ii) Palestine: the Sacred Land
iii) The Umma and the Caliphate
iv) Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood
v) Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)
vi) The 1987 Intifada
vii) Epilogue: Hamas Hates All Non-Muslims
The more you know about the history of Islam, the nature of Islam itself, as well as the views and beliefs of Muslims throughout the centuries, the more you realise that Palestine is not unique. Indeed it certainly not seen as the holiest Islamic ‘land’. It is obviously the case that Saudi Arabia (because of Mohammed, Mecca and Medina) and even Iraq (primarily because of Baghdad) are the true ‘sacred’ lands. Because of this, the more one also realises that Western Leftists/anti-Zionists have effectively been hoodwinked by Hamas and numerous other Muslims. Palestine is just one more bone of contention for Islam. It is just one more ‘occupied’ territory or state. More broadly, but just as importantly, the situation in Israel and Palestine is just one more battle in the never-ending war between good and evil: between Islam and all that is non-Islamic.
Palestine: the Sacred Islamic Land?
Hamas’s overall position is summed up well in its well-known slogan:
“Allah is the goal. The Prophet is the model. The Koran is the constitution. The jihad is the path. And death on Allah’s path is our most sublime aspiration.”
How much clearer could Hamas be about its religious affiliations and motives? But, of course, Islam, or religion generally, is nothing but an epiphenomenon of much deeper and more important socio-economic and political factors: at least that’s the Marxist/Leftist fairytale.
If you are Western Leftist, words like the above are nothing more than Hamas posturing with rhetoric. All it really wants is the West Bank, Gaza and a good standard of living for all Palestinians. Actually, most Leftists know that Hamas wants Palestine “from the Jordan to the sea” - that is, all of Israel. And Leftists are happy with that. After all, Israel is both a capitalist democracy and a state for Jews. (That's a very bad mix for the Left.)
How wrong they all are. More importantly, Hamas itself knows they are wrong.
Islam was, and still is, at the heart of the entire Hamas project, from the annihilation of Israel, to the death of every Jew and the subsequent creation of an Islamic state in place of Israel.
Hamas continues in this honest and truthful vain when it tells us how all these things, or all these ‘aspirations’, will be brought about. Through jihad. As the Hamas charter puts it:
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.”
If only Leftists and Nazis who don't believe Hamas when they say, or write, such things.
If such people want yet more honesty from Hamas, take the following, again from the charter, as a little extra evidence:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
So is all this mere fluff and bravado? Or are they the epiphenomenal sighs of the more important “material conditions” underneath? After hundreds of thousands of bombs, hundreds of suicide attacks, along with all the rest, I most certainly don’t think so. And neither should anyone else.
To Hamas, the “soil of Palestine is sacred”. It is also incumbent on every Muslim, Hamas believes, to liberate “every inch of Palestine from the Jews”. Clearly then, this is not a question of only liberating “the occupied territories”. It's also about liberating “every inch of Palestine”. Two-state theorists must surely know that this is Hamas’s position.
More specifically on the ‘sacred’ nature of Palestine. In Hamas’s charter it states the following:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [consecrated land held as an Islamic trust] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.”
Here again we are not only talking about the West Bank and Gaza, ‘or any part’ of Israel/Palestine. Hamas believes that no part of Palestine “should be given up”. How can Hamas make its position any clearer?
So it's certainly not only because the Jews have taken over a Islamic land which primarily motivates Hamas. It's not even primarily because of ‘the Nakba’ that Hamas is doing what it is doing. The prime reason why Hamas is fighting - and attempting to annihilate - Israel is Islamic in nature. Palestine is a ‘sacred’ land. As Sheik Yasin, the first leader of Hamas, succinctly put it:“Jihad is a duty on every Muslim if the Muslims’ land is violated.”
What Hamas says about Israel could, and sometimes is, also said about certain areas in China, Russia, the whole of India, the Philippines, Thailand, etc. and indeed about many - or all! - Arab countries. It can even be applied to Spain and those parts of France which were taken over by Muslims in the century 8th century. Palestine is just another ‘Islamic country’ amongst many others. Indeed, ultimately, as Anjem Choudary put it (to paraphrase):The whole world belongs to Allah and therefore Islam.
