Tag Archive for: Muslim children

State-Sponsored Qatari Children’s Magazine Justifies Terror, Incites Against Jews, Israel and the U.S.

Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 11336

Since Hamas’ October 7, 2023 terror attack and the outbreak of the ensuing war in Gaza, Jassim, a Qatari monthly magazine for children issued by the state-sponsored Dar Al-Sharq Group, has been publishing content that justifies terror and violence against Israel, as well as antisemitic content. Poems and comics featured in the magazine since October 7 incite against Jews and against Israel, deny Israel’s right to exist, condone terror against Israel, which is termed “Palestinian resistance” and even encourage the readers to seek martyrdom and attain Paradise. One of the comic strips also demonized the U.S., depicting it as a serpent baring its fangs to defend Israel.

The magazine issues published since October 7 include many maps of Palestine from the river to the sea, which deny Israel’s existence. In addition, one issue contained an illustration of a child holding a key, which symbolizes the Palestinians’ desire to return to the homes in Israel in which they lived before the 1948 war.[1]

This incitement in the Jassim children’s magazine is another expression of hostility towards Israel and support for Hamas in the Qatari press, which has been especially conspicuous since the October 7 attack, [2]  and joins the incitement evident in the Qatari school curricula.[3]

This report presents examples of antisemitic content and incitement to terror and violence against Israel in the Qatari children’s magazine Jassim.

Justifying Terror Against Israel While Adopting Hamas’ Red Triangle Symbol

Comic strips published in the Jassim magazine in the recent months justify Palestinian “resistance” against Israel, namely Hamas’ terror against it, including the October 7 attack. One of the comic strips even adopted the inverted red triangle symbol, which has been associated with Hamas since the outbreak of the Gaza war. The triangle first appeared in Hamas videos documenting the fighting in Gaza, which use it to mark Israeli targets about to be attacked.[4]

A comic strip featured in the January 2024 issue, titled “This Is My Nest,” tells of a resplendent quetzal, a bird with red, green, white and black plumage, which represents Palestine in the story, and a blue-and-white cuckoo with a yarmulke, representing Israel. The cuckoo chick tries to take over the quetzal’s nest until the latter strikes at it and kicks it out.

In the beginning of the story, the reader is told that “the cuckoo is the most loathsome bird in the world. The female cuckoo does not bother to build a nest or even care for its young. It lays its single egg in the nest of another bird while the parent [birds] are away. As for the resplendent quetzal, its colors are identical to the colors of the Palestinian flag.”

In the story’s first scene, the cuckoo comes to the quetzal’s nest with its egg and asks: “O noble quetzal, can I leave my chick in your nest for a while until I can build a nest of my own?” The quetzal replies, “O cuckoo, you are welcome and so is your chick.” But when the cuckoo chick hatches, it takes over the nest, throws out the quetzal’s eggs, and declares, “this is my nest.” When the quetzal comes back and asks where her eggs are, the cuckoo chick pretends ignorance, and the quetzal continues to care for it. Eventually the cuckoo  chick grows up and shouts at the quetzal: “This is my nest. Go find yourself a different nest.” The surprised quetzal answers, “No, this is my nest. You were only a guest, and now you are no longer welcome.”  At this point a serpent colored in the hues of the American flag appears and says to the cuckoo chick: “This is your nest. I attest to this!” In the next panels a red triangle appears above the cuckoo, marking it as a target for attack, and the quetzal, now wearing a kefiyyeh, strikes at the cuckoo and casts it out of the nest, saying “This is my nest and this is my land. I will not leave it as long as I am alive.” The inclusion of the red triangle, which, as stated, is a symbol used by Hamas in the context of its terror attacks, associates the scene with Hamas violence and hints at its October 7, 2023 terror attack, in which about 1,200 Israelis were killed and about 250 were taken hostage.[5]

From the comic strip “This Is My Nest”

The magazine’s director, Shafiq Saleh, noted that the story deals with “guarding the homeland and resisting the usurping occupier.”[6]

Comic Strip Glorifies “Resist[ing] Until Your Dying Breath”, Teaches That “Liberty Is Not Granted As A Gift But Is Taken By Force”

