JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s attorney general has ordered police to launch an investigation of Jerusalem’s top Muslim cleric after the mufti quoted a traditional text that called for killing Jews.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday asked the Israel police in a letter to open a criminal investigation into a speech last week by Mohammed Hussein at an event celebrating the 47th anniversary of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. The mufti will be investigated on suspicion of incitement to violence and racism.
In his speech, the mufti cited a traditional text attributed to the Prophet Muhammad that says, "The hour of judgment will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind the stone and behind the tree. The stone and the tree will cry, ‘Oh Muslim, Oh Servant of God, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ "
Video of the mufti’s speech was posted on YouTube by Palestinian Media Watch; the group’s account was frozen for several days over the content. The video also shows a man introducing the mufti saying that "Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs is a war of religion and faith. Long live Fatah!"
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on the attorney general to order the opening of an investigation, saying that "These are grave words that the world needs to condemn."
Hussein told Israel Radio Sunday that he was just quoting the religious text, not calling for the murder of Jews.
Americans for Peace Now blasted what it called incitement.
“We are appalled by these comments, coming from the most senior Muslim cleric on the Palestinian Authority’s payroll,” said Debra DeLee, APN’s president. “What we find particularly disturbing is that these vile comments were broadcast on the Palestinian Authority’s official television channel, amplifying their inciting affect."
No Palestinian leader has condemned his words.