“Gaza Islamists uproot statue for Arab dead,” from Reuters:
GAZA – Radical Islamists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip destroyed a
cement statue, long considered a symbol of Palestinian hopes for statehood, because they
see the depiction as a violation of strict religious laws.
Still quite symbolic of the recent turn of events in Gaza.
A Hamas security source said those who attacked the statue were members of the so-called radical Salaf group, which abides by strict religious edicts. “˜The whole issue is
under investigation. We do not agree with what happened,” the Hamas security source
The presence of radical Islamist groups in Gaza has grown recently. Some say
they follow the lead of Al Qaeda.
For many Palestinians, the cement statue for the Unknown Soldier has been a
symbol of the Arab fight against Israel. It was erected during Egyptian rule in Gaza in the 1950s but was destroyed by Israel. Arafat rebuilt it in the 1990s.
The Gaza City statue stood as memorial to Palestinian and Egyptian soldiers
killed in the fight against Israel in the 1948 Middle East war. It is a focal point for officials and ordinary Palestinians, especially during national holidays.
But radical Muslims say statues are sacrilegious because “˜non-believers”
who pre-date Islam used to worship them as idols instead of worshipping God.
The press assumes people behaving in this manner must be “radical.” Actually, Muhammad expressly forbade graven images:
Narrated Abu Talha: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying; “Angels (of
Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a
human being or an animal).” – Sahih Bukhari 004.054.448
Abu Talha reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon
him) as saying: Angels do not enter the house in which there is a dog or a statue. – Sahih