Hamas, Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood’s “˜Project’
(Part Two of Two)
Part Two of FSM Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan’s series explores the violent roots and objectives of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the pernicious agenda named “The Project.”? If you want to be well informed about just what Israel and the West are facing, this is a must read.
Hamas was founded in 1987 during the first “intifada” by two leading Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood members: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi. Its name is an acronym of Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, Arabic for “Islamic Resistance Movement.” Their infamous “Charter” was written in 1987, vowing to annihilate the nation of Israel and condemning any Israeli/Palestinian peace initiatives. Article Eight of the Charter states Hamas’ slogan: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Koran its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.”
Initially Hamas claimed to be involved with “charities,” and as it was opposed to Yasser Arafat’s PLO, it gained some support from Israel. Hamas received a boost of funds from 1988 onwards when Gulf States withdrew their support for the secular group Fatah. The first Hamas suicide bombing took place on April 16, 1993, followed by numerous similar attacks targeting Israeli civilians. The Oslo Peace Accords of 1993 were shunned by Hamas.
The “Project” was written by Muslim Brotherhood leaders and dated December 1, 1982. Like the Hamas Charter’s ground plan for eventual annihilation of Israel, the “Project” embodies a strategy intended to conquer the globe by creating “an Islamic government on earth.” The Project was written shortly after the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing on July 29, 1982. Each of the Project’s 12 sections or “points of departure” are accompanied by codicils entitled “elements,” “procedures” and “suggested missions.” In brief, the 12 sections are these:
1: To study the global terrain, (examining forces which are for, against or neutral to Islam) to establish a methodology for conquest.
2: To demonstrate proof of the seriousness of the cause to all (and raising funds).
3: Accommodate the global Islamic movement with flexibility at local level.
4: Engage in national political processes while developing permanent institutions.
5: Developing an Islamic state while using institutions to gain local power and influence (influencing centers of power both locally and worldwide to the service of Islam).
6: To work collaboratively with Islamic groups.
7: To combine actions with nationalist and Islamic groups (as long as Sharia terms are not breached) without becoming allied to these groups.
8: To work while avoiding confrontations with (secular, national) authorities, lest these damage missionary work or the cause.
9: To support Jihad wherever possible.
10: To use diverse surveillance and monitoring and establish a warning system for the Islamist movement.
11: To exploit the Palestinian “cause” as part of a global strategy, and to foment enmity towards the Jews and Israel as a rallying point for Muslims.
12: To evaluate actions and to hone and critique policy.
What has been happening in Gaza recently is an enactment of several of the principles listed above. Hamas’ existence fulfills the eleventh “point of departure.” One of the “suggested missions” of the fourth point of departure was to establish ” a certain number of economic, social, health care and educational institutions, using available means, to serve the people within an Islamic framework.” Hamas has established at least 86 of these charities in Gaza, in the form of schools and nurseries, orphanages and youth organizations. These “charities” promote Islamism, but give a public impression of philanthropy.
The seventh point of departure, qualified as battling “one evil with a lesser evil” has already been used in Britain as a matter of policy by the “Stop the War Coalition” which combines the Muslim Brotherhood-founded organizations the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) with the unelectable dregs of British leftism – the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP). SWP used to campaign about gay rights, which are anathema to MCB and MAB, but the three groups make little mention of this hypocrisy within their cozy union. Hatred of America and Israel and getting one member (George Galloway) into Parliament was more important. Jailed Islamist Abu Hamza said at one Stop the War rally: “We say to anyone who hates the Americans and wants to throw the Jews out of Palestine Ahlan wa Sahlan (welcome). The Prophet teaches that we could ally ourselves even with the atheists if it helps us destroy [the] enemy.”
Britain is currently a target of Al Qaeda, according to Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s deputy leader. There has been widespread Muslim contempt for Britain, due to the Iraq conflict. Despite this, Hamas’ actions in currying favor both with Britain and its state-funded broadcaster the BBC during Alan Johnston’s kidnapping exemplifies the seventh “point of departure.” The BBC’s reporting during Hamas’ coup of June 13 -15, in which 100 Palestinians including Fatah members were slaughtered, rewarded the terror group by maintaining that its enemy was “corrupt.” It has long been known that Fatah and PLO leaders have siphoned money earmarked for Palestinian civilians into their personal bank accounts. However, it was the first time that BBC prime-time TV news mentioned Fatah corruption during a Palestinian crisis in which Fatah members were killed.
Though Hamas’ Charter precludes the possibility of Israeli peace negotiations, it nonetheless has superficially made deals that appear conciliatory. One of the signatories of the 2006 National Reconciliation Document was Abdel Khalek al-Natsheh of Hamas. This document, also known as the “Prisoners’ Document” would have accepted a “two state solution” conditional upon Israel retreating to its pre-1967 borders, though it did not specifically condone Israel’s right to exist.
After a Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, was elected Palestinian prime minister in January last year, relations with Fatah worsened to the point of bloody violence. A peace deal was brokered in Mecca this February. Fatah leader and President of the Palestinian authority Mahmoud Abbas met with Islamail Haniyeh and also Khaled Meshal, Hamas’ leader. The points of the deal were re-workings of terms set by the National Reconciliation Document of 2006, and would have allowed for Fatah/Hamas power sharing in a Palestinian government. The Mecca accord was treated with mistrust by the US and Israel.
Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the “unity government” on June 14 while Hamas activists were gaining control of the Gaza Strip through force. From his base in Damascus, Hamas’ supreme leader Khaled Meshal (pictured) sent a message to the Egypt-based “General Guide” of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahdi Akef. The message blamed Fatah for the Gaza putsch, by not following political protocol and not engaging in dialogue with Hamas. Meshal also blamed the “Zionists” for the situation, but claimed that Hamas was not its enemy. The emphasis on appearing to follow diplomatic principles coincided with the Project’s fourth “point of departure.”
While the Gaza Strip coup took place in June, Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader Zawahiri – himself a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood – urged Muslims to show solidarity with Hamas. This is in line with the ninth point of departure listed in the Project, to ” construct a permanent force of the Islamic dawah and support movements engaged in jihad across the Muslim world, to varying degrees and insofar as possible.” One of the ninth point’s “procedures” is listed thus: “To form an autonomous security force to protect the dawah (missionary activity) and its disciples locally and worldwide.” In 2005 Hamas set up its “Anti-Corruption Unit” to enforce Islamic principles. Such principles included at least one honor killing.
On Monday July 9 Fatah president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas claimed on Italian television that Hamas had allowed Al Qaeda to infiltrate the Gaza strip. If this is true, it would certainly comply with the Project’s ninth point of departure. Ismail Haniyeh responded to comments about a need for international peacekeeping forces with the comment: “We consider any international presence in Gaza a type of external aggression against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue and unwanted interference in internal Palestinian affairs.” Here, Hamas can always fall back upon the eleventh point of departure – exploiting the Palestinian cause, and “to create Jihadi cells in Palestine, and support them in order that they cover all of occupied Palestine.”
Hamas’ ambivalent relationship with the Al Qaeda inspired Army of Islam, which kidnapped Alan Johnston, again reflects this “suggested mission” of the ninth point of departure. Romano Prodi, Italy’s premier, on a visit to Sderot in southern Israel, was told by an Israeli intelligence officer that Hamas has its own army in the Gaza Strip. About 7,000 to 10,000 belong to this army, which controls the populace. About 30 tons of explosives have been smuggled into Gaza from Egypt.
With control over territory for the first time in its history, the Muslim Brotherhood in the form of Hamas was quick to present itself to the world as a viable political force. The politicking over the freeing of Alan Johnston successfully softened the stances of politicians in Britain and the European Parliament. To add to Hamas’ public presentations of itself as the “human” face of Islamism, fighters from the terror group freed a lioness that had been kidnapped by a local clan, and returned her to the Gaza Zoo. The lionesss was reunited with her brother, who had resisted a kidnapping attempt two years previously when both were cubs.
Abu Khalid Leila was one of those who assisted Sheikh Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi to found Hamas in 1987. After the June coup in the Gaza Strip, Leila said: “We want to bring peace and justice to the entire world,” claiming that the West is falling apart and Arab societies were rife with corruption. “We have the proper medicine against it all – Islam. We want to spread this medicine throughout the whole world.”
The Project’s tenth point of departure is described in its “elements” as spreading “Islamic policy so that it is largely and efficiently covered by the media” and in its suggested missions to “warn Muslims of the dangers that threaten them and the international conspiracies directed at them.” The issue of the Danish cartoons reflected the 10th point of departure. After the cartoons of Mohammed were published in September 2005 by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, a Palestinian cleric in Copenhagen, Abu Laban, made a tour to the Middle East, to whip up the controversy. Laban denied intelligence claims that the Muslim Brotherhood were involved in fomenting protests against the cartoons.
Despite Laban’s denials, Olivier Guitta claimed that Abu Laban had visited Qatar in his campaign tour. Here he briefed Sheikh Yussef al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. On February 4, 2006, Laban mendaciously told IslamOnline.net that Danes were preparing to burn Korans. IslamOnline.net has as its spiritual adviser Sheikh Qaradawi, who used his Al Jazeera TV show to condemn the cartoons. In the US, the Muslim Brotherhood-founded group the Muslim American Society campaigned for action against countries that reproduced the cartoons.
At the start of February 2005 members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the armed wing of Fatah closed down the EU’s office in Gaza. According to the BBC World Service of February 2, the 40 PIJ members were supported by Hamas members who outnumbered the Fatah activists. Hamas, Hezbollah and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood all demanded apologies for the cartoons.
The Muslim Brotherhood has tacitly supported violence and jihad, while publicly maintaining that it is democratic and moderate. In March 2007 the Nixon Center published a report entitled “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood”, which was written by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke. The authors consulted with Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt, France, Jordan (where the group is legal, and called the Islamic Action Front) and observe that for the US “cooperation in specific areas of mutual interest – such as opposition to al Qaeda, the encouragement of democracy, and resistance to expanding Iranian influence – could well be feasible.” The authors conclude that “a conversation with the Muslim Brotherhood makes strong strategic sense.”
Hamas is only briefly mentioned in the document, and Leiken and Brooke quote the General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Mahdi Akef, who claims that there is no conflict between the Brotherhood and Jews, only Zionists, who are “not Jews.” At no stage do these “experts” mention the Project. For the Project’s eleventh point of departure, suggested missions include “To nourish a sentiment of rancor with respect to the Jews and refuse all coexistence.”
If any policy makers are foolish enough to swallow the advisements given by Leiken and Brooke (and there are members of the US Congress who do believe in engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood), they should first examine the precepts of the “Project”. And most importantly, they should examine the current actions of Hamas in Gaza.