In a sermon broadcast by Yasser Arafat's official Palestinian Radio, a Muslim cleric blasted the United States as the "head of world terror."
Mohammed Hassin made the broadcast last week from the Al Aqsa Mosque. The broadcast was translated by Independent Media Review and Analysis.
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Though Arafat's official spokesmen in the United States have publicly supported the war effort in Afghanistan, a much different message is being broadcast in Arabic throughout the Palestinian territories.
"If terrorism – as viewed by America, the leader of world terror – is the killing of innocent civilians, we have to ask: Does the killing of innocent children, the elderly and women, and the death as martyrs of the sick [denied passage to hospitals] at military check points in Palestine constitute terrorism?" Hassin asked rhetorically in his sermon. "Is the killing of Afghani civilians and their expulsion as refugees in their country and in neighboring countries considered terrorism? Does the continued siege on Iraq, continued aggression against it in the North and South and the death of children due to the shortage of food and medicine enter the category of terrorism? Cannot these war crimes, and the rest of the conditions to which Muslims are subjected in Chechenya, Kashmir and the Philippines, be categorized as terrorism, according to the American perception of terrorism?"