The Umma and the Caliphate
Why did Osama bin Laden hardly mention Palestine (until his last few years)? If the Palestine-Israeli situation “is the prime concern and worry of all Muslims”, why has al-Qaeda, and other extreme Muslim groups, not spoken as much about Palestine as, say, the UK’s Guardian or even British Muslim organisations? Because to bin Laden, and many other Muslims, the ‘Palestine problem’ is just one of many problems which face Muslims today. For example
i) The fact that US soldiers were, at one point, still in Saudi Arabia.
ii) The fact that non-Muslim soldiers are still in Afghanistan.
iii) The fact that many states with a majority of Muslims are still not properly Islamic states.
Thus it is easy to see that Palestine is just the latest Islamic issue and conflict in over 1,400 years of Islamic/Muslim history. Palestine is just one more place which Muslims should conquer and then annihilate the infidel enemy. The same is required in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, the Sudan, Somalia, etc. What all these conflicts share is that they are all attempts to increase the Islamic umma; and in so doing “carry the banner of Islam”. If the Muslim Palestinians are successful, Palestine will be just another, and the latest, addition to the Islamic umma. Perhaps Andalusia (Spain) will be next. There a still ‘occupied territories’ in other parts of the world which, according to many Muslims, need to be liberated in order to become part of the Islamic umma (e.g., places in current China, Russia, etc.).
Let’s put it this way. It is very possibly the case that al-Qaeda, and other Islamist groups and individuals, think less about Palestine than the British and American Left. Indeed Osama bin Laden thought more about ‘occupied’ Saudi Arabia than he did about ‘occupied’ Palestine! This is no surprise. The Jihad had been going on for over a thousand years before ‘the Zionist entity’ was created. And long before Israel’s creation, Muslims had tried to conquer and re-conquer many countries for Islam. Some of these countries, such as Egypt, also have Muslim majorities and are far more populous (they have more Muslims) than Palestine. Only Western Leftists think that a solution to the Palestine problem will solve all the problems of the Middle East; and even help prevent Islamic terrorism in the West. This is dangerously naïve.
One way to show that Palestine is just one more problem for Muslims is by highlighting what Muslims themselves think of Palestine and what its real nature or status is.
Is it not only “Zionists”, and “Zionist sympathisers”, who argue that there never was a Palestinian state. Many Muslims did and still do. More than that, Hamas, or at least some individuals within it, accept this. More precisely, one senior Hamas leader, al-Zahar, has freely admitted that
“Islamic and traditional views reject the notion of establishing an independent Palestinian state In the past, there was no independent Palestinian state… [hence] our main is to establish a great Islamic state, be it pan-Arabic or pan-Islamic.”
Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood
According to Hamas’s own charter, the
“Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] is a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, and the Muslim Brotherhood movement is a world organisation.”
Thus, if Hamas is a ‘wing’ of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Muslim Brotherhood is a ‘world organisation’, then Hamas too is a ‘world organisation’. This should show us that Palestine, or the ‘oppression and suffering’ in that country, is far from being the only piece in Hamas’s ideological armoury. The ‘liberation’ of Palestinian by the ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’ is just the beginning of a global jihad coordinated by Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and other Muslim groups and organisations.
The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1926. That was around twenty years before the creation of Israel in 1947. It was around 40 years before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. In other words, the Brotherhood’s prime or only concern was not Palestine. Its primary aim was, and still is, the establishment of the Islamic caliphate and thus the parallel increase in the size of the Muslim umma.
What has just been said about the Muslim Brotherhood can also be said about its offshoot, Hamas, even if to a lesser extent. As Efraim Karsh puts it, Hamas
“has followed in the footsteps of its Egyptian parent organisation, which viewed it violent opposition to Zionism from the 1930s and 1940s as an integral part of the Manichean struggle for the creation of a worldwide caliphate rather than as a defence of the Palestinian Arabs’ national rights.”
Indeed many Muslim Brotherhood members, and even leaders of Hamas, have often said that to concentrate on Palestine alone is tantamount to 'nationalism'. And nationalism is not an Islamic phenomenon. (Arabism was similarly rejected and criticised by the Muslim Brotherhood.)
Instead the caliphate is something which should apply to the entire world. That is why it is often named ‘the global Islamic caliphate’.
So Palestine is not the be all and end all of every Muslim. Indeed it is not even the be all and end all for Hamas. If only Leftists and Left-Liberals actually read Hamas’s propaganda. That is, the propaganda Hamas aims at fellow Muslims rather than the propaganda which is designed exclusively for Western ears and eyes. If they did truly understand Hamas, they would soon realise that Israel’s ‘occupation of Palestine’ is not the only festering sore in the Middle East and in the world generally.
