December 12, 2023 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1733

Islamic Scholars' Convention In Islamabad Calls For Jihad Against Israel, Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh Tells Nuclear-Armed Pakistan: 'If Pakistan Threatens Israel, Then The Gaza War Can Stop; Jews Are Muslims' Greatest Enemy In The World'

December 12, 2023 | By Mantasha Ansari*
Pakistan, Palestinians | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1733

In the weeks after the October 7, 2023 Hamas attacks in Israel, Islamic organizations in Pakistan have been, in various Pakistani towns and cities, holding anti-Israel events, conferences, and protest rallies at which Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mash'al as well as Islamic religious scholars are speakers, sometimes speaking remotely from Qatar.[1]

Similarly, on December 6, 2023, a major anti-Israel conference was held in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, by "Majlis-e-Ittehad-e-Ummat Pakistan," a network of Islamic religious organizations. At the conference, Ismail Haniyeh, who was the special speaker, addressed the participants by telephone, while another Hamas leader Naji Zuhair, who in recent weeks has been in Pakistan, attended the conference. The theme of the conference, which at the end of the day adopted a joint declaration, was "the Sanctity of Jerusalem."

A frontpage report in Roznama Express is titled: "Great expectations from Pakistan; If it threatens Israel, then the Gaza war can stop – Ismail Haniyeh"

On December 7, the day after the conference, Urdu-language Pakistani dailies reported on the conference. Roznama Express, which is distributed in 11 Pakistani cities, ran a frontpage report titled "Great Expectations From Pakistan; If It Threatens Israel, Then The Gaza War Can Stop – Ismail Haniyeh." This news report also carried a subtitle; "Pleadings Going On To Recognize Israel, [We] Will Not Permit – Fazl-Ur-Rehman; Muslim Rulers Responsible For The Oppression In Gaza – Sirajul Haq."

Roznama Islam, another Urdu-language daily known for favoring jihadi groups, published a frontpage article titled "Two-State Solution For Palestine Not Acceptable; Consensus By The Religious Leadership Is To Demand That A Declaration Be Made For Complete Independence." Above this main headline in bold, there is a top title that reads: "Zionists Are Our Biggest Enemy; Pakistan Is The Axis Of Our All Hopes; If It Puts Pressure On Israel, Then The War Can Stop – Hamas Leader." This report also had a subtitle that reads: "Hamas Is A Political Force, Is Waging A Defensive Jihad, Aid Be Sent, A Case Should Be Filed Against Israel For War Crimes, There Should Be A Boycott Of Products – Joint Declaration..."

Roznama Ummat, a pro-Taliban Urdu newspaper, also published a frontpage news report based on the convention in Islamabad titled "Two-State Solution For Palestine Rejected At Hurmat-e-Bait-ul-Muqaddas Convention." This report also has a subtitle: "Israel Cannot Be Accepted – Mufti Taqi Usmani; With Pakistan's Threat, The War Can Be Stopped – Ismail Haniyeh..."

Roznama Dunya, a major Urdu daily distributed in six cities also printed a frontpage report titled "If Pakistan Threatens Israel, Then The Gaza War Can Stop; Jews Are The Muslims' Greatest Enemy In The World – Hamas Leader." 

These frontpage headlines in the Urdu press, which are read by the Pakistani masses, reflect the key statements made by Islamic religious scholars at the conference in Islamabad and also Haniyeh's direct appeal to nuclear-armed Pakistan for intervention in Gaza.

December 6, 2023: Ismail Haniyeh says, "If Pakistan threatens Israel, Gaza war can stop.

