IsraPundit interviews Shaykh Prof Abdul Hadi Palazzi

IsraPundit interviews Shaykh Prof Abdul Hadi Palazzi


This post is devoted to an e-interview with Shaykh Prof Abdul Hadi Palazzi, the remarkable Italian-Moslem cleric, whose support for Israel has been the subject of many articles.

The object of the interview was to solicit Prof Palazzi's views on a variety of topics not covered elsewhere, ranging from the recent peace plans floated, to the Koranic passages which appear anti-Semitic.

In contrast to many published interviews, where Prof Palazzi's responses are paraphrased and quoted in third person, the text given here quotes Prof Palazzi's responses verbatim.

Biographical notes about Prof. Palazzi, as well as a selected list of links to relevant articles, are given at the end of the interview.

E-Interview with Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Director, Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community

IsraPundit: Professor Palazzi, from reading the web, IsraPundit readers are familiar with your biography, your writings and some of your views. We are, therefore, aware that you oppose terrorism, that you consider the Islamists' terrorism to be an aberration of Islam, and that you support Israel and her claim to Judea, Samaria and Gaza and Jerusalem.

Similarly, Your pronouncements against the Oslo Accords are well-known, and I assume that you also oppose the "Roadmap", which is even worse. However, I have been unable to find any statement to that effect. What is your position about the "Roadmap" and what would be your advice to the current government of Israel?

Prof Palazzi: My position is opposing every solution which involves the withdraw of Israel from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and the creation of a so-called "Palestinian state".

In my opinion, the area of Palestine is already divided into a Jewish Palestinian State (Israel) and an Arab Palestinian State (Jordan). Creating a third Palestinian state for the PLO in neither in the interest of Israel, nor in the interest of Jordan, and even less in the interests of those Arabs who would be compelled to live under that kind of barbaric regime. Moreover, accepting the creation of such a state would mean that terror works, and must be rewarded; it would represent a defeat of legality and an undue encouragement to terrorist groups.

I think that a valid alternative to both Oslo and the Road Map is the one proposed by the Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon: annexation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, while those Arabs who continue to live in those areas will be citizens of Jordan, administered by a local government.

IsraPundit: Some of us have a major problem with passages from the Koran and Hadith that are clearly anti-Jewish (and anti-Christian). Here are two examples of the many that are quoted.

The Koran, 5:52 states, " O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends of each other. And whoso among you takes them for friends is indeed one of them. Verily Allah guides not the unjust people.".

The second example is a quotation from Hadith, as given in Hamas' Charter: "The time [of resurrection] will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!".

My question is: How do you reconcile these passages with your views about Jews and Israel?

Prof Palazzi: As for the text of the Quranic verse, it's translation is simply wrong. Awliya' (tutors and protectors) in Arabic is different from asdiqa' (friends), and a correct translation is "O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for tutors. They are respectively tutors to each other. And whoso among you takes them for tutors is indeed one of them. Verily Allah guides not the unjust people".

The verse refer to a time when Islam was developing, and is an appeal to avoid considering it as a sort of sub-sect depending on Judaism or Christianity. "Do not take as tutors" means "Do not depend on them for your understanding of religion, for guidance in theology and ethics, etc." Apart from this, Islam surely does not forbid friendship between Muslims and non-Muslims, to the point that a Muslim man can take a Jewish or a Christian woman as his wife and mother of his children.

The Qur'an describes marriage as a relation of "intimate love and mercy" (mawaddah wa rahmah) and explains that this same relation can actually exist between a Muslim man and a Jewish or Christian woman. Were ordinary friendship with Jews and Christians forbidden, the Qur'an itself could never permit a relation of "intimate love and mercy" with those with whom friendship is not permissible.

As for the Hadith, it refers to the time when there existed an alliance between Jews and Muslims in Medina, and everything was giving the impression that that alliance was stable, and based on the need of a common defense against pagan Arabs. As the Hadith announces, that alliance was going to end, and actually, a few years after some Jewish tribes broke the alliance and sided with the pagan Arabs, they where defeated by the Muslims. By inserting that Hadith in its Charter, Hamas tried to de-contextualize the Hadith and to interpret it as containing a prescription of for fighting the Jews, while the Hadith itself contains no such prescription, but only a prophecy of what was going to happen.

IsraPundit Reading your works and interviews you have given to such outlets as WorldNetDaily, it seems at times that your voice is a lone Moslem voice in the wilderness. This contrasts sharply with the situation among Christians, where you can find a large body of Christian Zionists. How much of a following do your views about Israel have among Moslems the world over, and among the half-million Moslems in Italy?

Prof Palazzi: The situation is not ideal at all, and one must admit that in the Muslim world mosques, universities, Islamic schools, media, etc., are frequently under the total control of the Wahhabis, while Sunnis - who are until today the majority of the Muslims - have very limited resources.

