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November 20, 2003 Special Dispatch No. 612

Escalation of Incitement to Violence During the Month of Ramadan

November 20, 2003
Palestine, Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 612

The month of Ramadan, the month of fasting, has a special status as the month of religious spirituality and devotion. However, in Muslim tradition it is also perceived as a month of Jihad, a month in which Allah grants military victories to His believers. [1] It was during Ramadan that Muslims triumphed in many battles throughout the history of Jihad for the sake of Allah – among them the battle of Badr in 624, [2] the conquest of Mecca in 630 and of Andalusia in 711, the battle of Al-Zallaqa (in Andalusia) in 1086, [3] the battle of Ein Jalut in 1260, [4] as well as the 1973 War (called The Ramadan War).

Given the historic religious and military significance of Ramadan, Islamist groups, as well as some mainstream Arab organizations, escalate incitement to terrorism during this period. [5] The following are several recent examples:

The Palestinian Authority

The special Ramadan communiqué issued by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, stated: "The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in the month of victory and strength, the blessed month of Ramadan, conveys its finest blessings of Jihad to the Arab and Islamic nation in general and to the Palestinian people standing at the [battle] front in particular. In addition, on the occasion of the blessed month, they send their blessings to all fighters of the Palestinian people, headed by the fighters of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

"We call upon you to intensify your Jihad attacks against the enemy wherever it may be throughout the beloved homeland… Oh, our people… swear to continue to be loyal always to the blood of the martyrs, to bear a blessing in this tremendous month, the month of victories. Our martyrdom operations and operations of quality will continue." [6]

In his Friday sermon broadcast live by Palestinian Television on October 31, 2003 at the Sheikh Zayid bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Mosque in Gaza City, Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris, a PA employee, said: "Allah made the [month of] Ramadan a period of commercial [deals] between Himself [and the believers]. Muslims compete among themselves in prayer and in study of the religion at night, in fasting and in expenditure [i.e. charity] for the sake of Allah… [Allah said]: ' Oh believers! Shall I lead you to a commercial deal that will save you from a painful punishment? It is that you believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you strive for the sake of Allah, with your property and your souls: that will be best for you, if you but knew!' [Koran, 61:10-11]…

"Has the time not come for Muslim servants of Allah to say: 'We will establish our state in Ramadan'? Has the time not come for the Muslims to say: 'We will achieve victories in Ramadan as did our predecessors'? Has the time not come for Muslims to say: 'We will achieve victory and liberate the blessed Al-Aqsa [Mosque] in the month of Ramadan'? It is surprising that the soul of a Muslim who says 'there is no God but Allah,' fasts during the day, and prays and reads the Koran through the night does not call on him to fight the battle of Jihad to liberate the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the land of Palestine." [7]

In the following week's sermon at the same mosque, which was also broadcast live by PA television, Muhammad Jamal Abu Hunoud said: "One of the virtues of this month, the month of Ramadan, is that besides being a month of education, of correcting [ones'] manner, and the month of the Koran, it is the month of Jihad so that the word of Allah will reign supreme, the month of victory and conquest, the month of the Muslims' many certain victories from the time of [Muhammad's] prophecy to this day. The Muslims were victorious in all the battles they entered into in the month of Ramadan…

"On the 17th of this month, in the second year of the Hijra, the great invasion of Badr took place. [This was] the day of salvation, the day the two camps met, [8] the day Allah strengthened the Muslims and granted them a decisive victory… On the 20th of the month of Ramadan, in the eighth year of the Hijra, the great conquest of Mecca took place. The Messenger of Allah returned to [Mecca] together with his 10,000 companions… [Similarly], one of the victories in our time in the month of Ramadan was the day of the crossing of the Suez Canal [i.e. the 1973 War], the day of the great crossing that shattered the attackers' fortifications and undermined the entity of those who act with [such] tyranny in the land [that] their houses are destroyed by their own hands as well as by the hands of their enemies." [9]

The 16th issue of Al-Fateh, an on-line children's newspaper published by Hamas, posted a Ramadan story entitled "The Jihad-Fighting Group," in which "…Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman loves Jihad and the Jihad fighters. He speaks of them with wonder and says that if he were a youth he would take up arms, fight the war of Jihad for the sake of Allah, and liberate the Muslim lands, and the land of Palestine in particular, from the hands of the pillagers…

"In the lesson of the day, the Sheikh sat smiling and said: 'Oh children, write the Hadith [you learned] today. It is the message to continue the Jihad until the day the dead are resurrected and the Muslims, the Jihad fighters, are victorious against the Jews and their followers, the enemies of Allah. We are [in the month] Ramadan, which is the month of Jihad.'

