Hamas apologists often argue that, since it won one election eight years ago, it is really a legitimate political movement and not a terrorist organization.
Hamas does engage in politics. And a new report from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shows, it is skilled in the political art of deception.
In its social media posts, Hamas offers starkly different messages in English compared to Arabic. Writing for English-speaking Westerners, Hamas minimizes the fundamentalist Islamist ideology at the core of its mission. Rather, it emphasizes Palestinian nationalism, as in this example the IDF report cited from Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal: "The Palestinian people are committed to their right to their land, to defend themselves and to lift the siege imposed on Gaza."
Reaching out to Arabic speakers, Hamas routinely invokes the religious commitment used to justify its attacks. The link refers to a hymn with the lyrics, "We, the ones who have pledged allegiance to Muhammad / Will engage in jihad as long as we live."
The Hamas charter, which has been translated into English, invokes Quranic verses to justify the goal of killing Jews and destroying Israel. Its preamble says that, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."
In altering its messages to appeal to Arabic and English audiences, Hamas borrows a page from its parent organization, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. As we reported during the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt, the Brotherhood removed a section of its bylaws calling for "establishing the Islamic State" from its English-language website.
When Osama bin Laden was killed by a U.S. Navy SEAL team, the Brotherhood's English reaction was to acknowledge "one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world has been removed." In Arabic, however, the mass-murdering al-Qaida founder was described as both a sheikh and as a martyr, both terms of honor, and the American raid was described as an assassination.
Hamas now publicly admits that it used civilian areas to launch rockets at Israel during the summer war, according to a Times of Israel report.
But in admitting that "mistakes" were made, the terrorist organization claims that it had no choice but to fire from urban areas since Gaza is so densely populated. A BBC map of the Gaza Strip demonstrates that there are open areas in which Hamas could have set up their operations to avoid innocent casualties.
According to Hamas, it is not about whether the terrorists fired from residential areas, but rather exactly how close they were to civilian structures.
"The Israelis kept saying rockets were fired from schools or hospitals when, in fact, they were fired from 200-300 meters [220-328 yards] away. Still there were some mistakes made and they were quickly dealt with," senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad told the Associated Press.
That claim is demonstrably false. An Indian television crew showed a rocket launching site adjacent to their hotel. A French television crew showed rockets being fired near a United Nations building. The Israel Defense Forces produced ample evidence throughout the conflict, including a Hamas training manual, showing that civilian buildings – including mosques, schools, hospitals, and private homes – were deliberately chosen as locations for rocket launch pads, weapons storage and to serve as operating bases.
Israel is now compiling evidence of Hamas' use of human shields to prepare for an impending United Nations investigation into possible war crimes on either side. Most of the evidence will come from Israeli intelligence and Air Force footage, especially since journalists in Gaza were prevented from reporting Hamas' conversion of civilian structures into military bases of operations. In fact, there are numerous documented cases of journalists being detained, interrogated, and even exiled for suspicion of filming Hamas' exploitation of human shields. Yet some journalists were able to report of this blatant violation of international law. In one instance, video footage sent out by the Associated Press showed a rocket launched from a lot next to a mosque in Gaza City.
Meanwhile, Gaza may lose out on possible foreign investment for reconstruction if Hamas remains in power.
"As long as Hamas insists on controlling the Gaza Strip and continues to prevent the PA and the national unity government from exercising their duties, there will be neither funds nor investment," Ali Ibrahim, Saudi Arabian-affiliated Asharq al-Awsat's deputy editor in chief wrote in an op-ed Wednesday, the Jerusalem Post reports.
تعرضت مزاعم الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما يوم أمس الأربعاء حول عدم إسلامية الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام إلى الكثير من الإنتقادات ومن دوائر عدة
فقد كتب المفكر الأمريكي دانيال بابيس مقالة في الناشيونال ريفيو متهما أوباما ومن سبقه من رؤوساء بإعطاء تصرحيات مشابهة وغير معقولة" من البديهي القول، انهم كسياسيين غير مسلمين، وليسوا ايضاً من العلماء في الدين، هم ليسوا في منصب يتيح لهم تحديد ماهو إسلامي وماهو غير إسلامي" كتب بايبس في الناشيونال ريفيو.
