Tuesday, March 11, 2008

11-Mar-08: After the carnage, questions for "moderates"

In a confusing and complex world, you can learn a great deal by understanding the process of glorification of individuals in someone else's culture.

Thursday night's massacre of teenage boys in a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem is the sort of watershed event that, when you analyze the reactions it generated, helps you understand the true nature of the forces at work. We don't like the expression "root causes" because of the way it's used polemically by too many people. But if there's a root cause for terrorism, hate-based education needs to be right up there as a contender.

Media observers and some politicians have for too long presented the Abbas/Fatah/PLO part of the Palestinian-Arab world as 'moderate'. How dishonest this is can be seen from the published and highly public reaction of the official daily voice of the Abbas party.

Mahmoud Abbas heads the Palestinian Authority. The PA puts out a daily newspaper called Al Hayat Al Jadida. None of that publication's readers is today in any doubt about the official Fatah/Abbas party line regarding the Jerusalem massacre which took the lives of eight students in a library of spiritual texts.

That's because they - the readers of Al Hayat Al Jadida - read Arabic. And now thanks to the indispensable work of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Media Watch, so can we.

The headline in its front page article reads:
"Killer of eight young men is a shahid [a holy martyr]"
The holy martyr's photograph covers most of the page. We won't re-publish that sort of disgraceful propaganda here. PMW have done a service to the thinking public by reproducing the Al Hayat Al Jadida portrait of the murderer here.

In their analysis, PMW's Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook point out that
"the PA is sending its people a straightforward message of support for the terror murders and the murderer. According to the PA interpretation of Islam, there is no higher status that a human being can achieve today than that of Shahid... In response to earlier PMW reports on the widespread Palestinian honoring of terror, Congress made it illegal for the US to give money to entities that "advocate" terror... Since a society's honoring of terrorists is one of the greatest terror promotions, and as the budget for the PA newspaper comes from the PA's general budget, the incessant honoring of this and all recent terrorists by Abbas's PA as Holy Islamic Shahids should render the Palestinian Authority ineligible to receive any American money under the terms of US law."
Abbas, whose doctorate (a surprisingly little-known aspect of the man's history) was earned in a study questioning whether the Holocaust of Europe's Jews happened, is no moderate. He never was.

Calling a cold-blooded murderer of innocent Jews a hero is no isolated aberration - not isolated in history (see the pre-war nazi poster above) nor in the world of the Palestinian Authority. The opposite is true. Such incitement is a matter of routine, and is done systematically and repeatedly at the highest levels of their society. It is in fact a cornerstone of the hate-based education without which such acts of terror would not be possible.

To substantiate this, following are a small selection (from a vast library of such appalling material) of theological statements about the supreme status of martyrhood by Palestinian religious leaders on official PA (Fatah) television and radio, once again courtesy of PMW:
Sheikh Yusu Abu Sneina, Al Aqsa Mosque:
"Shahada [Islamic Martyrdom] is an honor, only those who Allah desires, attain the privilege."
-Friday Sermon, Palestinian Authority Radio, Dee. 28, 2001

Dr. Isma'il al-Raduan:
"When the Shahid meets his Maker, all his sins are forgiven from the first gush of blood, and he is exempted from the torments of the grave. He sees his place in Paradise. He is shielded from the Great Shock and marries 72 dark eyed [maidens]. He is a heavenly advocate for 70 members of his family. On his head is placed a crown of honor, one stone of which is worth more than all there is in this world."
-Friday Sermon, PATV, Aug 17, 2001, several days after the Hamas Palestinian massacre that took the life of our fifteen year old daughter Malki

Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Razak:
"The believer was created to know his Lord to fulfill Islam... to be a Shahid [Islamic Martyr] or intend to be a Shahid. If the believer does not hope for Shahada he will die as in the Jahiliya [pre-Islam]... We must yearn for Shahada and request it from Allah. If we truthfully request it from Allah, he will grant us its rewards even if we die in bed."
-PA TV Friday Sermon, March 22, 2002

Sheikh Ibrahim Mudyris:
"We are not like you, because we do not desire life. If you threaten to kill President Arafat, we will pray to Allah: 'Grant the President Shahada [Islamic Martyrdom] for you."' Yes, we do not pray - like other preachers pray - for longevity for the rulers; here in Palestine we pray: "Lord, grant the President Shahada for you."
-PA TV Friday Sermon, April 30, 2004

Sheikh Imad Hamato:
"When a man sees one of his brothers being killed for Allah, a person with no head, no legs, his body completely burned. Intestines outside, fingers are gone... The most difficult thing which we fear is what the Shahids [Islamic Martyrs] wish for most of all. They ask Allah: 'Oh God, bring us back [to earth] to be killed by the Apache, so the planes will blow us up, that our heads will be cut off...' We shouldn't forget that Allah, praise him, in blessing the blood of the Shahid, He forgives him from the first gush of blood. And he sees his place in Paradise. He is shielded from the Great Shock and marries 72 Dark-Eyed Maidens (virgins)."
-PATV religious program, Nov. 3, 2006
Now to the questions.
  • Did the mainstream media in your area report on this story? Their editors know about this incitement, just as we do. What does it mean when they decline to publicize it?
  • The PA newspaper that did this is funded by the PA. The PA, Mahmoud Abbas' power structure, is funded by foreign donors, chief among them the government of the United States. Should the US be reacting in a practical fashion to hate-mongering of this sort? Is a slap on the wrists the response of choice?
  • A week ago, the Bush Administration asked Congress to approve an allocation of $150 million to the Palestinian Authority. Are you comfortable seeing foreign aid being passed to the people who turn barbarians into national heroes?
  • Will the $150 million create additional such heroes? If yes, who can then be said to have funded the process?
  • Does a political party that actually glorifies the perpetrator of a massacre of school-children deserve anyone's support? Are they, on any view, moderates? Google has 4,452 news articles at this moment in which the words 'Abbas' and 'moderate' appear together. Click to see for yourself.
  • If the official voice of the official power power that speaks for the Palestinian Arab people declares the murderer of innocent unarmed Jewish children learning the library of a religious seminary to be a martyr and hero, can we really say that only the extremists in their society support terrorism?
  • And finally where are the Arab and Moslem voices authentically condemning - not just pretend-condemning but demanding substantive actions to stop the hatred, to end the idealization and glorification of the martyrs?
As we've observed many times here, knowing how to tell the difference between the terrorists and their victims is somehow more difficult for many people than it ought to be. But if we get this wrong, and fail to adequately understand the size of the threat posed by the terrorists and their legions of apologists and explainers in every part of the world, and then act on that understanding, we're liable to end up paying an unbearably high price.

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