A comic strip titled “Resist!”, in the magazine’s April 2024 issue,  is also an allegory for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It tells of three birds – a mother, a father and a chick – who live in a cage but dream of being free. Outside the cage lives a cat who threatens to eat them. Despite the danger represented by the cat, “the father bird keeps trying” to find a way out of the cage. When the chick begs him to stop, “so the cat won’t eat us,” the father replies: “Son, he will try to eat us anyway. He has eaten members of our family before… [but] we must resist.” The mother bird says, “Do not cry, my chick. Be a man and know that you must resist until your dying  breath.” When the cat manages to open the cage door and grabs the mother and father, they urge the chick to flee, saying, “Do not let our deaths be in vain. Flee!” But the chick replies: “I shall not flee, I shall resist!,” and  strikes out at the cat, forcing him to let the parents go. The story ends with the three birds free, and the mother says, “Palestine teaches us that liberty is not granted as a gift but is taken by force.”[7]

The magazine’s director, Shafiq Saleh, explained that the story conveys the Palestinians’ right to wage resistance. The April issue, he said, “aims to familiarize [the children] with the Palestinian issue and establish the right of return [i.e., the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes within Israel in which they lived before the 1948 war]… It features interesting comic strips that describe the steadfastness of the Palestinians in Gaza as they face the Israeli war machine and impart useful lessons for children and parents alike… The comic strips in this issue represent the steadfastness of the Gazan people and the Palestinian’s right to resist, thus lending a human dimension to this unique issue [of the magazine].”[8]

From the comic strip “Resist!”

The November 2023 issue contains a comic strip in which a father explains and justifies Palestinian resistance to his sons, saying: “In this manner the usurping occupier seeks to sow destruction and devastation in the land in order to make [the Palestinians] leave their soil and their homeland…  The usurpers came from different countries and stole Palestine by the force of arms in hope of making it their permanent homeland. But the proud Palestinian people refused, and resisted from the very first day until now.”[9]

The December 2023 issue features a similar comic strip in which a grandfather tells his grandchildren the history of Palestine and explains the roots of Palestinian resistance, saying: “Let me tell you the story of Palestine from its very beginning, from the time when it lived in peace and security until the invaders came from all the world in order to occupy it and make it their homeland, something we will never allow!”[10]

­­­Inculcating The Value Of Martyrdom: It Is “The Most Honorable Of Aspirations”

In addition to content justifying violent resistance against Israel, the magazine also glorifies martyrdom for the sake of Palestine as the noblest of aspirations. For example, the November 2023 issue features a poem titled “The Land Is Mine,” which stresses the importance of Palestine and the need to defend it from the “usurper” (Israel).  The poem says, “Palestine is my heart and the heart of the Arabs… We shall defend it with our hearts and souls, and attaining martyrdom is the most honorable  of aspirations…”[11]

The poem “The Land Is Mine”

As part of glorifying death and martyrdom, the magazine stresses the pleasures and delights of Paradise.[12] In an ongoing comic strip titled “Paradise the Most Beautiful,” a mother tells her children about the wonders of Paradise according to Islam and fills them with yearning for it. In the January 2024 installment, she relates details about Paradise from the Hadith: “Paradise is built of alternating bricks of gold and silver, and [the mortar] between them smells of musk…  How delightful is the fragrance of Paradise! Its pebbles are white pearls and rubies, its soil is white musk and its grass is red saffron, fragrant and fair of hue.” The daughter Mariam says: “O mother, I yearn for Paradise…”, and her mother relies, “Indeed, Maryam, this is a worthy aspiration.”[13]

In the March 2024 installment of the comic strip the mother tells the children about the Black-Eyed Virgins of Paradise who, according to Islamic tradition, will be the wives of the believing men and the handmaidens of the believing women in the afterlife.   The mother says: “When a believing woman arrives in Paradise, Allah restores her to youth and beauty, gives her beautiful clothes and grants her every wish at all times. He gives her palaces, servants and handmaidens from among the Black-Eyed [Virgins] of Paradise, and anything else she desires…” The daughter asks: “Mother, what are the Black-Eyed Virgins of Paradise?” The mother replies: “They are beautiful ladies that Allah created in Paradise. They will be the wives of the believers and they are also glad at the arrival of believing women and welcome them.”[14] It should be noted that, according to Islamic tradition, the Virgins of Paradise are also among the heavenly rewards of the martyr, who marries 72 virgins in Paradise.[15]

Demonizing The Jews: “They Came By Land And Sea Like Locusts And Spread”

A poem about Al-Aqsa published in the magazine’s December 2023 issue demonizes the Jews and incites against them, saying:

“The Jews came by land and sea like locusts, and spread.

