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PMW report shows that Mufti did apply call to kill Jews to current conflict

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
Mufti denies applying Hadith about
Muslims killing Jews to today's conflict

PMW report shows that Mufti did apply call
to kill Jews to current conflict

Following PMW report, PM Netanyahu calls
for criminal investigation of PA Mufti

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein repeatedly denied yesterday that he intended to teach Palestinians that their destiny is to kill Jews when he spoke at a Fatah celebration that was broadcast on PA TV earlier this month. His denial follows Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of the PA Mufti's speech in which he cited the Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad, saying:

"The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: 'Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."
However, the Mufti explained to AP, Reuters and Israeli radio and TV that he simply quoted Islamic tradition and therefore he is not responsible for its content. When interviewed on Israeli radio Reshet Bet, the PA Mufti claimed:

"We are not calling to kill Jews and we did not call to kill Jews, we never said 'kill Jews.' The Hadith says [it]. I am not responsible for the Hadith. The Hadith is in the book. The Hadith is a noble Hadith, it is not my Hadith."
[Reshet Bet (Israeli radio), Jan. 22, 2012]

The PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, also defended the Mufti, saying on the same radio program:
"This is not incitement to kill Jews. We cannot change the historical religious writings and we don't want to change them. However, we are talking now about the reality. The reality is that we want to achieve a just peace."

PMW rejects PA Mufti's and Minister of Religion's claims:
The statements of the two highest religious authorities in the Palestinian Authority are misrepresentations of what the Mufti said. In fact, the words he chose to provide a context for the Hadith show that he quoted this Hadith that anticipates Muslims killing Jews, to make it relevant for the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Mufti introduced the Hadith by referring to the "47 years" of Fatah's and the Palestinian "revolution," thus placing the Hadith in today's context. He then added that this is a "reliable Hadith" from the reliable collections and part of accepted Islamic law and belief. After citing the Hadith, the Mufti claimed that Israelis are planting the "Gharqad tree surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies," thus suggesting that Israel is preparing for when the Muslims fulfill this Hadith and come to kill them. According to the Islamic tradition the Gharqad tree will be the only tree that will not call out to Muslims to kill the Jews hiding behind them. By saying Israelis are already planting Gharqad trees around their cities, the Mufti was explicitly relating the Hadith about the killing of Jews to the current time. He was not merely citing "historical religious writings," as claimed.

AP, Reuters, and Israeli radio and TV all cited the Mufti's quote and his denial that he did not present the Hadith as relevant today. However, none of the media quoted the context in which the Mufti cited the Hadith, which shows his denial to be a misrepresentation and that he did relate it to today's conflict.

In addition, the Mufti claimed to MENA [Middle East News Agency] that "possibly some sentences or phrases were cut from his speech, which were interpreted incorrectly." PMW affirms that we have the entire 5-minute speech as was broadcast on PA TV and that this is the authentic context.

Israeli PM responds
Israeli PM Netanyahu responded to the PMW report on the Mufti saying: "These are grave words that the world needs to condemn," and asked the Attorney General to start a criminal investigation to determine if this violated Israel's incitement laws, the Jerusalem Post reported. [Jan. 22, 2012]

The following is the Mufti's words at the Fatah event that show the context in which he cited the Hadith, followed by excerpts from AP and Reuters' reports:

Moderator at Fatah ceremony:
"Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith. Long Live Fatah! [I invite you,] our honorable Sheikh."

PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein comes to the podium and says:
"47 years ago the [Fatah] revolution started. Which revolution? The modern revolution of the Palestinian people's history. In fact, Palestine in its entirety is a revolution, since [Caliph] Umar came [to conquer Jerusalem, 637 CE], and continuing today, and until the End of Days. The reliable Hadith (tradition attributed to Muhammad), [found] in the two reliable collections, Bukhari and Muslim, says:
"The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews.
The Jew will hide behind stones or trees.
Then the stones or trees will call:
'Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'
Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent]."
Therefore it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees] surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies. This is Palestine, when we talk about it, from the beginning of the Jihad, with the continuation of the Jihad, with the struggle, and with the way of the Martyrs."
[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 9, 2012]
Click to view

Israeli leader condemns Palestinian Muslim cleric

by Diaa Hadid
Published: Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 11:01 a.m.
The Palestinians' top Muslim cleric faced sharp Israeli criticism Sunday for a speech in which he quoted a religious text that includes passages about killing Jews in an end-of-days struggle.

