Editor’s note: Below is the latest profile of Frontpage’s new series, “Voices of Palestine,” which will illuminate the core beliefs, in their own words, of leading figures in the Palestinian death cult. Click the following to view the profiles of Ahmad Bahr and Mahmoud al-Zahar.
If, by some unfortunate happenstance, the Palestinians were ever to achieve statehood for themselves, the nature of the emerging government – its moral authority and the views of its leaders regarding its neighbors and the world in which it exists – will be of great interest to the community of nations. The international community need look no further to assess Palestinian attitudes toward Jews, the state of Israel, and Western powers than the sermons of Yassir Arafat’s favorite preacher: Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris.
Between 2003-2005, Mudayris was the most prominent religious figure on official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV. His official title in the Ministry of Religious Trusts and Religious Affairs was “Head of the association for learning Koran by heart.” Since it is considered one of the most important duties of all Muslims to memorize the Koran, Mudayris held influence and respect beyond any relationship he had with Arafat. He was given the most coveted slot of any preacher in Gaza: delivering the traditional Friday sermon, broadcast live from the Shaykh Ijlin mosque. And for more than two years, his thundering sermons filled with images of blood and destruction for the enemies of the Palestinians were given the PA’s imprimatur by appearing on the official government television station.
Mudayris was not the first, and he certainly hasn’t been the last Palestinian cleric to incite violence against Jews and the West from a position of great influence among the faithful. But despite continued complaints from Israel about the nauseating anti-Semitism and hate-filled sermons from preachers like Mudayris, the Palestinians have never wavered in using extremist clerics to spread hate. Eventually, Mudayris fell victim to his own extremist views when one particularly rancid sermon in May of 2005 comparing Jews to the AIDS virus and including the claim that Muslims would take over America, set off a world-wide outcry against him and he was taken off the air. Little has been heard of him since, but it is presumed he is still at the religious ministry, still in a position of influence where his radical views can infect the Palestinian people.
There are several reoccurring themes that dominated Mudayris’s sermons. Besides continuous prayers for the destruction of America and Israel, there are references sprinkled throughout his talks to Jews being “the sons of apes and pigs.” This is not unusual and is a common theme among many Muslim clerics, as the description appears in the Koran (2:52-65; 5:59-60: 7:166). But in this case Mudayris was describing Jews (and Christians) as the offspring of animals from the PA-sponsored forum of a televised sermon. As a high-level official of the religious ministry at the time, Mudayris was also making an official statement sanctioned by a government agency responsible for promoting religious freedom and tolerance in the territories.
Referring once again to Jews as “pigs,” Mudayris explained in a sermon broadcast in September 2004 that even the “rocks and trees” wanted to kill the Jews:
The Prophet said [the Hadith]: ‘The Hour [of Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them.‘The Jews will hide behind rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh servant of Allah, oh Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’ Why is there this malice? Because there are none who love the Jews on the face of the earth: not man, not rock, and not tree. Everything hates them. They destroy everything. They destroy the trees and destroy the houses. Everything wants vengeance on the Jews, on these pigs on the face of the earth, and the day of our victory, Allah willing, will come.
Joel Fishman, an expert in media warfare, explains that Palestinian incitement to violence does not end with televised sermons of anti-Semitic rants. The entire political society is geared toward keeping the embers of hate burning brightly:
Persistent reports based primarily on information from Palestine Media Watch describe the pervasiveness and intensity of Palestinian incitement against Israel. Such acts include the naming of public buildings, sports facilities, and streets after Palestinian terrorists who have murdered Israeli civilians.The public discourse, which encompasses the educational system, teaching materials such as textbooks and maps, television, billboards, and the media of popular culture (such as websites and crossword puzzles), conveys a message of hatred. It honors Palestinian “martyrs,” killed while perpetrating terror attacks against Israeli civilians and exhorts the youth to emulate such “exemplary role models.”
The sermons of Mudayris and other clerics can then be seen as part of a mosaic of intolerance and hate, as much a part of state planning as deciding where to put a road or where to build a hospital. It would be part and parcel of any new Palestinian state, inbred in society until it has become perfectly normal to celebrate murderers of children and admire the deeds of cold-blooded killers. When such incitement enjoys the sanction of the government, and when supposed holy men mix in their gory and anti-Semitic metaphors with religious faith, an incendiary mixture is created that easily and frequently explodes into violence.
And this is a society that wishes the world to grant it statehood?
But Mudayris also let slip some telling words about Palestinian strategy. Referring to “the struggle,” Mudayris made it clear that any political solution involving Israel would be temporary – a pause in jihad against the infidels:
[W]e must assess every phase of our legitimate struggle. We must also assess every means we use for jihad and struggle against our enemies. If the phase demands an offensive means, then we should use it, and if it demands a political means, then we should use it also.
The point is clear – whether “peace” is achieved with Israel or not, it won’t change the basic thrust of Palestinian policy – death to the Jews and the destruction of Israel.
In a profile of Mudayris, Steven Stalinsky, executive director of MEMRI wrote in FPM back in 2005 that the radical TV cleric’s removal meant little as far as ending Palestinian incitement against Israel. Muzzling Mudayris was cosmetic in nature, done at the time to curry favor with the White House in advance of a visit by PA chairman Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas). It represented no change in the basic attitude of the PA toward the idea of spreading lies and igniting bloodlust against Israel and the Jews through vicious propaganda at all levels of society. Instead, taking Mudayris off the television was just one more move by the Palestinians to lull the West to sleep while continuing to incite their people in their rage against the Jewish state.
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