"moderate" in the least. Well, it turns out that his Islamic religious positions are on par with that of Hamas and the Saudis as well:
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A new squad of morality police has begun detaining Palestinians who eat or drink in public during Ramadan in the West Bank, where the Islamic month of daytime fasting was always widely observed but never imposed.CTV adds:
The 12-member squad appears to be an attempt by President Mahmoud Abbas' West Bank government to challenge the monopoly on religious righteousness claimed by the militant group Hamas, the rival ruler of Gaza.
The sudden deployment of Ramadan police was unexpected in Ramallah, the seat of Abbas' government and the most cosmopolitan and well-to-do of the Palestinian cities. Ramadan squads have not been set up in other West Bank towns.
Watching observers arrive at one of the town's main mosques one recent afternoon, vice squad Lt. Murad Qendah got a radio call telling him a suspect has been spotted in the street imbibing "karoub" — a local soft drink made from carob pods. He ordered his six-man squad to seize the man's papers pending investigation. Police say violators are usually held for 24 hours.
"If anybody violates respect for Ramadan in the street, we take their identity papers and hold them for investigation," said Qendah, 27, whose officers wear red shoulder badges reading "morality police."
Police spokesman Adnan al-Damari said police have arrested at least 50 alleged public morality offenders in Ramallah since the start of Ramadan, but would not be going after people who break the fast in their own homes.
"The duty of the morality police is to preserve public manners in public places, and to preserve the feelings of the people who are fasting," he said. "Violating the holiness of Ramadan is a violation of people's freedom. "
Islamic custom demands that believers fast and refrain from self-indulgence between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan, which began Sept. 13 in the West Bank this year. The fast is largely observed across the Muslim world; voluntarily in some countries and under strict enforcement in others such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Writer Hassan Dandees, 58, said the government was right to seek to uphold religious standards.
"This is not a violation of anybody's freedom," he said. "Ramadan has a holiness every person should respect."
But Ruba el-Mimi, 21, said she opposes the police action.
"It interferes with the privacy of the individual. People are free to fast or not," she said. "If somebody is not fasting, he's not doing harm."
In addition to booking smokers, snackers and carob juice drinkers, Qendah is also on the alert for young men whistling at girls or drivers playing their car stereos too loud.
One man went so far as to snitch on someone that he saw eating potato chips.And McClatchy Newspapers throws in:
"I am proud," he told CTV News, "that these police manage to keep the month modest and holy."
The scrawny teenage detainee squirmed uncertainly in his seat as Palestinian police interrogators peppered him with questions.And how do these extremist Muslim religious police get their salaries?
“Are you Muslim or not?” one officer asked the sullen waiter, who had been picked up for smoking in public during the daily fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “When I see you eating or smoking, it is shameful.”
“Tell your boss that tomorrow, the first thing we are going to do is close down his restaurant,” warned the second interrogator, who was wearing an armband that read “Morality Police.”...
“We need this for our country so we can walk freely in the streets without guys disturbing us,” said Nora, a 20-year-old Christian university student who expressed no fears that the unit would try to force her to wear modest clothes or a head scarf. She asked that she be identified only by her first name.
Penalties are relatively lenient. Although the police tell people that they’ll be jailed until the end of Ramadan for eating, drinking or smoking in public, Qundah said that most people have been freed within a day or two.
Last week, Qundah led his squad across town to where a second unit had corralled the confused teenage boy accused of smoking in public. A member of the Morality Police squad firmly linked arms with the boy and quietly chastised him as they walked to the nearby police station for questioning.
In a sparse, dimly lit office, Qundah and a second unidentified officer castigated the teenager, who was freed after he agreed to sign a statement vowing not to smoke or eat during the Ramadan fast.
“If we allow everyone to break the fast, there would be no Ramadan,” the second interrogator lectured the boy. “You are not fasting to satisfy the Morality Police. You are fasting to satisfy God.”
From the EU, US and Israel, of course, anxious to "prop up" the extremist PA president Abbas!
Notice also how thoroughly dhimmified the Christians of the PA are. You will never, ever find a Christian in the territories willing to stand up and call this what it is - religious coercion and a blatant violation of religious freedom - because of abject fear.
And this religious coercion is considered perfectly normal by Muslims who scream and shout about supposed Western discrimination against them. The hypocrisy is as staggering as the silence from Muslim "human rights" organizations is deafening.