A major Islamic organization has just issued a legal ruling against the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas, saying that its treatment of the millions of Palestinians under its rule goes against the Qur’an and teachings of Muhammad. The ruling came after a series of video clips were made public, containing testimonies from numerous residents of Gaza, who complained of the wretched condition of their lives, which they blamed on Hamas’ corruption and brutal oppression.
A preliminary Jihad Watch report on this is here, and more on this unusual development can be found here: “Islamic Group Issues Fatwa Against Hamas for Oppressing Gazans,” JNS.org, March 13, 2023:
The Iraqi-based Islamic Fatwa Council issued the fatwa, or legal opinion, last Thursday. The non-governmental body of Sunni, Shi’ite and Sufi clerics said that the fatwa was issued in response to testimonies from Gaza residents published last month in a series of video clips by the U.S.-based Center for Peace Communications.
In the video series, titled “Whispered in Gaza,” Palestinians (whose identities are protected) are shown blaming not neighboring Israel for their plight, but their autocratic rulers Hamas, who have been in power in the Strip since 2007 following a violent takeover.
The Center for Peace Communications says that it “works through media, schools, and centers of spiritual and moral leadership in the Middle East and North Africa to roll back divisive ideologies and foster a mindset of inclusion and engagement.”
The terror group Hamas is certainly dead-set against a “mindset of inclusion and engagement.” It has declared in its Charter of 1988 its two goals: first, it remains committed to the complete destruction of the Jewish state; second, it will work to replace Israel with a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.” But Israel is not its only target. In 2007, Hamas fighters killed hundreds of Fatah fighters, and drove thousands more out of the Strip. Hamas has continued to violently suppress any Gazans who oppose is rule, including members or supporters of Fatah in Gaza. Hamas has also clashed violently with members of its chief rival in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is smaller than Hamas in numbers but even more violent, often choosing to attack Israelis even when Hamas has called for a ceasefire. Hamas has also clashed with Egyptian forces in the Sinai, who attempt to keep its forces bottled up in Gaza. The Egyptian regime under General El-Sisi is rightly suspicious of Hamas, because the terror group is simply the Gazan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which El-Sisi’s regime has been fighting ever since it overthrew President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, in 2013.
Hamas is charged by the Islamic Fatwa Council with violating the laws of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad for its “reign of corruption and terror against Palestinian citizens within Gaza,” more than 2 million of whom are crammed into an area of some 141 square miles surrounded by Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.
About the corruption of Hamas there can be no doubt. Just two Hamas leaders, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa abu Marzouk, have each acquired fortunes of $2.5 billion; this is money that they diverted from the aid meant for the impoverished Gazans. The corruption continues, on a lesser scale of course, with the loyalists of the top leaders. Corruption has created 600 Hamas millionaires who live in luxurious villas in Gaza. The Hamas leaders also appoint members of their extended families, as well as the relatives of their most important supporters, to very well-paid sinecures in the Gazan government. This nepotism enrages the people of Gaza, so many of whom are unemployed, while those who are employed work for wages that are far below what those family members of Hamas bigshots make in their government jobs.
Hamas has indeed carried on a reign of terror in Gaza ever since it gained power in 2007, killing hundreds of members of Fatah and causing thousands more to flee the Strip. Since then, any internal dissent has been crushed, with those speaking out against corruption in Hamas quickly silenced, by being imprisoned or killed. This is what the Islamic Fatwa Council meant when it accused Hamas of practicing “terror” against the people of Gaza.
“It is prohibited to pray for, join, support, finance, or fight on behalf of Hamas—an entity that adheres to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood movement,” the fatwa continues. The Islamic Fatwa Council also said that it joins the UAE Fatwa Council and the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia in “declaring the Muslim Brotherhood and all of its branches as terrorist organizations that defame Islam and operate in opposition to mainstream Islamic unity, theology and jurisprudence.”
The Islamic Council has left no room for doubt: it wants Hamas to be dismembered, to disappear. The fatwa was crystal clear: “It is prohibited to pray for, join, support, finance, or fight on behalf of Hamas.” That’s an omnidirectional attack on Hamas which, were it to be followed by enough people in Gaza, could shrink Hamas’ membership to a point where its rival, Fatah, might be able to reassert its authority in Gaza.
While the ruling is non-binding, the Islamic Fatwa Council is considered to be highly influential in the Muslim world as this is the first fatwa against Hamas from an Islamic legislative body.
This fatwa, from the Islamic Fatwa Council based in Iraq, is similar to those fatwas denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood “and all of its branches” (Hamas in Gaza being its most famous branch), issued by the UAE Fatwa Council and by the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia. The Emirati and Saudi bodies that have issued fatwas against Hamas are part of their respective governments, while the Islamic Fatwa Council of Iraq is a legislative body separate from the government. Iraq, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are now all on record as denouncing Hamas and demanding of all Muslims that they must neither “pray for, join, support, finance, or fight on behalf of Hamas.” The fatwa from the Islamic Fatwa Council also forthrightly calls Hamas “a terrorist organization” – something that should warm the hearts of Israelis, who will lose no time in telling those countries that have yet to designate Hamas as a “terrorist organization” that it is not Israel alone, or Israel and its allies alone, that have described Hamas as such, but also the UAE Fatwa Council, the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia, but also the most influential of such groups (save for the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar University) , the Islamic Fatwa Council in Iraq.
Let’s see how Hamas responds to this astonishing – and most deserved – fatwa denouncing Hamas and all its works and days. Does the terror group dare to express its rage at this wholesale attack on its very existence? Will it want to simply dismiss the Islamic Fatwa Council of Iraq as a “group that, because of the lingering influence of the American infidels, a result of their long stay in Iraq,” has lost its moral bearings, and is no longer capable of grasping what the Qur’an says, and what the example of Muhammad signifies? Or might Hamas respond with an attack on the Islamic Fatwa Council as aiding and abetting the “sclerotic regimes that hunt down members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” and at the same time, “on what they wrongly claim are Islamic grounds, denounce not the Jewish state but, rather, the most feared and successful of the Zionist state’s Palestinian enemies, Hamas”?
So far, Hamas has not responded to this ferocious fatwa issued against it by fellow Muslim Arabs. It is weighing its options, no doubt considering the pros and cons of alternatives: keep mum, or exeleutherostomize?