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

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided on Tuesday to launch a criminal investigation into the statements made by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, against Jews.

At a recent 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.’”

Channel 10 News reported that in a letter he sent to police, Weinstein requested that a criminal investigation on suspicion of incitement to violence and racism be opened against the Mufti. The Justice Ministry said in a statement that the decision to request an investigation on the subject was made after an initial examination of the statements attributed to the Mufti.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier this week asked the Attorney General’s Office to open an investigation into the comments. Netanyahu said that the comments were “a serious crime that all nations must condemn.”

President Shimon Peres said that the statements “endanger the lives” of Jews and that action must be taken to prevent similar remarks, which he said can lead to a deterioration of relations between Jews and Arabs.

He met with Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman, who promised an investigation of the sermon.

The Mufti denied this week that he called for genocide of Jews. In an interview with an Egyptian media outlet, Hussein claimed that “sentences were cut from my speech” and added that “Islam calls for respect of all human beings. I am amazed that these comments were attributed to me.”