أما سام هاريس، وهو كاتب لاديني، ينتقد جميع الأديان ذهب إلى أبعد من ذلك عبر رفضه لماقاله أوباما واصفاً اياه ب" الخداع والهلوسة" وقد أضاف هاريس في مقاله" ماهو الشي الذي سنحققه أولاً، السيارات الطائرة، وقضاء الإجازات في كوكب المريخ، ام اليقين البسيط بأن المعتقدات الدينية تقود سلوك الأفراد، وأن بعض الأفكار الدينية مثل الجهاد، الشهادة، التجديف، و الردة، لعبت دورا أساسيا في توليد الإضطهاد والإجرام" كما كتب هاريس في مقاله" قد يكون من الصحة في مكان ان نقول بأنه لايوجد دين يطلب من أتباعه ان يقوموا بإرتكاب المجازر بحق الأبرياء، ولكن اليس مصطلح البراءة وكما يعرف الرئيس، مرتبط بحسب ذهنية قائله، فهل يعتبر المرتدين عن الدين أبرياء، وماذا عن المجدفين، والوثنيين؟ الجواب موجود في الأسلام والإسلام يجيب دائما بالنفي
بكلتا الأحوال إنما قاله أوباما هو تكرار لتصريحات اطلقها قادة الجالية المسلمة في أمريكا، وذلك خلال مؤتمر صحافي عقدته قيادات الجالية، في صباح يوم الأربعاء. محمد مجيد، الرئيس السابق لمنظمة المجتمع الإسلامي في شمال أمريكي المعروفة بإسنا، وعضو المجلس الإستشاري لوكالة الأمن القومي أخبر الصحافيين خلال المؤتمر" ليس لكل مانراه علاقة بأسس وتعاليم الإسلام"
وقد أشار هارس إلا أن القران يحتوي على عدد من المقاطع والأيات التي تحض على الجهاد العنفي، وتقوم بالتحريض على كره غير المؤمنين. بدوره تساءل روبيرت سبينسر عن سبب استقطاب تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام لكل الراغبين لأن يكون جهاديين أن لم تكن الدولة بأساسها إسلامي.
يعود هاريس لإنتقاد تصريحات أوباما قائلاً" بدلاً من الاعتراف بهذه الأيات( التي تحرض على العنف) والعمل على تبني تطبيقات حداثوية لها، عمل الرئيس على التصرف وكأنها غير موجودة وذلك من خلال خطابه التي تم بثه عبر كل شبكات التلفزة الأمريكية القومية" وقد لام هاريس في هذا ما سماه" صناعة ضخمة تهدف إلى التشويش على المسلمين لمنعهم من الأعتراف والتعامل مع هذه الحقائق" ولقد رأينا هذا بأم أعيننا خلال مؤتمر يوم الأربعاء الذي انعقد في نادي الصحافيين
يضيف بايب انه من الصعب ان يتم تسويق هذن الأفكار التبريرية، خاصة وان الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام ترتكز على خطابات وتبريرات دينية لشرعنة ما ترتكبه من فظائع وتوحش
" أي شخص يمتلك عيون واذان، يدرك بأن الدولة الإسلامية، هي كما طالبان والقاعدة، هي إسلامية مائة بالمائة، وغالبية الغربيين كما كشف إستطلاع رأي أوربي، يمتلكون العيون والأذان، ومع الوقت، هم وبإزدياد وبشكل بديهي يؤمنون بإن الدولة الإسلامية هي إسلامية وبشكل مطلق
President Obama's assertion Wednesday night that the Islamic State terrorist group "is not 'Islamic'" is drawing derision from a number of quarters.
The claim, also made by Obama's predecessors, is "preposterous," Daniel Pipes wrote for the National Review Online. "To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not."
Author Sam Harris, an atheist who challenges all religions, went further, dismissing Obama's argument as a "scrim of pretense and delusion."
"Which will come first, flying cars and vacations to Mars, or a simple acknowledgment that beliefs guide behavior and that certain religious ideas—jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy—reliably lead to oppression and murder?" Harris wondered in an essay. "It may be true that no faith teaches people to massacre innocents exactly—but innocence, as the President surely knows, is in the eye of the beholder. Are apostates 'innocent'? Blasphemers? Polytheists? Islam has the answer, and the answer is 'no.'"