The role played in the religious programs of al-Jazirah TV by Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the ideologue of suicide terrorism, made this situation even more dramatic. Originally the Sunni position, represented by the then Sharif of Mecca al-Hussein and later by his son, the late King Feisal of Hijaz and then of Iraq, was openly pro-Zionist, while the Wahhabi one was extremely anti-Zionist

Now the situation is such, that many of those who are Sunni from the point of view of belief, and consequently condemn terrorism and suicide bombing, are nevertheless reasoning like the Wahhabis for what concerns Israel and its relations with the Muslim world. This is especially true for the Arab world, while outside of it many Sunnis have preserved their original pro-Zionist stance.

I am fully aware that I am voicing a minority orientation, but do not feel so isolated as it could appear. The former President of Indonesia and leader of Nadwat al-Ulema (i.e. the leader of the main Islamic organization of the most populous Muslim country of the world), Shaykh Abdurrahman Wahid, is known for his pro-Israel stance, and was also invited to lecture in New York by the American Jewish Committee. The Mufti of Sierra Leone, Shaykh Ahmad Sillah, is also pro-Israel, and so are the Grand Mufti of the Russian Federation, Shaykh Tajuddin, and the Mufti of European Russia, Shaykh Salman Farid, who wrote a fatwa against the intifadah. Same can be said about the Muftis of Chechnya, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

IsraPundit: An article published in 2001, described you as a "Muslim Zionist". Is this description appropriate, and if so, in what sense?

Prof Palazzi: If by "Muslim Zionist" one means a Muslim who supports the right of the Jewish people to have their own independent and sovereign State, who is solidly behind the State of Israel when it is attacked by terror and when its existence in menaced, who thinks that developing friendly relations between the Muslim nations and the State of Israel is in the interest of the Muslims and of human civilization in general, then I think that the label of Muslim Zionist is appropriate.

IsraPundit: In one interview, you mentioned death threats made against you. Has this form of intimidation ceased?

Prof Palazzi: I have received harsh criticism, insults and even attempts of character assassination, but no threat which can be taken seriously. Most of those attacks do not come from Muslims, but from Italian left-wing or right-wing extremists. In almost one case, I have proof that one the persons who seems interested in circulating about myself the most absurd lies is actually supported by the Italian branch of the "Muslim Brotherhood" sect.

IsraPundit You are listed in the directory of Root and Branch (R&B;) as the Italian member of the International Council of R&B.; Over the last while, however, I have not seen any R&B; activity
at all. Is this organization still active? And can you tell us what R&B; has achieved in general, and what the Italian chapter has achieved in particular?

Prof Palazzi: The Root & Branch Association is based in Jerusalem, and has no Italian chapter. One can subscribe to the Root & Branch Information Service by sending a request to:

Root & Branch is very active, and its main activity is represented by the series of Conferences and public talks which are held in Jerusalem at the Israel Center (22 Keren HaYesod Street). The recent lecture by Mr. John Loftus, Esq., on "America's Secret Plans for Israel: What the United States intends for Israel and the Middle East over the next two Years" (October 18), saw an extraordinary public participation. The Fourth Conference on the Rabin Assassination was also successful.

IsraPundit: European governments (as well as in my own Canadian government) treat Israel with nothing but hostility. What, in your view, can average citizens like IsraPundit's readers do to
reverse this sad situation?

Prof Palazzi: The same situation characterized Italy for a long period, too. Intellectuals, media operators, academics were almost unanimously supporting the PLO and blaming Israel from every possible point of view. The election of Berlusconi as Prime Minister and the defeat of the left, to a certain extent reversed the situation, and convinced people that one should not be afraid to voice opinions which are not "politically correct". On April 15, 2003, our Institute, the Italian Muslim Association, another Jewish Association, and the Italy-Israel Fellowship organized in Rome an "Israel Day", a demonstration in support of Israel and of her struggle against terror. See:

That initiative changed a general perception: demonstrating in support of Israel was possible, and the reaction of the public opinion was good. If intellectuals are so fond of the PLO, this is not the attitude of the majority of the Italian population, a population which remembers very well the carnage at Fiumicino Airport, the hijacking of the Achille Lauro ship and the terror attack against the Rome synagogue. It was the first time that a pro-Israel demonstration took place in Italy with the participation of many local administrators and members of the Parliament.

After that, the political change was also effective in the field of media, and State TV ceased being an exclusive fiefdom of the left, as they have been during the last years. It was now possible to deal in TV with Stalin's and Mao's crimes (and not only with Hitler's crimes), and it was also possible to deal with the PLO from an objective point of view. Images of how children in PLO schools are trained to play with plastic arms and dressed as suicide bombers shocked the public, and people started asking why the European Union is funding PLO and its schools.

Presently I am working as a consultant in a TV program, and we are going to deal with antisemitism in the contemporary Arab world, and to show some excerpts from the Egyptian antisemitic soap opera "Knight Without a Horse".

I believe other European countries and Canada can take the example of Italy in promoting a general change of attitude.

