Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians privileged to have died this way
"These people [Gaza civilians killed in war]
- their time had come, and they were martyred.
They have gained [Paradise]...
Don't be disturbed by these images...
He who is Martyred doesn't feel...
His soul has ascended to Allah."
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Hamas is trying to both justify and console Gaza's population over the many civilian deaths it has caused in the Gaza war. While broadcasting gruesome pictures of dead civilians, including children, a TV host explained that since in Islam a person's time of death is predetermined by Allah, the people who have been killed in the recent fighting have actually "gained": They would have died now anyway, but now they will receive the rewards of Martyrdom - Shahada - in Paradise.
Warning: Graphic Images
Palestinian Media Watch has documented Hamas' use of civilians as human shields, which has led to a high civilian death toll. Hamas has instructed Gaza civilians to disregard Israel's warnings to evacuate areas before they were bombed, and has decried those who have criticized the high civilian death toll.
The glorification of Martyrdom both justifies the Hamas activities that led to these deaths and also may console the population. In addition, this message may persuade civilians to continue endangering their lives by protecting Hamas terrorists and their terror infrastructure with their bodies.
Recenly, PMW reported on a sermon by the former Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who likewise glorified Martyrdom death as something to which Palestinians should aspire.
The following are the words of the Hamas TV host, referring to the civilians who died in the Gaza war as "having gained," followed by the words of the former Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs, who explains the ideology of Martyrdom in Islam.
Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians gained Paradise: "The enemy has killed us and we are Martyrs"
Hamas TV host: "Every soul has its time. These people - their time had come, and they were Martyred (i.e., Gaza civilians killed in war). They have gained [Paradise]. They have nothing in this world, especially in the Gaza Strip. There's no life in the Gaza Strip. What life can we have in the Gaza Strip? Being with Allah is better. Being with Allah is better. What we see is very hard but we won't surrender, Allah willing. The first to say it are the Martyrs' family. The first to say it are the Martyrs' mothers and fathers... Don't be disturbed by these images. He who was killed this way doesn't feel. By Allah, he does not feel. These are not my words, but the words of our beloved Prophet [Muhammad]: He who is Martyred doesn't feel. Only we suffer by these images. By Allah, [the Martyr] doesn't feel. His soul has ascended to Allah. His soul is with the Lord. His soul is inside a green bird. He is with Allah now. He is in Paradise. Only we suffer by these images... In other cities, in other countries, thousands die in earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, in ferry or shipwrecks, in natural or unnatural disasters. Thousands die. Thousands die but we don't know what their fate is with Allah. But we [in Gaza] are Martyrs. The enemy has killed us and we are Martyrs."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 20, 2014]
We will never reach the level of the prophets. We won't. So let us reach the level of the Shahids. I say to you, brothers, as the Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'He who honestly seeks Shahada, Allah will give him the status of the Shahids, even if he dies in his bed.'"
[Official PA TV, Nov. 8, 2013]
Pay attention, it is Allah who says: 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' (Quran, Sura 3:111, translation Sahih International) - it is possible that they will harm you. I say to you, it is possible that they will kill us, it is possible that Allah will sentence us to Martyrdom. It is possible that we will be wounded, it is possible that terrorism will be laid on us - 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' - but in the end, 'and if they fight you, they will show you their backs' and the conclusion - 'then they will not be aided' (Quran, Sura, 3:111, translation, Sahih International). We ask for victory more than we ask for life. We ask for the strengthening of our people in this good and blessed land."