Friday, June 1, 2007

Palestinian Kindergardeners Vow to Die for Allah

Palestinian Kindergarten Graduates Vow to Die for Allah
By Julie Stahl Jerusalem Bureau Chief
June 01, 2007

Jerusalem ( - A televised graduation ceremony at a Palestinian kindergarten in Gaza shows little boys dressed in black masks, camouflage fatigues, carrying toy guns, and waving green Hamas flags.

The children vow that their most "lofty aspiration" is death for the sake of Allah.

The ceremony aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa Television on Thursday. The kindergarten is run by the Islamic Association in Gaza, which is the group that gave rise to Hamas.

In part of the video, girls in white dresses, some wearing butterfly wings, are shown dancing.

Then the boys, dressed like Palestinian militants, march in formation before dropping to flat to the floor to crawl on their stomachs like fighters do.

The boys shout, "Allah Akbar" (Allah is great).

"Who is your role model?" the boys are asked. "The Prophet," they respond.

"What is your path?"

"Jihad," they shout.

"What is your most lofty aspiration?"

"Death for the sake of Allah."

The video clip and translation were provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute on Friday.

Hamas is well known throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a charitable organization, providing schools, kindergartens, medical clinics and other social services to Palestinians. But experts say the group also works to instill a message of hatred and "jihad" in future generations.

Hamas openly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and wants to establish an Islamic Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and all of Israel.

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--Wendy in Washington

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