Mufti Muhammad Hussein at Fatah celebration
Mufti Muhammad Hussein at Fatah celebrationIsrael news photo: PA TV courtesy of PMW

The principal Palestinian Authority’s religious leader, the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, denied on Sunday that he advocated for genocide of Jews in a speech two weeks ago.

At an event marking the 47th anniversary of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, Hussein said that the killing of Jews by Muslims is a religious Islamic goal. The event was broadcast on PA TV, translated by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) research organization and presented on its website.

He cited the Hadith (Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad) saying 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.’”

PMW’s documentation of the remarks was widely redistributed on Israeli news outlets on Sunday, such as the newspaper Israel Hayom, which published the comments on its front page, and Army Radio which discussed them on its flagship morning talk show.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also responded to the harsh comments and asked the Attorney General’s Office to open an investigation into them. Netanyahu said that the comments were “a serious crime that all nations must condemn.”

The Mufti, however, is now denying that he called for genocide of Jews. According to a report on Channel 2 News, Hussein told an Egyptian media outlet that “sentences were cut from my speech.” He added that “Islam calls for respect of all human beings. I am amazed that these comments were attributed to me.”

Last week, Turkish Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar made a scorching response to the claim by the Mufti. During his nightly talk show on the A9TV satellite television channel, Oktar clarified that there is no source in the Koran that calls for murder of the Jews -- and no justification for it.

“You can go nowhere by bloodshed. All will inflict affliction upon you if you shed blood; you will simply be on a downward spiral of bloodshed,” he warned. “Pull yourselves together. I address those who advocate murder. Jews are the descendants of prophets -- Allah pre-destined them as Jews,” he emphasized. “They live as Jews. The Koran refers to them as the People of the Book... one cannot simply go and kill them.”