Pro-Hamas Islamic scholars issue calls, fatwas inciting murder of Israelis and Jews

A Gaza Islamic University professor calls to ‘completely destroy the Jews,’ while an Istanbul-based scholars association designates jihad against Israelis as a duty for all Muslims

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Saleh al-Raqab, a professor at the Islamic University of Gaza and former minister of Islamic Endowments under Hamas, 2022 (Screenshot from YouTube)
Saleh al-Raqab, a professor at the Islamic University of Gaza and former minister of Islamic Endowments under Hamas, 2022 (Screenshot from YouTube)

Several Islamic scholars affiliated with Hamas have called for the killing of Israelis and Jews in the aftermath of the terror group’s onslaught in southern Israel on October 7, in some cases issuing fatwas, or Islamic legal opinions, commanding Muslims to wage armed jihad.

Saleh al-Raqab, a professor of religion at Gaza’s Islamic University and a former minister of religious affairs and endowments in the Hamas government, published an article on October 8, the day after the brutal assault in which 1,400 Israelis were killed, titled “Oh Mujahideen in Palestine.”

“O Allah, grant victory to the fighters in Palestine, guide their strikes to the throats of Jews, make their legs steady and let them stab a knife through the hearts [of the Jews],” al-Raqab wrote. “Enable them to kill the soldiers of the Jews, destroy the weapons of the Jews, and capture Jewish soldiers. O Allah, destroy the Jews completely. Paralyze their limbs and freeze the blood in their veins.”

The Palestine Scholars Association in the Diaspora published a fatwa on October 21 permitting jihad against the Zionists as “one of the main obligations of our religion,” with the stated goal being to free the al-Aqsa Mosque and repel Zionists  from the Islamic country of Palestine. The fatwa quotes a Quranic verse that says: “You will find that the most bitter enemies of Muslims are the Jews and the polytheists.”

The Hamas-affiliated association, which defines itself as an “independent body that gathers Palestinian scholars who reside abroad to serve the Palestinian cause and establish an Islamic legal framework for it,” was founded in Beirut in 2009 and is today based in Istanbul.

The fatwa also described the Palestinian mujahideen (jihad fighters) led by Hamas as the “best mujahideen on earth,” and urged followers to refute claims that their jihad amounts to terrorism.

A Palestinian man walks past a mural depicting a masked fighter of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, next to a missile with a caption reading in Arabic “Oh Jerusalem, we are coming” and the Dome of the Rock, in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 14, 2019. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

In another fatwa published on October 20, the association commanded every capable adult Muslims to be ready to fight, while those who can’t are enjoined to support Hamas financially. It lashed out at Muslim countries that have normalized relations with Israel, stipulating that normalization agreements are void and do not entail any obligations.

In a legal response published on October 24, a member of the Yemenite branch of the scholars association named Aref bin Ahmed al-Sabri wrote that Jews and their property are a legitimate target as long as they fight against Muslims. He further called on Arab countries around Israel to intervene to repel Jews from Palestine, stating that the land belonged exclusively to Muslims, and not an inch of it may be given up.

War between Israel and Hamas began when the terror group launched a ground, air, and sea assault from the Gaza Strip on the Jewish state early on October 7. Under the cover of a barrage of thousands of rockets, over 2,500 gunmen crossed the border and rampaged murderously through southern towns, killing more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and abducting more than 200.

Some 200,000 Israelis have been displaced from both the south and the north, which has also come under rocket barrages from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

Israel has responded with intensive strikes on Hamas targets, while vowing to destroy the terror group and remove it from power in Gaza, where it has ruled since 2007.

The Hamas-run health ministry claimed on Thursday that at least 7,000 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing conflict. The figures issued by the terror group cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include its own terrorists and gunmen, killed in Israel and in Gaza, and the victims of a blast at a Gaza City hospital on October 17 caused by an Islamic Jihad missile misfire but that Hamas has blamed on Israel. Israel says it killed 1,500 Hamas terrorists inside Israel on and after October 7.

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