But Obama's argument echoes statements made by Muslim American leaders during a news conference Wednesday morning. "All of this is against the foundation and teaching of Islam," former Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Mohamed Magid told reporters. He also is a member of the president's Homeland Security Advisory Council.
The Quran includes numerous passages encouraging violent jihad and inspiring hatred of non-believers, Harris notes. Robert Spencer offers specific examples here, and asks why the Islamic State has become such a magnet for wannabe jihadists if it was not seen as inherently Islamic.
But instead of acknowledging those verses and debating their modern application, the president used a nationally televised speech to act as if they do not exist. Harris blames "a large industry of obfuscation designed to protect Muslims from having to grapple with these truths."
We saw that in action during Wednesday's news conference at the National Press Club.
It's a difficult sell, Pipes concludes, because of the clear theological statements and justifications Islamic State terrorists invoke for their brutality."Anyone with eyes and ears realizes that the Islamic State, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda before it, is 100 percent Islamic. And most Westerners, as indicated by detailed polling in Europe, do have eyes and ears. Over time, they are increasingly relying on common sense to conclude that the group is indeed profoundly Islamic."
A Colorado teen pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The conspiracy started earlier this year when 19-year-old Shannon Conley of Arvada, Col. met an ISIS member on the Internet, who identified himself as Yousr Mouelhi.
In their communications, Conley and Mouelhi "shared their view of Islam as requiring participation in violent jihad," the plea agreement said. The two later decided to get engaged and worked with other unnamed co-conspirators to arrange for Conley to travel to Syria to be with Mouelhi.
According to the plea agreement, Conley was fully aware that ISIS was a designated terrorist organization. She joined the U.S. Army Explorers (USAE) to learn military tactics and firearms use in hopes of fighting for ISIS forces in the future. FBI agents met with Conley several times to persuade her to not travel overseas to wage violent jihad, but she would not give up her jihadi ambitions. In March, Mouelhi and other conspirators helped Conley buy an airline ticket to travel to Turkey. She was arrested April 8 at Denver International Airport while trying to board her flight.
A search of Conley's home revealed jihadi materials that included DVDs of lectures by now-deceased American-born Yemeni al-Qaida cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as "a number of books and articles about Al-Qaeda, its affiliate groups, and jihad." Agents also found "shooting targets labeled with the number of rounds fired and distances."
Conley faces up to to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Conley's admission of her support for ISIS comes in the wake of the recent killings of Americans fighting for jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq.
Georgetown University Professor John Esposito is one of six Middle East Studies directors at American universities to embrace an academic boycott of Israel, according to a Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch report. The letter first was reported by Campus Watch last week.
The six directors signed a public letter vowing "not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions," a move that ArabianBusiness.com says could conflict with promises the directors made for federal funds.
As heads of U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers, Esposito and the other directors assured that they will "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education and other organizations that may contribute to the teaching and research of the Center."
But the move is quite consistent for Esposito, who, as the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has documented, has long supported the Muslim Brotherhood and its front groups in the United States. His Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University was staked with $20 million from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal in 2005.
Esposito served as an expert defense witness in the Hamas-financing prosecution against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation and five of its former officials. He describes Sami Al-Arian, a man documented as a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's governing board, as "a proud, dedicated and committed American ... a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice."
Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are committed to Israel's destruction.
Esposito has repeatedly defended terrorist organizations Hamas and Hizballah. In a 2000 interview in the Middle East Affairs Journal, Esposito was asked if they were terrorist organizations. "One can't make a clear statement about Hamas," he said… Some actions by the military wing of Hamas can be seen as acts of resistance, but other actions are acts of retaliation particularly when they target civilians."
In the same interview, Esposito defended Hizballah for operating "within the Lebanese political system functioning as a major player in parliament. But when it comes to the south it has been primarily a resistance movement…"
Internal documents admitted into evidence during the Holy Land prosecution show that the Middle East Affairs Journal and its publisher, the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), were part of a Hamas-support network in the United States. The UASR was created by Hamas deputy political director Mousa Abu Marzook. A 1995 edition listed Esposito among the journal's Board of Advisory Editors. At the time, Marzook was in a New York jail, arrested and identified as a leader of Hamas in court papers.
One 1991 document described the UASR as "the official organization which represents the media and cultural aspect to support the cause." A second document, a 1989-90 annual report, made clear that the cause included supporting "the emerging movement, the Hamas Movement."
