Citing a fatwa issued in 1935 by Amin al-Husseini, the Nazi-supporting grand mufti of Jerusalem, the present mufti – Ekrima Said Sabr, above – refused to allow the burial of a Palestinian to take place at a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.
Instead, the family of Alah Kirsh , who was killed in a traffic accident, were told they could plant him in a Jewish cemetery.
Aryeh Stern, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel’s capital, ruled this week as a rabbinical judge that Kirsh was a “righteous gentile”,
Kirsh and five others were killed in a traffic accident on November 4. His family sought to bury his body at their Muslim cemetery in eastern Jerusalem, but the imams turned them away because he had been accused of selling real estate in that part of the capital to Jews several years ago.
The family was not allowed to bring Kirsh’s body to the Al Aqsa mosque and was forbidden to pitch a mourner’s tent and receive guests there, as is the Muslim custom.
In denying permission for the funeral to take place Sabri referred to the ruling issued by al-Husseini, an anti-Semitic leader of Arab Israelis and a staunch ally of Nazi Germany
Al-Husseini, above, wrote that:
Anyone who sells a home or land to Jews will not receive a Muslim burial.
Whoever sells to the Jews in Jerusalem is not a member of the Muslim nation, we will not accept his repentance and he will not be buried in the Muslim’s cemetery.
In November 1943 al-Husseini said:
It is the duty of Muhammadans [Muslims] in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries …. Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world.
Kirsh’s body was placed temporarily outside a Muslim cemetery in Nabi Salih, a village near Ramallah.
Stern ruled that he may be buried at a section of the Jewish cemetery at Har Hamenuchot reserved for people without religion. He wrote:
Since the Muslims will not bury him, we must correct the distortion of justice that results in unjust humiliation of a man whose only sin was being prepared to sell land to Jews. t is incumbent on us to honor a righteous gentile, and in this case a person who showed good will and was willing to take risks for the Jewish settlement.
The case was brought to Stern’s attention by Im Tirtzu, a right-leaning pro-Israel advocacy group.