Just as Christians may enjoy special holiday television shows during the Christmas season, Middle Eastern television produces specials for Muslim families during Ramadan. This year’s family entertainment includes a mini-series called Khaibar produced by a Qatari company. The series refers to the Muslim conquest of the Jews in the Khaibar in 628AD.
MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) revealed a trailer for the series consisting of interviews with several of the actors that gives a sense of the tone of the mini-series. When describing the events the series was portraying, one actor said, “He [Muhammad] allowed them [the Jews] to live there as citizens and extended his hand in cooperation but this was met by treachery and conspiracies. The only language they understood was the language of force.”
Khaibar was a strategic victory for Muhammad. The village was a fertile oasis in the Arabian Desert populated by Jews. When Muhammad conquered the village, the Jewish population living there negotiated surrender. Under the conditions of the surrender the land now belonged to the Muslims, but the Jews could remain and work the land and continue to practice their faith as long as they paid 50% of their harvest to the Muslims. This set the precedent for dhimmitude (lower status) and paying the jizya (protection tax).
The protection of the Jews in Khaibar only lasted about 12 years. In 640AD Umar, the second Muslim caliph (ruler) cleansed the entire region of non-Muslims in order to fulfill Muhammad’s dying wish that “two religions shall not remain together in the peninsula of the Arabs.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) monitors media in the Middle East. The group reports Ramadan television specials are “rife with anti-Semitic themes and expressions of hatred for Israel.” Anti-Semitism is a common theme in Muslim media, but the amount increases during Ramadan when there is an increased audience. ADL director, Abe Foxman sums up the goal of shows like Khaibar, “The uprisings in the Arab and Muslim world have revealed a hunger among much of the Middle East for democracy, accountability and the development of effective civil and pluralistic society…Khaibar and other productions of its ilk represent the old detrimental approach of promoting Muslim societal unity through focusing hatred on Jews and Israel.”
Arabs and Muslims are seeking freedom; pray that they will see that true freedom only comes through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Many churches across the West do not realize the root of anti-Semitism in the Middle East began when Jewish tribes in Medina rejected Muhammad’s message. Pray their eyes will be open to truth.
Pray that the love of God will be so overwhelming for Muslims across the world that any hatred they may feel toward Israel or the Jewish people will simply melt away.