As reported by the New York Post’s Tom Topoussis on June 19, 2010, Imam Feisal Rauf repeatedly declined to acknowledge, unequivocally, that Hamas is a terrorist organization, despite its formal designation as such by the US State Department, in these words:
Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets
Asked by WABC radio interviewer Aaron Klein whether he agreed with the State Department’s assessment, Imam Rauf stated, “Look, I’m not a politician. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.” When Klein persisted, asking Rauf again for his view on Hamas, the imam, now exasperated, still refused to agree openly with the State Department’s apt designation.
I contend that Rauf’s repeated refusal to acknowledge that Hamas is indeed a terrorist organization–jihad terror being Hamas’ specific abiding ideology–is entirely consistent with his own documented lionization of well-known fundamentalist Muslim jurists such as Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328), and the founder of modern Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab (d. 1792). Moreover, Rauf praises the contemporary cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi–Spiritual Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, immensely popular Al-Jazeera television savant on the Sharia, and in whose name the government of Qatar recently created the Al-Qaradawi Centre for Islamic Moderation–as “…probably the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.” But perhaps most importantly, Rauf’s continued close association with, and nurturing by former Malaysian Prime Minister c also comports with the imam’s adamant refusal to acknowledge Hamas’ ethos of jihad terror.
Sheikh Qaradawi, during one of his widely viewed Qatar TV sermons, February 25, 2006, stated,
All the school of Islamic jurisprudence–the Sunni, the Shiite…and all the ancient and modern schools of jurisprudence–agree that any invader, who occupies even an inch of land of the Muslims, must face resistance. The Muslims of that country must carry out the resistance, and the rest of the Muslims must help them. If the people of that country are incapable or reluctant, we must fight to defend the land of Islam, even if the local [Muslims] give it up.
They must not allow anyone to take a single piece of land away from Islam. That is what we are fighting the Jews for. We are fighting them… Our religion commands us… We are fighting in the name of religion, in the name of Islam, which makes this Jihad an individual duty, in which the entire nation takes part, and whoever is killed in this [Jihad] is a martyr. This is why I ruled that martyrdom operations are permitted, because he commits martyrdom for the sake of Allah, and sacrifices his soul for the sake of Allah.We do not disassociate Islam from the war. On the contrary, disassociating Islam from the war is the reason for our defeat. We are fighting in the name of Islam.
And Mahathir Muhammad, Rauf’s Malaysian mentor opined the following at the 2003 Putrajaya Islamic Summit:
To begin with, the governments of all the Muslim countries can close ranks and have a common stand…on Palestine… We need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships… We may want to recreate the first century of the Hijrah, the way of life in those times, in order to practice what we think to be the true Islamic way of life 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counter-attack. As Muslims, we must seek guidance from the Al-Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Surely the 23 years’ struggle of the Prophet can provide us with some guidance as to what we can and should do
Pace Imam Rauf’s steadfast refusal to affirm this truth, Hamas’ spokespersons, ideologues, and most significantly its clearly articulated ideology in the foundational 1988 Hamas Covenant, Hamas is an unabashed Muslim terrorist organization. The Hamas belief system is a toxic amalgam of, primarily, conspiratorial Islamic Jew-hatred, and jihadism, “updated” with Antisemitic European motifs from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Hamas cleric Wael Al-Zarad during a television program which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on February 28, 2008 explained that the Muslims’ blood vengeance against the Jews, “…will only subside with their [the Jews] annihilation, Allah willing, because they tried to kill our Prophet several times.” These allegations are part of a central antisemitic motif in the Koran which decrees an eternal curse upon the Jews (Koran 2:61/ reiterated at 3:112) for slaying the prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah.
And Koran 3:112 is featured before the pre-amble to Hamas’ foundational Covenant-it is literally part of the very first statement of the document. [Here is the Arberry translation of 3:112: “Abasement shall be pitched on them, wherever they are come upon, except they be in a bond of God, and a bond of the people; they will be laden with the burden of God’s anger, and poverty shall be pitched on them; that, because they disbelieved in God’s signs, and slew the Prophets without right; that, for that they acted rebelliously and were transgressors.”]
In classical and modern Koranic exegeses by seminal, authoritative Islamic theologians (for details, see here) this central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes, (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been “…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” (5:78). The Muslim prophet Muhammad himself repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadith (Sunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322), “He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ‘…curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary.'”
Salah al-Khalidi (fl. late 20th century) makes plain how these motifs of Koranic Jew-hatred are interpreted by Hamas in a manner that is entirely consistent with classical exegeses. Extracts (translated from the original Arabic by Dr. Michael Schub in my The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism) are provided below from Khalidi’s major work Haqa’iq Koraniyya al Qadiyya al-Filastinniya [“Koranic Facts Regarding the Palestinian Issue”] which was first published in 1991 by the Hamas Publishing House Manshūrāt Filastin al-Muslima, and translated into Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, Russian, and English (formerly available online at www.assabeel.com) due to its international popularity.
