The Khaybar Chant and the Gaza flotilla

The Khaybar Chant and the Gaza flotilla

In these days, the Israel Defense Force’s fatal engagement with Islamists on the Marmara has been drawing intense criticism from far and wide.

However of particular interest to me was an Al-Jazeera report on the flotilla, showing interviews with an international collection of Muslim radicals on one of the boats.

The report, posted on YouTube, includes a scene of a group of Muslim men sitting around on board and cheerfully punching their fists in the air as they recite the popular Arabic chant (starts at O:57):

Khaybar, Khaybar ya Yahud, jaish Muhammad sa ya ‘ud
‘Remember Khaybar, O Jews, Muhammad’s army will return!’

The video can be viewed here:

This same chant was also recited during a Muslim demonstration outside the Danish embassy on February 3, 2006.  One of the protestors shouted to the embassy:

You have declared war against Allah and his prophet. Take lesson of Theo Van Gogh! Take lesson of the Jews of Khaybar! Take lessons from the examples that you can see! For you will pay with your blood!

Likewise, when Amrozi, the smiling Bali bomber, entered the courtroom
on August 7, 2003, the day of his sentencing, he invoked this same chant, crying out:

Jews, remember Khaybar. The armies of Muhammad are coming back to defeat you.

It is indeed good to remember Khaybar.

In my Quadrant article Remembering Khaybar, I described the significance of this reference to Muhammad’s second victory over People of the Book (the first was the genocide of the Qurayza Jews in Medina) when the forces of Islam defeated the Jews living at the oasis of Khaybar, enslaving many and subjecting the rest to a dhimma pact of surrender. At Khaybar the first dhimmis were created, and institution of the dhimma was inaugurated, which came to determine the fate of millions of non-Muslims who have lived under Muslim rule.

The Khaybar chant celebrates the goal of reducing the Jews to the status of dhimmis living under Sharia rule. It is a war cry which summarizes the stated intention of Palestinian radical Muslims.

This was no humanitarian mission devoted to helping the people of Gaza, but the ‘army of Muhammad’ reciting chants as it psyched itself for jihad against the Jews.

Mark Durie is the founding director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Senior Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at the Melbourne School of Theology.

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