Muslim mob hijacked journalist’s funeral to avoid Christian service

Palestinians did not want “to spin the issue as if a Christian woman died.”


An Arab mob that took the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on their shoulders and by foot did so to avoid a funeral “as if a Christian woman died,” a Palestinian Media Watch review of Al-Jazeera and PA TV recordings of the funeral shows.

Abu Akleh’s family had wanted her body taken by hearse to the church for the funeral and not carried through the streets of Jerusalem.

Abu Akleh was killed during an encounter between IDF forces and terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp on May 11. The IDF has launched an investigation into the incident.

A few hours before the funeral, Abu Akleh’s brother Anton told Al-Jazeera that the plan was for the coffin to be taken from the hospital to the church in a hearse.

He further made it clear before the funeral that although the various elements wanted to carry her coffin on their shoulders through the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, the family wanted the coffin to be taken in the hearse as agreed with the Israeli Police, so there would be no disruptions.

PMW says that its examination of the footage confirms the Israeli version of the events, during which the Israeli police clashed with the funeral procession, which then led to international condemnation of Israel.

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Footage of police hitting some of those who carried the coffin were disseminated around the world to make it seem as if Israeli Police were interfering with the funeral.

“In fact, it was the exact opposite. It was a Palestinian mob that had hijacked the funeral and Israeli Police who were forced to intervene and have the funeral return to be held as the family planned,” PMW wrote.

The funeral was a show of forces by the Fatah movement in eastern Jerusalem, and the pallbearers were convicted terrorists, TPS has learned. Abu Akleh’s funeral turned into a demonstration, with mourners waving PLO flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans.

When the hearse arrived to take the coffin to the church, the mob that had gathered at the hospital prevented the car from reaching the entrance and receiving Abu Akleh’s body. However, the mob snatched the coffin and thereby disrupted the funeral. Israeli Police prevented further disruption.

Amjad Abu Asbeh, head of the Prisoners’ Families Committee in Jerusalem, explained that the insistence on carrying her on their shoulders is so that it would not seem to be a Christian funeral with a “church car” as had been planned. They did not want “to spin the issue as if a Christian woman died.”

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Rather, they wanted to carry her body on their shoulders as is the custom for shahids, Islamic martyrs killed in battle against the infidels, even though she was a Christian.

After preventing the hearse from arriving, the body was taken without authorization to be carried by foot, against the family’s wishes. Israeli Police were forced to stop this and return the body to the hospital.

Shortly after, the hearse returned under Israeli protection and the coffin was placed inside to be taken to the church. The hearse left and later arrived at the church with the body.

“It was the Palestinian mob that prevented Abu Akleh’s funeral from progressing to the church by hearse as the family had wanted,” PMW wrote.

“It was the mob that took the body without authorization, which forced Israeli Police to intervene with force to have them return the body to the hospital. Once returned, the body was transported to the church in the hearse under Israeli protection according to plan,” PMW concluded.