PMW in the Media
Hamas and Fatah Trying to Out-Muslim Each Other
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Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' government has instituted a new "morality" patrol in the West Bank to make sure Palestinians are not eating or drinking in public during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, reports said.
It's seem as the latest sign of a growing rivalry between Fatah and the radical Islamic faction Hamas over which group is more Muslim. Fatah, which is generally thought of as a secular Palestinian movement, is trying to prove that Hamas has not cornered the market on religion.
Three weeks ago, in dueling videos, Hamas and Fatah accused each other of defiling the Quran -- something the Palestinian Media Watch called a "sign of the growing influence of Islam in Palestinian society."
Fatah now has its own vice squad to monitor the observance of Ramadan in the West Bank. Even Hamas does not do that in Gaza, the Associated Press reported.
The 12-member morality police squad was deployed in Ramallah, the most cosmopolitan of the West Bank and Gaza Strip cities, according to the A.P.
Anyone violating the fast in public would be taken in for questioning, a vice squad spokesman was quoted as saying.
Police spokesman Adnan al-Damari was quoted as saying that at least 50 suspected offenders had been arrested in public places but the patrols did not go into homes to check if the fast was being observed.
According to Islamic tradition, Muslims are forbidden to eat, drink or engage in other forms of physical gratification from sunrise to sunset for the entire Muslim month of Ramadan. They can feast during the night.
Earlier this month, a video produced by Fatah showed scenes of destruction, a bloodstained floor and copies of the Quran covered with grenades and bullet casings. The video blamed Hamas for the desecration, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
An animated Hamas video depicted Fatah members as rats burning the Quran and other Islamic texts, removing a veil from a woman's face, and targeting a mosque with machine guns.
Hamas, represented by a lion that strongly resembled Walt Disney's Lion King, rose up to scatter the Fatah "rats."