Addressing the conference, Ismail Haniyeh called upon the nuclear-armed Pakistan: "Pakistan is a strong country. If Pakistan threatens Israel, then the war can stop. We have lots of expectations from Pakistan. Pakistan can force Israel to retreat."[2] Haniyeh further said: "Jews are the biggest enemy of Muslims in the world. In this war, our 20,000 children, women, and men have been martyred"; "At this time we are destroying Israel's most modern weapons. We have hope we will succeed."[3]

Joint Declaration Adopted By The Convention: "This War By Hamas Is A Defensive Jihad – Hamas Is A Recognized Political Force And Their Zionist Settlements Were Established By Force; [We] Support Completely The Struggle To Eliminate Them"

According to a report in Roznama Islam, the joint declaration adopted at the convention was introduced by Islamic scholar Mufti Abu Muhammad. According to the report, the joint declaration stated: "A massacre has been going on in Gaza for past two months. Along with Israel its facilitators are equally participants in the war crimes. Peace-loving people are continuously protesting all over world. [We] thank them. A weak stand should not be adopted against war crimes, the need is to stop this."[4]

The declaration added: "This war by Hamas is a defensive jihad. Hamas is a recognized political force and their Zionist settlements were established by force; [we] support completely the struggle to eliminate them. Palestine should be recovered in its original form and an declaration should be made of Palestine's complete independence. Regarding jihad, the order of shari'a is clear. The first Qibla [i.e., Jerusalem] has to be liberated from Jewish subjugation and the independence of Palestine is a collective issue for Muslims. The United Nations resolutions exist; Israel's military intervention and cordon should be terminated."[5]

According to the Roznama Ummat report, the convention declared Hamas fighters to be mujahideen, endorsed jihad as obligatory on Muslims, called their struggle legitimate, and demanded the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[6]

Leaders of Pakistan's leading political parties and religious organizations, Islamic religious scholars, and Sufi mystics attended the convention. "[They] made it clear that if Muslim rulers tried to recognize Israel, then Muslim publics would revolt against them. The question before the rulers is whose responsibility it is to save the Ummah," a report in the Urdu daily Roznama Dunya said.[7]

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman: "The U.S. Secretary Of State Came To Israel As A Jew; I Went To Qatar As A Muslim Mujahid And Told Ismail Haniyeh That I Have Come Here As A Muslim, I Will Convey The Message Of Hamas To The Decision-Makers Of Pakistan"

Addressing the conference, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), said: "[I] want to tell the rulers of Muslim countries, keep your pragmatism to yourself; the youths will continue the sentiments of jihad."[8]

Maulana Fazlur Rehman also said: "We have defeated the lovers of Israel.[9] [I] tell our government and the Muslim rulers that [they have] no permission to recognize Israel. The U.S. Secretary of State came to Israel as a Jew; I went to Qatar as a Muslim mujahid and told Ismail Haniyeh that I have come here as a Muslim, I will convey the message of Hamas to the decision-makers of Pakistan."[10]

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, addresses the December 6 convention in Islamabad (Image: X)

Maulana Fazlur Rehman further said: "The role of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan with China and Russia is becoming more important. China and Russia will also have to advance practically to stop America in the Gulf... The founders of Pakistan sensed the intentions of the Zionist forces; this is why Quaid-e-Azam [Great Leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan] described Israel as an illegitimate child."[11]

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader added: "Bait-ul-Muqaddas [Jerusalem] is ours. We have to liberate Bait-ul-Muqaddas. The champions of democracy are not respecting humanity in Palestine. International institutions should respect the rights of Palestinians. The Islamic world should offer financial aid to Palestine."[12]

Ijaz-Ul-Haq, Politician And Son Of Former Pakistani Dictator Zia-Ul-Haq: "All Of Us Saw In Afghanistan Whether Technology Or Jihad Won"

Sajid Mir, an Islamic religious scholar, a Pakistani senator, and the emir of the Pakistani religious and political party Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith,[13] also spoke at the conference, stating: "The world had forgotten the Palestinian issue like Kashmir. Due to the sacrifices of mujahideen [of Hamas], the Palestinian issue has been once again revived."[14]

Ijaz-ul-Haq – former Pakistani minister, son of Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq, and president of the Pakistan Muslim League party – addressed the event, saying that America's modern weapons failed to give it a victory against the Afghan Taliban's jihad, saying: "All of us saw in Afghanistan whether technology or jihad won."[15]

Abdullah Gul – son of the former Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) chief Hamid Gul and chairman of Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan ("the Movement of Pakistani Youths") – told the conference proudly: "Pakistan is the only country whose passport grants permission to travel the entire world except Israel."[16]

