A Muslim cleric, apparently from the Palestinian Authority, has released a fatwa (religious ruling) permitting the killing of members of the Hamas terrorist organization. In support of his position, the heretofore unknown sheikh declared Hamas to have "Jewish

"You should kill them cold-bloodedly." - Sheikh Al-Hiran

characteristics," but added that "the Jews have more mercy" on the Arabs than Hamas.

The fatwa and accompanying argumentation appeared in two articles, one in the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan and the other published on the website of the Fatah terrorist organization, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

According to a report and translation of the articles provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the Islamic cleric, identified as Sheikh Shaker Al-Hiran, labeled Hamas "
Khawarij." This term is a reference to a group of Muslims that rebelled against the leadership of seventh-century Islam.

Among other affronts, the Fatah-backed sheikh declared, Hamas is willing to ally itself with non-Muslims and to battle co-religionists. Al-Hiran then said that Hamas-backed scholars should be confronted about the activities of their organization. "If the scholars say that what they [Hamas members] do is prohibited, then you should kill them cold-bloodedly, [and you will] be rewarded by Allah for ridding Muslims of their influence and evil. Jews have more mercy towards our nation than [Hamas]. If the scholars

The article is titled "The Common Characteristics of Hamas and the Jews."

say that their conduct is permitted, then kill their scholars.... They are all the same."

In his article entitled "The Common Characteristics of Hamas and the Jews," Al-Hiran wrote that the Islamist group has "Jewish characteristics." For the PA sheikh, this means hypocrisy and a lack of trustworthiness, including breaking agreements reached with the Fatah leadership of the PA.

MEMRI analysts noted, "The articles triggered condemnation, such as a statement by Palestinian Authority Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, who labeled Al-Hiran's articles as a clear call for fitna (civil strife)." In particular, MEMRI reported that the article comparing Hamas to the Jews "triggered harsh reactions and prompted online messages from readers questioning Al-Hiran's existence."