Palestinian PM bans mosque politics

Preacher defies Salam Fayyad's order by criticising the new Palestinian government.

    Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian PM, warned preachers he would not tolerate calls for violence [AFP]

    Kharas delivered his sermon at the al-Khadra mosque in the old city of Nablus, where earlier in the day Israeli troops had mounted a raid against Palestinian fighters.

    Kharas said: "Israel soldiers invaded Nablus for two days. Where is the government to defend the old city?

    "Where is the government that demanded the dismantling of the armed brigades?

    America will be defeated in Iraq and the believing Muslims will come here victorious."

    Mosques monitored

    Many West Bank mosques were being closely followed by authorities and some preacher respected Fayyad's call.

    Your Views

    "The refusal by the US, EU et al to deal with Hamas reflects their disrespect for the wishes of the Palestinian people"

    Elise, Bemidji, US

    Send us your views

    If you are in the Gaza Strip, you can also mail your opinions to:
    Gazacrisis@aljazeera.net 

    At a mosque in the city of Ramallah, where two police cars were parked outside, the preacher stuck to generalities, without getting into politics,.

    In Jenin in the northern West Bank, the regular pro-Hamas preacher was replaced by a clergyman who spoke of the need to support the new Palestinian leadership.

    In 1996, then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat cracked down on Hamas preachers following a series of Hamas suicide bombings in Israel.

    He monitored them closely and those considered too outspoken lost their jobs.

    Kharas was one of them and he only returned to the pulpit last year, after Hamas' election victory.

    He said he feared no one and would not change his ways even if it cost him his job.

    "All my life, I preached and talked about Jihad (holy war)," Kharas said.

    Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Ramallah, said: "The government knows how important the mosques are in forming public opinion.

    "It may manage to curb the influence of Hamas, but to eliminate it from the mosques altogether is another matter."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.