Palestinian Muslim leaders: US trying to steal Iraq from its own people
The Jerusalem Post

5 April 2003

An influential Muslim council on Saturday issued a Fatwa, or religious edict, condemning the US-led war with Iraq and calling for the resumption of diplomatic negotiations to restore peace in the Middle East.

The Fatwa Supreme Council of Palestine, the leading group of Islamic jurists in the West Bank and Gaza, demanded that coalition forces stop fighting in Iraq.

"We view the continuing attack as an (attempt) to steal Iraq from its own people, not to liberate the Iraqi people," the council said in a statement Saturday.

Jerusalem's chief Muslim cleric, Sheik Ekrima Sabri, also spoke out against the war, urging other Muslims not to assist coalition forces.

As mufti of Jerusalem, Sabri is influential, often preaching to thousands at the Al Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's most important religious sites. He was appointed to his post in 1994 by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The committee's edict is the latest since the war began more than two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, the Islamic Action Front, Jordan's most powerful opposition group, issued a fatwa urging the Jordanian government to expel US forces from Jordan, saying their presence in the kingdom was a "great sin" to Islam.