Tawfiq Tirawi and Mawaffaq Matar: Jesus was a “Palestinian Shahid”


The preposterous claim is here:

Jesus was not only a Palestinian, but was the first Islamic martyr, a senior Palestinian leader said this week.

Writing on his Facebook account on December 24, Tawfiq Tirawi, a senior Palestinian leader and Fatah Central Committee member posted: “This is blessed Christmas, The birthday of our lord Jesus the Messiah, the first Palestinian and the first Shahid [Islamic Martyr],” Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has reported.

PMW has noted that Tirawi’s reference to “our lord Jesus” is not an acceptance of Christianity; rather, Islamic tradition teaches that Jesus was a Muslim who preached Islam.

PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein, the top religious figure within the PA, has made this point before, saying: “We’re talking about an ongoing chain [of prophets of the Islam], from Adam to Muhammad. It’s an ongoing chain, representing the call for monotheism, and the mission of Islam…”

Jesus was “the first Islamic martyr,” declares Palestinian propagandist Tawfiq Tirawi. That is a neat trick, chronologically, for Islam itself did not appear in the world until the early 7th century, that is, 600 years after the death of Jesus. As for the “Arab Palestinians,” they arrived in Palestine only in the mid-7th century, more than 600 years after Jesus.

For Muslims, Jesus is one of the more than ten thousand prophets who came before the Last of the Prophets, Muhammad, appeared. For Muslims Jesus is to be revered, but on no account should he be thought of as the Son of God, as the foolish Christians believe, for that amounts to  shirk, polytheism, which in Islam is strictly prohibited.

“The prophets were all of the same religion [Islam]… Jesus was born in this land. He lived in this land. It is known that he was born in Bethlehem… He also lived in Nazareth, moved to Jerusalem. So he was a Palestinian par excellence… We respect Jesus, we believe in him [as a Muslim prophet], just as we believe in the prophet Muhammad.”

Jesus is everywhere described in the New Testament as a Jew. Tens of thousands of commentaries on the Bible by Christian theologians and by historians over the past 2000 yeas have described Jesus as a “Jew.” No one, until the last few decades of Palestinian propaganda, has anyone claimed that Jesus was a Muslim, who preached Islamic doctrine.

And where was Jesus the Jew  from? Not Arabia. He was from the Jewish-nation of “Judea,” its name changed by the Romans who then ruled, from “Judea” to “Palestine” in order, quite deliberately, to minimize or efface the Jewish connection to the land. What’s more, for the same reason, the Romans renamed “Jerusalem” as “Aelia Capitolina.”

Claims that Jesus was a Palestinian have been made multiple times this week [at the end of December]. On December 26, Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muwaffaq Matar wrote in the Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida “If someone could win the Nobel Peace Prize every year forever, it is Palestinian Jesus son of Mary who was born in Bethlehem…”

He added: “Palestinian Jesus son of Mary was a victim…”

Muwaffaq Matar’s claim that Jesus was a “Palestinian” – that is, a Muslim Arab – is nothing new; for years it has continue to be made by various Palestinian propagandists, such as the unpleasant Hanan Ashrawi and the rapacious Mahmoud Abbas. The claim is designed to Islamize and Arabize Jesus, the most famous Jew of all, and hence, through this factitious manufactured identity as a “Palestinian,” to shore up the Muslim Arab claim to “Palestine.”

Jesus lived more than 600 years before there was a single Muslim. He lived at a time when Palestine was populated entirely by Jews; there was not a single Arab in Palestine until the mid-7th century. So how is it that he could now be presented as a “Muslim” and an “Arab”? History is not the strong suit of Palestinian propagandists. For them, history is not so much “bunk,” as Henry Ford, that know-nothing and antisemite, famously called it, but is akin to silly putty, to be molded and shaped, this way and that, as one sees fit. And the Palestinians want us to believe that Jesus was not a Jew, but a “Palestinian” (both Arab and Muslim), and call him that so often that some of them come to believe their own fabrications, and hope you will, too.

Muwaffaq Matar insists that Jesus was a “Palestinian” – not merely in the obvious geographic sense, but in the religious and ethnic sense. But he goes further. He calls Jesus a “martyr” for Islam, a “shahid” like the Palestinian suicide bombers who sacrifice for their faith. When Jesus was crucified, for Muwaffaq Matar and many other Palestinians like him, Jesus was put to death not by the Romans, but by the malevolent Jews. Thus his martyrdom, at the hands of those whom the Qur’an describes as the “strongest in enmity” to the Muslims.

Ignore the New Testament. Pay no attention to the tens of thousands of accounts of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew living in Judea. Ignore the theologians and the historians of Christianity who write about “Jesus the Jew.” Believe, in the face of all the evidence, that it was the Jews alone who condemned Jesus to death; the Romans, and especially Pontius Pilate, had nothing to do with it.

To sum up: For 2000 years, everyone in the Western world has known that Jesus was a Jew. He was a Jew living in the Jewish homeland, then under Roman rule. The Romans had renamed “Judea” as “Palestine” and “Jerusalem” as “Aelia Capitolina,” to efface the Jewish connection to their ancient land and to their ancient capitol, but they could not efface history. It is today’s Palestinians who are trying to efface that Jewish history, and deliberately misconstrue the religious and ethnic identity of Jesus. Some people find the claim so absurd as not to be worth rebutting. They are wrong. There are plenty of people in the West who are susceptible to even the most absurd claims, when it comes to Muslims and especially, the Palestinians whom the political and media elites in the West clearly favor.

So let the truth be endlessly repeated, no matter how tiresome the task becomes, every time some Palestinian propagandist claims Jesus as a “Palestinian” and even as a “shahid,” firmly state the truth: the historical Jesus was a Jew, not a Muslim. He did not preach – he could not even have known – Islamic doctrine to his followers. He existed 600 years before Islam even came into existence, and 600 years before there was a single Arab in Palestine. Jesus has been described everywhere in the New Testament, and in tens of thousands of theological works and histories, as a Jew. He was not a “shahid”; he did not die as a martyr for a non-existent Islam, but he was, rather, a perceived threat to Roman rule and political stability. As the historian Joseph Klausner famously described him, Jesus was, whatever his other messages, a Jewish nationalist, and was perceived as such by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who had him put to death.

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