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Prominent Salafi-Jihadi Scholar Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi: ´We and Hamas Share Neither Ideology Nor Doctrine´ (MEMRI) MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE) Special Dispatch - No. 2482 08/11/09)Source: http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD248209 MEMRI} MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE MEMRI} MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
In a June 9, 2009 interview on Al-Jazeera TV, Al- Qaeda commander in Afghanistan Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid stated that Hamas and Al-Qaeda "share the same ideology and the same doctrine." [1] This statement is very different senior Al-Qaeda leaders’ usual statements about Hamas; these tend to be critical, particularly since Hamas´ participation in the Palestinian general elections, and even more so since its 2007 takeover of Gaza, which, to Al-Qaeda´s chagrin, was not followed by the enforcement of Islamic law there. [2] Because it comes from a prominent Al-Qaeda commander, this statement may reflect a decision by Al-Qaeda to take a less confrontational approach towards Hamas, for reasons which are not yet clear. This assumption is reinforced by the August 3, 2009 message by Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, in which he harshly criticized Fatah but took a relatively favorable tone towards Hamas. [3]

Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid´s conciliatory tone towards Hamas evoked harsh criticism among members of Islamist forums, as well as a response from prominent Salafi-jihadi scholar Abu Muhammad Al- Maqdisi, who said decisively: "We [i.e. the Salafi-jihadis] and Hamas share neither ideology nor doctrine." In a June 22, 2009 article, Al-Maqdisi reviewed Hamas statements and policies, and pointed out the discrepancies between the underlying ideology of Hamas and that of the Salafi-jihadis." [4]

Following are excerpts from Al-Maqdisi´s article:

Al-Maqdisi Explains: No One Should Interpret Our Words as Challenging Sheikh Abu Al-Yazid´s Authority

To avoid any appearance of challenging Abu Al-Yazid´s authority or legitimacy, Al-Maqdisi begins his article with a disclaimer, saying: "Abu Al-Yazid... may have had justification or a reason [for saying what he said]... of which we are unaware. Alternatively, [in saying that Hamas and Al-Qaeda share the same ideology and doctrine], he may have been referring to those devout members of ´Izz Al-Din Al- Qassam [Hamas´s military wing] who have renounced [those aspects of Hamas´s ideology that] deviate [from the true Salafi doctrine], but who [nevertheless] remain under its banner for various reasons. These [members] should join the pure banner of tawhid... In any event, this [article] is not directed against Abu Al-Yazid, and therefore no one should interpret our words as challenging the sheikh´s authority..."

Having said this, Al-Maqdisi goes on to present Hamas statements and policies which, in his view, demonstrate that it has deviated from the right path and has adopted notions and norms contravening Islamic law.

Hamas Says It Won´t Force the Palestinians to Adopt Shari´a

First, Al-Maqdisi presents evidence that Hamas is more committed to democracy and to respecting the people´s will than to rendering the word of Allah supreme, which is the ultimate goal of the Salafi- jihadists. He writes: "Hamas [official] ´Aziz Dweik, chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council, [has] said: ´The new Palestinian government, led by Hamas, will not force the Palestinians to adopt the principles of Islamic Shari´a in their daily lives. It will take no steps to close down [theaters], or restaurants serving alcoholic beverages. No one in Hamas intends to implement Shari´a by force. This is not part of our [political] program, and we will not attempt to carry it out...

"´I say to you clearly that I depend on the Palestinian people, because as chairman of its Legislative Council, I am considered its representative. I will leave it to the nation to make its [own] choices... Our nation´s decision is the ultimate [judgment] on which we rely. The nation will decide what it wants and reject what it does not want. According to all international norms, and [according to] the principles of democracy, this is the nation´s prerogative...´"

Hamas Acknowledges Its Commitment to the Manmade Constitution and Legal Code

"Hamas official spokesman Fawzi Barhoum stated in an interview… ´Hamas safeguards the constitution, the [Palestinian] legal code, and [the principle of] democracy... and is not [guided by] the whim of this [or that ideological] stream within Fatah, or by U.S. dictates...´

"Moussa Abu Marzouq... said [in a similar vein]: ´Hamas is a national liberation movement... We stress that the Gaza Strip is governed according to the [Palestinian] Basic Law. We do not deny the legitimacy of President Mahmoud ´Abbas, but we assert that there are additional [sources] of legitimacy [in Gaza]..."

Hamas Declares It Doesn´t Seek to Establish an Islamic State

"Hamas representative in the Palestinian Legislative Council Hamed Al-Baitawi stated in a 2006 interview: ´People´s fear of [Hamas´s] reactionary [views], the enforcement of the hijab, and the curtailing of freedoms such as women´s freedom, is baseless. We are not some youth group, nor a mob movement; we have a long history within the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is known for its moderate thinking...

"´We will not implement the Shari´a. We will do our utmost to follow the principles of Islam in [the sphere of] government, [but not by interfering in people´s private lives]... At present, Hamas is not even thinking about establishing an Islamic state or implementing the Shari´a.´"

Hamas Officials Cooperate with Christians

Finally, Al-Maqdisi points out that Hamas was willing to cooperate with Christians in the Bethlehem municipal elections, which he characterizes as a violation of al-wala´ wal-bara i´ (the fundamental Salafi-jihadi doctrine which requires Muslims to associate only with Muslims, and moreover, only with Muslims who are committed to the strict Salafi notion of tawhid).

Al-Maqdisi writes: "In a [2004] statement, Hamas representative in Bethlehem Sheikh Hassan Al-Wardian said... that his movement had ´unique historical ties with Christian brothers in Bethlehem´... He added: ´We participate in our Christian brothers´ activities… and [they participate] in ours. Moreover, we [joined forces] in serving Bethlehem, especially during the [municipal] elections. Hamas members... voted for Christian candidates... and Christians voted for Hamas members. [In this manner,] both parties succeeded in [obtaining seats] in the Municipal Council [in an atmosphere of] generosity, friendship, unity, and harmony."

[1] For a report on the interview, see MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM), "Senior Al-Qaeda Commander: Victory in Afghanistan This Year," June 9, 2009, http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_person al.htm?id=1280&param=GJN.

[2] On Al-Qaeda´s criticism of Hamas, see MEMRI JTTM, "Hamas: Between Liberating Palestine and Restoring the Global Islamic Caliphate," December 27, 2007, http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report .htm?report=2489&param=IDTA.

[3] See MEMRI JTTM, "Ayman Al-Zawahiri: Obama Is Selling an Illusion; France Will Pay the Price for Its Hatred of Islam," August 4, 2009, http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_person al.htm?id=1661&param=APT.

[4] http://shamikh.net/vb/showthread.php?t=41508

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