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memri
February 4, 2009 No.
2225

Mt. Lebanon Mufti Sheikh Muhammad 'Ali Al-Jozo Slams Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah, Iran

During Israel's offensive in Gaza, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah harshly criticized the Egyptian leadership.[1] In response, Mt. Lebanon Mufti Sheikh Muhammad 'Ali Al-Jozo lambasted Nasrallah, accusing him of dividing the Arab nation and of exploiting the Gazans' blood to further his political goals, which serve the Iranian agenda.

Following are excerpt from Al-Jozo's statements, as quoted in the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal.

Nasrallah's Attack on Egypt Is "Highly Dangerous – Because It Ignites Flames [of Strife] Between the Arab and Iranian Peoples"

On January 9, 2009, Al-Mustaqbal published the following statements by Al-Jozo:

"Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's brutal attack against Egypt stemmed from Iran's rancor [towards it], which is rooted in questionable [motives] and in sectarian and regional [conflicts]. This attack is highly dangerous, because it ignites flames [of strife] between the Arab and Iranian peoples, and feeds the reciprocal anger between Sunnis and Shi'ites, which could lead to unforeseeable negative consequences.

"Since last summer, Iran has been waging an all-out media war against Egypt. [The most blatant manifestation of this war] was the Iranian-produced film Assassination of a Pharaoh.[2] This film dealt with the assassination of [Egyptian] president Anwar Sadat – the first Arab leader who achieved a historic victory over the Israeli army when his forces managed to cross the [Suez] Canal, destroy the enemy's defense lines, and conquer Sinai in broad daylight. The commander of the [Egyptian] Air Force at that time was the current [Egyptian] president, Hosni Mubarak.

"What has Egypt done for the Palestinian cause, and what has Iran done? Egypt participated in four wars for the liberation of Palestine: the 1948 [war], the 1956 [war against the] tripartite aggression [of Israel, France, and Britain], the 1967 [war], and the [war against the] American-Russian conspiracy of 1973, in which Egypt achieved a resounding victory which belied all [the claims] about the invincibility of the Israeli army.

"What wars has Iran waged against the Zionists enemy? The July [2006 Israel-Hizbullah war] in Lebanon is touted as an Iranian [war to liberate Palestine] – but… [in actuality] was launched to liberate one Lebanese prisoner [Samir Al-Kuntar] – nothing more and nothing less. Moreover, Lebanon paid a very steep price for this war…"

Nasrallah's Loyalty Lies with Iran

Al-Jozo continued: "We all know that Nasrallah is pro-Iran by inclination, because his faith is Iranian [i.e. Shi'ite], his loyalty is to the jurisprudent [i.e. Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei], and his funds and weapons come from Iran. This raises doubts regarding his assumptions and intentions, especially when he chooses the [Shi'ite festival of] 'Ashura to voice his shrill [accusations] and launch his attacks against Egypt.

"This unfortunate fact leads us to certain additional [conclusions] – [for instance,] that a Shi'ite country named Iran is attacking a Sunni country named Egypt, and this endangers the Islamic, Arab and Lebanese arenas.

"Therefore, we must sound a warning bell, and ask: Do the Arabs and Muslims want to involve the [entire] region in this conflict? How can we allow a sectarian war of this kind to break out between Iran and Egypt? Why sow hatred among the Muslim peoples? Why all this rancor against Egypt? Why exhume historical [conflicts]? How will returning [to the past] help the Islamic world? Should this opportunity [i.e. the 'Ashura festival] be exploited to create a tense atmosphere, spread rancor, and threaten to [bring about] a terrible holocaust?

"Are the people of Gaza so incapable of demanding their own rights that you [Nasrallah] must attack Egypt [on their behalf]? Are you closer to Egypt than they are? Why do you play on sectarian sensitivities in circumstances such as these? Just as there are Lebanese who are loyal to Iran, there is also a large [Lebanese] sector loyal to Egypt. Do we want to ignite an new sectarian war in Lebanon?...

"If the issue is the opening of the Rafah crossing, it was [actually] opened a long time ago. Why is [Nasrallah] disregarding this? Why [all] this incitement, insolence, and interference in Egypt's internal affairs? Is this the way to unite the Arab [ranks] vis-à-vis the enemies?… Rafah is not the only [crossing] connecting Egypt and Gaza – [they] are also linked by 700 tunnels. [So] why [criticize] Egypt – the only Arab country whose history is [inextricably] linked with that of Palestine and Gaza?

