Why Do Supposed Muslim ‘Victims’ Find 'Inspiration' in the Victimization of Others?

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Speaking on the first day of Ramadan, April 1, 2022, Mahmoud al-Habbash, the Supreme Sharia Judge of the Palestinian Authority, extolled the jihads waged by the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, during Ramadan:


How was this month [of Ramadan] in the life of Prophet [Muhammad]? … Did the Prophet spend Ramadan in calmness, serenity, laziness, and sleepiness? Far be it from him… The Prophet entered the great Battle of Badr [624] during Ramadan… Also in the month of Ramadan, in the 8th year of the Hijra [629-630], the Prophet and the Muslims conquered Mecca…. Ramadan is … a month of Jihad, conquest, and victory.

This is hardly the first time leading Palestinians invoked the early history of jihad in connection to Ramadan. During last year’s Ramadan, on April 16, 2021, Al Jazeera published an article by ‘Adnan Abu ‘Amar, “head of the Political Science Department at the University of the Ummah in Gaza,” explaining how Palestinians find “inspiration” in various jihads throughout Islamic history, “prominent among them the raid of Badr, the conquest of Mecca, the conquest of al-Andalus [Spain], and the battle of the pavement of martyrs [the Battle of Tours].”

Those who understand the true nature and motivation of these battles and conquests must wonder: Why are Palestinians, who present themselves as victims of land-grabbing Israeli oppressors, praising and finding inspiration in the land-grabbing oppressors of history? After all, in all of these military engagements, the Muslims were the aggressors: they invaded non-Muslim territory, butchered and enslaved its inhabitants, and appropriated their lands—and for no other reason than that they were “infidels,” non-Muslims.


The battle of Badr was occasioned by Muhammad’s raids on non-Muslim caravans, the conquest of Mecca was simply that, the conquest of a non-Muslim city, the conquest of al-Andalus is a reference to the years 711-716 when Muslims invaded and slaughtered countless thousands of Christians in Spain and torched their churches, and the battle of Tours is, of course, where the Muslim invasions into Western Europe were finally halted in 732.

That Palestinian elements are constantly praising the unjustified conquests of others is hardly uncommon. On May 29, Hizb al-Tahrir—the “Liberation Party”—often holds large, outdoor events near al-Aqsa mosque to commemorate the anniversary of the Islamic conquest of Constantinople (May 29, 1453). After all the takbirs (chants of “Allahu Akbar”) had subsided at one of these events, Palestinian cleric Nidhal Siam said:

Oh Muslims, the anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople brings tidings of things to come. It brings tidings that Rome will be conquered in the near future, Allah willing….   [Moreover,] Islam will throw its neighbors to the ground, and its reach will span across the east and the west of this Earth. This is Allah’s promise, and Allah does not renege on his promises.

The Palestinian cleric and assembled throng then repeatedly chanted, “By means of the Caliphate and the consolidation of power, Muhammad the Conqueror vanquished Constantinople!” and “Your conquest, oh Rome, is a matter of certainty!”


Again, the question must be emphasized: why are the Palestinians—who, when speaking to the international community, present themselves as an oppressed people whose land is unjustly occupied—finding inspiration in and seeking to emulate those who oppress and steal the lands of others?

If anything, shouldn’t the Palestinians be sympathizing with, say, the Christians of Spain, whose land was occupied, and they themselves brutalized by the occupiers, namely, the Muslim invaders from North Africa?

Similarly, if, as they claim, the Palestinians are an oppressed people whose land was stolen, shouldn’t they sympathize with the Christians of Constantinople, rather than Muhammad the Conqueror, an unsavory pedophile who invaded and conquered the ancient Christian city while subjecting its indigenous inhabitants to all sorts of unspeakable atrocities?

As for Rome, what does it have to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict that it, too, deserves to be conquered? Absolutely nothing—except that, since the conquest of Constantinople, Islam has seen Rome as the symbolic head of the Christian world and therefore in urgent need of subjugating, or, to quote the Islamic State, “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah …  [We will cast] fear into the hearts of the cross-worshipers.”

Perhaps most telling is Palestinian cleric Siam’s claim (delivered to thundering applause) “that Islam will throw its neighbors to the ground, and that its reach will span across the east and the west of this Earth.” In other words, no non-Muslim is safe from the sword of jihad—including those who live countless leagues away from and have nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Surely all this must seem surreal when placed in context? How can Palestinians present themselves as a conquered and oppressed people whose land was stolen—while, in the very same breath, praising former and hoping for future conquests, replete with oppression and land grabbing from other peoples, only because they were/are non-Muslim?

And that is the grand lesson: when all is said and done, Islamic notions of “justice” are based on a simple dichotomy: whenever Muslims conquer, slaughter, subjugate, and steal land—that is just; whenever they have to live under “infidel” authority, that is unjust. Hence the virulent hatred for Israel.


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