- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2002

If you want to know why, despite the New York Times and its columnist Thomas Friedman, peace in the Middle East is impossible, let me refer you to articles published March 10 and 12 in the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh under the title "Jews Use Teenagers' Blood for 'Purim' Pastries."
The author of this blood libel is not your average Jew-hating Saudi. He is not only a columnist, he is an academic: Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Faisal University in Al-Dammam. So while the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz-al-Saud, is whispering sweet nothings into Mr. Friedman's trembling ear, the Arab press is telling its readers under a headline: "Special Ingredient For Jewish Holidays is Human Blood From Non-Jewish Youth."
Mr. Umayma is full of regrets for the horrible story he is going to narrate about the "dangerous customs" of the Jewish holiday of Purim and, he says, "I apologize if any reader is harmed because of this." Good man. And then he describes how "the Jew must prepare very special pastries, the filling of which is not only costly and rare it cannot be found at all on the local and international markets." These sanguinary pastries he is describing are called by Jews "haman taschen" filled usually with prune butter. They symbolize the miraculous rescue in Biblical times of the Persian Jews from Haman, a forerunner of Mr. Umayama, who writes: "Unfortunately, this filling cannot be left out, or substituted with any alternative serving the same purpose. For this holiday, the Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries. In other words, the practice cannot be carried out as required if human blood is not spilled!!"
In the second part of the article (March 12), the columnist tells the story of the Book of Esther and concludes, "Since then, the Old Testament, the Jewish holy book, requires the Jews to glorify this holiday and show their joy. This joy can only be complete with the consumption of pastries mixed with human blood."
As a scholar Mr. Umayma tells his readers that what he is revealing is "a well-established fact, historically and legally, all throughout history." During this holiday, he says, "the Jews wear carnival-style masks and costumes and overindulge in drinking alcohol, prostitution and adultery." And now comes the "how to" part of his article, "How the Jews Drain the Blood From Their Young Victims." As I read this article about what Mr. Umayma calls "the Jewish vampires," I wondered to myself how can the Saudi crown prince even be thinking of making peace with a people whom the Saudi government's own newspaper accuses of killing by the foulest torture "a mature adolescent who is, of course, a non-Jew that is, a Christian or a Muslim. His blood is taken and dried into granules. The cleric blends these granules into the pastry dough; they can also be saved for the next holiday. In contrast, for the Passover slaughtering, about which I intend to write one of these days, the blood of Christian and Muslim children under the age of 10 must be used, and the cleric can mix the blood [into the dough] before or after dehydration." Is it possible that Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz-al-Saud believes in freedom of the press and hesitates to interfere with Mr. Umayma's right to freedom of expression? And is it possible that Mr. Umayma himself believes in this blood libel?
His description of how the "Jewish Vampires" supposedly butcher young adolescents is sickening, and the gory details simply cannot be published other than in a journal devoted to the joys of sado-masochism or, obviously, in a Saudi newspaper. (The full text can be read at a web site, www.memri.org, which stands for the Middle East Media Research Institute, an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East.)
Al-Riyadh isn't the only Middle East Muslim publication that publishes this hate-filled filth. The Egyptian press has published and republished the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a forgery concocted a century ago by the Russian czar's secret police and still circulating in the Middle East. Yasser Arafat's wife has publicly accused the Israelis of poisoning the well water from which Palestinians drink. And, of course, the United States is a major target, too.
To get the real flavor of Islam's hatred of the West, I recommend a reading of MEMRI's translation (No. 296) from the web site of Egypt's Al-Azhar University, which posts anti-American statements made by the university's clerics and professors pertaining to the U.S. war against terrorism. One fact is clear: There are no "moderate" Muslims in the Middle East's leading university.
I wonder what Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is up to when he talks with the White House about peace in the Middle East while Egyptian clerics and media publish the most scurrilous rubbish about the United States. Is Mr. Mubarak another believer in freedom of the press and religion?
Here is a taste of what is being said about the war in Afghanistan by Abd Al-Azim Al-Mut'ani, one of the principal Al-Azhar clerics: "This war is a criminal attack, genuinely similar to the first Crusader wars, which the West waged in the Middle Ages under the rallying cry of defending the Christian pilgrims, when their actual target was Islam and the Muslims. Now, the U.S. has declared a war on Afghanistan, under the rallying cry of fighting terrorism, when the actual goal is to harm Islam and to wipe it off the face of the Earth."
I wonder if the next time Thomas Friedman interviews the Saudi crown prince or Mr. Mubarak whether he would have the temerity to ask them about this garbage published and broadcast by the Arab media?

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