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Grand Mufti of supposedly secular PA: Anyone who publicly breaks Ramadan fast should be placed on trial

Ephraim D. Tepler  |
  • PA Grand Mufti: Anyone publicly breaking the Ramadan fast should be prosecuted
  • PA Grand Mufti: It is necessary to go to Al-Aqsa during Ramadan to prevent Israelis from defiling it

The Palestinian Authority likes to present itself as secular, but its religious leaders often promulgate what seems to Western ears as strict religious doctrine, and regarding the conflict with Israel often present identical messages as Hamas. In a recent statement, the PA Grand Mufti, the PA’s top religious official, exhorted Muslims to go to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to prevent its so-called defilement by Israelis who visit the Temple Mount. In addition, the PA Mufti demanded that anyone publicly breaking the fast of Ramadan should be put on trial.

“[PA] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories Sheikh Muhammad Hussein called on citizens to honor the sanctity of the blessed [Muslim fasting] month of Ramadan. He also called on the owners of the restaurants and cafés to close them during the daytime hours of Ramadan to preserve the sanctity of the noble month.

In a statement from the [Palestinian] Dar Al-Ifta (i.e., the official PA body for issuing religious rulings headed by Hussein) yesterday [March 5, 2024], the grand mufti called on the responsible authorities to pursue anyone who publicly breaks the fast in order to put them on trial…

The mufti emphasized that it is necessary to go up to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially during the month of Ramadan, and this is in the shadow of the Israeli invasions of it and the incessant threats to attack it and defile it.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 6, 2024]

PMW has reported numerous times that PA and Hamas religious messaging can be very similar on a wide variety of issues. For example, their views on the value of Martyrdom (i.e. dying for Allah) are nearly identical.

Hamas preaches:

“This holy land must be perfumed by this pure blood.”

[Hamas member of PA Parliament Marwan Abu Ras, YouTube channel, October 26, 2022]

At the same time, the PA preaches:

“[They] wanted to meet Almighty Allah [as Martyrs], and Allah wanted to meet them…[they are] happy over what they sacrificed...their souls are in lamps hanging from [Allah’s] throne and traversing Paradise freely…Allah chose them to receive Martyrdom.”

[PA Ministry of Religious Affairs’ talking points, October 21, 2022]

Similarly, on the issue of selling land to Jews, the Hamas charter states:

“The land of Palestine is an Islamic waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."

[Hamas charter]

The PA Mufti, for his part, said:

“Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque are an Islamic waqf until Judgment Day; they cannot be sold, given away, or bequeathed, and no one has the right to relinquish them.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 13, 2018]

In the same vein, Mahmoud Abbas' advisor and the PA's Supreme Shari'ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash has said:

“According to Islamic Shari'ah law, the entire land of Palestine is waqf (i.e., an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law) and is blessed land. It is prohibited to sell, bestow ownership, or facilitate the occupation of even a millimeter of it."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 22, 2014]

Furthermore, the PA Mufti has taught that women must obey their husbands, must not leave home without permission, should not contact Israeli police if their husbands are violent, and may not refuse their husbands’ demands for sex at any time.

All of these teachings make up part of a greater doctrine that guides both Hamas and the PA, prohibiting recognition of Israel and certainly prohibiting any attempt to make peace with it. As stated by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas:

"There is no disagreement between us [Fatah and Hamas]: About belief? None! About policy? None! About resistance? None!”

[Official PA TV Dec. 31, 2009]

The West would do well not to be fooled by the PA’s marketing efforts to make itself look different from Hamas. Both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas' PA unequivocally reject Israel’s right to exist, are committed to its destruction, and teach their children the same.

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