Obituary: Saad al-Alami

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The Independent Online
YOUR obituary (by Joseph Finklestone, 10 February) of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh a-Din al-Alami, constitutes an unconscionable exploitation of natural death for political profit, writes Mouin Rabbani.

Rather than furnish readers with a biography of the deceased Mufti and his main achievements, Mr Finklestone instead treats us to paragraph after paragraph of what various Israelis thought of him, with barely a hint of how his life might be assessed by the Muslim community of Palestine which he served. Readers could be forgiven for thinking that 'Mufti' is a Hebrew acronym for Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

Given that the defence of the Haram al-Sharif complex was the deceased Mufti's primary responsibility in life, it is shocking that Mr Finklestone chose to ignore the repeated physical attacks and violations of its sanctity by Israelis over the past 25 years. Where a less partisan writer would at least have mentioned that the al-Aqsa mosque situated within the Haram al-Sharif is the third holiest site in Islam and that it was the site of a government massacre of 17 Palestinians in October 1990 at the height of the Gulf crisis, Mr Finklestone instead brazenly exploits the occasion to heap fulsome praise on the Mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, which contains more information about the Mayor than the rest of the obituary does about the Mufti.