"It pains us to hear voices that go too far in their hostility and call for division and dissent, and for tearing the Arab nation apart. No matter how deep the historical and sectarian rancor, we must return [to early Islamic period], 14 centuries ago, and revive archaic conflicts. And if this is not what is happening – how do we explain this new Iranian attack against the Arabs?..."[3]

The "Heroes of the Resistance," Who Caused the Deaths of 1,400 Lebanese, Now Preach to the Arab World

On January 13, 2009, Al-Mustaqbal quoted further statements by Al-Jozo:

"Iran is using Lebanon as a base for launching [verbal] missiles against the Arabs, for attacking them, and for cursing them. It strives to ignite fitna [i.e. internal strife] throughout the Arab region, and has been fanning sectarian strife in Iraq ever since the so-called Islamic Revolution of [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini...

"The brave heroes of the Lebanese resistance, who achieved the great victory over Israel [when they] defeated it in July 2006 and caused it great losses in lives and equipment, [also] caused the deaths of 1,400 [Lebanese] civilians, and the wounding of at least 4,000. [They brought about] utter devastation on South [Lebanon], and damage to bridges and roads [throughout the country], from the North to the South.

"Now, these people have become preachers and lecturers [purporting to] teach the Arab world the meaning of true resistance – and are insolently [rudely] inciting [the Arabs] to open the Rafah crossing by force...

"The mouthpieces of Iran are using the basest and ugliest means in their war against the Arabs. They exploit the Gazans' blood and catastrophe, their wounds, their shahids, and [the suffering of] their children so as to attack and hurl invective at the Arabs and sow hatred between the Palestinians and [the rest of] the Arab nation.

"They are driving a wedge between the people of Gaza and the people of Egypt, and today they are rejoicing at the disasters that have struck us."

Iran's Agents Are Eager to See Arab Blood Spilled

"Iran's agents are opportunistic, and they have a burning desire to ignite strife. They are eager to see bloodshed in our lands, and the Arab nation turning upon itself. Assisting them in this [enterprise] is the 'Alawi regime [i.e. Syria], which has gone very far in its hostility towards the Arabs...

"Has the blood spilled in Gaza quenched your thirst? Does it give you pleasure to see innocent blood shed by the Zionists, the enemies of humanity?...

"This is thirst for the blood of the Muslims and the Arab nation. Shameful are those who exploit the disasters of the Arabs and the Gazans, and use the heaps of rubble in Gaza [as a platform] from which to hurl invective at the Arabs. You curse those honorable and noble Arabs; while they bestow [kindness] upon you, you attack them with the harshest of words, and try to destroy their homes, while they help you and rebuild your ruined homes. With hatred coming at them from both West and East [i.e. Iran], the Arabs stand confused, [no longer knowing] who their real enemy is...

"[Iran's agents] praised Iran, extolling its massacres in Iraq and those who perpetrated them. [They praised] those who are killing Arabs in Arabistan [i.e. the Iranian province of Khuzestan] and in [its capital] Al-Ahwaz, and those who are persecuting the Sunni religious scholars in their country and depriving them of freedom. They praised those who call for rancor and hatred among the Arabs, and those who would have used a nuclear bomb, had they possessed one, against the Arabs and not against Israel.

"You [agents of Iran], who have been inundated with Arab kindness, are now cursing the Arabs. Egypt hosts thousands upon thousands of your countrymen, who do business there and accumulate wealth. [Egypt] treats them well, but you return the favor by questioning its positions, inciting against it, harming it, and creating a rift between Egypt and the people of Gaza.

"It is you who caused [this rift]. It is Iran, and its interference in [the Arabs'] affairs, that has caused the [deterioration] in the relations between the people of Gaza and their brethren in Egypt. Iran must take its hands off Gaza, so that the warm relations between Gaza and Egypt can be restored."[4]


Endnote:

[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 21 72, "Hizbullah Secretary-General Nasrallah Urges Egyptian Officers to Rebel Against Their Regime's Policies, Calls For Demonstrations in Arab and Muslim World to Pressure Governments," January 2, 2009, Hizbullah Secretary-General Nasrallah Urges Egyptian Officers to Rebel Against Their Regime's Policies, Calls For Demonstrations in Arab and Muslim World to Pressure Governments.

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2074, "Iranian Film Calling Sadat Traitor Strains Egypt-Iran Relations," October 7, 2008, Iranian Film Calling Sadat Traitor Strains Egypt-Iran Relations.

[3] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), January 9, 2009.

[4] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), January 13, 2009.