Islamic Law and Islamic Terror in Palestinian Authority Ideology
A lecture to the American Bar Association,
Conference on International Law, May 9, 2002
by Itamar Marcus, Director Palestinian Media Watch
There is a general presumption in most international discussion that the hostility between Israel and the Palestinians is in essence a border conflict, and therefore will eventually be solved by border adjustments. However, the Palestinian Authority religious leaders, who are appointed by and represent the political establishment, teach that the battle is far more basic - that the Muslim battle against the Jews is the battle of Good against Evil. The Jews, they teach, are inherently evil and have been cursed forever by God. Moreover, by killing Jews they are doing God’s work The ultimate battle upon which the Resurrection is dependent, is Islam’s war against the Jews.
The following is adopted from a lecture presented at the American Bar Association’s Conference on International Law, May 9, 2002, in New York.
The premise of the Oslo Accords is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an irreconcilable religious war, but one over borders. However, the Palestinian Authority [PA] as religious ideology is teaching publicly that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is, in fact, an integral component of a greater war: Islam’s eternal war against Jews. This ideology is preached in sermons and religious lessons that are broadcast on official Palestinian television and radio, and appear in PA newspapers. Jews are portrayed as the eternal cursed enemies of Allah, and the killing of Jews is said to be Allah’s will. On the national level, Allah prohibits acceptance of Israel’s existence and will destroy it.
It can be argued that these ideas are not a representation of authentic Islam. However, in the PA, they are the only way the Palestinian Authority appointed religious leaders are interpreting and teaching Islam. For although Islam has positive traditions regarding Jews, the PA religious leaders have chosen to selectively cite and give prominence only to negative references in their teaching, using the traditional sources to justify and even to demand uncompromising and irreconcilable hatred toward Jews and Israel.
The message of this PA religious ideology can be summed up as follows: the enmity of Muslims to Jews and Israel today is not because of the current political conflict, but just the opposite. The current political conflict is a result of the eternal enmity of Muslims to Jews.
PA religious hatred, however, goes beyond these general statements of enmity. The teaching is very organized and systematic, incorporating various components, many of which were common in religious hatred from which Jews suffered throughout history. The first and foundation principle of this Palestinian religious ideology is that Jews are inherently evil by their nature, and have been an enemy since the beginning of Islam. This evil of the Jews, being inherent and uncorrectable, was already taught by Muhammad, as preached on PA TV:
“...The Prophet Muhammad, [who] the Jews tried to assassinate more than once, with poison and with witchcraft, and by throwing stones at him, and by political assassinations. He warned us about the Jews, and about the Jews’ evil and the Jews’ deceit... And he [Muhammad] battled them and expelled them from Arabia saying: ‘There will not be two religions in Arabia.’ He clarified the character of the Jew, in the Quran and in the sayings of the Prophet, so we would beware of them at every moment and at all times. And so that we know how to deal with the Jews...Say to those who do not believe - the Jews... Expect your graveyard! Expect your final battle!”
[Dr. Mahmoud Mustafa Najem, Friday Sermon, PA TV, Feb. 8, 2002]
2. Because of this enmity Islam’s war with Jews is intrinsic and will not be resolved peacefully. Palestinian leaders have preached repeatedly that the universal killing of Jews is necessary for the coming of the “Hour” - the Islamic Resurrection. Accordingly, all peace agreements with Jews are temporary:
“We the Palestinian nation, our fate from Allah is to be the vanguard in the war against the Jews until the resurrection of the dead, as the prophet Muhammad said: ‘The “Hour” [Resurrection] will not come until you will fight the Jews and kill them… ’ All of the agreements entered into [with Israel] are temporary, until the decree comes from Allah...”
[Dr. Ahmad Youssuf Abu Halabiyeh, Friday Sermon, ,member of the Palestinian Shari'ah (Islamic religious law) Rulings Council, and Rector Advanced Studies, the Islamic University, PA TV, July 28, 2000]
3. Once war is defined as religious necessity it is a small step to define the killing of Jews as a religious requirement:
“The Jews are the Jews. There never was among them a supporter of peace. They are all liars… They are terrorists. Therefore it is necessary to slaughter them and murder them, according to the words of Allah… It is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land. Make war on them any place that you find yourself. Any place that you meet them – kill them. Kill the Jews and those among the Americans that are like them… The Jews only understand might. Have no mercy on the Jews, murder them everywhere…”
[Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halabiah, preacher, member of the Palestinian Shari'ah (Islamic religious law) Rulings Council, and Rector Advanced Studies, the Islamic University,
PA TV, Oct. 13, 2000]
4. After the general obligation to kill Jews comes the specific call to be suicide bombers:
“We will blow them up in Hadera, we will blow them up in Tel-Aviv and in Netanya so that Allah will place us as masters over this riff-raff ...It is shameful for us to die as cowards… They will not be deterred except by the color of blood of their filthy people. They will not be deterred unless we willingly and voluntarily blow ourselves up among them… Allah will make the Moslem master over the Jew….” [Sheikh Dr. Ibrahim Muhammad Maadi, Friday Sermon on PA TV, Aug. 3, 2001]
5. Palestinians are encouraged to teach even children the virtue of suicide bombings. On PA TV, Sheikh Maadi proudly told how he answered a 14 year old child who told him of his plans to grow up to be a suicide bomber.
“A youth said: 'Oh, Sheikh, I am 14 years old. I have 4 more years and then I will go to blow myself up among Allah's enemies, I will blow myself up among the Jews.' "
I said to him, 'Allah should let you merit Martyrdom and let me merit Martyrdom'...
[Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Maadi, Friday Sermon, PA TV, Aug. 3, 2001]
5. The overwhelming direction of the religious hatred is focused on Jews and not Zionism or Israelis. However, because Israel is the Jewish State, its destruction is taught to be a religious necessity. All of Israel is defined as religious law to be the occupation of “Palestine” - a Holy Waqf - meaning “Islamic trust ,” thus the acceptance of Israel’s existence is a religious crime. Any leader who accepts Israel will end in Hell, as expressed by Yousef Abu Snina, official preacher of the Al Aqsa Mosque:
“The Islamic land of Palestine is one and indivisible. There is no difference between Haifa and Nablus, between Lod and Ramallah, between Jerusalem and Nazareth, between Gaza and Ashkelon. The land of Palestine is Waqf land that belongs to Moslems throughout the world and no one has the right to act freely or the right to make concessions or to abandon her. Whoever does this betrays a [trust] and is nothing more than a loathsome criminal whose abode is in Hell!” [PA TV, Sept. 8, 2000]
The Palestinians teach the connection between terrorism, the killing of Jews, and Israel’s anticipated destruction in battle:
“We will fight against them and rule over them until [citing a Hadith] the Jew will hide behind the tree and stone and the tree and stone will say: 'Moslem! Servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him…
"We will enter Jerusalem as conquerors, and Jaffa as conquerors, and Haifa as conquerors and Ashkelon as conquerors, we are certain that the victory is quickly coming…”
[Sheikh Dr. Ibrahim Muhammad Maadi, Friday Sermon on PA TV, Aug. 3, 2001]
Promising Palestinian conquest of Jaffa, Haifa and Ashkelon as religious dogma, solidifies the Palestinian belief that Israel is temporary and terrorizing Israel will hasten its destruction.
6. Especially after Sept. 11, it is crucial to understand the concept of Shahada - Death for Allah, translated imprecisely as “Martyrdom” - as seen in PA Islam. First and foremost it must be understood that Shahada does not correspond to Western “Martyrdom.” In the West a Martyr is someone who died defending his country, or possibly was killed because of his beliefs. The important principle of Western Martyrdom is that it is granted after the loss or death. In PA Islam, Shahada is not a condolence after the fact, but a central idea and individual goal. A believer must hope for Death for Allah - Shahada - or he is lacking in his Islamic faith:
“The believer was created to know his Lord, to fulfill Islam, to carry the flag: ‘there is no God but Allah,’ to be a Shahid [title of those who died for Allah] or intend to be a Shahid. If the believer does not hope for Shahada he will die, as in the Jahiliya [pre-Islam faith]. We must yearn Shahada and request it from Allah…” [Ahmed Abdul Razek, Friday sermon, March 22, 2000]
7. Indeed it is so central that a religious leader in a televised sermon called on those who had not yet achieved Shahada during the battle with Israel, to make a special prayer to God:
“Whoever has not merited Shahada in these times, should rise in the night and say: ‘My Lord! Why have you denied me Shahada?’" [Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Maadi, Friday sermon, PA TV, April 12, 2002]
8. The rewards of the Shahid are a central part of the PA message to their potential suicide bombers. As much as the Muslim may be expected to follow Allah’s will blindly the rewards and enticement of Palestinians to suicide bombings are also prominently preached in the televised sermons and religious lessons:
“When the Shahid meets his maker all his sins are forgiven. From the first gust of blood and he is exempted from the torments of the grave. He sees his place in paradise, he is shielded from the great Shock and marries 72 virgins. He is a heavenly advocate for 70 members of his family, on his head is placed a crown of honor, one stone of which is worth more than all there is in this world.” [Dr. Ismail Radwan, Friday sermon PA TV, Aug. 17, 2001]
9. In the sermon quoted above, the senior Sheik used the expression “kill those Jews and the Americans like them - they are in one trench against Islam.” It is critical to note - the targets of this PA Islamic hatred are not only Israel- but, all of the West. The US is defined as an Infidel country at war with all of Islam. The Palestinians are to clear the way for the soldiers of Allah leading to the destruction of Israel the US and Britain.
This prayer for the destruction of American and Britain, is common in PA religious service, and was said by the Mufti, Ikrima Sabri, the highest religious figure in the PA, three weeks before 9-11:
“Allah! Destroy America and its supporters and its collaborators!
“Allah! Destroy Britain and its supporters and its collaborators!…”
[Sheikh Ikrime Al Sabri, Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority, Friday Sermon, Aug. 24, 2001; Voice of Palestine, PA radio, Aug. 24, 2001]
10. One final very disturbing note - PA TV regularly broadcasts messages of violence and Martyrdom even to children. Here is one example:
“Yes. Yes, out loud, Allah Akbar, oh the young ones.…
Shake the earth, raise the stones, You will not be saved Oh Zionist, from the volcano of my country’s stones… I will even willingly fall as a Shahid, Allah Akbar, oh the young ones.”
[Broadcast periodically on PA TV, 3 times in April 2002]
I want to conclude with a final thought: The defense of freedom of religion is a cornerstone of democracy. Likewise the rejection of murder and terrorism, is a cornerstone of democracy.
What happens when protected religious beliefs and terrorism are one and the same? What happens when a people defines its religion to include murder and terrorism as religious necessity? This is not an academic exercise but is a definition of what Israel is facing in dealing with, not only the Hamas, but, the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians have taught their people that the conflict is not over borders, in which compromise may be a solution, but is a religious war for Allah in which compromise is heresy. The implications for peace are ominous.