IsraPundit: The author of an article entitled "The Koran On Jews' Right To Land" (Feb 19, 2001), based his work on an interview with you. In this interview you described the influence of Wahhabism and the Saudi money that propels it throughout the world. Since the publication of the article, the world has experience 9-11 as well as endless terrorist acts perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists. Do you see any progress at all in curbing the Wahhabi influence since 9-11? What in your view needs to be done?

Prof Palazzi: I see some progress, which is nevertheless diminished by some other developments. Some leaders of the pro-terror lobby in the U.S. are in jail, some of their organizations are outlawed, and some of their funds are confiscated. Exponents of those same organizations are no longer invited to the White House as honor guests, etc. That is positive, but surely not enough.

One cannot forget that after 9/11 President Bush invited Saudi crown prince `Abdullah to his ranch in Texas, and told him, "You are our ally in the struggle against terror." Now, that man is - from the very beginning - the real mastermind behind al-Qa'idah, and the one who used al-Qa'idah to hospitalize King Fahd and to become the de facto ruler of the country. That is like inviting the Emperor of Japan after Pearl Harbor, and telling him, "You are our ally in the struggle against Nazi-Fascism."

The relatives of the victims of 9/11 sued three members of the House of Sa`ud for damages, and the State Department tried to create obstacles. While many Taliban are held in Guantanamo, 50 members of the Bin Laden families who were in the United States on 9/11 were on the contrary immediately sent back to Saudi Arabia, in order to prevent investigations. Taking into account that many of those people were in the U.S. as businessman for investments, a U.S. court could surely benefit from questioning them about the level of involvement of the Bin Laden family within the U.S. economy. Those people surely knew about their relative more than most of the Taliban detained in Guantanamo, many of whom are only illiterate militiamen of a local tribal war between Tajiks and Pashtus.

A member of the Al Sa`ud family declared that he is not afraid of the recent developments since, "We control the West, but the West cannot control us". If one reflects on how the evident links between the Al Sa`ud family and al-Qa'idah were and still go on being passed over without scrutiny or public outcry, one must admit that unfortunately that claim is well founded.

I heartily support the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban, heartily support the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein, but am convinced that unless an urgent change of regime is realized in Saudi Arabia, winning the war against terror is totally impossible. One cannot win a war without attacking the headquarters of the enemy.

IsraPundit: As a Canadian, I am particularly interested in the following questions. In May of 2002, you travelled through Canada. Generally, did you find any differences between Canadian Moslems and US Moslems? Were you able to make any inroads among Canadian Muslims? Were you able to convince any of them to refrain from their consistent and strident anti-Israeli actions?

Prof Palazzi: My speaking tour of 2002 involved three cities (Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg) and lasted ten days only. Due to lectures, participation in TV and radio programs, and interviews with the media, the time left for meeting Muslims (and for meeting people in general) was very limited. In Toronto, I was able nevertheless to visit a mosque, participate in an Islamic meeting by the Municipal House, and have dinner with the imams of the local mosques. That was not enough to realize the difference between Muslims in Canada and in the United States.

I must say that most of the Muslims I met agree in considering terrorism and suicide bombing as forbidden by Islam, but nevertheless have a negative opinion about Israel. That last circumstance is not surprising, if one considers that the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) is the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and that mosques and Islamic centers which exist in Canada need the contributions of the CIC for their survival, and that both CAIR and the CIC consider anti-Israeli propaganda as one of their most important activities. CAIR and the CIC are local branches of the "Muslim Brotherhood", and the CIC openly denounce my speaking tour, and claimed that those Jewish organizations which had invited me were "playing with fire".

IsraPundit: Another question related to your Canadian tour. The "Ottawa Citizen", my home-town daily, included this paragraph in reviewing your tour (

"But John Esposito, author of Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam and a professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University in Washington, said Sheik Palazzi's Koran interpretations are "not credible." "I'm not too sure who, other than Palazzi, supports his position" that the Koran endorses Jerusalem as an Israeli-held capital, said Mr. Esposito, who is also editor of the Oxford History of Islam. "I understand why Jewish groups like him -- he's got a good product to sell -- but when you talk about top scholars on Islam, I've never heard his name mentioned."

Would you care to respond to this statement?

Prof Palazzi: First of all, I must say that Prof. John Esposito owes his academic prestige to his close relations to the Saudi-sponsored fundamentalist network is in the United States, and that the Department of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University is a known center of pro-Saudi academics. That is one of the reasons why Prof. Esposito is inclined to exaggerate the credentials of fundamentalist scholars, and to denigrate those Islamic scholars who voice an opposite point of view.

Dr. Khalid Duran of the Ibn Khaldun Institute, who abides by a point a view which is anti-fundamentalist, but different from my own, also attributes to Prof. Esposito the wall of silence with which the US academic world reacted to his sharp analysis of the structure of the Islamist movement in North America.