Humiliation is attached to the Jews for their entire lifetime: they were humiliated in Egypt, and when they arrived in [sic] Palestine, and when they were exiled from Palestine, and when they dispersed into the valleys of the earth. What concerns us here-in our discussion of the Jewish character-is to indicate that this humiliation is to be considered as an inveterate Jewish character trait, and a destructive Jewish perversion. Humiliation is one of their historical attributes, a fixed fact of their existence, and a qaa`ida, basis of their life… (Koran 2:61) The Jews are humiliated because they disbelieved in God, killed His prophets, disobeyed His emissaries, transgressed His prohibitions-all of this is humiliation. They are humiliated-and this is why they search out lustful indulgences, and have become their slaves. All of this is humiliation.
It is impossible that the Jews could not be cursed. How could they not be accursed when they are attributed with such degenerate inveterate character traits, twenty of which we have demonstrated above. (Note: Khalidi earlier states, ‘We have extracted from Koran twenty Jewish traits. The Jews are: liars, perverters (of the Text), envious, tricky, fickle, mercurial, sardonic, treacherous, in error, causing others to be in error, merchants, fools, humiliated, dastards, misers, avid for (this) life, disloyal to their firm contracts, rush into sinful aggression, concealers of true evidence, corrupters in the earth, and obstructors in God’s path.’ For specific Koranic citations confirming his litany see here). They are worthy of eternal curse because of the villainous traits they display and the corrupt evils they have perpetrated.
The Jews are in a condition of mal`ana, i.e. everyone pours out curses on them; God has cursed them, the angels have cursed them, their prophets have cursed them, the good people among them have cursed them, and everyone has cursed them. They are deserving of this eternal and continual damnation until the day of resurrection when they will encounter God’s wrath, fury, and punishment. They were accordingly exiled from God’s mercy, and kept afar from His goodness.
Many Koranic verses were revealed emphasizing…the judgment upon them of cursed damnation, and exile from His mercy, e.g. Koran 5:13: “For breaking their covenant, We curse them, and have made their hearts hard.” And Koran 5:60…And Koran 5:64…And Koran 5:78…
The recent annihilationist sentiments regarding Jews, as expressed by Hamas cleric al-Zarad, are also rooted in Islamic eschatology [end of times theology], and incorporated permanently into the foundational 1988 Hamas Covenant. As characterized in the hadith (the words, deeds, and even unspoken gestures of Muhammad as ostensibly recorded by his earliest pious Muslim companions), Muslim eschatology highlights the Jews’ supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl — the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ — or according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered- everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree, as per the canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) included in the 1988 Hamas Covenant (in article 7). This hadith is cited in the Covenant as a sacralized, obligatory call for a Muslim genocide of the Jews:
…the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985)
Historian David Littman cited an April 12, 2002, Friday sermon delivered by the Palestinian Authority’s Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi at the Sheikh Ijlin Mosque in Gaza City, broadcast live on Palestinian Authority television demonstrating how the destruction of Israel’s Jews heralds further Islamic conquests.
Madhi quoted from this hadith — including the curious reference to the “Jewish” Gharqad tree — and then stated: “We believe in this hadith. We are convinced also that this hadith heralds the spread of Islam and its rule over all the lands… ‘from the ocean to the ocean…'”
Article 28, which is free of any eschatological references, targeting all contemporary Jews, before concluding with more focused animus towards the Jews of Israel:
Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people: Israel with its Jewish identity and Jewish people is challenging Islam and the Muslims. May the cowardly know no sleep.
Articles 22 and 32 invoke modern conspiratorial themes reminiscent of European (secular) antisemitic motifs, especially the latter (32), which makes explicit mention of the Czarist Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But even these articles are peppered with Koranic citations, including references in both 22 and 32 to Koran 5:64, a sort of ancient antecedent of The Protocols. (Arberry translation, Koran 5:64: “The Jews have said, ‘God’s hand is fettered.’ Fettered are their hands, and they are cursed for what they have said. Nay, but His hands are outspread; He expends how He will. And what has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will surely increase many of them in insolence and unbelief; and We have cast between them enmity and hatred, till the Day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, God will extinguish it. They hasten about the earth, to do corruption there; and God loves not the workers of corruption.“)
Jihad is the other pillar of Hamas’ foundational Jew-annihilationist ideology featured in the 1988 Covenant. Once again, this is already suggested in the opening statement before the preamble which includes the following quote by Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it.” Hamas, it should be noted, claims to be a wing of the International Muslim Brotherhood. Article 2 of the Hamas Charter, for example, states: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organisation which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times.”