Mufti Mohammed Hussein's comments came at a political gathering of supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He said his remarks were taken out of context and that he didn't incite people to kill Jews. But by speaking at the venue, Hussein appeared to be linking the battle to the conflict with Israel.

"The hour of resurrection will not come until you fight the Jews," Hussein told the gathering, citing a hadith, or saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. "The Jews will hide behind stones and trees. But the trees and the stones will call: oh Muslim, oh servant of God, there is a Jew hiding behind me so come and kill him."


The mufti delivered his three-minute speech on Jan. 7 in an Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem during celebrations of the 47th anniversary of the Palestinian movement Fatah, said Itamar Marcus of Palestine Media Watch, an Israeli watchdog group that tracks incitement.

Marcus' group posted excerpts of the speech on YouTube last week. The comments drew angry reactions from Israelis on Sunday.

"We're talking about a heinous offense that all nations of the world must condemn," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement sent to reporters by text message. He asked the Israeli attorney general to launch an investigation.

It is unclear what authority Israel would have since Hussein is appointed to his position by the Palestinian president. There was no immediate comment from Abbas' office.

Hussein, who is based in Jerusalem, said his comments were taken out of context.

"I was speaking about the final signs of the day of resurrection," Hussein said. "I did not incite, and I did not call for killing. We are not, at present, at the end of days."

The Quran, Islam's holy book, offers contradictory attitudes toward Jews and Christians. There are texts that enshrine tolerance and respect for other faiths, while others are spiked with hatred and incitement. ...

Israel condemns Palestinian cleric over sermon

by Dan Williams
JERUSALEM | Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:30pm EST
(Reuters) - Israel condemned the Palestinians' top cleric on Sunday for reciting, at a meeting of the dominant U.S.-backed Fatah faction, a passage from Muslim scripture that called for the killing of Jews.

Preaching on January 9 at a rally marking the 47th anniversary of Fatah's founding, Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein read out a Hadith, or traditional text attributed to the Prophet Mohammad.

"The hour of judgment will not come until you fight the Jews," he said. "The Jew will hide behind the stone and behind the tree. The stone and the tree will cry, 'Oh Muslim, Oh Servant of God, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him'."

The Palestinian Authority denied the sermon constituted a call to arms.

It remained unclear if comments from such a senior cleric would derail efforts to resume exploratory peace talks with Israel, which began this month after more than a year of deadlock over the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has argued peacemaking has been blighted by incitement against the Jewish state from some Palestinian officials, said of the mufti's sermon: "This is a very serious offence that all the countries of the world must condemn."

He said he had asked Israel's attorney-general to open a criminal investigation. The Justice Ministry had no immediate comment.

Interviewed by Reuters Television, Hussein described the Hadith as an end-of-times prophesy, not a political precept.

"There is nothing in my speech that calls for killing," he said. "I was speaking about my people, its steadfastness and its existence in this land until the hour (of resurrection)."

Video of the rally circulated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli watchdog group, showed a man introducing the mufti by saying: "Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs is a war of religion and faith. Long live Fatah!"

The Koran retells the Exodus story of some Jews rebelling against Moses after their deliverance from bondage, and says God punished them by turning them into pigs and apes.

Palestinian religious affairs minister Mahmoud al-Habash confirmed the details of the rally as they appeared in the PMW video but said: "Our political position remains unchanged. We believe in peace. He (Hussein) was simply quoting a Hadith that talks about destiny, about what could happen in the future."

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including two major mosques that are under the mufti's authority, in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel deems the entire city its capital, a status not recognized abroad, where there is widespread support for the Palestinians' demand to found a state with a capital in East Jerusalem.

On Netanyahu's orders, Israeli police last year detained for questioning two West Bank settler rabbis on suspicion they had encouraged the killing of Arabs. A Justice Ministry spokesman said a decision on prosecuting them was still pending.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Additional reporting by Jihan Abdalla, Roleen Tafakji and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Douglas Hamilton and Janet Lawrence)

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