News Alert |

News Alert

Various, 1/8/08: [Excerpts]--Some 20 years after its founding, the Palestinian organization Hamas remains little understood in the West..The most common error made by observers in considering contemporary Islamist movements--and notably, Hamas--is that of attempting to grasp them in terms of concepts and modes of thought that are proper to the West.

What are the Goals of Hamas? The preamble of the Hamas Charter..clearly affirms the centrality of the "struggle against the Jews," which is supposed to be carried on "until the enemies are vanquished and Allah's victory is realized."

[T]he role of eschatological or millenarian beliefs within [Islam] cuts across all the divisions within the Muslim world: between Sunnism and Shiism, between traditional Islam and contemporary Islamism. As the French historian Pierre Lory explained.., "The imminence of the end of time and of the final judgment is one of the oldest and most constant Quranic themes and is found throughout the sacred text of Islam." Inasmuch as Muhammad is the last prophet (bearing the "seal of prophecy"), his advent inaugurates the last period of universal history: i.e. the eschatological period.

Hamas is a radical Islamic movement whose worldview is marked by an Islamic eschatology in which the Jews occupy a central place. Its apocalyptic vision of a final confrontation with Israel excludes every possibility of coexistence or "moderation."

The hatred of Jews expressed in the Hamas Charter and conveyed in the discourse of its officials is not simply a religious anti-Judaism or an imported anti-Semitism of European origins. It is, as the French scholar of anti-Semitism Pierre-André Taguieff has put it, a "millenarian and redemptive anti-Semitism," [i.e.] "the Muslim world can only be saved by the extermination of the Jews."