On January 9th, Mufti Muhammad Hussein gave a speech which seems to present the murder of Jews by Muslims as a religious goal.
It came during a celebration of the 47th anniversary of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction. The Mufti, who was appointed by PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, made the claim at an official Fatah event marking the founding of the largest faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The moderator who introduced the Mufti also implied “that the Jews are descendants of apes and pigs,” according to a broadcast on PA TV translated by the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
[Disclaimer: PMW is seen as a very biased, anti-Palestinian, and borderline-racist organization by most Palestinians with whom I've spoken.]
The video of the speech has been removed by Youtube, citing its call to violence as a violation of terms of service, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for an investigation into the Mufti’s speech with possible legal ramifications.
The Mufti, however, denies calling for the actual killing of Jews, insisting that he was merely citing a Hadith (traditional Muslim saying which is not part of the Qur’an), and that his speech was edited and misinterpreted.
In response, Turkish Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar blasted the Mufti for his speech and says that it is in no way representative of Islam:
“You can go nowhere by bloodshed. All will inflict affliction upon you if you shed blood; you will simply be on a downward spiral of bloodshed,” he warned. “Pull yourselves together. I address those who advocate murder. Jews are the descendants of prophets — Allah pre-destined them as Jews,” he emphasized. “They live as Jews. The Koran refers to them as the People of the Book… one cannot simply go and kill them.”
The moderator’s attempt to malign the ancestry of Jews, he said, was grossly misplaced, an ignorant misquote of the Koran. “Whoever wages a war against Allah and the Koran, that person turns into an ape or a swine,” he quoted, adding grimly, “Therefore it is haram (unlawful) to say that stones and trees will point to every Jew and you will kill Jews altogether, whether a girl, woman or a child. This is unbecoming for a Muslim to utter… it is wholly in contradiction with the Koran.” [source]
Regardless of the Mufti’s claims of misinterpretation, as one who is supportive of the rights of the Palestinian people to have their own state and one who desires to see Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace, I am saddened that more Palestinian voices (both Muslim and Christian) have not spoken out in as straightforward a manner as Oktar.
If Palestinians desire to be a free people (as they should) with a recognized government (as they should) and a member of the community of nations (as they should), such rhetoric which plays off of and reflects a deep and longstanding anti-Jewish sentiment MUST be condemned unequivocally and with no attempts to justify or point fingers at the crimes and injustices committed by Israel.
I don’t know a single Palestinian, personally, who would agree with the Mufti’s words. Yet, unfortunately, speeches like the Mufti’s are what characterize Palestinians in the eyes of most Americans.
Speeches like the Mufti’s drive Islamophobia, particularly in the West.
Speeches like the Mufti’s only give ammunition to Zionists who believe that any and all Palestinian efforts at peace are disingenuous and that Palestinians really just want the destruction of Israel and the Jews.
Speeches like the Mufti’s play into the scenarios envisioned by the John Hagees of the world who believe that war is the only outcome in dealing with Islam and that attempts at peacemaking are the work of the Antichrist.
Speeches like the Mufti’s lead many people to believe that most opposition to Zionism or criticism of Israel is rooted to varying degrees in hatred of the Jewish people (as my friend Dr. Michael Brown suggests in his recent article on this issue).
Thus, anyone on the side of peace MUST categorically condemn such speeches and sentiments without hesitation.
Just as a number of Israeli Jewish voices rise up and condemn the actions of their leaders when they are unjust, there MUST be Palestinian voices (particularly Palestinian Muslim voices!) who renounce the words of their appointed leaders as well.
There can be no peace when people only point fingers at the enemy’s actions.
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
-Jesus (Matthew 7:5)
This applies to BOTH sides in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
So far, I have asked Palestinian friends and supporters of Palestine to share any response by Palestinians to the Mufti’s speech that they come across. I ask Dojo readers to do the same in the comments section below.
Without strong rebukes by the people, leaders will feel that such rhetoric is acceptable and will play to their base in order to gain political support–thus insuring that the loudest and most dominant voices are those of hatred and fear-mongering.
Palestinians, you are better than the Mufti’s words!
Please show the world that this is true.
For more posts on Israel/Palestine here at Disciple Dojo, click the “Political/Social issues” category link on the right hand side of this page.