But the body of the Hamas Covenant includes unequivocal statements of Hamas’ irredentist commitment to the annihilation of Israel via jihad. Jihad martyrdom is lauded in article 8 “the Hamas slogan,” (in fact borrowed from the 1928 Charter of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood), which states, “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” Article 13 makes plain that Hamas’ jihadism is completely incompatible with any meaningful Middle East peace settlement:
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that…There is no solution to the Palestinian question except by Jihad. All initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are a waste of time and vain endeavors.
And article 15 (subtitled, “Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is a Personal Duty”) elucidates classical jihadist theory, as well as its practical modern application to the destruction of Israel by jihad:
The day the enemies conquer some part of the Muslim land, jihad becomes a personal duty of every Muslim. In the face of the Jewish occupation of Palestine, it is necessary to raise the banner of jihad. This requires the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses, locally [in Palestine], in the Arab world and in the Islamic world. It is necessary to instill the spirit of jihad in the nation, engage the enemies and join the ranks of the jihad fighters. The indoctrination campaign must involve ulama, educators, teachers and information and media experts, as well as all intellectuals, especially the young people and the sheikhs of Islamic movements…
It is necessary to establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for [Palestine] contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is inseparably connected, for as long as heaven and earth shall endure, to the holy mosque of Mecca through the Prophet’s nocturnal journey [from the mosque of Mecca to the Al-Aqsa mosque] and through his ascension to heaven thence. “Being stationed on the frontier for the sake of Allah for one day is better than this [entire] world and everything in it; and the place taken up in paradise by the [horseman’s] whip of any one of you [jihad fighters] is better than this [entire] world and everything in it. Every evening [operation] and morning [operation] performed by Muslims for the sake of Allah is better than this [entire] world and everything in it.” (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja). “By the name of Him who holds Muhammad’s soul in His hand, I wish to launch an attack for the sake of Allah and be killed and attack again and be killed and attack again and be killed.” (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim)
Unfortunately, Hamas also reflects the triumphalism of contemporary jihadist movements that openly avow their desire to re-establish a Caliphate, and submit the world to Islamic rule-all in accord with classical jihad doctrine, and popular Muslim sentiment. While voluminous additional evidence could be adduced in support of this premise, three particularly salient illustrations are provided below.
Hamas cleric Muhsen Abu ‘Ita was interviewed July 13, 2008 on Al-Aqsa TV. After reminding listeners that the Koran’s opening prayer itself (the Fatiha, at 1:7), which pious Muslims repeat five times daily, declares that the Jews are “those who incur Allah’s wrath,” (re-affirming the standard exegesis, for example, Suyuti’s classical commentary), he declared:
The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine. This will be followed by a greater blessing, Allah be praised, with the establishment of a Caliphate that will rule the land and will be pleasing to men and God.
Three months earlier Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, had made these more elaborate remarks during a speech which aired on Palestinian Al-Aqsa TV April 11, 2008:
Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs [i.e., Jews, Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166, and other foundational Muslim texts] in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs [Rome] will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe. I believe that our children or our grandchildren will inherit our Jihad…
Even the more staid “analysis” of Sheik Yazeeb Khader, identified in a Washington Times report of May 12, 2008 as a Ramallah-based Hamas political analyst, revealed Hamas’ integration with regional pan-Islamic aspirations hardly consistent with mere independent, local nationalisms. Referring to events he believed were set in motion when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah forces, Khader opined,
What happened in Gaza in 2007 is an achievement; now it is happening in 2008 in Lebanon. It’s going to happen in 2009 in Jordan and it’s going to happen in 2010 in Egypt. We are seeing a redrawing of the map of the Middle East where the forces of resistance and steadfastness are the ones moving the things on the ground.
Khader’s remarks underscored the jihadist alliance straddling the so-called Shi’ite-Sunni rift (which is immaterial when juxtaposed to their shared antipathy towards Israel, and the much larger non-Muslim world). Furthermore, as the Washington Times report noted,
The notion of new countries falling under Islamist influence reflects a goal of Hamas’ parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood, of replacing secular Arab regimes with Islamist governments.
All these words, and the concrete actions they engender-via both political means, and jihad terrorism-debunk widely accepted tropes that Hamas is merely a nationalist movement, albeit religious, desiring a “Palestinian homeland” in the territories of Gaza (which it already possesses), Judea, and Samaria. Hamas’ blatantly annihilationist rhetoric towards Jews and Israel within the 1949 armistice borders, indicates that the jihadist organization wishes to replace Israel. Moreover the monotonous rhetoric of Jew hatred espoused by Hamas-which is Islamic, and specifically Koranic, in origin-is seamlessly interwoven with Hamas’ unabashed desire to wage global jihad.
Imam Feisal Rauf abets Hamas’ agenda with his silence–and perhaps tacit consent.