Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Are you the Mufti? Yassir, I am!

Mufti is an honorary Muslim title akin to lawgiver.

In pre-war Palestine, the Mufti was also the de facto head of state. The last Mufti of Jerusalem was an unpleasant character called Amin Al-Husseini (with two dictators in your name, it’s a bad start).

He was installed by the British at the end of the First World War and he pursued a radical anti-Zionist agenda. He was helped by anti-Semites in the British Foreign Office and they beefed up his title to "Grand Mufti".

But he went too far when he tried to kill the top British policeman in Palestine and was expelled to Jordan in 1937. From there he went to Berlin and spent the war as a special guest of Hitler.

Here he got involved in the Final Solution plans, gave anti-Jewish addresses on the radio and visited Dachau on a number of occasion.

At the end of the war he fled to Egypt where he was treated as an Arab hero. Because of this, he was never tried as a war criminal.

He was instrumental in starting the 1948 war against newly established Israel. The Jordanians didn't want him back in Palestine so he orchestrated the assassination of King Abdullah in 1951.

He never made it back to Jerusalem and died in exile in 1974. His successor as leader of the Palestinian Arabs was his nephew Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat As Qudwa al-Husseini. That was a bit of a mouthful so he changed it to plain old Yassir Arafat.


Where goest thou, fair traveller?
Aberystwyth, mein oberherr,
Aber dien?
Nein Wales, nicht Schottland.
le pay baas aber naturlich!
Aber warum?
I’m sorry this poem is an aberration

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