Palestinian Clerics Issue Fatwa against Arab Leaders Aiding U.S.

(Ha'aretz) - Arnon Regular Any Arab ruler who assists an American assault on Iraq in any way "betrays God and His prophet, violates Muslim law, and will pay a heavy price," according to a recent religious ruling issued Monday by the Association of Wise Men of Palestine, a group of Muslim clerics affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The fatwa also urges Arab businesses to cut all ties with such countries and to "boycott American products and withdraw their money from American banks." "Muslims must prepare for a jihad [holy war] against the American, Zionist, and British aggression toward Iraq," the fatwa concluded. Ironically, most of the Arab assistance to the American war effort is coming from Qatar and Kuwait, which are two of Hamas's principal financial backers. Hamas's Gaza branch has been holding anti-war marches every Friday that draw thousands of people. At some of these rallies, Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz Rantisi has called for volunteers to go to Iraq and carry out suicide bombings against the American forces if and when they invade. In the West Bank, anti-war demonstrations take place almost daily at most of the universities, including burning Israeli and American flags. Demonstrations are also held almost daily in many rural areas of the West Bank, often organized by local activists from Arafat's Fatah faction.

2003-02-12 00:00:00

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