Please Help New English Review
For our donors from the UK:
New English Review
New English Review Facebook Group
Follow New English Review On Twitter
Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky














Email This Article
Your Name:
Your Email:
Email To:
Comment:
Optional
Authentication:  
4 + 0 = ?: (Required) Please type in the correct answer to the math question.

  
clear
You are sending a link to...
Hamas Not Radical Enough Say Challengers

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- On the streets of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, clusters of men wear long tunics over baggy trousers, a costume common in Pakistan but virtually unknown among Palestinians -- until recently.

It is an emblem of the Salafi, a branch of Islam that advocates restoring a Muslim empire across the Middle East and into Spain. Some preach violence, even killing Muslims deemed not pious enough. While historically a fringe group in the southeastern Mediterranean, they have sought inroads in Lebanon and Jordan and are battling Hamas in Gaza.

While al-Qaeda, which shares the Salafis’ conservative religious views and promotion of holy war, hasn’t gained a foothold in the region, Salafis may be the wave of the future. In Algeria and Morocco, similar movements have expanded in the past two decades to create havoc through civilian bombings and attacks on police.

“This is the challenge we face in the world,” said Bilal Saab, a researcher in Middle East security at the University of Maryland in College Park. “We are getting better at dealing with insurgencies, though Afghanistan is proving to be an exception. It is much more difficult to combat the constant threat of underground urban terrorism.”

Armed Salafis are challenging the authority of Hamas, the Islamic party that rules the Gaza Strip and has fought Israel for two decades. Gaza Salafis say Hamas surrendered its credentials as an Islamic resistance group when it declared a unilateral cease-fire after a 22-day war with the Jewish state that ended Jan. 18. Hamas’s Health Ministry said 1,450 Palestinians were killed in the conflict. The Israeli Army put the toll at 1,166 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

‘Given Up’

“They believe Hamas has been neutralized and has given up the fight,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

Hamas, on the U.S. State Department list of terror organizations, is holding dozens of Salafis in jail, trying to persuade them to end their opposition, said Hamas police spokesman Rafik Abu Hani. “They want to implement their own ideas through weapons, and we can’t allow that.”

Arrests began after an Aug. 14 Hamas raid on a mosque in Rafah where armed Salafis belonging to a group called Warriors of God had gathered. Its leader, Abdel-Latif Musa, proclaimed an Islamic emirate in Gaza directly challenging Hamas rule, according to a transcript published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based translation and analysis organization. Musa and 21 other people, including six civilians, died in the battle.

‘Crossing a Line’

“The emirate idea was crossing a line of Hamas tolerance,” Abusada said. “Hamas basically said, ‘Don’t mess with us.’” Since the crackdown, Salafis have been responsible for two bombings that didn’t cause any casualties, he added.

The Warriors of God group is among at least four armed Salafi organizations in Gaza, along with the Army of Islam, Victory of Islam and Lions Den of Supporters, Abu Hani said. Members total no more than 400 to 500, he estimated. Abusada said there are many more: between 4,000 and 5,000, including defectors from Hamas.

The next step would be for these groups to unify and organize, attract more newcomers dissatisfied with Hamas and try to forge ties with al-Qaeda, Samir Ghattas, a Palestinian analyst at Gaza’s Maqdis Center for Political Studies, told a Sept. 30 terror conference.

Refugee Camps

In 2007, a Salafi group in Lebanon called Fatah Al-Islam held off a three-and-a-half month siege by the country’s army on the Nahr Al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. The combat left about 400 militants and 168 soldiers dead, according to Lebanese press reports.

Salafi remnants have probably taken refuge in other Palestinian camps in Lebanon, Saab wrote in the September issue of CTC Sentinel, a publication of the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Security forces have also foiled Salafi attacks in Jordan, he wrote.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat has spearheaded several years of civil war in Algeria. After pledging allegiance to Osama bin Laden in 2006, the group changed its name to al- Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. It has bedeviled Algeria with bombings and ambushed security forces, even though membership is only in the hundreds, according to U.S. State Department statistics.

Radical Groups

While there’s no indication of any direct relationship between militant Salafis and al-Qaeda, they have become a reference point for radical groups from Morocco to Central Asia. One Salafi in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis who called himself Abu Iyad said he doesn’t belong to any armed organizations but understands people who do.

Hamas adherents “say they resist Israel, but they stopped fighting,” he said. “Why did all the people die? Hamas is acting just like Fatah,” the movement led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who favors peace talks with Israel.

“What the Salafis don’t understand is we need to give the people a break; we need to rebuild and prepare for the next battle,” said Younis Astal, a Hamas member of the disbanded Palestinian parliament. “We can’t have perpetual war. That would be inhuman. Anyway, they want to make Gaza like an al- Qaeda base, and we don’t want that.”



Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
The Thinking Person's Safari
Led by Geoffrey Clarfield
Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
clear
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
    1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
clear

Subscribe