Pakistan's caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Aneeq Ahmad praised the Islamic religious scholars for organizing the convention, saying: "Today, more than [those organized by] Muslims, [anti-Israel] protests are being held in the U.S. and Britain in the name of humanity. Today, I am happy that all Ulema [religious scholars] have gathered together."[17] He also said: "Is it necessary for the Muslim Ummah to carry out trade in dollars? Muslims never want war but amid the situation today underway against Muslim Ummah, we are not even reaching a compromise."[18]

Pakistan's Renowned Islamic Religious Scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani: "A Two-State Solution For Palestine Is Not Acceptable Under Any Conditions Because The Two-State Solution Means Recognition Of Israel"

Addressing the gathering, Pakistan's leading Islamic religious scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani said: "A two-state solution of Palestine is not acceptable under any conditions because a two-state solution means recognition of Israel. Israel cannot be accepted under any conditions."[19] He reminded the audience that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had declared "Israel to be an illegitimate child and had declared [that it would not be accepted] ever. Pakistan cannot retreat from this official declaration by Pakistan's founder."[20]

According to the Roznama Ummat report, Mufti Taqi Usmani emphasized that "if the Islamic world unites and aids [Palestine], the Western powers cannot do anything. Lordship is with Allah, not with America."[21] He further asked the religious leaders "not to demand a stop to the war only because it means stopping the war from both sides. The demand for stopping the war should be to prevent Israel from bombing [Gaza]... Today the bravehearts of Hamas have provided an opportunity for freedom. The fighters of Hamas should be called mujahideen instead of combatants."[22]

Pakistan's leading Islamic scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani stated his opposition to a two-state solution (Image: X)

The renowned Pakistani cleric further said: "The world of Islam is caught in the servitude of the West. We are living a life of servitude militarily, politically, and economically... Shari'a has ordered that if someone has occupied the land of Muslims, then jihad becomes obligatory on the Muslims of the area. Jihad is obligatory first on the Muslims of the area. Later it becomes obligatory on Muslims living nearby, and after that jihad becomes obligatory on all Muslims according to their own capabilities."[23]

Sirajul Haq, emir of Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan, told the convention: "For the resolution of the Palestinian issue, Jamat-e-Islami supports the same ideology which is of the people of Palestine and of Quaid-e-Azam."[24]

The convention was also attended by Islamic scholars such as Maulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhari, Allama Owais Noorani, Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, Senator Sajid Mir, Senator Hafiz Abdul Kareem, and others.

Following are images from the December 6 convention and articles about it:

The frontpage report in Roznama Ummat titled: "Two-state solution for Palestine rejected at Hurmat-e-Bait-ul-Muqaddas Convention"

A view of the convention in Islamabad. The Urdu text in the background reads: "Hurmat-e-Masjid Al-Aqsa and the Responsibility of Muslim Ummah" (Image: X)

The Roznama Islam front-page report titled: "Two-State Solution Of Palestine Not Acceptable"

Siraj-ul-Haq, the emir of Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan, while addressing Hurmat-e-Bait-ul-Muqaddas Convention in Islamabad (Image: X)

A screenshot of the Roznama Dunya frontpage report titled: "If Pakistan Threatens Israel, Then The Gaza War Can Stop... Hamas Leader"

The report published by Roznama Islam.

*Mantasha Ansari is a Research Assistant at MEMRI's South Asia Studies Project.


[2] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[3] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[4] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[5] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[6] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), December 7, 2023

[7] Roznama Dunya (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[8] Roznama Dunya (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[9] This is a reference to former prime minister Imran Khan, whom Pakistani clerics accuse of being pro-Israel because his ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith is a Jew.

[10] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[11] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[12] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[13] This man is not to be confused with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist by the same name who is known as the chief planner of the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, in which 10 LeT members killed 175 people in 12 attacks over four days.

[14] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[15] Roznama Dunya (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[16] Roznama Dunya (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[17] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[18] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[19] Ummat.Net (Pakistan), December 6, 2023.

[20] Ummat.Net (Pakistan), December 6, 2023.

[21] Ummat.Net (Pakistan), December 6, 2023.

[22] Ummat.Net (Pakistan), December 6, 2023.

[23] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

[24] Roznama Dunya (Pakistan), December 7, 2023.

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