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Sunday, January 9, 2005
Temple Mount mosques continue to serve as breeding grounds for anti-Israeli and anti-American incitement in the post-Arafat era

Special Information Bulletin
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S) December 2004

Temple Mount mosques continue to serve as breeding grounds
for anti-Israeli and anti-American incitement in the post-Arafat era



1. Throughout the course of the violent confrontation between Israel and the
Palestinians, the Temple Mount mosques in Jerusalem, similarly to other
mosques in the Palestinian Authority administered territories, have served
as hotbeds of preaching to hatred and violence. Such inflammatory sermons
are given by clerics to audiences numbering tens of thousands of people
(including Israeli Arabs), with some of them broadcast every Friday to the
entire Palestinian public through the Voice of Palestine radio station.

2. It must be emphasized that the clerics who preach in the mosques and use
them to deliver lessons in Islam (most prominent among those is Sheikh
'Ikrima Sabri), are employed by the Palestinian Ministry of Waqf (charitable
trust in the name of Allah). They receive their salaries from the
Palestinian Authority, regardless of their explicit association with radical

3. Beside their anti-Israeli incitement and provocation, the Temple Mount
mosques have for many years served as breeding grounds for incitement and
provocation replete with radical Islamic motifs also aimed against the US .

4. There are two factors that imbue the sermons given at the Temple Mount ,
Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock mosques with special meaning for their
listeners and for the Palestinian public in general. First is the Islamic
(and national) significance of these mosques; second is the status of
'Ikrima Sabri as the senior Palestinian cleric in the Palestinian Authority
administered territories, whose sermons should reflect an official Islamic
stance on the position of the Palestinian Authority by which he is appointed
(even if the views he holds are more extreme than those held by the
Palestinian Authority seniors).

The continuing incitement in the Temple Mount mosques in the post-Arafat era

5. Reports made by the Israeli police, that maintains public order in the
Temple Mount mosques, as well as (partial) reports by the Palestinian media,
reveal that the mosques continue to serve as major breeding grounds for
incitement and that they are systematically used for preaching to hatred
against Israel and the US and even for the encouragement of terrorism. It
seems that the Palestinian Authority in the Abu Mazen age has taken no
significant measures against these major breeding grounds for incitement,
even though it made certain to issue a message of restraint in a sermon
given at the Al-Tashrifat Mosque at the presidential headquarters in Gaza
City (with Abu Mazen present)[1].

[1] On December 3, 2004, the Palestinian television broadcasted fragments
from a Friday sermon held at the Al-Tashrifat mosque at the presidential
headquarters in Gaza City. It was broadcasted by Sheikh Muhammad Jamal Abu
al-Hunoud who read a written sermon, with Abu Mazen present. The preacher
spoke in favor of the "path of conciliation and restraint" and against
"extremism and the tendency toward fanaticism".

Friday prayers, December 10, 2004

6. On December 10, 2004, the Friday prayers on the Temple Mount were
attended by 27,000 worshippers.

7. The following, among other things, was said in an Islamic lesson given by
Muhammad Jamal al-Rifa'i, known for his inciting sermons:
a. A request from Muslims to resolve their conflicts according to the Quran
and not according to "the White House and the loathsome Bush". The Sheikh
referred to the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference as "the Devil's summit".
b. A claim that the "sons of Israel" steal and inflict harm upon others as,
according to the Sheikh, is said in the Quran.

8. On that Friday, a sermon was given by Sheikh Hian Hilmi Nameq Idrisi[2].
The Sheikh, known for his extremist sermons, lashed out against the US and
compared its actions in Iraq to the actions of the Mongols and the crusaders
against the Arabs. He claimed that the US was producing "state terrorism",
fighting entire peoples and putting the world peace at risk.

[2] A judge in the Supreme Shari'ah Court of Appeals, a preacher in the
Al-Aqsa Mosque, a member of the board of the Jordanian Waqf (charitable
trust in the name of Allah), and Chairman of the Friends of the Blind
Association in Al-Bireh,

Friday prayers, December 3, 2004

9. At the same time that a message of restraint was issued from the Gaza
City mosque in the sermon attended by Abu Mazen, harsh incitement against
Israel and the US was heard in the Temple Mount mosques. The following was
said in an Islamic lesson given by Sheikh Muhammad Jamal al-Rifa'i. Rifa'i,
known for his inciting sermons, was issued a warning by the Israeli police
in the past. The lesson was given during the Friday prayers, attended by
30,000 worshippers. Sheikh Muhammad al-Rifa'i:

a. Described the sequence of events on Judgment Day. God, according to him,
will first settle the score with the shahids ("martyrs"), the prophets and
the righteous. They will be followed by the usurpers, the rulers and the
leaders (i.e. leaders of Arab countries), who allowed the Americans to
establish military bases on their territory in order to fight the Iraqis and
steal the Muslims' oil.

