he 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.. The original article is titled ” Hamas Reports on Israeli Recruitment of Agents in Gaza”