The Pope Greets the Mufti

In its May 27 edition, the New York Times runs a large color photograph of a smiling Pope Francis greeting the Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein on Temple Mount. The amicable scene offers no hint of the Mufti’s viciously anti-Semitic agenda, his preaching that Jews are enemies of Allah and are destined to be exterminated by Muslims.  

The Mufti, the top spiritual leader of the Palestinian Authority, was elevated to his high position by none other than Mahmoud Abbas, the PA’s president, who mixes secular and religious duties.

The Times, however, did not bother to give readers a real picture of the Mufti. It ran his picture with the pontiff without comment or explanation. (caption page A7, “Pope Francis greeted Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein at Al Aqsa Mosque”) So let’s step into this void and fill it in with some Mufti citations assembled by Palestinian Media Watch, which monitors Palestinian positions and declarations

At a Fatah ceremony in 2012, the moderator began by declaring that “our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e. Jews) is a war of religion and faith.” The Mufti, in full agreement, then opined that: “The Hour of Resurrection will not come until you fight the Jews, the Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call:  Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

The Mufti’s incendiary words were condemned at the time not only by Israel but also by the British Foreign Office, the European Union and others.  So one is left to wonder whether the Vatican was unaware of the Mufti’s hateful sermons, or just let it pass.  Either way, it left  Pope Francis with a horrific stain on his Holy Land pilgrimage.

Here are some other rancid Mufti comments:

  • In truth, there never was a (Jewish) Temple in any period, nor was there, at any time, any place of worship for the Jews or others at the Al Aqsa Mosque site.”
  • Rewriting biblical history, the Mufti called Jesus a “Palestinian par excellence.”  He also claimed that Jesus and his mother Mary were Palestinians.
  • The Mufti  issued religious rulings presenting women as subservient to their husbands, declaring on PA TV that “in general, a woman must only leave home at the discretion of her husband” and that a woman must not refuse her husband’s request to have sexual relations: “It’s his right (to have sex), it is his right.  This woman may not and has no right to deny him this right, especially during the permissible time, which is nighttime.”
  • The Mufti has blessed suicide bombers as “noble martyrs.”

And he has called for extermination of Jews as a divine mandate. Yet, Pope Francis smilingly greeted the Mufti, giving no indication that he found his sermons abhorrent to any degree. At the same time,  the Times and other mainstream media maintained a polite silence about this abject rendezvous.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

In its May 27 edition, the New York Times runs a large color photograph of a smiling Pope Francis greeting the Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein on Temple Mount. The amicable scene offers no hint of the Mufti’s viciously anti-Semitic agenda, his preaching that Jews are enemies of Allah and are destined to be exterminated by Muslims.  

The Mufti, the top spiritual leader of the Palestinian Authority, was elevated to his high position by none other than Mahmoud Abbas, the PA’s president, who mixes secular and religious duties.

The Times, however, did not bother to give readers a real picture of the Mufti. It ran his picture with the pontiff without comment or explanation. (caption page A7, “Pope Francis greeted Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein at Al Aqsa Mosque”) So let’s step into this void and fill it in with some Mufti citations assembled by Palestinian Media Watch, which monitors Palestinian positions and declarations

At a Fatah ceremony in 2012, the moderator began by declaring that “our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e. Jews) is a war of religion and faith.” The Mufti, in full agreement, then opined that: “The Hour of Resurrection will not come until you fight the Jews, the Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call:  Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

The Mufti’s incendiary words were condemned at the time not only by Israel but also by the British Foreign Office, the European Union and others.  So one is left to wonder whether the Vatican was unaware of the Mufti’s hateful sermons, or just let it pass.  Either way, it left  Pope Francis with a horrific stain on his Holy Land pilgrimage.

Here are some other rancid Mufti comments:

  • In truth, there never was a (Jewish) Temple in any period, nor was there, at any time, any place of worship for the Jews or others at the Al Aqsa Mosque site.”
  • Rewriting biblical history, the Mufti called Jesus a “Palestinian par excellence.”  He also claimed that Jesus and his mother Mary were Palestinians.
  • The Mufti  issued religious rulings presenting women as subservient to their husbands, declaring on PA TV that “in general, a woman must only leave home at the discretion of her husband” and that a woman must not refuse her husband’s request to have sexual relations: “It’s his right (to have sex), it is his right.  This woman may not and has no right to deny him this right, especially during the permissible time, which is nighttime.”
  • The Mufti has blessed suicide bombers as “noble martyrs.”

And he has called for extermination of Jews as a divine mandate. Yet, Pope Francis smilingly greeted the Mufti, giving no indication that he found his sermons abhorrent to any degree. At the same time,  the Times and other mainstream media maintained a polite silence about this abject rendezvous.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

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