Yunis Al-Astal

Yunis Al-Astal

No accreditation given


* Longtime Hamas-affiliated imam who calls for jihad and genocide against the Jews

Born in 1956 in the town of Khan Yunis (Gaza), Yunis Al-Astal was a longtime Hamas-affiliated imam who regularly delivered incendiary, anti-Semitic sermons in Gaza’s mosques. In 2006 the United Kingdom refused to allow him into that country because of his efforts “to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence.”

When Hamas gained political control of Gaza in early 2006, Al-Astal stepped down from the pulpit and became a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. In that role, he was part of a 2009 effort by Hamas to prevent the United Nations Relief and Works Agency from including lessons about the Holocaust in the curriculum of the Gazan preparatory schools it administered. According to Al-Astal, teaching Palestinian children about the Nazi genocide of Jews would be tantamount to “marketing a lie,” and the introduction of such a topic in a school setting would constitute a veritable “war crime.”

Al-Astal has championed many forms of violence against Jews, in particular suicide bombings as practiced by the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, of which Al-Astal himself is a member. In a 2007 interview on Hamas-controlled Al-Aqsa TV, Al-Astal said:

“The most exalted form of jihad is fighting for the sake of Allah, which means sacrificing one’s soul by fighting the enemies head-on, even if it leads to martyrdom. Martyrdom means life next to Allah. Each and every boy and man, and each and every girl and woman, is a potential martyrdom-seeker. The enemy should know that we are prepared to wear explosive belts, and to throw ourselves in the midst of the enemy, in order to make them taste the evil consequences of their deeds.”

Noting that “the duty of jihad is ten times greater than the duty of wearing a veil,” Al-Astal reserves special praise for female suicide bombers who choose to follow the example of Safiyya, the aunt of the Prophet Muhammad, who “used a pole to kill a Jew in the Battle of the Trench.” “This intifada of ours has recorded more than 15 exemplary cases of girls who were martyred for the sake of Allah,” Al-Astal recounted in 2007. “But not before making the Jews – the brothers of apes and pigs – taste the bitterness of death.”

By Al-Astal’s reckoning, Allah has prepared a ghastly fate for the Jewish people as a whole. As Al-Astal wrote in a 2008 newspaper column: “Suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next. Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.”

In an April 11, 2008 interview aired by Al-Aqsa TV, on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Jordan and Israel, Al-Astal made the following remarks:

  • “Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam.”
  • “[Rome will become] an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe.”
  • “Allah has chosen you [Muslims] for Himself and for His religion, so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to … conquests through da’wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world.”
  • “[Rome] has planted the brothers of apes and pigs [Jews] in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam.”
  • “I believe that our children, or our grandchildren, will inherit our jihad and our sacrifices, and, Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them.”

In 2011 as well, Al-Astal said:

“The [Jews] are brought in droves to Palestine so that the Palestinians – and the Islamic nation behind them – will have the honor of annihilating the evil of this gang. All the predators, all the birds of prey, all the dangerous reptiles and insects, and all the lethal bacteria are far less dangerous than the Jews. In just a few years, all the Zionists and the settlers will realize that their arrival in Palestine was for the purpose of the great massacre, by means of which Allah wants to relieve humanity of their evil.”

Also in 2011, Al-Astal explained that exterminating the Jews would be just the first step in fulfilling Allah’s grand plan: “When Palestine is liberated and its people return to it, and the entire region, with the grace of Allah, will have turned into the United States of Islam, the land of Palestine will become the capital of the Islamic Caliphate, and all these countries will turn into states within the Caliphate.”

In a 2014 program on Al-Aqsa TV, Al-Astal characterized Jews as “the worst of beasts,” saying: “We must massacre them, in order to break them down and prevent them from sowing corruption in the world.”

In July 2016, Al Astal wrote that anyone failing to vote for Hamas candidates in the upcoming Palestinian elections “will be a heretical apostate against the religion of God and His laws.”

During an August 1, 2018 parliamentary session in Gaza, Al-Astal said of the Jewish people: “The truth is that we do not have time to list all their abominations, which merited their transformation into apes and pigs, and which led to some of their scholars being described as dogs, and their simple people as donkeys. Allah wanted these corrupters to gather in the land of Palestine, in order to demonstrate [Palestine’s] blessing to Mankind, by annihilating that corruption at the hands of His servants of great might.”

Further Reading: Voices of Palestine: Yunis Al-Astal,”by Frank Crimi (December 9, 2011); “Muslim Cleric Proclaims Rome Will Soon Be Conquered by Islam” (Catholic News Agency, 4-14-2008); “‘We Must Massacre Them’: Hamas Politician Says Palestinians Must Kill, Humiliate and Tax the Jews” (The Blaze, 3-24-2014); “Gaza Imam: Vote for Hamas or You’re a Heretic” (Times of Israel, 7-31-2016); “Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal: The Abominations of the Jews Merited Their Transformation into Apes and Pigs” (Cleveland Jewish News, 8-13-2018).

© Copyright 2024,