Apart from this, ShiaNews, the official Web site of the Shi'ite Community in Pakistan, republished an article of mine and considers me one of the "prominent scholars of Ahlul Sunnah". The International Islamic University of Tashkent translated some of my articles into Uzbek in order to use them as part of the courses for the local imams. The same Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs goes on inviting me to the Annual Meeting of Muslim scholars which is held in Mecca, and the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed also invited me to participate in the World Assembly of Muslim Scholars which was held in Putrajaya (July 2003), before the OIC Conference. I obviously do not accept Saudi invitations, exactly like I will not accept any more invitations coming from Dr. Mahathir, but those invitations were nevertheless received.

IsraPundit: In his book, "Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel", Prof. Paul Charles Merkley makes the point that the distinction between dar-al-harb and dar-al-Islam is fundamental to Islamic theology. From this distinction flows the assertion that "Islam forbids that there should ever be peace for Muslims so long as any part of Allah's world withholds submission. Reconciliation between dar-al-Islam and any part of dar-al-harb is not envisioned for the moment. A state of truce is permitted, so long as it is modelled on the ...Treaty of Khudaibiya". This would imply that there could never be peace between Israel and her Moslem neighbours.

What is your assessment of this claim?

Prof Palazzi: Dar al-Islam and dar al-harb are not related to Islamic theology, but to the history of Islamic jurisprudence. They are categories which the Islamic jurists of Middle Age conceived in order to describe the political situation of their time. One must also take the meaning those same jurists attributed to those categories.

"Dar al-Islam" means a territory which is ruled by a Caliph who ruled on the base of Islamic law, while "dar al-harb" means a territory wherein a Muslim cannot manifest publicly his religious identity without fear or persecution or forced conversion. One of those same jurists, Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi even theoretically conceived the existence of something which in his time was not common, i.e. dar as-sulh (also called dar ad-da`wah or dar al-islah), a territory which is not under the authority of a caliph, but wherein the religious freedom of the Muslims is not at stake.

In our time, due to the absence of a caliph - no part of the world is dar al-Islam in the legal sense, and limited areas (e.g. some parts of China) can be considered dar al-harb. Countries in which the right to be a Muslim and to practice Islam are protected by the law are included in the category of dar as-sulh, not of dar al-harb, and the rule for Muslims living in those conditions is abiding by the local law (principle of "obedience to the sultan"), except for local law which infringes on Islamic law. If living in one of these countries prevents a Muslim from abiding by Islamic law, he is nevertheless forbidden to rebel against the government or to cause sedition, but must migrate to another country where those negative conditions do not exist.

Of course, words can be used in the ordinary sense, and consequently dar al-Islam - in its non-legal and ordinary sense - can simply mean a country which is inhabited by many Muslims, exactly like dar al-harb can mean an area where wars are frequent. The ordinary language, however, is always distinct from the specific use of words in Islamic law. Consequently, the idea that "A state of truce is permitted, so long as it is modelled on the ... Treaty of Hudaibiya" is baseless. The treaty of Hudaybiyyah was temporary since it was a treaty between idol-worshippers and Muslims, and cleaning Arabia from idolatry was a basic duty of Islam. After that, no jurist objected to the circumstance that a Muslim state like the Ottoman Empire ratified permanent peace treaties with countries where Muslims were not persecuted, or that the Ottoman Sultan - who was also the Caliph - exchanged ambassadors with States in peace with the Islamic State.

IsraPundit: Thank you for your time, Prof. Palazzi, and on behalf of IsraPundit's readers, I wish you success in your efforts for a real peace between Israel and her neighbours. Above all, as a friend of Israel myself, I wish to thank you for your steadfast support for Israel, particularly at this very difficult time.

Prof Palazzi: Thank to you for the opportunity you are giving me to make my position known.

Biographical notes, Shaykh Prof Abdul Hadi Palazzi
1984 - M.A., Faculty of Philosophy, University of Rome, Rome, Italy
1984-1989 - Chairman, Cultural Department, Italian Muslim Association
1986 - Degree in Islamic Sciences, University of al-Azhar as-Sharif, Cairo, Egypt
1986 Ijazzah (authorization to teach) for Islamic Law, by Shaykh Husayn al-Husayni al khalwati, University of al-Azhar as-Sharif, Cairo, Egypt
1987 - Ijazzah (authorization to teach) for Quranic exegesis, by Shaykh Isma'il al-Azhari, University of al-Azhar as-Sharif, Cairo, Egypt
1987 - Ph.D., Institute for Islamic Studies and Research (Naples), by appointment of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz
1987 - Ordained as Imam for the Italian Islamic Community
From 1989 - Consultant for Middle East Affairs R.A.I. (Italian State TV), Rome, Italy; Co-author of TV reports from Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan and Turkey
From 1989 - Secretary General and Member, Board of Governors, Italian Muslim Association
From 1991 - Co-founder and Director, Cultural Institute, Italian Islamic Community
From 1997 - International Council Member, Root & Branch Association, Ltd.
From 1998 - Muslim Co-founder and Co-Chairman, Islam-Israel Fellowship,
Root & Branch Association, Ltd
1998-1999 Lecturer in the History of Religions, University of Velletri, Rome, Italy
From 1999 - Muslim Chairman, Jerusalem Embassy Initiative, Root & Branch Association, Ltd.
2000 - 2001 - Resident Professor of Middle East Studies, Research Institute for Anthropological Sciences, Rome, Italy

Prof Palazzi is listed by Hasbarah as a speaker of the Speakers Bureau.

