Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer in the Arabic Department in Bar Ilan University and a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies told IMRA that Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, who was appointed by Yasser Arafat to be the Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, endorsed suicide attacks in his weekly sermon from the Al Aksa Mosque broadcast live on May 25th at 1:00 p.m. on the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station.

“Sabri told the story of the Mu’ta Battle of 630 between the Moslems and the Byzantines. Ja-far Ben Abi Talib infiltrated the Byzantine lines alone, knowing that he would be killed. They cut his right hand and he continued to fight with his left hand. They cut his left hand and he continued to fight with other parts of his body and they then killed him. When the Moslems found his body they found that he had 50 stab wounds on his body – all on the front of his body, which demonstrated that he did not try to escape.”

“This is thought of as suicide?”, asked Ekrima Sabri, “this is martyrdom”

Kedar explained that the meaning of the story is that someone who goes into battle knowing with certainty that he will die is not committing suicide but instead martyrdom. “I see this as Ekrima Sabri explicitly permitting suicide attacks,” Kedar noted.

Kedar sees Ekrima Sabri’s statement as the Palestinian Authority’s official answer to the debate taking place in the Moslem world over whether one may take part in a suicide attack.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
Email: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: www.imra.org.il