the Jesuit of Gaza
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 17, 2009
Argh. Metaphors always break down at some point, but this article from Ha’aretz online is misleading from the get-go. Its the report of a Saudi militant who was killed in Gaza recently. I agree that the presence of a Saudi national fighting in Gaza with Hamas is less-than-good news. But “fighter-priest” is not only a bad translation – it is wildly inaccurate:
The unusual report of a Saudi jihadist, who was killed while fighting Israel alongside Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, appears to indicate that Hamas may be gaining greater acceptance among even more fundamentalist Muslim groups.
As a rule, Hamas does not release details about its casualties – neither in number nor identity. But a Web site identified with a radical Islamic organization that preaches jihad and features the logo of Hamas’ military wing, reported that Abu Muhammed Mari, a Saudi sheikh mujahid (“fighter-priest”), who previously fought in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya, was killed in the fighting in Gaza.
Fighter isn’t the worst translation for “mujahid”, and unlike “jihadi”, which isn’t used in Arabic, “mujahid” is actually a word. But a “sheikh” is not a priest, and a priest is not a sheikh. Islam does not have priests, just like Judaism does not.
Ha’aretz knows better. Its not bad to be ignorant, but it is bad to spread ignorance when you know better.