Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Found an excerpted version of this article in Spanish at Rebelión and thought: this is interesting. So I followed the link to the source and the English version.
The source site, the Conflicts Forum, is new to me but appears interesting for those who may want to increase their knowledge of the Islam-West conflicts and the possible alleys through them.
Whatever the case, I found the original English-language document: Hamas and al-Qaida: The Prospects for Radicalization in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, by Khalid Amayreh (direct link to the full PDF document: here).
The 16 pages long analysis is unfit for full inclussion here but I strongly recommend my readers to take a look, after all it deals with some of the most crucial conflicts of our times and the similitudes and differences between two of its main Muslim actors: 'moderate' Hamas and murderous Al Qaida, in the particularly intense scenary of Palestine.
Since 2006 (the document is dated Nov. 2007) the relationship between Hamas and Al Qaida, this one self-proclaimed leader of 'true' Islam, has been bad. Al Qaida has strongly criticised Hamas, both for being nationalist and for being moderate, while Hamas has abstained to enter in a direct argument with the bearded guys of the Hindu Kush, so charismatic in some places, but has shown to strongly dislike their methods, doctrine and patronizing attitude and has engaged their ideologues and their armed gangs.
While the presence of Al Qaeda among Palestinians is generally dismissed becauseof the historical milticulturalism and rather 'western' cultural background, it seems it has made some inroads anyhow if only out of despair. And the kidnapping of BBC journalist Allan Johnston (sympathtic to the Palestinian cause and considered a protected guest by Hamas) was among their first acts of aggression. Other cases have been attcking cybercafes, unsegregated school festivals and even an Orthodox Christian church, all them percieved by Hamas as hostile, anti-Palestinian and criminal.
It seems it is that way: Hamas is moderate Islamism, specially if compared to the brutal jihadism of Al Qaida. The Palestinians accept democracy, are willing to dialogue with all, do not impose veil or gender segregation, respect religious minorities and try to avoid attacking civilians indiscriminately (except maybe in Israel). They do not consider armed jihad as a goal, unlike Al Qaida, but as a mean and are smart enough to acknowledge that among the peoples of the world, even among those whose goverments support Israel, there are people who understand and support the Palestinian cause and that are willing to engage in potentially productive multicultural dialogue.
We may not like Islamism, the same we may not like Christian Fundamentalism... but there are different attitudes and stands and it is important to understand these differences. Certainly not everybody who is Muslim or even Islamist is a supporter of Al Qaeda. And one important reason may be the disrespect that the Hindu Kush gang deals with civilians, inducing hatred not just against Muslims but even among Muslims themselves.
Before reading this I already had an opinion of the two fundamentalist organizations: Al Qaida are clearly murderous sectarian criminals (who, in my opinion, may well be working for US imperialism and Zionism) and Hamas is more or less respectful and serious people, even if they are not secularists.
Anyhow, take a look and make up your mind. It is a really interesting read.