Prof Palazzi is in his early forties, married and father of a son. He is the author of several books and many articles.

Source: Root and Branch website and other sources.

Links to selected articles by or about Prof Palazzi.
A google search under "Hadi Palazzi" and "Israel" will render well over 1,000 links. The following represent merely a random assortment.
(a) World Net Daily. Six articles were posted since 2001, e.g., "Sheik joins rabbi's condemnation of Arafat".
(b) Jerusalem Post: Several articles going back to 1997, some of which are available on the web. See, for example, "For Allah's sake".
(c) A short article at the website of the World Jewish Congress.
(d) Pro-Israel bloggers, including IsraPundit and LGF, as well as pro-Israel websites have posted many relevant articles. Two exaples of the latter are
"A Muslim Scholar Speaks on Islam & Jerusalem" and "The Muslim Zionist". Additionally, on October 14, 2003, the Think Israel website posted an interview with Prof Palazzi, under the heading, "JIHAD OF THE PAGANS".

Posted by Joseph Alexander Norland at December 5, 2003 10:02 AM | TrackBack


Today's IMRA ( reports as follows:

Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Italian Muslim Association asks Bangladesh to release Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmat-Ullahi wa barakatuH.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Brother Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a pro-dialogue anti-fundamentalist
Muslim journalist from Bangladesh, was arrested at the airport while
leaving for Israel and is presently detained. We attach the text of a
recent article of his and ask all of you to support our courageous brother
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury with your supplications.

The Board of Governors of the Italian Muslim Association asks the
authorities of Bangladesh for the immediate liberation of our detained

Wa-s-salamu `alaykum wa rahmat-Ullahi wa barakatuH.

Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi

Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community

Muslim Co-Chairman,
Islam-Israel Fellowship,
Root & Branch Association, Ltd.

Had there been more Palazzis, there would have been no need for IsraPundit.

Posted by: Joseph Alexander Norland at December 2, 2003 10:58 PM

Congratulations! This is quite an important interview. It needs to be proliferated widely.
Thank you very much.
Matthias Küntzel

Posted by: Matthias K�ntzel at December 3, 2003 03:17 AM

See also:

Posted by: Umm at December 3, 2003 06:41 AM


Posted by: Um at December 3, 2003 06:43 AM

Wahid did not mention anything pro-Israel while in Indonesia, although in Australia and US he did took on a pro-Israel stance. Since he was vying hard to align Indonesia with Australia and the US, it's to no suprise.

But he made absolutely no concreate moves in recognizing Israel. He didn't try to get the congress to recognize Israel or to ban Palestinian terror gangs. And BTW, he was impeached mainly because of his two-face approach on many things (i.e. telling the Chinese that their economic would be threaten, telling the Indonesians that the Chinese economic prowness would be undercut to benefit Indonesians).

Yeah, corruption was the official reason, but heck, Megawati is far more corrupted than Wahid (check out Transperancy International ratings).

Posted by: rajan r at December 3, 2003 07:30 AM

Joseph Alexander Norland: Yeah, that is true. But i just spoke to a Muslim anti-Zionist friend and he views Pallazi in the same light as we view anti-Zionist Jews. But he made absolutely no move to defend his opinion theologically.... so I don't no.

What is really needed in the Muslim world is ithjah - reasoning. Muslims have to start reading their scriptures with a critical view, getting their own interpretations instead of taking in everything the local imam at the mosque says. I have yet to meet one Jew or Christian that has a completely identical theological view as another, but I have meet dozens of Muslims that share, right down to the detail, theological views. They are blind followers. Idiots, I prefer to call them.

Posted by: rajan r at December 3, 2003 07:34 AM

This guy better watch his back.

Posted by: elbud at December 3, 2003 09:32 AM

If anyone can find a more complete version of the John Loftus lecture, then please post. But here is an exerpt of a partial review by Devore Chaya Shem Tov at

"He [John Loftus] emphasized that no one anywhere in the world is a match for the US war machine and that all comers are left in the dust of American military might. When he proceeded to impress upon us the importance of the largesse so unselfishly bestowed upon us yearly by the predominately Gentile US taxpayers, I lost it and as a result, was asked to leave. So, what are we to make of this strange and unexpected revelation? I'll tell you what I think and then you be the judge."

Click Firebrand for the link.

Posted by: Firebrand at December 4, 2003 01:55 AM

Thank you Israpundit for this important interview.

I've read some material by Scheikh Palazzi, but I would be interested to read more from this brilliant, tolerant and pious Muslim scholar.

I hope that his authoritative interpretation of islam gets the maximum of spread around the world.

