During Ramadan this year, and ahead of Israel's Jerusalem Day, marked on May 10, 2021, violent clashes broke out between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces in the city. These were accompanied by Palestinian shooting attacks in the West Bank and the launching of rockets and incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel. The escalation was sparked by a series of preceding events, which included TikTok videos showing Palestinian youths harassing Orthodox Jews, which evoked reactions from Israelis; the decision of the Israeli police to close off the stairs to Nablus Gate, and the evacuation of Palestinian families in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in favor of Jews. To all this was added the cancellation of the planned Palestinian elections by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas, which was used by Hamas to incite violence.
Amid this escalation, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), supported by Qatar and Turkey, posted on its website a proposed Friday sermon on the topic of Jerusalem. The sermon includes incitement to violence, jihad and self-sacrifice, as well as antisemitic motifs. Praising the "heroic jihad operations" of the "jihad fighters in Palestine," as well as the young Palestinians who are "deployed on the battlefront" in Jerusalem, the sermon states that "the Muslims' foremost duty is to wage jihad by sacrificing their souls" for Al-Aqsa. It adds that whoever is unable to come to the battlefront himself must help the jihad fighters with money, and thus "illuminate Al-Aqsa," just as the Palestinians who are deployed on the front illuminate it with their blood and their souls.
The sermon also states that the Prophet Muhammad spoke about "the battle to liberate Al-Aqsa from the Jews," and quotes the antisemitic hadith stating that, on Judgement Day, the Muslims will fight the Jews and even the stones and the trees will betray the Jews hiding behind them.
Calls to come to Jerusalem and defend it have also been heard recently from Palestinian elements, such as the Fatah movement and from Al-Aqsa preacher Sheikh Ikrama Sabri, who is a member of the IUMS board of trustees. Figures from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have called for martyrdom and terror operations.
It should be noted that, in addition to being associated with piety and fasting, Ramadan in Muslim tradition is also seen as the month of jihad and martyrdom, in which the Muslims scored outstanding victories throughout their history. Muslim extremists therefore intensify their violent action and their calls for terrorism during this month.
Post on Twitter: "This night is not devoted only to i'tikaf [constant worship at the mosque, especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan], it must also be devoted to deployment on the front, to jihad and to the defense of Al-Aqsa (Source: Twitter.com/KhaledSafi, May 8, 2021)
The following are translated excerpts from the sermon posted on the IUMS website.
"Oh servants of Allah, Ramadan is passing fast, and we are [now] in its last ten days. These are days in which we intensify our efforts and intentions in the worship of God, and nights that we spend in prayer. As the days of Ramadan pass, the greatest Zionist gathering approaches, and they are now preparing for it and [getting ready to] to invade the blessed Al-Aqsa on the 28th day of Ramadan [May 10, 2021].
"These days, when submission to Allah assumes its clearest significance, let us note that Allah described the Prophet Muhammad in the Verse of the [Night] Journey – which tells how [Muhammad] entered Al-Aqsa for the first time as [Allah's] servant – [saying]: 'Glory be to the One who took His servant Muḥammad by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque [Al-Aqsa] whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs. Indeed, He alone is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.' In the beginning of the Surah of the Night Journey, speaking of the battle to enter Jerusalem, Allah [again] describes those who first entered the [Al-Aqsa] mosque as His servants, saying, 'We sent against you Our servants, those of great military might [Quran 5:17]…' When the Prophet Muhammad spoke of the battle to liberate Al-Aqsa from the Jews, he clarified that the emblem of this campaign is submission to God. The compilation of reliable hadiths penned by Muslim states that the Prophet said, 'Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind trees and stones. Then the trees and the stones will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him' – except for the gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews.'
"This clearly shows that the road to the liberation of Al-Aqsa starts with properly submitting to Allah and to him alone, obeying His commandments and [making sure that] all initiative and [efforts to] rush into action are exclusively for the sake of implementing His directives… The truth, as clear as the sun at midday, is that negotiations and dialogue do not frighten the Jews, but they quake in fear [when they see] young men raised on the tenets of the [Muslim] faith and the directives of the Quran. The young jihad fighters of Palestine are the best evidence of this, for they have given the Jews a taste of dread and rocked [the foundations of] their entity [the state of Israel] with their heroic jihad operations. They took up a rifle in one hand and the Quran in the other, after holding the Quran as belief in their hearts and [adopting it] as a way of life…
"Oh servants of Allah, the Jews are gathering [and preparing] to let thousands of Zionist usurpers enter the precincts of the blessed Al-Aqsa on the 28th day of Ramadan. The pure servants of Allah have set forth for the blessed Al-Aqsa, to deploy in its precincts and alleys in order to prevent the hordes of settlers from invading it. This is their duty; [it is what] Allah the Almighty demanded of them. But the question to ask now is the following: If they are doing what Allah demanded of them, what has Allah demanded that we do for their sake and for the sake of the blessed Al-Aqsa, so as to confront this expected criminal invasion? When the enemy is occupying one of [the Muslims'] lands, the Muslims' foremost duty is to wage jihad by sacrificing their souls and their wealth. [That is,] if a Muslim is unable to sacrifice his soul, he must wage jihad by means of his wealth. Allah said [in Quran 4:95]: 'The believers who remain at home – other than the disabled – are not equal to the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward.'
"Know that generous financial aid provided by a Muslim to his brothers, the murabitoun jihad fighters [i.e., jihad fighters deployed on the front] and who are preparing for war in the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque, is neither a donation, nor charity nor an act of philanthropy. Rather, it is one of the duties incumbent upon the Muslim… [One of the Muslim's] most important duties is to humiliate the Zionists and expose their lies and plots through mass gatherings, if possible, or through the media and through social media campaigns. This humiliates the usurping Zionists while also strengthening the murabitoun… The murabitoun in Jerusalem and in the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque illuminate [the mosque] with their blood and their souls. Each of us will have to ask himself what effort he [intends to] invest in funding [the campaign] and [boosting] morale, and how he will illuminate the Al-Aqsa mosque…"
 The IUMS was founded in 2004 by Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi, who also headed it until 2018. In an interview on Al-Jazeera on November 18, 2018, the current president of the IUMS, Dr. Ahmad Al-Raissouni, revealed that Qatar has supported the organization since its inception and that Turkey now funds it as well. He said: "There is nothing wrong with that and we don't hide it. On the contrary, we are proud of it and we urge all the countries to follow in the footsteps of those two" (Aljazeera.net, November 18, 2018). It should be mentioned that the IUMS and its founder Al-Qaradawi have for years been cultivating and spreading a discourse that encourages jihad and terrorism.
 Wafa.ps, March 8, 2021.
 Palinfo.com, May 4, 2021.
 Palinfo.com, May 5, 2021; paltoday.ps, May 6, 2021.
 On the topic of Ramadan as the month of jihad, victories and martyrdom across the Arab and Islamic world. See the following MEMRI reports:
Special Dispatch No. 6468 - One Day Prior To Tel Aviv Terror Attack, Article On Hamas Website Calls On Muslims To Wage Jihad - 'The Pinnacle Of Islam' - During Ramadan, 'The Month Of Jihad' - 06/09/16;
 Iumsnonline.org, May 6, 2021.
 Quran 17:1, describing Muhammad's Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.
 Murabitoun are fighters preparing for war on the front. It is also the name of Palestinian activists at Al-Aqsa who aim to prevent Jewish worshipers from entering the compound.