Mufti reflects on Iraq
The Jerusalem Times (independent Palestinian weekly) 20 March 2003
In the shadow of the question, 'What does the United States want
from Iraq?' other questions are being asked that are no less important-What
would Israel do with the Palestinians if the United States does wage a war
on Iraq? And can the Arabs save Palestine from the rubble of the war?
These questions and others were presented to Ikirma Sabri,
Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. The interview with Sabri
concentrated on the Islamic perspective rather than political analysis.
What can you say to Muslims regarding the war on Iraq?
In principle, a Muslim cannot aid a non-Muslim against a Muslim
foe. Muslims are brothers, and the stance of any Muslim beside the United
States is forbidden in Islam.
I believe that the war on Iraq will not be limited to Iraq, but
will harm other Arab and Muslim countries. The US attack on Iraq will
reflect on Palestine.
Is the US campaign against Iraq considered an assault
necessitating that every Muslim be involved in deterring the enemy?
I have called on Arabs and Muslims, people and leaders, to stand
united in the face of the US attack on Iraq. I believe that if Arabs and
Muslims unite, the United States would recoil from the option of war.
Do you think scientists can play a role in avoiding the war?
Islamic scientists must spread awareness among the people and
must make their voices heard among leaders. They must also work to realize
Muslim unity against the US assault. As for responding to their calls, those
that fail to respond will be questioned by God.
Some say that the attack on Iraq is inevitable and that it is
best for Arabs to benefit by it to serve the Palestinian cause.
We cannot realize our objectives on account of our brothers in
Iraq. Also, the United States has promised before to establish a Palestinian
state and reversed the vow several times. The Israeli army has annihilated
the Palestinian territories, making the declaration of a state impossible.
This leads to another question: Is it not immoral to try to
limit losses by such a trade?
The right thing to do is for Arabs and Muslims to unite to
disallow the war.
Is it not a political mistake for Palestinians to face the
United States? Some Arab factional leaders have called for fighting the
United States with martyrdom missions. Does that not exert more pressure on
the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people?
We refuse the US assault on Iraq or any Arab or Muslim nation.
This is the duty of every Muslim, not just the Palestinians. However, we
Palestinians realize that Israel encourages the war on Iraq in order for
it-Israel-to realize its expansion objectives in Palestine and around it.
Is there an Israeli plan to target the Palestinians when the war
on Iraq begins?
It is no secret that the Zionist lobby is pushing the United
States in the direction of the war. Israel believes that a US-led war on
Iraq is in its interest, weakening the Arabs and leaving the Palestinians in
the hands of the Israelis.
We have heard several times that Israel would take advantage of
the war on Iraq to expel the Palestinians.
Everything is possible, but we oppose the transfer policy. The
people of Palestine will never consider migration, preferring to die on
their land to leaving it. The expulsions of 1967 and 1948 will not be
What happened to the idea of making Jerusalem international? Are
there any international efforts in that direction?
There are attempts to make Jerusalem a predominantly Jewish city
and other attempts to make it international. The west is trying to take
advantage of the current political situation to present the issue of
globalization of Jerusalem instead of judaization. We reject both notions.
In fact, I believe globalization is more detrimental than judaization,
because the former is supported by all nations in the United Nations,
whereas the latter is supported by only one country. It would be difficult
for the Muslims to save Jerusalem if it were in the hands of several
nations, but extracting it from the grasp of occupation is possible.
Courtesy: Al-Jazeera Network