November 9, 2000 Special Dispatch No. 151

PA 'Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine' Discusses the Intifada

November 9, 2000
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 151

Speaking to the Egyptian weekly, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, [1] Sheik 'Ikrima Sabri, the Arafat appointed Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, presents his opinions on several issues regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict - including his admiration for the child martyrs. Following are excerpts from the interview:

"We haven't sacrificed enough yet to be worthy of liberating Al-Aqsa. To liberate Jerusalem, Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi made great sacrifices for a long time, and we have to sacrifice until Allah's victory is completed..."

"Our campaign is definitely religious and emanates from belief, although we try to avoid this slogan. The current Intifada of the [Arab and Islamic] world is a religious outburst, because it relates to the Al-Aqsa mosque..."

"The land of Palestine is not only Jerusalem; this land stretches from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. Naturally, the [Palestinian] problem relates to all of this land. We cannot establish a homeland by only liberating Jerusalem. It is true that Salah Al-Din did not rest until Jerusalem was liberated, but this does not suggest that the rest of this blessed land is to be neglected or given up..."

Question: "Do you back continuing Intifada?"

Sabri: "Yes, I do, but I think we must try to reduce the number of casualties... by reducing the clashes. Nevertheless, the Intifada is necessary so that everybody will know that we are not going to sit still about this."

Question: "The number of fatwas calling for Jihad in the Arab world has diminished."

Sabri: "Every Palestinian is, in fact, in a state of Jihad, we don't need more fatwas. Those outside of Palestine should make their own decisions. Jihad is continuing on our lands."

Question: "What do you feel when you pray [for the souls of the martyrs]?"

Sabri: "I feel the martyr is lucky because the angels usher him to his wedding in heaven. I feel the earth moves under the occupiers' feet."

Question: "Is it different when the martyr is a child?"

Sabri: "Yes, it is. It's hard to express it in words. There is no doubt that a child [martyr] suggests that the new generation will carry on the mission with determination. The younger the martyr - the greater and the more I respect him... One wrote his name on a note before he died. He wrote: 'the martyr so and so.' In every martyr's pocket we find a note with his name on it. He sentences himself to martyrdom even before he becomes a martyr."

Question: "Is this why the mothers cry with joy when they hear about their sons' death?"

Sabri: "They willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom. It is a great display of the power of belief. The mother is participating in the great reward of the Jihad to liberate Al-Aqsa... I talked to a young man... [who] said: '...I want to marry the black-eyed [beautiful] women of heaven.' The next day he became a martyr. I am sure his mother was filled with joy about his heavenly marriage. Such a son must have such a mother."

Question: "How do you deal with the Jews who are besieging Al-Aqsa and are spread out around it?"

Sabri: "I enter the mosque of Al-Aqsa with my head up and at the same time I am filled with rage toward the Jews. I have never greeted a Jew when I came near one. I never will. They cannot even dream that I will. The Jews do not dare to bother me, because they are the most cowardly creatures Allah has ever created..."

[1] Al-Ahram Al-Arabi (Egypt), October 28, 2000. Also see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 82, "An Interview with the Grand Mufti about the Pope's Visit," March 29, 2000.

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