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Hamas Not Radical Muslim Enough For Some

From those keepers of the faith at Reuters:

Qaeda groups active in Gaza after year under Hamas

Tue Jun 10, 2008

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) – Abu Hafss is not happy.

A year after Hamas Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip, Abu Hafss is waiting impatiently to see a sword remove the hand of a thief or a woman stoned to death for adultery.

“Hamas does not implement the rule of God,” the Palestinian ally of al Qaeda said. “We have seen no one have his hand cut off for stealing. We have seen no one stoned as an adulterer.”

Yet for all Abu Hafss’ disappointment with the approach Hamas has adopted since it routed secular rivals in Gaza a year ago, some analysts believe smaller, more radical groups like Abu Hafss’ secretive Jaysh al-Ummah (Army of the Nation) have benefited from the Hamas takeover to expand their membership.

Despite an official Hamas policy of respecting the rights of Gaza’s small Christian minority, there has been an increase in attacks on Christians in the past year, apparently by Islamists not content with the extent of Hamas’s “Islamisation” of Gaza.

Among the outward signs of that have been a proliferation of beards on men and headscarves on some women, along with the virtual disappearance of alcohol and a ban on pornographic websites — though Hamas officials reject accusations that they are embarked on a program to impose Islamic law on daily life.

If Gazans are more observant of Islamic practice — and not all in the enclave agree that this so — that is the result of persuasion, Hamas says.

“It does not happen by force but through growing public awareness,” said spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Yet Israel, Egypt and others are concerned that Gaza under Hamas’s isolated control may become a haven for al Qaeda-allied groups, such as the Army of Islam, a clan-based group which last year held a British journalist hostage in Gaza for four months…

Hamas and Islamic Jihad control the majority of mosques in Gaza and both groups restrict the activity of other extremist factions who tend to meet at smaller mosques or in homes where they preach their fanatic brand of Islam.

Market stalls do brisk business in selling recordings of speeches of al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri and the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as well as videos of beheadings of U.S. and foreign soldiers and personnel in Iraq.

In an environment where a tightened Israeli blockade against Hamas has increased hardships for people in the enclave, more radical forms of Islam appear to some analysts to be exercising a growing influence over some Palestinians.

A Gaza political analyst, who spoke anonymously for fear of retribution, said Hamas’s influence on fostering more Islamic social behavior in Gaza had been mixed. He argued that the fact Hamas had taken control but then did not impose more severe Islamic ways may have boosted those groups which favored that.

“Hamas is keen not to be seen as an Islamic state, so they’ve refrained from passing laws or forcing people to follow what they believe. They have not taken action to Islamise the community. But allowing extremist thinking to breed armed cells is much more dangerous,” the analyst said…

“Even when the rule of Jews ends in Palestine … we must continue to bring people to Islam,” Aby Hafss said, adding other nations must accept Muslim overlordship.”

“They can be asked to chose, either convert to Islam, or pay the Jizya…Either that, or the sword,” he added. Jizya is a tax paid by non-Muslims under an Islamic regime

It remains hard to gauge the influence of such radical ideas among a Palestinian population in Gaza whose brand of Islam has long been of a more tolerant variety than that further east in the Arab world

Thank Allah Reuters knows the root cause of all of the problems:

[A] tightened Israeli blockade against Hamas has increased hardships for people in the enclave, more radical forms of Islam appear to some analysts to be exercising a growing influence over some Palestinians.

Of course this is soon contradicted:

“Even when the rule of Jews ends in Palestine … we must continue to bring people to Islam,” Aby Hafss said, adding other nations must accept Muslim overlordship.”

“They can be asked to chose, either convert to Islam, or pay the Jizya…Either that, or the sword,” he added. Jizya is a tax paid by non-Muslims under an Islamic regime.

But obviously that is just bluff talk that nobody really means.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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