Hamas and the PLO
Hamas’s very creation, of course, was mainly a response to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s secularism. However, we can ask ourselves how secular can an Arabic movement actually be? Much has been made of the secular - and even Marxist - orientation of the PLO. Of course it was partly Leftist in orientation. However, even Arafat’s Fatah organisation, which was the main group within the PLO, was originally built as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood (just like Hamas). Indeed even the name, Fat’h’, means ‘holy crusade [for Islam]’ in Arabic. Nonetheless, that lack of Islamic credentials was the main reason why Hamas was formed and why it was against much of what the PLO stood for. (The other reasons were that the PLO simply wasn’t seen, by many Palestinians, as being at all successful against the Israeli state; not to mention the fact that it was also hugely corrupt in the Arab style.)
However, at first Hamas did cooperate with the PLO (or the other way around). But even from the very beginning Hamas demanded something that the PLO could not, or would not, agree to. That was the creation of an Islamic state after the ‘Zionist entity’ was defeated. Sheikh Yasin, Hamas’ first leader, put it this way:
“There must be a mutual common ground, based on commitment to Islamic values and principles, without violating them in times of resistance. There must also be prior agreement that after liberation, the state will be Islamic. We opposed the Palestine national charter because if we had accepted the establishment of a secular state, we would have violated Islam.”
Actually Yasin, broadly speaking, demanded two things from the PLO. Firstly, as I've said, he wanted the PLO to commit itself to the creation of an Islamic state. But even before that, Yasin demanded a “commitment to Islamic values and principles” – even “in times of resistance” and not just in times of victory.
Yasin could not have put it simpler. He stated that even if the PLO defeated Israel and then established a secular state to go in its place, then it “would have violated Islam” itself. The PLO wanted to destroy Israel just as much as Hamas itself. Hamas did not have a problem with that. Hamas was against the PLO because it did not call for the creation of an Islamic state in what was, and still is, Israel. There could not have been a greater bone of contention than that. The PLO was made up of Muslims, for sure. But it was not an Islamic party. And neither did it call for the establishment of an Islamic state.
The Hamas charter was explicit about Hamas’s main problem with the PLO. That problem, quite simply, was its secularism. The charter states:
“The PLO endorses secular ideas… Secular thought is incompatible with religious thought, completely incompatible.”
Quite simply. Hamas rejected the PLO because it was not an Islamic party. It was a secular organisation. Not only that, the PLO’s secular ideas were seen as ‘completely incompatible’ with ‘religious thought’.
These are the other additions which also distinguished Hamas from the PLO:
i) PLO fostered Palestinian and Arab nationalism. Hamas did the same but also added the upholding of moral/Islamic purity.
ii) The PLO engaged in various forms of social action. So too did Hamas. But with the addition of the possibility, or actuality, of Muslims receiving divine grace through military action.
iii) The PLO offered a homeland to the Palestinians. So too did Hamas. But also with the added bonus of salvation – both of the mind and after death.
The 1987 Intifada
Many think that the first intifada, in 1987, was a ‘spontaneous event’. (Indeed many think that about the following intifadas.) If it was spontaneous, then that spontaneity required a lot of organisation! And that organisation was primarily supplied by Hamas. And it is far from being the case that Hamas has actually denied this. Hamas’s Ibrahim al-Quqa has said that it was the
“decision of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which set the precise zero-hour in the sanctuaries of the mosques.”
The leader of Hamas at that time (1987), Sheikh Yasin, also claimed that Hamas helped set off the intifada and that it was Hamas that led and controlled it thereafter. More specifically and Islamically, as it were, the intifada basically began in the mosques of the West Bank and Gaza. These mosques worked as a rallying point for militants and ordinary Muslims as well as the launch pads for demonstrations and other intifada activities. Hamas thus utterly transformed the mosques into centers for Islamic learning as well as the places for all political organisation.
The timing of the jihad, and therefore the first intifada, also proved to be a problem for Hamas and Yasin. They debated about whether or not it should begin after Palestinian society was fully Islamised or before that. Yasin decided that it should begin after the full Islamisation of Palestine. That explains the Muslim Brotherhood’s, and therefore Hamas’s, quiescence in the early days. That is also why the Israelis took Hamas to be a thoroughly religious group with no political aspirations and no interest in political violence. The Israelis were wrong in big way. Hamas was simply preparing the ground for jihad and therefore for the 1987 intifada.
