International condemnation of PA Mufti
following PMW exposure
of religious hate speech
PA rejects condemnation as "incitement"
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of the PA Mufti's speech citing the Islamic tradition (Hadith) that anticipates the killing of Jews by Muslims has brought Israeli and international condemnation of the Mufti and the Palestinian Authority.
The PA has rejected this international condemnation, calling PMW's exposure of the story and the responses "incitement" against Palestinian leaders, and called for "international human rights organizations to denounce the brutal attack against [Mufti] Sheikh Hussein, since it runs contrary to international law."
The following are some of the Israeli and international condemnations of the PA Mufti followed by a senior PA religious leader's rejection of the condemnations as "incitement," and the NY Times' coverage of the story:
Israeli President Shimon Peres to Justice Minister:
"President Shimon Peres met with Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman and asked him to take steps against the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Mohammed Hussein who called to kill Jews. 'Israel's law enforcement must use all means to prevent such calls,' said Peres."
[JPost.com, Jan. 23, 2012]
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu:
"The call to murder Jews simply because they are Jews is terrible from an ethical point-of-view and is an obstacle to peace. Incitement in general is an obstacle to peace. What is especially serious is that as of today, not only has the Palestinian Authority neither condemned nor taken exception to the remarks, it enabled them to be broadcast on official Palestinian television. I expect senior PA officials to condemn this act."
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Israeli Parliament:
"Today, most governments around the world are silent in the face of calls by the Palestinian mufti to kill Jews simply because they are Jews. What is most chilling is the fact that there is here a legacy of hatred and annihilation because this mufti is following in the footsteps of that previous mufti. [Mufti] Haj Amin al-Husseini was one of the architects of the Final Solution."
UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt:
"I condemn the inflammatory words used by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and others at a recent event marking the 47th anniversary of the Fatah movement. To refer to the Jewish people in such a way and to talk of killing Jews is anti-semitism, pure and simple."
Americans for Peace Now:
"Americans for Peace Now strongly condemns the belligerent anti-Jewish comments made by the Palestinian Authority's Mufti of Jerusalem at a public event in the West Bank earlier this month... 'We are appalled by these comments, coming from the most senior Muslim cleric on the Palestinian Authority's payroll,' said Debra DeLee, APN's President and CEO. DeLee added, 'What we find particularly disturbing is that these vile comments were broadcast on the Palestinian Authority's official television channel, amplifying their inciting affect.'"
PA Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Law, Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is:
"Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Law, Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is,
emphasized that the decision by the occupation Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to open an investigation against the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories and speaker at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, is an insult to Muslims, an escalation of Israeli measures against our people, and an attempt to silence and intimidate the voice that defends Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Ida'is emphasized that our people will not agree to insults to its religious authorities and symbols. He described Netanyahu's call as a political step designed to strengthen the occupation with its discriminatory laws, and as a dangerous precedent that joins the occupation's [other] precedents and repeated violations. He declared the occupation fully responsible for [protecting] Sheikh Muhammad Hussein's life. Idai's called for restraint of the official and unofficial Israeli mouthpieces which incite against Palestinian religious and national leaders. He demanded of the Islamic and Christian sources of authority around the world, legal institutions, and international human rights organizations to denounce the brutal attack against Sheikh Hussein, since it runs contrary to international law."
[Emphasis added, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 24, 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 The NY Times:
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]
Following PMW's exposure, the Mufti and PA's Minister of Religious Affairs defended the Mufti's quoting of the Hadith, saying it was merely a quote from an Islamic source, not intended to incite to hatred, and not relevant for today's context. However, the Mufti's words introducing the Hadith and following the quote clearly shows that he intended to apply the Hadith about Muslims killing Jews within the context of today's conflict.
New York Times:
"Prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, called on the leaders of the Palestinian Authority to condemn remarks by its top cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, who recently recited an ancient Islamic text at a ceremony broadcast on Palestinian Authority television advising that Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims fight and kill the Jews.
"Whoever wants peace should not permit such incitement and should not allow calls to murder Jews," Mr. Netanyahu said Monday. ...
The mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Hussein, addressed a crowd at an event marking the 47th anniversary of the founding of Fatah, the mainstream movement led by the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. He quoted a hadith, a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, stating: "The Hour will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jews 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." ...
Mr. Netanyahu described the words of the mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Hussein, as "morally heinous" and compared the remarks to those of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem who notoriously aligned himself with Hitler in the 1930s. Palestinian television broadcast the mufti's comments on Jan. 9 and Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli monitoring group, drew attention to them on Jan. 15. An Israeli official said that the prime minister became aware of it only in the past few days.
The mufti denied calling for the killing of Jews, telling Israel Radio on Sunday that he was only quoting the words of the Prophet Muhammad. He told Voice of Palestine radio on Monday that "these allegations come within the Israeli incitement campaign against Jerusalem and its figures."