b. Read to his audience a well-known verse from the Quran, featured on
numerous posters and obituaries: "Among the Believers [i.e., Muslims] are
men who have been true to their Covenant with Allah; of them some have
completed their vow and found their death [in battle], and some still await
[their turn]; but they have never broken [their vow] in the least" (Surah
33, Al-Ahzab, verse 23). This is one of the most popular verses with the
Palestinian terrorist organizations, used to praise shahids ("martyrs") in
general and perpetrators of suicide bombing attacks in particular.

c. Asked Allah to destroy the armies of the infidels based in Iraq, kill
their children and plague them with troubles, release the prisoners and heal
the wounded.

10. The following was said in a sermon given on December 3 by Sheikh 'Ikrima
Sabri, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian holy places, and the top
religious and Islamic authority in the Palestinian Authority (he was
appointed by the Palestinian Authority). 'Ikrima Sabri, a skillful speaker
who espouses extremist views, is known to be one of the most prominent
clerics in the Palestinian Authority administered territories. In the past,
he voiced his support for suicide bombing attacks and embedded explicit
anti-Semitic motifs into his sermons and publications.

11. The key issues mentioned in the sermon given by Sheikh 'Ikrima Sabri in
the Al-Aqsa Mosque[3]:

[3] Broadcast on the Voice of Palestine, December 3, 2004.

a. Anti-American incitement:

i. The Sheikh complained that a book called "The True Quran" (Al-Furqan
al-Haqq) was distributed in US schools and spread over the Internet as part
of the "Crusader-Zionist attack on Islam". The purpose of this "diabolical"
book, as he put it, was to distance the Muslims from their religion, and its
distribution was a "cultural war against Islam and the Muslims" [Note: The
book in question, an imitation of the Quran, was distributed in the US by a
Christian missionary group in Texas within the context of its missionary
activity with Muslims. 'Ikrima Sabri uses the distribution of this book as
leverage for harsh incitement against the US (and the Zionists) and for
accusing them of "cultural war" against Muslims].

ii. Over the next few years, said the Sheikh, the US is going to try to
weaken the Middle East, which represents the Muslim world. It will do so by
reinforcing Israel's military and economy, weakening Arab states and
distributing Arabic programs opposed to the principles of Islam for the
purpose of distancing Muslims from the Quran.

b. Leveraging the Geneva Document for anti-Israeli incitement: The Sheikh
mentioned the ongoing propaganda for the Geneva Document, noting the
document was illegitimate. He stated that the document was "one concession
after another of our legal rights on our holy land" (noting that Palestine
and Jerusalem belonged to Islam). The writers of the document, says Sabri,
delude themselves into thinking "that the occupation will stop its ploys of
expansion, its killing, its bloodshed, confiscating lands and constructing
settlements". He wondered who it was that gave the Geneva Document
negotiators the right to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian refugees,
stressing that the right of return is a legitimate right that cannot be
taken away. The Sheikh also wondered who gave those who signed the Geneva
Document the right to relinquish the Wailing Wall which is part of the "wall
of the Al-Aqsa Mosque" and an Islamic waqf, and hand it over to the
"occupation authorities"[4].

[4]. This part is based on fragments of the sermon broadcast on the Voice of
Palestine ( December 3, 2004) and on a report made by the Israeli police.

Friday prayers, November 12, 2004

12. Attended by 32,000 worshippers, the Friday prayers were given by Sheikh
Yusuf Abu Sneineh: A resident of East Jerusalem, Sneineh is one of the
senior preachers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known in the past for his inciting
sermons against the US and in favor of suicide bombing attacks.

13. The key issues mentioned in the sermon:

a. " Palestine will not be liberated by talking": The Sheikh asked everyone
to come together, not to accept the proposed solutions and not to surrender.
Palestine, according to the Sheikh, will become Somalia or Sudan.

b. The establishment of an Islamic state and the destruction of the enemies
of Islam: The only solution to the problems faced by the Palestinians and
the only way to liberate the Palestinians is to establish an Islamic state
whose flag will fly above the Temple Mount, headed by an Islamic caliph. The
Sheikh asked Allah to destroy the enemies of Islam.

c. Anti-American incitement: The Sheikh lashed out at President George W.
Bush who, during his previous tenure, engaged in shedding Muslim blood. He
mentioned the "persecution of Muslims" by the US in Afghanistan and in Iraq,
and the acts of killing in Fallujah, that testify to the US' "policy of
hatred" towards Muslims. He mentioned the direct and implicit threats
against Syria and Lebanon, whose purpose, according to the Sheikh, was to
exert pressure upon Hezbollah. He also mentioned the pressure exerted by the
US on Sudan to abolish the status of Islam as the country's official

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