For more on Esposito, click here.
Ruthless violence from the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) is dividing people in the Muslim world, two recent clips from Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) show.
In Jordan, politician Muhammad Bayoudh Al-Tamimi, a Palestinian, vigorously defended the group during a television appearance posted online Aug. 31. Islamic State ideology "stems from the Quran and the Sunna," he said, according to MEMRI's translation.
"The Quran and the Sunna constitute their ideology, doctrine, and conduct…there is no such thing as 'ISIS ideology' – its Islam."
It has divided the world into two camps – those who stand with the West, including the United States – and those who stand with ISIS. A recent ISIS slaughter of Syrian troops was justified, Al-Tamimi said, because, "They had killed tens of thousands of Muslims… If these Muslims are terrorists – I salute those terrorists! I salute the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria! Blessed be your hands! March on!"
For Saudi Arabia, however, news that a 25-year-old Saudi doctor, Faisal bin Shaman Al-'Anzi, carried out a suicide car-bomb attack for ISIS in northern Iraq in July, killing and injuring approximately 30 people, sent shockwaves through the country's press, a separate MEMRI report shows.
Columnists questioned how someone tasked with saving lives could join a terrorist group like ISIS. Some also emphasized that the roots of the radicalization are based in the institutions of Saudi society, including the education system. Some even suggested re-evaluating the overall ideological origins of the Saudi state.
For instance, liberal Saudi columnist Halima Muzaffa called for reform of the Saudi education system and social institutions, in an article in the daily Al-Watan.
"The phenomenon [of joining ISIS] doubtlessly indicates that our education [system] is unable to improve [the students'] awareness, which means that we must reassess [the issue of] increasing the level of their awareness. However, the responsibility for this does not lie solely with the education [system], but with all the social institutions that are party to shaping [people's] awareness. Therefore, we must rebuild the ideological-moral system in all the institutions, on the religious, educational, medical and media levels," writes Muzaffa.
In the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, columnist Mishari Al-Zaidi compared Al-'Anzi to other doctors in history who participated in brutal activities, such as Nazi doctor Aribert Heim and Serbian doctor Radovan Karadzic. He noted that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also is a doctor.
The ISIS ideology is "a malady that kills off the conscience and emotions," Al-Zaidi writes. He called on Saudi education and health professionals "to open their eyes and wake up in order to notice any sign, even the most minute, of any civil servant's [attraction to the ideas of] ISIS -- which could become a cup of poison that will end up causing bitterness and death. This epidemic means that [we must declare] a state of emergency -- from the home through the office to the street."
Al-Shabaab, al-Qaida's Somali affiliate, wants Muslims from Minnesota to sign up. A new video released last week by the terrorist group's media arm, the Al-Kataib Foundation, urges Minnesotans along with jihadists from Great Britain, Germany and other non-Muslim nations to join its jihad.
Four Somali fighters appear in the video with their faces digitally obscured sitting while sitting with their AK-47s.
"Those that are living in the U.S., especially Minnesota, Great Britain, Germany and many parts of the kuffar (unbelieving) world, you have a decision to make today," one of the fighters says in slightly accented English.
Al-Shabaab already attracted numerous foreign Muslims from abroad to its ranks, including British-born Samantha Lewthwaite, aka the "White Widow," and Omar Shafik Hammami (AKA Abu Mansour al-Amriki), an American-born jihadist. Hammami, an Alabama native and Muslim convert, served as a leading propagandist for the group before being killed in September 2013.
Several Americans died fighting for the terrorist group – including one as a suicide bomber.
"If you choose to not make this decision and not answer the call of Allah, note that there is a clear evidence against you on the day of judgment in the court of Allah," the man in the video said. "For what are you still living in Dar al-kuffar [Land of disbelief] for? Is it the schools, the jobs and the settlements you have? Know that this world is only temporary and the hereafter is eternal.
"So save your souls from the great punishment of Allah … and make Hijrah," he continues. "Come join us."
In a direct verbal attack against the United States, the masked man reminds Americans of the defeat they suffered in Mogadishu in 1993 when the bodies of their soldiers were dragged through the streets.
He also celebrates last year's attack against the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya that left 67 people dead. U.S. forces launched a drone attack against Al-Shabaab Tuesday in an effort to kill the Ahmed Abdi Godane, the group's leader widely believed to have been behind the mall attack.
