Palestinians poured out into the streets Monday in what the New York Times called the largest demonstrations in a decade?all to honor the memory of a master terrorist, Hamas founder and ?spiritual leader? Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. It was a hero?s memorial, not one befitting a thug hellbent on emulating Adolf Hitler.
The reaction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians reveals the depths of a depraved culture created by ?spiritual leaders? like Sheikh Yassin.
Political arguments can be made as to whether or not Israel?s targeted killing of Hamas? chief executive was a prudent tactical move or if governments should be in the business of killing terrorists rather than arresting them.
But no argument can be made that Sheikh Yassin was anything but a bloodthirsty thug.
Sheikh Yassin?as Hamas? ?spiritual leader??was responsible for ?inspiring? 52 youths to blow themselves up for ?martyrdom,? preaching that Allah would reward them for killing Jews. Since the start of the intifada, Hamas has murdered 377 Israelis and wounded more than 2,000.
It?s impossible to fathom the profound depravity of a society that could hail as a hero a mass murderer. Imagine if people had taken to the streets to celebrate the life of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy when he was executed in 1989.
But such is the sorry state of Palestinian society, where everything from the law to children?s textbooks is geared toward the realizing the goal of driving the Jews into the sea.
Although the Palestinian Authority recognizes the crime of murder, it does not apply to those who slaughter Jews. In nearly eight years since Oslo, there is no record of anyone prosecuted by the Palestinian Authority serving a full sentence for conspiring, planning, or masterminding the murder of Jews.
Consider that the four men arrested?and now released?by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for carrying out the bombing of the U.S. convoy in Gaza last October were charged not with murder, but involuntary manslaughter. That they were charged at all, though, is a testament to the fact that the PA, at least on the surface, does not sanction the murder of Americans. (Never mind that 51 Americans have been killed since the start of the intifada.)
Involuntary manslaughter is a charge applied to people who could not have foreseen that their actions could have reasonably led to someone?s death. In the convoy bombing, the PA prosecutors charged involuntary manslaughter because, they contended, the four men had intended to kill Jews?which is not a punishable offense, at least not in the PA.
What PA dictator Yasser Arafat and the likes of Sheikh Yassin have carefully cultivated over the years is not a culture of death, but a cult of death. Palestinians are placed on the indoctrination assembly line at a very young age, feeding a terrorist complex that depends on a steady stream of fresh young, mindless bodies to become human bombs.
No doubt a large contingent at Sheikh Yassin?s memorial service were brainwashed young products of Yassin?s ?spiritual? guidance. A New York Times interview with 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Hussa is particularly disturbing: ?Asked what would bring peace, he replied, ?The Jews should be annihilated.? He made chopping gestures at his throat, hands and legs. ?They should be turned into parts,? he said.
The most comforting thought about Abu Hussa to an American is that the teenager is a Palestinian. But given the reaction to Yassin?s death of some so-called ?moderate? Muslim groups in the US, it is a fair question to wonder whether Islamic institutions here are producing their own bloodthirsty youths here.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which labels itself a Muslim civil rights organization, issued a press release Monday identifying Sheikh Yassin only as ?the most prominent Palestinian Islamic figure.? Similar was the Muslim-American Society, which went with ?Palestinian religious leader.?
Legitimate questions can be raised about Israel?s targeted killing of Sheikh Yassin. But a much more important one is what it says about both hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and supposedly mainstream Muslim groups in the US that a mass murderer is hailed as a ?religious leader.?
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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