Will Ramadan 2022 Usher in Another Jihad?

UPDATED Tuesday, March 29, 2022:  Yet another deadly terror attack took the lives of five people — four civilians and a police officer in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak today, bringing the total # of victims murdered in Arab terror attacks  in the past week to 11.  The Palestinian terrorist, who was affiliated with Fatah, went on a shooting spree with an assault rifle, randomly targeting pedestrians, bicycle riders and people driving their cars in the residential area before being fatally shot by a police officer who was wounded by the terrorist and later died of his injuries.  Hamas praised this and the previous terror attacks, and handed out sweets in celebration.  A statement on Hamas’ website echoed similar statements made to incite the Jihad of 2021, which led to an all out Hamas war on Israel:

“The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) blesses the heroic operation against the Zionist occupation soldiers in the so-called ‘Tel Aviv’ area, which led to the killing and wounding of a number of Zionist occupiers, and stresses that all the heroic operations carried out by our Palestinian people, in every inch of our occupied land, comes in the context of the natural and legitimate response to the terrorism of the occupation and its escalating crimes against our land, our people and our sanctities. We have repeatedly warned the occupation of the consequences of escalating its violations and crimes, as our Palestinian people will not remain passive in front of it, and will confront its terrorism by all means, and they will protect their sanctuary, the farthest corner and the entire occupied lands, and he will defend it with comprehensive resistance, which will continue to deter the occupation, and to restrain its aggression, until its departure from our land.” 

March 27, 2022

On Sunday night, March 27, 2022,  two Arab terrorists armed with automatic weapons fired at helpless civilians on a central street in the Israeli city of Hadera.  More than a dozen people were hit and wounded. Two police officers were killed.  This followed a stabbing/car ramming combination attack that murdered four people in the Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, just days earlier, and it was the fourth shooting or stabbing terror attack in the last week and a half. (This does not count the dozen and a half episodes of Palestinians hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles in the West Bank in the past week and a half.)   These attacks were encouraged and celebrated by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad who urged  increasing “resistance” against Israelis. The PA, Fatah and the PLO have also been amplifying the calls to Palestinians for “popular resistance” over the past weeks.  

This increase in terrorism and incitement comes as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches (beginning Friday night, April 1), and follows a long established pattern.

CAMERA’s study on last year’s Ramadan violence/Jihad for Jerusalem, which culminated in the Hamas  war on Israel, documents the historic patterns of and pretexts for such violence.  The concomitant delegitimization campaign against the Jewish state that accompanied the Ramadan violence was aided and abetted by journalists who ignored history and chose to parrot the pretexts given by those who orchestrated the violence. As we pointed out at the time:

Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, is considered a month of jihad in the Middle East, not only in terms of a Muslim’s psychological inner faith but in terms of physical conquest to expand Islam’s power and reach.  Ali Gum’a, Egypt’s former mufti and a member of Al-Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars, explains:

“Ramadan in Islamic culture has not only been a month [devoted] to worshipping God and growing close to Allah the Almighty, but also a month of action and jihad in order to spread this mighty religion.”

As such, Ramadan is viewed as a propitious time to wage jihad against the Jewish state.  According to Al-Ummah University Political Science Professor Adnan Abu Amer:

“The Palestinian [custom] of mobilizing for operations and intensifying them in the month of Ramadan is inspired by [Islamic] history, which is replete with wars and conquests that took place during this month, because the Muslims clearly made special efforts to carry out attacks then… Every year, at the beginning of Ramadan, the military branches of the Palestinian resistance factions stress that this is a [special] month, in which the jihad fighters pray during the daytime and defend their Palestinian homeland during the night. It is a month marked by outstanding Muslim victories, and the month during which the resistance carried out [its] most impressive wars of heroism and sacrifice…

…It is the custom of the resistance to step up its activity during Ramadan…The Ramadan atmosphere increases the readiness for sacrifice, due to its religious and psychological effect, which is automatically felt by the resistance fighters. Consequently, Ramadan always sees an increase in the resistance against the occupation…”

In 1979, the Iranian Islamic Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini proclaimed the last Friday of Ramadan to be the International Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day for “Muslims from all around the world [to] show their support for the oppressed Muslims of the world and in particular Palestine.”  Iran encourages Muslims around the world to rally on this day for the elimination of the Jewish state, and “the return of the Muslim nation of Palestine which is under the oppression of Zionists.” As Khomeini declared in his statement introducing Al-Quds day:

“The Zionists have good reason to feel threatened as millions of Muslims prepare to liberate al-Quds.”

Again [in 2021], Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called on Palestinian youth to wage jihad against Israel:

“Palestine and Jerusalem are mentioned in the holy Quran as ‘sacred ground.’ For decades, this pure land has been occupied by the filthiest and most evil people – devil’s spawn who slaughter respectable people and shamelessly acknowledge this. They are racists who have tormented the [true] owners of the land [the Palestinians] with murder, looting, arrest, and torture for 70 years. But, with God’s help, they have not succeeded in vanquishing their will… Palestine lives and continues to wage jihad, and, with God’s help, ultimately it will be able to triumph over the evil enemy. Jerusalem and all Palestine belong to its people, and they will return to it, with God’s help…”

Iranian spokesmen announced they were arming their Palestinian proxies with rockets and military equipment to wage jihad and liberate Jerusalem and Palestine from the Jews..

While the pretexts continually shifted, the call to arms remained the same: “Defend al-Aqsa,” “Defend Muslim holy sites,” “Defend Jerusalem.”

These were the historic battle cries to violent jihad that have garnered wide support among Muslims in the past. They follow a century-old pattern established by Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem between 1921 and 1948. The mufti repeatedly incited jihad to defend Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem – using it as a pretext to attack Jews in the name of Islam.  The “Defend Jerusalem/al-Aqsa” war song resulted in the murders and massacre of dozens of Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed in 1929 and set the stage for many “Jihads for Jerusalem” that were to follow.

Waging a jihad for Jerusalem has served – and continues to serve– a political purpose.  It moves the focal point of grievances over failures of local leaders onto Israel and garners support amongst Muslims across the world for Palestinians and Islam.   

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Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Fatah leaders encouraged their constituents to carry out “popular resistance” which manifested as violent attacks on identifiable Jews going about their day-to-day lives;  throwing stones and incendiary devices at Israeli police; and eventually launching rockets and missiles at civilians in Israeli cities.  And throughout Ramadan, the incitement continued, with too many journalists simply echoing the pretexts without analyzing the history.

A year has passed and Ramadan is again about to commence.  Will  Iran, Hamas and other terrorist leaders subvert the religious holy month yet again for their own nefarious purposes?  If they do, journalists should not readily echo their pretexts and excuses but this time be prepared and armed with the knowledge of recent and past history. 

See: “Jihad for Jerusalem 2021: How the Media Facilitated the Delegitimization of Israel“.