Jerusalem sheikh lectures kids on glories of martyrdom
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Jerusalem sheikh lectures kids on glories of martyrdom

‘Shame on you,’ says Old City passerby, trying to stop Muslim religious leader teaching group of young children about death and virgins

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A sheikh in Jerusalem's Old City teaches children the glories of martyrdom on July 27, 2015. (Screen capture: Middle East Media Research Institute)
A sheikh in Jerusalem's Old City teaches children the glories of martyrdom on July 27, 2015. (Screen capture: Middle East Media Research Institute)

A Muslim sheikh was filmed in the Old City of Jerusalem, near the Temple Mount, teaching children about martyrdom and virgins in paradise on Monday. A passerby attempted to stop him, telling him “shame on you.”

In a four-minute video released by the watchdog Middle East Media Research Institute, Sheikh Khaled al-Maghrabi is seen instructing a group of children, the oldest of whom are barely adolescents, that “the martyr is absolved with the first drop of his blood.”

The children were taking part in the so-called Al-Aqsa Mosque Summer Camp, according to MEMRI.

To the group of boys and girls, the religious leader explained, “The martyr would be married off to two virgins in paradise.”

On Judgment Day, the sheikh added, someone who dies while engaged in ribat — the Muslim concept of defending the faith, named after a fortress-like structure — would be able to save 70 members of his or her family.

After several minutes of this instruction, a passerby approached the sheikh and asked him to stop preaching to the children.

“Listen, sheikh, they do not understand what you are saying. They are children,” the man said in Arabic.

Passerby outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City scolds sheikh for teaching children the glories of martyrdom on July 27, 2015. (Screen capture: Middle East Media Research Institute)
Passerby outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City scolds sheikh for teaching children the glories of martyrdom on July 27, 2015. (Screen capture: Middle East Media Research Institute)

The sheikh attempted to quickly brush the man off, but was unsuccessful.

“You are talking to them about ribat, martyrdom, virgins of paradise,” the man told the sheikh, “Shame on you.”

The man went on, “You can teach lessons like this to adults like us, not to them. Look at what you’re planting in their minds.”

“Shame on you,” the man repeated before returning to stand with his friends.

The video ends with the same children chanting, “We shall sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, Al-Aqsa!” and “Khaybar! Khaybar! Oh, Jews! The army of Muhammad will return,” in reference to the fortress city once controlled by Jewish tribes, but later overtaken by Muslim forces.

The day before the video was filmed, dozens of masked Palestinian protesters hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and firecrackers at police officers on the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, before being pushed back into the Al-Aqsa Mosque by security forces who were rushed to the area.

According to police, the protesters had stockpiled homemade explosives, firecrackers and wooden boards inside the mosque, with the intention of attacking thousands of Jewish worshipers gathered below for prayers at the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av, a fast and day of mourning that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples.

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