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Hamas and the Islamic State: Is there a difference?

Does the world believe a Yazdi life is worth more than the life of an Israeli Jew?

The world agrees that the Islamic State (IS) is morally repugnant and must be stopped from wiping out 40,000 mountain-bound Yazdis, but Hamas is able to escape the same condemnation.

Why is IS’s sudden genocide of Yazdis alarming, but Hamas’s agenda of genocide against six million Jews in Israel given a pass?

The double standards in dealing with Hamas and IS are logically incoherent. Both implement sharia governance, deliberately target civilians, have genocidal beliefs and seek the establishment of a caliphate.

Hamas would love nothing more than to put Israelis in the position that the Yazidis are in today. Article 7 of its founding charter quotes from a commonly quoted hadith:

The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).

Hamas not only want to eliminate the state of Israel — a genocidal aspiration in its own right — but Hamas explicitly believes it is required by Allah to wage war against Jews until the end of time. Just as IS believes that the Yazdis are apostates deserving of death, Hamas sees Jews as the incarnation of evil.

The potential massacre of the 40,000 Yazdis is an imminent crisis warranting immediate action, but IS’s assault is not more egregious than Hamas’s desire to massacre millions of Israelis. To argue otherwise is to argue that a Yazdi life is worth more than that of an Israeli Jew.

Governance under IS and Hamas would be virtually indistinguishable because of their shared Islamist ideology. Their differences merely lie in tactics towards the same end.

Hamas’s parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhoodrejects IS’s declaration of a caliphate – but only on technical grounds. In November 2013, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad explained that his group’s aspirations to “uproot the Jews” are part of a larger project.

“We shall liberate our Al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem], and our cities and villages [in Israel], as a prelude to the establishment of the future Islamic caliphate,” he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is a subset, has always had the same agenda. However, the Brotherhood and its offspring follow adoctrine of gradualism towards establishing Sharia governance and the caliphate. IS terrorists use all means necessary to immediately implement sharia and have already declared a caliphate.

The Brotherhood and Hamas believe this should be done by an Islamist government that comes to power incrementally. IS rejects the democratic process entirely, viewing voting as an act of heresy, whereas Hamas believes voting is permissible within Islamist confines.

“Democracy itself also can make what it wants as lawful, or prohibit anything it does not like. In comparison, the sharia as a political system has limits. If we are to adopt democracy, we should adopt its best features,” preaches Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood.

The recent arrest of IS supporter Donald Ray Morgan on August 2 in New York shows the overlap between the two groups. He declared his loyalty to IS, but supported Hamas’s terrorism against Israel on Twitter. Under the name of “Abu Omar Al-Amreeki,” he tweeted, “I say Hamas is doing what they should, defending itself.”

Hamas and IS are cut from the same cloth. This raises the question of why many view IS as irreconcilable extremists but Hamas as a potential peace partner whose terrorism is an act of desperation against a superior adversary.

The calculated restraint of Hamas is mistaken for moderation. Hamas engages in negotiations and ceasefires only to strengthen its hand. It should not be interpreted as a reluctant acceptance of Israel’s existence.

Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections is often upheld as its certification of “legitimacy,” but democracy is much more than elections; it requires pluralism, human rights and freedoms that Hamas regularly stomps out.

Further, whatever “legitimacy” Hamas earned in 2006 has long since expired. That was eight years ago. There have been no elections since. The latest polls show the group’s support has collapsed among Gazans. IS and Hamas violate every standard of morality. They stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder, waging the same overall jihad – only in different battlefields.



About the Author
Ryan Mauro is National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project - an independently funded, non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamic extremism while providing a platform for moderate voices and promoting grassroots activism.