In case his message that only armed jihad can establish a caliphate wasn’t fully understood by his congregation, a Muslim cleric in Gaza drove home his point recently by whipping out a machine gun and punctuating his militant sermon by repeatedly raising it to the sky.
The Middle East Media Research Institute posted a video along with translation of Sheik Iyad Abu Funun delivering his Friday sermon at Gaza’s Huda Mosque on August 29 during which he used the eye-popping prop.
“These weapons are our only means to liberate the Al Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem],” shouted Abu Funun. “These weapons are our only means to establish the Islamic state! … These weapons are our only means to reestablish Mohammed’s caliphate!”
Sheik Iyad Abu Funun used an eye-popping prop to drive home his point that only weapons can secure a caliphate for Muslims. In response, his congregation answered, "Allahu Akbar!" (Image source: MEMRI)
The sheikh’s calls were answered by repeated shouts from the congregation of “Allahu Akbar! Allah be praised!”
“These weapons are our only means to instate the law of Allah. Therefore, they will take our souls before they can take our weapons!” the Muslim cleric declared.
Referring to the armed hostilities with Israel that ended in late August, the preacher said, “This war has proven that these weapons are our only means to liberate our land.”
When he announced a new campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq last week, President Barack Obama asserted that the group “is not Islamic.”
"No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIS’s [the Islamic State's] victims have been Muslim," Obama said.
However, Palestinian terrorist groups – along with the Islamic State – repeatedly use Muslim imagery alongside weapons, emphasizing that their religious goals can be obtained only through violence. One recent example was a photo posted online of a newborn baby posed with the Islamic State’s black flag emblazoned with the word “Allah” surrounded by grenades and guns. Another example: Posters and backdrops at Hamas rallies printed with graphics displaying the Al Aqsa Mosque together with machine guns and crossed swords.
In his sermon, the Gaza religious leader presented a rosy picture of the 50 days of hostilities in which Hamas and other terrorist groups fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel. The Israel Defense Forces said that it destroyed more than 30 terrorist tunnels that Hamas had dug to launch attacks on Israeli communities over the border and struck multiple terrorist targets.
“They did not manage to take a single gun, a single bullet, or a single rocket from us,” the sheikh said, referring to the IDF. “They came to destroy the tunnels. Did they destroy them?”
MEMRI reported that Abu Funun served more than one stint in Israeli prison, but was released in a prisoner swap in 2011 and again in 2013.
Here is the sermon courtesy of MEMRI: