunschvig, Deux k I Ricits de Voyage Inidits en Aftique du Nord (Paris, 19 36), p. 29b/ 15 8, p. 192; cited by Hirschberg, History, pp. 475-476.

4. Reported by Yomtov Zemach, Bulletin de I'Alliance Israelite Universelle, 1910, Beirut.

5. See E.B.B. Barker, Syria and Egypt Under the Last Five Sultans of Turkey (London, 1876), vol. I, p. 306; H.L. Bodman, Political Factions in Aleppo, 1760-1826 (North Carolina, 1963), pp. 45, 48,102; Ma'oz, "Change, in the Position," Studies on Palestine, pp. 145-146,

6. M.M. Raysher, Shaarei Yerushalayim (Lemberg, 1866), p. 29. on extortion, see Ma'oz, "Changes in the Position," Studies on Palestine, pp. 145-156.

This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst 
Brooklyn, New York 
E-mail to a friend

Source: "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters, 1984
SPECIAL OFFER Purchase this national bestseller available at WorldNetDaily

Stark truth about Mideast history
Get Joan Peters' milestone book on origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict


Portions Copyright © 1984 Joan Peters, Portions Copyright © 2001 Joseph Katz
All Rights Reserved