Posted by: The Viking at December 5, 2003 07:02 AM

The Viking: Well, he did accuse Daniel Pipes as a falsifier....

Posted by: rajan r at December 5, 2003 08:32 AM

Your questions were excellent. I hope Israpundit adds the interview to its home page selection of important articles. Thank you.

Posted by: Barbara Bloom at December 5, 2003 10:15 AM

Rajan, please elaborate.

Posted by: The Viking at December 8, 2003 03:44 PM

Since Rajan hasn't responded, I will.

In January of this year, Shaykh Professor Palazzi sent out an email to a very long and interesting list of people. The subject line was "DANIEL PIPES THE FALSIFIER." In it, he included the text of a letter he had previously sent to Dr. Martin Kramer, editor of the Middle East Quarterly (among other things), complaining that Dr. Pipes had distorted and "manipulated" a book review written by Palazzi and published in the MEQ. (The book, BTW, was "Children of Abraham" by Khalid Duran.)

It's unclear what brought this on and what conceivable motivation Dr. Pipes or anyone else might have had to misrepresent Palazzi's views on this book. As far as I know, neither Dr. Pipes nor Dr. Kramer have found the complaint worthy of public response. Shaykh Professor Palazzi has stated that his reason for sending the email was to help other people avoid finding themselves in the same "unpleasant situation."

Whatever. A comparison of the verifiable credentials of Palazzi with those of Pipes and Kramer is instructive. Yes, Palazzi has expressed a lot of very encouraging views about Israel and the Middle East in general. But that doesn't necessarily make him credible. As has been pointed out elsewhere, for example, the "University of Velletri" in Rome doesn't appear to exist. Nor does the "Research Institute for Anthropological Sciences." (Google them. The only references you'll find, in English anyway, are on Palazzi's CV.)


Posted by: Lynn B. at December 9, 2003 08:12 PM

Lynn B and others:

I am inquiring into all the allegation against Prof Palazzi. To this point, I am satisfied that these allegations are wrong. I admit, however, that they do require a response. On the other hand, responding has a downside. Once again I paraphrase Stephen Jay Gould: the damage caused by creatioists doesn't stem from their arguments, which are easy to refute, but from the need to divert precious time to respond. At this moment, I'd rather deal with Israel's enemies than have to 'protect' Israel's supporters.

Prof Palazzi's words are clear. I am no expert on Islam to voice an opnion on his Islam-related statements. But I do recognize an Israel supporter when I see one, and Prof Palazzi is definitely one. This is the core issue on which we must concentrate.

If Israel's enemies wanted to sabotage the group of supporters Israel has, they would have no better way than to attempt to sow discord, plant doubts concerning one's credentials, spread misinformation and ensure internecine feuds. This is what the allegations against Prof Palazzi amount to.

Posted by: Joseph Alexander Norland at December 9, 2003 08:26 PM

Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi's
"Middle East Quarterly" book review (Summer, 2002)
falsified by Dr. Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum director
and "Middle East Quarterly" publisher and review editor.

When Maulana Sheikh protests, Dr. Pipes insults him.
This page is a public record in order to defend our Sheikh's reputation.
"The text of the book review of 'Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews' by Khalid Duran with Abdelwahab Hechiche, which appeared on page 82 of the Summer 2002 issue of the Middle East Quarterly, although bearing the signature of Abdul Hadi Palazzi, was altered without the endorsement of the author and in a way which changes the judgment of the author about the book to the opposite of that intended".

"Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi never wrote that the book is "excellent", and never claimed that "There have even been threats against the author". On the contrary, Sheikh Professor Palazzi sees in the book a "deliberate intent to be provocative" and does not believe in the existence of death threats against the author".

"Please find below the text of the authentic book review written by Sheikh Palazzi..."

JERUSALEM, Israel, 25 Tammuz, 5763 - July 25, 2003 - 25 Jumad Awal, 1424
Root & Branch Information Service

(MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2002)

To: Dr. Martin Kramer
Middle East Quarterly

Rome, June 24, 2002

Dear Dr. Kramer,

The Middle East Forum recently sent me a courtesy copy of the current issue of The Middle East Quarterly (Summer 2002, Volume IX, number 3).

I was shocked when I saw it.

On page 82 there is a book review of "Children of Abraham" by Khalid Duran.

Notwithstanding the declaration "The opinions expressed in the articles and reviews in this journal are those of the authors alone", this book review is signed with my name, but it is not the text of the book review which I actually wrote and does not express my opinions.

On July 6, 2001, Daniel Pipes asked me to review Khalid Duran's book.

On August 23, 2001, I sent Mr. Pipes my book review via email.

The text of my review of Khalid Duran's book which was published in your quarterly was manipulated to the point of attributing to me the opposite of what I wrote and of what I think about the book.

My judgment about Khalid Duran's book was negative.

Someone deleted part of my text and added words that I never wrote in order to change my judgment from negative into positive.

As Mr. Pipes asked me to review Khalid Duran's book, and as the review attributed to me appears in a section entitled "Brief Reviews by Daniel Pipes", I am inclined to think that Mr. Pipes is responsible for the manipulation of my review.

Here is the text published with my name in the Summer, 2002, Middle East Quarterly:


Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews
by Khalid Duran with Abdelwahab Hechiche
Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, 2001.
354 pages, $19.95, paper

"Conceived as a response to requests by Jews wanting to learn more about Islam directly from Muslims, Duran's book offers an excellent opportunity to be informed about the belief, the practice, and the culture of Islam by a scholar who, apart from being a Muslim, is also especially involved in interfaith dialogue and in the analysis of the contemporary Islamic world".

"Being published by a Jewish organization and paired with a companion book that introduces Judaism to Muslims, Duran's study aims to promote and stimulate inter-Abrahamic dialogue. It underlines the theological and moral resemblance that exists between Islam and Judaism: it also investigates the factors that caused the relations between the two religions to be sometimes shaped by peaceful coexistence, mutual influences, and emulation, and at other times by misunderstandings, rivalries, and conflicts".

"Given that promoting understanding between Jews and Muslims is an aim of the book, it was to be expected that the militant Islamic organizations in the United States -- branches of a network that promotes anti-Jewish hatred as an essential aspect of their agenda -- have been unhappy about its publication and have spared no effort to slander the author and to alienate possible Muslim readers from the book. There have even been threats against the author".

Abdul Hadi Palazzi


Here is the real text I actually wrote and sent to Mr. Pipes:


Children of Abraham:
An Introduction to Islam for Jews
by Khalid Duran with Abdelwahab Hechiche
[No indication about the place of publication]
The Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding
American Jewish Committee, 2001
354 pages. [no indication of price]

This book is conceived as a response to the requests of those Jews who want to learn Islam directly from Muslims, and gives them the opportunity to be informed about the belief, the practice and the culture of Islam by a scholar who, apart from being a Muslim, is also especially involved in interfaith dialogue and in the analysis of the features of the contemporary Islamic world.

Being published by a Jewish editor, and conceived as the companion of another book which introduces Judaism to the Muslim public (Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, The Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding of the American Jewish Committee, 2001), Duran's book aims to play an important role in promoting and stimulating inter-Abrahamitic dialogue.

It underlines the theological and moral resemblance which exist between Islam and Judaism, and also investigates the factors which caused the relations between the two religions to be in some cases shaped by peaceful coexistence, mutual influences and emulation, and in some others by misunderstandings, rivalries and conflicts.

Since promoting understanding between Jews and Muslims is among the declared finalities of the book, it is quite natural that the militant Islamist organizations of America -- branches of a Network which considers promoting anti-Jewish hatred as an essential aspect of their agenda -- have been disappointed by its publication, and have spared no effort to slander the author and to alienate possible Muslim readers from the book, even before its publication.

One must admit that, notwithstanding the praiseworthy intentions of the Author, the book nevertheless contains some theological and historical mistakes which sensitively reduce the degree of its reliability and its impact on the Muslim public in general.

Moreover, in some cases Duran makes affirmations which it is hard not to interpret as a deliberate intent to be provocative, and to cause a negative reaction in the overwhelming majority of the traditional Muslim readers, even of those who are not Islamist at all.

This risks to some extent to avert from the dialogue one of the parts which he seem intentioned to involve, and practically can give the Islamists an opportunity to formulate some critics which are acceptable even for Sunni Muslims who dislike the policy of the Network and oppose its totalitarian project.

Abdul Hadi Palazzi


Obviously, as a publisher, if Pipes disagrees with my judgment of Duran's book, he can simply refuse to publish my review, and eventually ask someone else to write a review of the same book.

Neither Pipes nor anyone else has any right to publish in my name their own falsifications, or to make me define as "excellent" a book which I on the contrary consider as containing "theological and historical mistakes which sensitively reduce the degree of its reliability" and as expressing a "deliberate intent of being provocative".

Moreover, no one can attribute to me the declaration that "there have even been threats against the author" (a sentence that I never wrote), when on the contrary I believe that such alleged "threats" are a forgery of the author in order to promote the sale of his book.

I must defend my reputation against anyone who attempts to attribute to me statements I never made, especially when by doing so my reputation as a Muslim cleric and as a scholar is seriously injured.

No one has the right to damage my reputation by claiming that I consider as "excellent" a book which in some point manifests the deliberate intention of offending the religious feelings of the Muslims, and which contain theological and historical mistakes that not even a teenager on the junior-high level in a Muslim school would ever make.

If Pipes considers Duran's book to be "excellent", he has no right to attribute that judgment to me.

If Pipes wishes to circulate fictions about "death threats" against this author, he is welcome to do so in his own name, not in mine.

I am working hard to promote Jewish-Muslim dialogue and understanding, and I will not tolerate that someone attributes to me a supposed positive evaluation of a book which I consider as a slap in the face of those who promote authentic understanding between Jews and Muslims.

I sincerely hope that Pipes's unethical and unprofessional behavior toward myself will be condemned by you and the staff of your distinguished quarterly.