"The students opened their notebooks, their eyes lifted up towards the Sheikh's mouth. The Sheikh opened his mouth and said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may he rest in peace, said, 'There is still a group in my nation that safeguards its religion, vanquishes its enemy, and is not harmed by those who attack it, and its members are the victors thanks to the strength of Allah.' It was said [to the Prophet Muhammad], 'Oh messenger of Allah, where are they and who are [these people]?' The Prophet answered: 'They are Jerusalem and its environs…'" [10]

Chechnya

In a Ramadan communiqué, members of the Shura Military Council of the Jihad Fighters in Chechnya wrote: "We bless the entire Islamic nation – the clerics, the preachers, the activists, and Muslims everywhere, and in Chechnya in particular – at the beginning of the month of goodness and blessing, the month of the blessed Ramadan which Allah made the month of the Islamic nation's victory and heroism. When we, the Military Shura Council, convey this blessing [to you], we remind the [Muslim] nation – leaders, clerics, and all Muslims – of the importance of closing ranks, recognizing the enemy's tricks, and repudiating the evil intents of the Jews, the Christians, and other [elements] lying in wait in malice for the Islamic nation. We also recall Jihad for the sake of Allah, which is the path of heroism and victory by means of which Allah commanded us to confront our enemies, drive them away, and thwart their schemes." [11]

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

In an article titled, "The Great Month of Ramadan: The Oasis of the God-Fearing and the Season of Jihad for the Sake of Allah," the spiritual leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Mamoun Al-Hudeibi, wrote: "Behold the month of Ramadan, month of the victories throughout history, among them the anniversary of the crossing of [the Suez Canal] on the 10th of the month of Ramadan [in 1973]. This [was] the Jihad battle and victory and a glorious and authentic picture of the Muslim soldier who cried 'Allah Akbar,' observed the worship, the fast, and the reading of the Koran, and succeeded in defending his nation's honor. The soldiers turned to Jihad and to crossing [the Suez Canal] while [remaining] loyal [to their religion], and thus Allah granted them victory over their enemies… The victory that took place in the recent past can take place today and tomorrow, provided we return to Allah and convene under the banner of Islam…" [12]

The Mufti of Lebanon

During a Beirut parade at the beginning of Ramadan, the Mufti of Lebanon, Muhammad Rashid Qabbani, said: "Foreign imperialism returned in order to trample the Arab land, as was the case following World War I. We will never accept the Israeli foreign occupier in Palestine, and we will never accept the American foreign occupier in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must cooperate with the Palestinian people in Palestine, with the Iraqi people in Iraq, and with the Afghan people in Afghanistan to drive away the foreign American imperialism occupying our Arab land. Today, it also threatens some of our [Arab] countries – Syria and Saudi Arabia – through enticement and intimidation. Jihad is the slogan of our nation. We will fight the war of Jihad against the foreign occupier in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan…

"The word of Allah reigns supreme. It is this that will drive away the soldiers of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the soldiers of the American occupation of Iraq… This blessed month is the month of victory, but you must safeguard the security of your land. The security of [your land] lies in your solidarity, in the solidarity of your homeland Lebanon, and in your devotion to the country…" [13]

Al-Qa'ida

Sawt Al-Jihad, a biweekly magazine affiliated with Al-Qa'ida, wrote: "Jihad for the sake of Allah and fighting against the enemies of Allah is the peak of Islam and the greatest observance of the commandments and good deeds. The sanctity of Ramadan does not preclude Jihad in its various forms… Bearing arms and Jihad for the sake of Allah during the month of Ramadan is empowering Allah and his sanctity in this month of Jihad for the sake of Allah, and it is the endeavor and the culmination of observing the commandments and in worship." [14]


[1] It should be noted that Palestinian schoolbooks emphasize the Jihad aspect, not the fasting aspect, of the month of Ramadan. Islamic Education, a sixth-grade textbook, portrays this month as "a month of the great victories in Islam," citing "the renowned Ramadan War of 1973 between the Arabs and Israel [as] irrefutable proof of the importance of this month." See Narrating Palestinian Nationalism - A Study of the New Palestinian Textbooks.

[2] A battle between supporters of Muhammad and a merchant caravan of the Quraysh tribe.

[3] A battle in which Spanish Muslims defeated the Castilians near the city of Badajoz on today's Portuguese border.

[4] A battle in which the Mamelukes triumphed over the Mongols in the Jezreel Valley.

[5] Examples of incitement and escalation during this year's month of Ramadan include a communiqué by The Twentieth Revolution Brigades, the military wing of Iraq's National Islamic Resistance, announcing its manufacture of a new missile called "Ramadan 1" and calling on "every Iraqi and every Muslim to continue the Jihad to humiliate the occupier and expel him from our land with the strength of Allah." From Al-Sabil (Jordan), October 27, 2003. The Taliban in Afghanistan's special Ramadan communiqué said: "Our Jihad will continue, with Allah's help. Our spears will not be bent. Our fingers will not be removed from the trigger, with Allah's help. The fighting will not be exhausted. Ours is the fight of one whose heart longs to meet his Lord, the comfort of the world to come, the black-eyed girls [the 72 virgins], and the gardens of Allah. Our fallen to heaven and their fallen to hell. Our souls will be in the entrails of the green birds that bask in the goodness of their Lord." See:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalislamicmedia/message/170.

[6] http://moltaqa.fateh.tv/showthread.php?s=13db5be1ba58af00bff10f43aa66231&threadid=1745

[7] Palestinian Television (PA), October 31, 2003.

[8] A paraphrase of the Koran verse 41:8. The two camps are the camp of Muhammad and his Muhajiroun followers and the caravan from Mecca led by Abu Sufian.

[9] Palestinian Television (PA), November 7, 2003.

[10] http://www.al-fateh.net/fa-16/mujahida.htm

[11] http://www.qoqaz.com, October 26, 2003.

[12] http://www.ikhwanpress.com/maqal.htm

[13] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 27, 2003.

[14] Sawt Al-Jihad, Fourth issue, November, 2003.

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