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Religious Arrogance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Hamas considered comments made by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against the organization “heretical” and “haram” [religiously prohibited], and an insult to the Holy Kabaa and the holy month [of Muharram]. Hamas has demanded that President Abbas repents and seeks forgiveness from God for making such comments against the movement.

[This is an example of] unparalleled religious arrogance and political blackmail, as Hamas is equating the entire Islamic religion, and all that it encompasses, to the Hamas movement itself. Not only has Hamas twisted the truth on numerous occasions and plotted to assassinate Mahmoud Abbas prior to the invasion of Gaza; it is now trying to cloak itself in religion, and intimidate its opponents by [indicating] that insulting it is equivalent to insulting the Islamic religion itself.

The associates of Khaled Meshal have made themselves part of the religion and have granted themselves a religious status in order to intimidate others. Commenting against them or criticizing their actions, in their eyes, is transgression against Islam, for which there must be repentance!

The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas movement, which says that Islam is the solution, is trying to be Islam itself; therefore any criticism directed at the movement is considered criticism against religion, and transgression. Is there anything worse than this? Hamas is attempting to follow in the footsteps [of organizations] that claim to be “devout” and claim “divine victory”.

Those who see sanctity within themselves should firstly alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s people and make amends for their sinful killing of Palestinians as they threw them off rooftops on the day of the Gaza coup. Furthermore, they should not go back on promises that were made in the vicinity of the Kaaba, and not throw away a righteous cause for a naïve truce.

Those who see sanctity within themselves must help alleviate the suffering of the Gazans by allowing other border crossings to be opened – especially that Mahmoud Abbas stated that this is possible for the Karem Shalom, Karni, Erez and Sofer border crossings. However, Gaza’s suffering has been prolonged by Hamas, which insists that either the Rafah border crossing is re-opened or no border crossings are opened at all. This is all for the sake of embarrassing Egypt and scoring political points to serve the interests of foreign parties that are using the Palestinian cause. The proof of this is that these same parties did not prevent Hamas from reaching a truce with Israel; a truce that throws away all the small gains that have been won for the Palestinians.

Those who see sanctity within themselves, or believe that they understand religion, should not prevent Gazan pilgrims from performing the Hajj pilgrimage; rather, Hamas should have done everything in its power to ensure that it would not be responsible for preventing Gazans from taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage.

There is more; when Hamas spoke about the Hajj issue in its official statement it did not use the term ‘Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’ or the ‘holy sites’. It used the term ‘the Hijaz’. We have become accustomed to such vocabulary through Al Qaeda since 1997, especially with its poisonous video recordings in which it does not refer to the ‘Saudi state’ but rather talks of the Arabian Peninsula, in order to avoid mentioning Saudi Arabia. It was the same for Saddam Hussein when he occupied Kuwait and pointed his rockets in the direction of Riyadh and other Saudi cities.

Hamas’s statements represent yet another mistake, and unfortunately, every mistake that Hamas commits indicates that the Palestinian division will be a long-term one.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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