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Who is fanning the flames for religious war? Abbas’ advisor!

Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus  |

Abbas’ advisor creates fear, anger, and hate - and incites violence:

•    “The occupation wants to change its [Jerusalem’s] identity and character so that it will be a city without the Al-Aqsa Mosque and without the Dome of the Rock”

•    The Palestinian people is “not defending only its existence in Jerusalem and only the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but also Islam, the Quran, and the entire Islamic nation”

•    The Palestinian people “is continuing to defend Palestine, including the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque… we will defend Jerusalem with our property and our lives”

•    “Jerusalem will again be free… Allah’s victory is approaching”

At the International Conference for Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque (organized by the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Ankara, Turkey), PA Chairman Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations and PA Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash repeated the libel that Israel seeks to harm all Muslims by destroying Islam’s 3rd holiest place, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the Dome of the Rock. He also made clear that for the PA, the conflict with Israel is not one over land and territory but is religious.

Al-Habbash described the duty of the Palestinian people, which is to “defend” not only itself, Jerusalem, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque but nothing less than “Islam, the Quran, and the entire Islamic nation” from Israeli dangers:

“Jerusalem is in the most complicated and difficult situation in its history, as the occupation (i.e., Israel) wants to change its identity and character so that it will be a city without the Al-Aqsa Mosque and without the Dome of the Rock… Our people is not defending only its existence in Jerusalem and only the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but also Islam, the Quran, and the entire Islamic nation.

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 22, 2022]

Stating that for the defense of these things, Palestinians are prepared to die, Al-Habbash implicitly encouraged violence and terror, and further stressed that religion is at stake, envisioning that “Allah’s victory is approaching” and that “Jerusalem will again be free”:

“Al-Habbash noted that our people is continuing to defend Palestine, including the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that we will defend Jerusalem with our property and our lives. He added that Jerusalem will only be the capital of Palestine and emphasized that Jerusalem will again be free, and that Allah’s victory is approaching.

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 22, 2022]

While Al-Habbash often has accused Israel of wanting to cause a “religious war,” in fact it is Al-Habbash himself who is fanning the flames with language as documented above. Palestinian Media Watch exposed that he encouraged Palestinians to go on Jihad – religious war – during Ramadan: 

Official PA TV host and PA Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “How was this month [of Ramadan] in the life of Prophet [Muhammad]? … Did the Prophet spend Ramadan in calmness, serenity, laziness, and sleepiness? Far be it from him… The Prophet entered the great Battle of Badr (in 624 CE) during Ramadan... Martyrs fell from among the companions of the Prophet - 14 Martyrs … The companions did not say: “O Prophet of Allah, now is a time of fasting and it is hot” ... On the 17th of Ramadan he set out to Badr, and the great Battle of Badr took place… Also in the month of Ramadan, in the 8th year of the Hijra (i.e., 629-630 CE), the Prophet and the Muslims conquered Mecca... The Prophet did not say and did not think when he decided to set out to liberate Mecca and to conquer Mecca that “Now it’s Ramadan, people are fasting, let’s delay it to after Ramadan” … How can we build [our] lives and lay foundations for Islam if we are lazy, Heaven forbid? Ramadan is not a month of laziness but rather a month of activity, of effort, and of hard work, and as it also was in the life of the Prophet, a month of Jihad, conquest, and victory.”

[Official PA TV, Allah’s Messenger Muhammad, April 3, 2022]

At other times Al-Habbash has been even more explicit, teaching on PA TV that the Quran commands fighting and permits killing Israelis – for crimes that he accuses Israelis of committing: Stealing Palestinian land, homeland, property and attacking your honor, your existence and more: 

Al-Habbash: “Kill them” [Quran 2:191] refers back to the transgressors: “Do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” And “kill them” – yes, kill the transgressors. If someone comes to attack me ... my home... my land... my homeland... my property... my honor... my family... your existence... your rights... your souls… I am commanded to fight him. I am commanded to confront him, I am commanded to resist him, and I am allowed to kill him if necessary as Prophet [Muhammad] said and as this verse said: “And kill them wherever you find them.” 

[Official PA TV, Review, Feb, 2, 2020]

The following are longer excerpts of the statements cited above

“[PA] Supreme Shari’ah Judge of Palestine and [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas’] Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash said that Jerusalem is part of the Muslims’ faith, and that it is the measure that indicates the condition of the Islamic nation: If Jerusalem is strong and free, the nation is strong and victorious. But if Jerusalem is humiliated and occupied, this is proof of the nation’s condition of weakness and lowliness.
During the launch of the International Conference for Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was organized by the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey in Ankara, he added that Jerusalem is in the most complicated and difficult situation in its history, as the occupation wants to change its identity and character so that it will be a city without the Al-Aqsa Mosque and without the Dome of the Rock.
He added that our people is not defending only its existence in Jerusalem and only the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but also Islam, the Quran, and the entire Islamic nation…
Al-Habbash noted that our people is continuing to defend Palestine, including the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that we will defend Jerusalem with our property and our lives. He added that Jerusalem will only be the capital of Palestine and emphasized that Jerusalem will again be free, and that Allah’s victory is approaching.

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 22, 2022]

Mahmoud Al-Habbash also serves as Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice.