A Canadian Newspaper Praises Palestinian Mothers Who Sent Their Sons on Jihad Missions


Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 19, No. 23

  • An article by Muhammad Sayf al-Dawla exalts the Palestinian mothers who sent their sons to die in the jihad struggle against Israel and calls to make these women “sacred symbols” for their sacrifice.
  • One of the sons perpetrated a terror attack at the preparatory yeshiva in Atzmona in which five students, including a Canadian citizen, was killed.
  • The Canadian newspaper presented a paean to Palestinian mothers of “martyrs” with their “faith along with the ability, strong as steel, to sacrifice and to bear and endure the pain.”

The Toronto-based newspaper Akhbar al-Arab (ArabNews24.ca) published an article on August 8, 2018, by Muhammad Sayf al-Dawla titled “The Mother from the City of Nablus Who Sacrificed Her Children for the Jihad and Hollywood Movies.”

The article was accompanied by a cartoon that shows a mother caressing her dead son whose body lies across a map of Palestine. From his back extends a weapon: an Israeli flag and flagpole. In Akhbar al-Arab most of the Star of David was covered with black.

Cartoon that shows a mother caressing her dead son whose body lies across a map of Palestine

Muhammad Sayf al-Dawla, the author, is the founder of the Movement of Egyptian Citizens against Zionism and served as an adviser on Arab affairs to President Mohamed Morsi, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.1 The original article was published on al-Dawla’s blog on July 31, 2018,2 and reprinted in the Canadian newspaper Akhbar al-Arab.

Al-Dawla’s article exalts the Palestinian mothers who have sent their sons to die in the jihad campaign against Israel and calls to make these women “sacred symbols” for their sacrifice.

The praise for the mothers supports the deeds of the sons, who were active in Palestinian organizations that Canada has declared to be terror organizations. The sons took part in terror attacks against Israel; a few of them perpetrated suicide attacks; others sent suicide attackers on their last mission; one was captured during an attempted suicide bombing that failed because of a technical malfunction in the explosive belt; and another carried out a suicide attack in which a Canadian citizen was killed. All the mothers supported the armed struggle against Israel, and one of them took part in launching rockets at an Israeli community and also volunteered to carry out a suicide bombing.

The following is a translation of the article, “The Mother in the City of Nablus Who Sacrificed Her Children for the Jihad and Hollywood Movies”:

Saving Private Ryan is a famous American movie whose plot centers on the Second World War. An American mother lost three of her sons in the war, and the American military command decided to send a group of soldiers to rescue the [fourth] son who has remained alive, Ryan, from the midst of the battles being waged and return him safely to his mother.

This movie won five Oscars, and when it was screened, hundreds of millions of viewers all over the world watched it, were affected by it, and shed tears over the details of the plot, which is no more than stories from the world of the imagination.

Yet when it comes to the real heroic battles of human beings that go beyond the imagination and are waged on the soil of beloved Palestine, you will not find a person who will take notice of them, publicize them, and perpetuate the memory of the heroes and explain their cause to worldwide public opinion.

One of the most wonderful [stories of these battles] is the story of Khansaa [a woman who sacrifices her children to the jihad] from the city of Nablus. The honorable woman is Fatima Abu Leil, or Umm Mahyoub, who died a few days ago in the Balata [refugee] camp east of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank.

Fatima Abu Leil

Fatima Abu Leil, mother of terrorists (Arab press)

She is called “al-Khansaa,” like the poetess who is counted among the friends of the Prophet [Muhammad], Tamadar bint Amro al-Silmia (تماضر بنت عمرو السلمية), who lost four of her sons in the Battle of al-Kadisia in the year 16 of the Hijrah, 638 on the calendar of the Christians.

Mrs. Umm [mother of] Mahyoub is the mother of five martyrs: Mahyoub, Khaled, Muhammad, Hosni, and Samir. In addition, her son Hussein is now an inmate in the prisons of the occupation, serving a sentence of five life terms. Her other four sons are freed prisoners. Her warrior husband, Mustafa Abu Leil, was the first prisoner in the Balata [refugee] camp in 1967.

She [Umm Mahyoub] is not the only mother who sacrifices her sons to the jihad for Palestine. There are many like her, such as Mrs. Fatima al-Sheikh Khalil Umm Radwan, who also sacrificed five martyrs – Sharaf, Ashraf, Mahmoud, Muhammad, and Ahmed Khalil al-Sheikh Khalil.

And Mrs. Maryam Muhammad Yusuf Muhaysan (مريم محمد يوسف محيسن) or Umm Nidal Farhat (ام نضال فرحات), (1949-2013), who is called Khansaa Falestin [Khansaa of Palestine]. She was a member of parliament in the Legislative Council and sacrificed three of her sons as martyrs, Muhammad, Nidal, and Rawad, while her fourth son served an 11-year sentence in the prisons of the occupation. In her house she hid several fighters who were wanted and pursued; the house was shelled four times by the Zionist forces, and indeed, within it [her house], they murdered the [Hamas] commander Imad Akel.

Imad Akel

Imad Akel, Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades commander, killed in Gaza in 1993

And there are many like these. The stories of Umm Mahyoub, Umm Radwan, and Umm Nidal stirs incredulity and astonishment. Indeed, we see pictures of relatives of the martyrs in Palestine almost every day. Yet phenomena such as mothers of martyrs in large numbers are amazing human phenomena that our minds cannot grasp. What is the nature of this group? Where did they receive such faith along with the ability, strong as steel, to sacrifice and to bear and endure the pain and the separation, and to ask Allah for more?

These are phenomenal women that we must not allow to go unnoticed. Instead, we must make them sacred symbols of our concerns, of our struggle, and of our suffering in the eyes of all the world. Are we doing so?

Appendix

The sons of Fatima Abu Leil (Umm Mahyoub)

  • Samir, Hussein, Omar, and Talal3 four of the sons of Umm Mahyoub, are serving or have served sentences in Israeli prisons. Hussein Abu Leil was sentenced to five life terms.4 Samer Abu Leil – an Islamic Jihad operative – was arrested on April 18, 2008.5

The sons of Fatima al-Sheikh Khalil (Umm Radwan)

  • Sharif al-Sheikh Khalil – Islamic Jihad operative. Killed on March 4, 1996, in exchanges of fire with an Israeli naval craft.6
  • Ashraf al-Sheikh Khalil – Islamic Jihad operative. Killed on July 1, 1991, in exchanges of fire with an IDF force in Lebanon.7
  • Mahmoud al-Sheikh Khalil – Islamic Jihad operative. Mahmoud was a senior operative in Islamic Jihad’s engineering and production unit who worked to develop weapons and explosives. He supervised a number of suicide bombings against Israel and took part in terror attacks, including the firing of mortars at Israeli communities. He was killed on October 17, 2004, in a strike by the Israeli air force.8
  • Muhammad al-Sheikh Khalil – senior Islamic Jihad operative. Muhammad was responsible for dozens of terror attacks and also trained and prepared Islamic Jihad operatives for terror attacks against Israel including suicide bombings. He was killed on September 25, 2005, in a strike by the Israeli air force.9
  • Ahmed al-Sheikh Khalil – Islamic Jihad operative. Ahmed served in Islamic Jihad’s military-production unit, which produced bombs, explosive devices, and rockets. He was responsible for preparing explosive devices for suicide bombers, and also took part in and assisted terror attacks.10

The sons of Maryam Muhaysan (مريم محمد يوسف محيسن) (Umm Nidal Farhat)

In 2009 Maryam Muhaysan took part in firing rockets at the Israeli community of Kfar Aza and volunteered to carry out a suicide bombing.11

  • Muhammad Fathi Farkhat – a Hamas/Al-Qassam Brigades operative.12 Killed on March 7, 2002, while perpetrating a terror attack at the yeshiva in the Atzmona settlement during which he killed five young men including Asher Marcus, a Canadian citizen.13 Mohammad’s mother was photographed with him before he left for the suicide attack and blessed him for carrying it out.14
  • Nidal Fathi Farhat – a Hamas/Al-Qassam Brigades operative. Nidal was responsible for developing rockets and explosive devices for the Al-Qassam Brigades and also sent terrorists on suicide-bombing missions against Israeli targets. Hamas’ website said he sent his brother Muhammad to carry out the terror attack at the Atzmona preparatory yeshiva. He also engaged in developing a pilotless plane that could carry 20 kilograms of explosives for attacks against targets in Israel. Nidal was killed in an explosion on February 16, 2003, while assembling a pilotless plane.15
  • Rawad Fathi Farhat – a Hamas/Al-Qassam Brigades operative. He was active in Hamas’ military-development unit, which produced rockets, explosives for explosive devices, and hand grenades. He also took part in an attack on an Israeli post. He was killed on September 24, 2005, in a strike by the Israeli air force.16
  • Wisam Fathi Farhat – sentenced in 1994 to 11 years in an Israeli prison for an attempted suicide bombing. The explosive belt that he wore failed to detonate because of a technical malfunction.17
  • Mu’mim Fathi Farhat – a Hamas operative/commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades.18
  • Husam Fathi Farhat – a Hamas operative/commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades.19

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Notes

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.