Newsletter: Is Islam Antisemitic?

Is Islam Antisemitic? Debate


Tim Dieppe

Head of Policy at Christian Concern



Reza Aslan

Iranian-American Religion Scholar; Bestselling Author of “Zealot”



Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi, Author, and Media Host



Mustafa Akyol

Senior Fellow on Islam & Modernity at the Cato Institute



Sahar Aziz

Distinguished Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar at Rutgers Law School; Founding Director of Rutgers Center for Security, Race & Rights



John Donvan

Host and Moderator-in-Chief


This week:

  • Yes or No: Do Islamic texts condone or promote antisemitism?
  • A closer look at discrimination towards Jews and Muslims
  • Our new report on state of the Presidential Debates
  • Your Sunday reading list



Muslims and Jews have a lot in common: their values, guidelines, and principles have influenced each other and created vibrant religious cultures. At the same time, they have a long, complicated history where relations, depending on the period, changed across the spectrum. Some origins of these tensions allegedly lie within Quranic texts. In the present day, groups like Hamas have used those religious texts to justify antisemitic violence.


Amid the current polarization and conflict between these groups in the war happening in Gaza and Israel right now, we wanted to look closely at the question raised by some scholars: Is Islam, as a religion, antisemitic, according to scripture?


We asked two prominent religious scholars and specialists in Islamic teachings to help us dive deep into this question. Arguing “yes” is the head of policy at Christian Concern, Tim Dieppe, who has written on Islamic affairs for government policies and churches in the U.K. Arguing “no” is religious scholar, former CNN host, and the author of multiple best-selling books on Islam, Reza Aslan. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Cato Institute fellow Mustafa Akyol, and Rutgers University law professor and scholar Sahar Aziz also joined our debate as expert questioners.


Is Islam antisemitic or has the Quran been misinterpreted? Listen now on your favorite podcast platform, WNYC, and YouTube. As always, let us know what you think.




What is the way forward for reducing anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim discrimination?



Is Islam Antisemitic?


YES: Tim Dieppe

“There are many Muslims who aren’t antisemitic and I’ve met lots of them. Many Muslims are lovely and gentle and kind people. [But] the question is not about Muslims, whether they are antisemitic, it’s about Islam, and Islam should be judged according to its text, which are the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sirah, or the Biographies of Muhammad. Antisemitism can be found in the Qur’an, in Islamic texts.”


NO: Reza Aslan

“For Islam to be inherently antisemitic, it would require that its theology be predicated on hostility to the Jews for being Jewish. That is certainly not the case for every single verse… Islam isn’t ambivalent about the Jews; it’s remarkably positive about Judaism as a religion. It sees itself as part of the Jewish Abrahamic tradition. There are a number of philosemitic verses in the Qur’an and in the Hadith… because of Muhammad’s conception of the Jews and Christians as forming a single ummah, a single monotheistic community, with the Muslims.”



What’s Wrong with the Presidential Debates, and How to Fix Them

Constructive debate is crucial for democracy, especially in presidential races. Our report, Discourse Correction, shows a worrying shift: debates are less informative and more contentious, and moderators are struggling to keep discussions substantive and respectful. Ahead of this week’s debate, read the full report here.




What’s next after the collapse of Israel’s unity war cabinet?

Ian Bremmer | June 12, 2024


Watch Ian’s debate on whether China’s power has peaked


The Boston hippies who developed technologies that Silicon Valley wouldn’t dare to make

Evgeny Morozov | June 15, 2024

The Boston Globe

Watch Evgeny’s debate on whether, when it comes to politics, the Internet is closing our minds


The Most Courageous Thing That Joe Biden Can Do

Bret Stephens | June 11, 2024

The New York Times

Watch Bret’s debate on whether anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism


No one should be surprised a Black politician is the canary in AIPAC’s coal mine

Karen Attiah | June 11, 2024

The Washington Post

Watch Karen’s debate on whether cancel culture is toxic


Bridging Divides: From Closed Differences to Open Understanding

Meaningful progress comes from our ability to sit together and exchange ideas, even with those we disagree with, respectfully and constructively. Your support helps us maintain a platform where this vital interaction happens, fostering understanding and bridging ideological divides. Donate today — your contribution promotes a healthier, more informed public discourse. Donate here.

Join a community of social and intellectual leaders that truly value the free exchange of ideas.
Readings on our weekly debates, debater editorials, and news on issues that affect our everyday lives.
Help us bring debate to communities and classrooms across the nation.