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Colonial Cases

Moslem Supreme Council, 1926


Moslem Supreme Council

Supreme Court, Jerusalem
Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 22 January 1926



   The case was heard in the Supreme Court Jerusalem yesterday of the Opposition party (Nashashabis) in the Moslem Supreme Council elections against the council faction (Husseinis).  Abcarius Bey appeared on behalf of the Opposition.  The Court, after hearing evidence and counsel for both sides, delivered judgment to the effect that the elections were illegal, and annulled the results of the polling and its continuation.


The Palestine Bulletin, 14 February 1926


   The Court of Appeal in Jerusalem has given judgment in the appeal for the elections to the Moslem Supreme Council.  The appeals were received from all parts of the country from the Opposition to the present Council composition.

   The Court nullified the Jerusalem and Beersheba elections, and proposed to counsel that elections in other centres be similarly nullified without extensive investigation.  The Court based its judgment upon the fact that the amendment to the election regulations were effected at a time when a majority had not voted in their favour; that many Council decisions had not been ratified by the High Commissioner, and that the ratification of the regulations by the High Commissioner had been effected in the Arabic translation, which differed from the English text.


The Palestine Bulletin, 19 February 1926


   An All-Palestine Moslem Conference gathered on Wednesday in Jerusalem to consider the situation created by the invalidation by the High Court of the elections to the Moslem Supreme Council.  The Conference decided, in accordance with the Ottoman Law, that the Municipalities should now appoint committees ("Inspection Committees" as they are called in law,) to commence new elections to the Moslem Supreme Council.  The Conference was sure tat the government will approve the decision. ...


The Palestine Bulletin, 21 February 1926


   "Falastin" published an open letter to the High Commissioner from Sheikh Said Aluri, the former Cadi of Jerusalem; Sheikh Saud was dismissed some years ago by the Council, but he recently joined the latter's party.  He states in his open letter that the decision of the High Court annulling the elections to the Moslem Supreme Council has aroused great agitation which would have resulted in regrettable incidents if intelligent leaders had not spoken at the Al-Aksa Mosque urging the Moslem Community to be calm and patient. "We have explained to the public that Great Britain was too wide to provoke an insurrection in Palestine as France did in Syria.  ... "


The Palestine Bulletin, 24 February 1926


   'Al Ahram' (Cairo) published the text of protests sent to highly placed circles in England, the League of Nations and all Moslems rulers, by the Ulema.

   The first telegram read that the Palestine Government has commenced interfering in Moslem religious matters, in that it repealed the elections to the Mowlem Supreme Council.  It makes an appeal for justice and far dealing.

   The second telegram emanates from the inhabitants of the Jerusalem electoral wards, who declare that the repeal of the Moslem Supreme Council elections by the High Court has struck them to the core and enraged their feelings.  They have been compelled to believe that the Government desires to interfere in their religious matters.  They protest against this action, approve the elections and declare confidence in their elected candidates.  They do not accept any other way, and demand the fulfilment of their rights.


The Palestine Bulletin, 26 February 1926

Sheikh Asaad Shukeiri on the Palestine Moslem Controversy.

   In connection with the strong controversy now prevailing in the Moslem community of Palestine regarding the Moslem Supreme Council, a representative of "The Palestine Bulletin" had a lengthy interview with the most venerable Arab leader, the learned Sheikh Asaad Shukeiri of Acre. ...

   "There are two essential reasons," Sheikh Shukeiri said, "for the vigorous fight in connection with the Supreme Moslem Council.  The origin of this dissension may be attributed to the fact that the President of the Council, Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini, has not been elected by the Ulema, as required by the Sharia Law, but appointed by the Government. ...

   "The second reason for the controversy is the Order constituting the Moslem Supreme Council, which is not sufficient to guard the interests of the Moslem community, as it does not contain any provision or method by which the administrative acts of the members of the council could be questioned for non compliance with the rules and regulations, or when they are unfair or unjust.  As a matter of fact, the funds collection from ex-King Hussein, in India and elsewhere, have been mis-spent.  For the last three years complaints in this connection have continually been made to the Government and Colonial Office, but without result."  ...


The Palestine Bulletin, 29 March 1926


   In an editorial headed "A bit of logic," the "Falastin" states inter alia:-

   Where, when and how has the Government interfered in the affairs of the Moslem Supreme Council as now alleged by those who accuse it of interfering in Moslem matters and of sowing discord among Moslems?

   Everybody knows that following upon the constitution of the Council, it was given free hand by the government which allowed the secondary electors to the Turkish Parliament to elect a new body composed of 56 representatives.  The latter empowered to draw up the statutes and carry out the elections, have submitted incomplete draft regulations to the Government which, in spite of their defects, ratified them, recognised the Council elected.  The Government handed over the Wakf accounts and funds, to this council and carried out all its resolutions.  We never heard or were told by any members of the council that the government was interfering in its affairs or threatening its autonomy.  The Council should have amended the statutes and drawn up new regulations for the election and control, of its affairs, but it failed to do so during its four years of office.  Only at the last moment, anxious to safeguard its position, it arranged for twenty members of the electoral Board to be subordinate to it and support its acts.  It is this trick and the amendment of Art. by the Electoral Body which aroused a great indignation not only among the opposition, but also in neutral quarters.  Does this involve any interference by the Government?

   In reply to the protest of the opposition against the proceedings of the meeting of the electoral Board held on the 24th and 25th August 1925, Col. Symes informed the President of the Moslem Supreme Council that the Government would not oppose the resolution adopted by the majority.  How, then can the partisans of the present Moslem Council accuse the Government of interfering in Moslem matters and of threatening the existence of this institution?

   Had the Moslems not themselves complained to the Government against the fraudulent elections and pointed to the Difference between the English and the Arabic texts of the amendments, the high Court would not have annulled the elections.  Where is the Government interference in all this?

   Even admitting the Government's interference in Moslem matters and its desire to sow division among the Moslem Community, it is nonsense to accuse it of exercising any influence upon the High Court to this effect, the English being renowned for their respect of the magistrates' authority.  We do not write this to defend the Government whose side we never took, but to defend right against falsehood.

   The Government is certainly profiting by this dispute and wishes it to continue, but we fail to see the part played by the Government in the origin of this conflict.

   If there can be said to exist any attempt to over throw the Moslem Supreme Council, it emanates neither from the Government nor the opposition party, but from the members of the Council themselves who by their conduct have provoked this quarrel among the Moslem Community.


The Palestine Bulletin, 11 April 1926


   Abdul-Latif Bey Salah has appealed to the High Court against the Government's action in the Supreme Moslem Council affair.


The Palestine Bulletin, 21 May 1926


  An order, under the Supreme Sharia Council Ordinance of 1926, is published in the Official Gazette of May 16th, in which eight persons are appointed to a committee to advise and report upon the revision of the regulation dated December 20th, 1921, for the constitution of a Supreme Moslem Sharia Council and for the administration of Moslem Wakf and Sharia affairs, and to propose measures for the holding of a fresh election of members of the Supreme Moslem Council. ...


The Palestine Bulletin, 13 August 1926


   It is stated that the schism among the Arabs is affecting the future constitution of the Supreme Moslem Council, and there is considerable opposition to the former President, Haj Amin Al-Husseini.  There are numerous candidates for the presidency.  The examining Committee appointed by the High Commissioner ceased its work during the absence of Haj Amin Al-Husseini in Hedjaz, where he attended the Pam-Islamic Congress at Mecca.  With the return of the Grand Mufti, the meetings have been resumed.  The committee has now addressed an invitation to the nation for recommendations to be made in writing on the questions with which it is to deal, and several have been tendered.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School