I am formally asking you to honor the truth and to publish in the next issue of the Middle East Quarterly the following disclaimer:


"The text of the book review of 'Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews' by Khalid Duran with Abdelwahab Hechiche, which appeared on page 82 of the Summer 2002 issue of the Middle East Quarterly, although bearing the signature of Abdul Hadi Palazzi, was altered without the endorsement of the author and in a way which changes the judgment of the author about the book to the opposite of that intended".

"Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi never wrote that the book is "excellent", and never claimed that "There have even been threats against the author". On the contrary, Sheikh Professor Palazzi sees in the book a "deliberate intent to be provocative" and does not believe in the existence of death threats against the author".

"Please find below the text of the authentic book review written by Sheikh Palazzi...(text of original review)".

Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community


(MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2002)

From: "Martin Kramer"
Subject: Your letter
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 16:54:13 -0400
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 24 Jun 2002 20:54:13.0324 (UTC)

Dear Sheikh Prof. Palazzi,

Many thanks for your message. Of course, I am distressed to learn that you are dissatisfied with your review as it appeared in MEQ.

Your presumption is correct: Dr. Pipes is indeed the book review editor of MEQ. As he is also the publisher of the journal,

I have referred your concerns to him. Whatever understanding the two of you may reach will be acceptable to me.


Martin Kramer

Middle East Forum
1500 Walnut Street
Suite 1050
Philadelphia, PA 19102-3523
Voice Mail: (206) 984-1309
Fax: (419) 781-5213


(MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2002)

At 12.18 Monday 24/06/02 -0400, Daniel Pipes wrote:

"I was shocked when I saw it."

I suggest ou tell him you had nothing at all to do with the review and that Palazzi contact me if he wants to discuss it further.

What a fruitcake.



(MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2002)

Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 19:22:01 +0200
From: Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community

X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.1
X-Loop-Detect: 1

Dear DP,

Not only you had the nerve to rewrite my book review to say the opposite of what I wrote, but now you dare to call me a fruitcake when I object to it.

I expect the Middle East Quarterly to print the requested disclaimer and correction.

Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community


(TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2002)

Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 20:16:54 +0200
From: Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community

Subject: Re: Your letter
To: Martin Kramer
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.1
X-Loop-Detect: 1

Dear Dr. Kramer,

I am disappointed to see that - instead of being distressed to learn that Pipes manipulated my book review to the point of attributing to me the opposite of what I wrote - you are only distressed to learn that I am dissatisfied with Pipes's falsification and abuse of my name.

Since you are the editor of the Middle East Quarterly, it is indeed surprising that you are not distressed to learnt that your review publishes falsifications, but are only distressed that the victim of those falsifications does protest.

I have no intention to look for agreements with a dishonest man who supposes to have the right to manipulate my writings as he deems better, and who dares to call me a fruitcake when I protest for his unqualifiable behavior.

Since you are not in a position to rectify an abuse committed on a review of which you are the editor (legally responsible for its contents), I will look for more effective means in order to defend my reputation.

Best greetings,

Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community


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Posted by: Aryeh Gallin at December 18, 2003 03:50 AM

Please send me those kind of article that makes me know about the support the State os Israel gets, and is comforting, thanks

Posted by: Mark Landon at March 13, 2004 11:58 AM

I wish to announce a new web site devoted to freeing prisoner of conscience, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, from his unjust imprisonment by the Government of Bangladesh. The site is:

Throughout 2003, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury brought Bangladesh its first balanced news and information about the Middle East. He wrote emphatically about the need for dialogue among Jews, Muslims, and Christians, condemned terrorism and media bias, urged Bangladesh to recognize Israel, and warned of Islamic fundamentalism’s growing influence in Bangladesh. His efforts sparked beginnings of debate in the Bangladeshi press and in the halls of government. On November 29, as he prepared to board a plane for Israel, Choudhury was arrested by security police for spying for "the interests of Israel against the interests of Bangladesh." Subject to a vilification campaign, his home and office were raided, his property seized or destroyed, and his family threatened and attacked, all with impunity. He remains in jail, under often deplorable conditions, deprived of needed medical treatment, and facing a capital charge for his views.

On, visitors can fight this injustice in a variety of ways: signing an online petition, sending letters of protest to Bangladesh leaders, sending letters asking for help from the US and the UN, and leaving messages of hope for Choudhury and his family. Please visit, and urge all human rights defenders to do the same. A world that allows such injustice while feigning outrage at the assassination of a mass murderer is sorely in need of good people to stand up for what is right. The more people who visit the site, the more prominent it will become among search engines, and the more difficult it will be for his captors to ignore the call for justice.

There is information on the site, as well as active links and such to help free this courageous individual. I certainly offer my services, as well, if anyone would like a more complete article for your publication. Feel free to contact me either through this address or the contact link on the site.

Thank you.

Dr. Richard Benkin

Posted by: Dr. Richard Benkin at April 20, 2004 07:17 AM
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