They entered our [Al-Aqsa] mosque, desecrated it and murdered people.

The olive branches [of Palestine] cry out: ‘They took my land for their homeland,

‘They stole the fatherland and the dreams of the children.’

Bullets were aimed at the heart and the world watched in silence.

Which of you, my beloved ones, will one day restore the mosque to us?”[16]

Maps Of Palestine From The River To The Sea, And The Key Of Return

Many issues of the magazine feature maps that present the entire territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river as “Palestine,” thus denying Israel’s existence. When the November issue came out, the magazine’s director, Shafiq Saleh, referred to its cover art, which shows such a map, saying: “This month’s issue is devoted to solidarity with the children of Palestine. Its cover shows children in traditional Palestinian costume waving the flag of Palestine, against the backdrop of a map of the Arab state of Palestine.” [17]

The front cover of the magazine’s November 2023 issue

Below are some further examples:

  1. Coloring page in the January issue includes a map of Palestine from the river to the sea and the text “Palestine free and Arab”  (Twitter.com/jassimmagazine, January 10, 2024)
  2. Matching exercise in the January 2024 issue includes a map of Palestine from the river to the sea (Twitter.com/jassimmagazine, January 10, 2024)
  3. Poem about Al-Aqsa in the December issue printed on the background of a map of Palestine from the river to the sea (Facebook.com/jassimmagazin, December 9, 2023)

The front cover of the January 2024 issue shows a boy holding a key, symbolizing the Palestinian’s aspiration to return to their homes within the state of Israel in which they lived before the 1948 war. Upon the publication of this issue, director Shafiq Saleh referred to its cover art, saying: “The cover shows a Palestinian child wearing the famous Palestinian scarf [i.e., a keffiyeh] and holding tightly onto the key of his home, which symbolizes the return of the all the refugees to the homeland.”[18]

The cover of the January 2024 issue (Twitter.com/QATawseel, January 7, 2024)


REFERENCES:

[1] On this see MEMRI reports: Special Dispatch No. 10710 – Palestinian Authority Opens Exhibition Of ‘Keys Of Return’ In Hebron – July 14, 2023; See MEMRI reports: Special Dispatch No. 10623 – Nakba Day Events At West Bank Schools Assert Palestinian Refugees’ Right To Return To Homes Inside Israel, May 23, 2023; Special Dispatch No. 10597 – Ahead Of 75th Anniversary Of The Nakba, Palestinian Leadership Stresses It Will Never Relinquish Refugees’ Right To Return To Their Homes, May 8, 2023;  Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 950, The Narrative Of Return In Palestinian Textbooks, March 20, 2013.

[5] Facebook.com/jassimmagazine, January 22, 2024.

[6] Alarab.qa, January 13, 2024.

[7] Facebook.com/jassimmagazine, April 22, 2024.

[8] Twitter.com/jassimmagazine, April 7, 2024.

[9] Facebook.com/jassimmagazin, November 19, 2023.

[10] Facebook.com/qatarnanny, December 10, 2023.

[11] Facebook.com/jassimmagazin, December 2, 2023.

[12] On the themes of death, the pleasures of Paradise and the torments of Hell in the Qatari curricula, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1442, Review Of Qatari Islamic Education School Textbooks For The First Half Of The 2018-2019 School Year – Chapter VI: The Subject Of Death, With Focus On The Pleasures Of Paradise And Torments Of Hell, February 19, 2019.

[13] Facebook.com/jassimmagazine, January 15, 2024.

[14] Twitter.com/jassimmagazine, March 10, 2024.

[15] On the connection between jihad, martyrdom and the Black-Eyed Virgins of Paradise, see MEMRI reports: Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 74 – ’72 Black Eyed Virgins’: A Muslim Debate on the Rewards of Martyrs – November 1, 2001; Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 61 – The Joy of the Mothers of Palestinian ‘Martyrs’ – June 27, 2001; Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 411 – Jihad Today – December 21, 2007.

[16] Facebook.com/jassimmagazine, December 9, 2023.

[17] Twitter.com/jassimmagazine, November 4, 2023.

[18] Alarab.qa, January 13, 2024.

EDITORS NOTE: This MEMRI column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.