Part of Hamas’s Islamisation project was the propagation of the position that those Muslims who were silent about the occupation of Palestine were actually committing an Islamic sin. That is because Islam requires that every Muslim must engage in ‘holy war’. (And for those who care to look, this Islamic imperative is indeed there in the Koran.) It followed that if certain Muslims failed to act, or to become jihadists, they would be committing ‘fatal treason’. And treason is, of course, punishable by death. Not only that. Hamas stated that if any ‘philosophy’ was seen to be justifying submission to the Israelis (or to any non-Muslims), or encouraging Muslims not to ‘sacrifice their souls’, then it would be seen as an ‘heretical’ philosophy to be immediately stamped out. And every such philosophy was indeed stamped out by Hamas.
More concretely and specifically, Hamas got to work on producing, as well as distributing, thousands of leaflets. All these leaflets began with passages from the Koran and included within them other such Koranic passages. They also contained accounts of various episodes in Islamic history. As for graffiti. The following is a small sample of the graffiti which could be seen before, during and after the 1987 intifada:
“Our land is Islamic, this is the identity.”
“Islam is the way to return.”
“Islam is the solution.”
“Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews, Muhammad’s army will return.”
'The land of Palestine is an Islamic waqf, Islamic law forbids its abandonment or bargaining over it.”
'The destruction of Israel is a Koranic imperative.”
“There is no solution except by the Koran.”
“The Koran is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”
So the 1987 intifada was a thoroughly Islamic event, as it were. At the very least, it certainly began in the mosques. As Hamas leader, Dr. ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz, put it. The intifada began
“with one fixed outcry, allahu akbar [God is great], and took off from the mosques, where the Koran was being read, and the Islamic songs sung, and the people provided with guidance…”
Not only was the 1987 intifada utterly Islamic in nature, it was also only a small part of the larger jihad. That jihad had known many conflicts and battles over the centuries. The 1987 intifada was just another ‘phase’ in this ‘eternal jihad’. It was only one mechanism to mobilise the masses into the spirit of Islamic jihad. In effect, the fight against Israel was, and still is, only one part of the Islamic battle against all non-Muslims and all non-Muslim states. (E.g., the re-conquest of Andalusia – Spain.) In other words, the intifada was, and was seen as, only one form of jihad which was itself was a preparation for the later jihads which would then be fully armed.
Apart from the war against Israel, which is Islamic, and the various forms of jihad that war takes, what about the Islamic nature of the Islamic soldiers themselves? They too were to be thoroughly Islamised by Hamas. As one commentator put it:
“The fundamentalist groups offered a special kind of activism that combined patriotism with moral purity and social action with the promise of divine grace. Sheikh Yasin offered the young Palestinian something far beyond Arafat’s ken: not just the redemption of the homeland, but the salvation of his own troubled soul.”
Epilogue: Hamas Hates all Non-Muslims
If any non-Jewish or non-Muslim group had ‘occupied’ Palestine, Hamas would still have wanted to destroy it. And even if Palestine had been more or less empty of Arab/Muslim inhabitants in 1947/8, Hamas (or their precursors) would have still called for a jihad. Jews are not the only people to be hated by this fanatical group.
Hamas has also carried out various hate-driven campaigns against Christians, Bahais and secular Muslims. So let me finish with a list which will hopefully also work as a warning:
i) Hamas has brutalised Gaza Christians and ordered them to wear traditional Islamic dress.
ii) Hamas has attacked churches in Gaza.
iii) Hamas terrorists have attacked Gaza’s Latin Church and adjacent Rosary Sisters School, destroying crosses, bibles, pictures of Jesus and furniture and equipment.
iv) Church leaders have been ordered by Hamas to promote Islam.
v) Hundreds of Arab Christians have fled from Hamas-ruled Gaza.
vi) Hamas operates ‘vice squads’ which murder unmarried Muslims who meet together.
vii) Hamas tortures and kills homosexuals.
viii) Other victims of Hamas vice squads are knee-capped, often for visiting internet cafes and music stores. Hamas attempts what it calls a ‘re-education’ of these victims of its rule.