"Know that our war against you is not based on geographical borders or securing tiny strips of land, but between truth and falsehood" the masked man said. "You should know that this war will continue until the last drop of your blood is spilled."
The Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala published a report recently outlining the various units and capabilities of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades,' Hamas' military wing, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) . Portions of the report, translated by MEMRI, state that the Brigades, totalling approximately 30,000 terrorists, consists of six regiments, with roughly 5,000 fighters in each and encompassing five battalions.
The Infantry Unit is the largest contingent, comprising approximately 85% of the entire Al-Qassam Brigades. Tasked with maintaining internal stability and attacking Israeli soldiers head-on, the Infantry Unit boasts several types of advanced weapons, including Kalashnikov 74, M-16 rifles, and a quarter of a million locally manufactured hand grenades.
The Special Unit is responsible for carrying out infiltration attacks in Israel and striking Israeli military bases. Its fighters represent the elite of the al-Qassam Brigades, possessing advanced and sophisticated weaponry, including sniper rifles, explosive charges and night vision binoculars. Moreover, the Engineering Unit is tasked with tunnel excavations, constructing a vast underground network featuring tunnels dozens of kilometers long utilized for weapons storage, and for transferring supplies. Attack tunnels are also exploited for infiltrating and facilitating attacks within Israel.
According to the report, the Air Defense Unit was created less than seven years ago and possesses advanced shoulder-fired SA-7, SA-18, and SA-24 anti-aircraft missiles that are capable of shooting down airplanes. This unit also has British Javelin missiles with a range of 5.5 kilometres, threatening Israeli military jets and civilian aviation.
The Artillery Unit is tasked with manufacturing and launching missiles into Israeli civilian population centers, including multiple versions of the Qassam and Katusha rockets. This unit also possesses advanced Russian Grad rockets and locally manufactured M-75 rockets that hit Tel Aviv. Moreover, the Artillery Unit is in charge of firing mortars into Israel; it inflicted casualties in the latest conflict.
Other units include Hamas' Military Intelligence Unit, tasked with monitoring suspects and executing accused spies for Israel. During the war, Hamas summarily executed over 20 alleged collaborators, some of whom were shot in the streets in front of public onlookers.
While the current cease-fire appears to be holding, Hamas prepares for the next round of fighting and continues to manufacture rockets intended to target Israeli civilians.
Al-Hayat Media, an important part of the Islamic State's propaganda machine, released the third issue of its English-language jihadist publication Dabiq Friday. It released its first two editions of the magazine written in the style of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine earlier in August.
A recent article in the New Republic compared the first two editions of Dabiq with Inspire, saying the new magazine provided a more "comprehensive attempt to recruit westerners" than its Al-Qaida predecessor.
The cover, "A Call to Hijrah," recalls the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Medina and reads like a glossy recruiting guide.
It sets up the United States as the boogeyman all Muslims must fight because Americans killed thousands of Muslims during their occupation of Iraq, calling their deaths "collateral damage."
Dabiq gloats over James Foley's beheading, calling it "a cooling balm for the believers' hearts" that served "as a retribution for the recent American aggression against the Muslims of Iraq."
It claims that the Obama administration was "dragging its feet" its feet for nine months trying to save Foley's life and those of other American and British hostages held in the Islamic State's dungeons. In the new issue, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) again raises the administration's refusal to release Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence for attempting to murder Americans in Afghanistan and plotting 'mass-casualty' attacks in New York.
Obama acts "more foolishly" than Bush on matters of foreign policy in the Middle East, the magazine says, and calls him an "apostate."
The magazine also provides religious justification for Muslims living in the West to leave their countries and join the fight, depicting a Muslim society free from nationalism and where they can live in full accord with Islamic law and morality. It also uses guilt against Muslims who refuse to follow the Islamic State.
"So abandoning hijrah (migration to the Islamic State) – the path to jihad – is a dangerous matter. In effect, one is thereby deserting jihad and willingly becoming a hypocritical spectator," the magazine said, criticizing Muslims in the West who live like their non-Muslim neighbors. "… [N]ow there is a Khalifah (Caliphate) prepared to accept every Muslim and Muslimah into lands and all it can within its power to protect them alone."
The "life of jihad" it says is only possible if Muslims move to the Islamic State's caliphate."