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How Is Hamas’s Influence Expanding from the Middle East to the West?

Chicago, IL, USA - July 28, 2014: "Stop Hamas Terror" from Gaza sign at Jewish United Fund "Chicago Stands with Israel - A Community-Wide Rally" at State of Illinois Thompson Center Plaza. (Image Credit: iStock Getty Images by MichaelHeimlich)
Chicago, IL, USA - July 28, 2014: "Stop Hamas Terror" from Gaza sign at Jewish United Fund "Chicago Stands with Israel - A Community-Wide Rally" at State of Illinois Thompson Center Plaza. (Image Credit: iStock Getty Images by MichaelHeimlich)

Hamas is known as a terrorist group by both countries, the US and the UK, because of its terrorist actions. So, how do people end up supporting Hamas in these two countries? 

Well, showing support for Hamas is not always illegal, especially in countries where free speech is protected. But it looks like supporters of Hamas are taking advantage of this freedom. 

As a result, the reach of Hamas goes beyond the Middle East, affecting countries like the US and the UK, too. It may soon engulf the whole of Europe.

One big sign of this is the recent increase in student protests in these countries. It is quite surprising that about 50 college and university students became involved in these protests to support Hamas. This is, indeed, a serious issue and should not be ignored.

These students want their countries and universities to stop investing in Israel. They have even gone as far as to boycott Jewish students, keeping them from coming onto campuses, including those who support Israel. They even set up protest camps in their colleges and universities, stopping others from studying.

It seems these young people in the West are swayed by the images of conflict in Gaza that Hamas shows. They are calling for peace and a ceasefire. 

However, it looks like they do not fully understand the situation or history of Israel. It seems they do not know about major conflicts like the Arab-Israeli War in 1948, the Six Day War in 1967, or the October 7 Hamas Terrorist Attack.

These are students, after all. No doubt, I believe they know these histories.

But, I think what they probably do not know is the harsh reality of radical Islamist ideology, which wants to destroy Israel and has goals that reach across the globe. Now, this ideology is even affecting some Western countries.

Students in the West have the freedom to speak their minds. However, by looking at what is happening in Afghanistan, Iran, and Gaza, they should be able to see how different things are from Israel. They do not seem to understand how people live in these countries and why Israel, which is seen as only a hopeful democratic nation in the Middle East, is under threat from the same harsh Islamic ideology.

Israel is often seen as a nation chosen by God, and groups like Hamas or Hezbollah cannot defeat it, and neither will Israel compromise with such terrorist groups. That is the truth, which is why there is conflict between Israel and Hamas. It is also causing many innocent lives in Gaza and Israel.

At the same time, these students do not realize that such terrorist groups do not allow the freedoms the people of free countries are used to. People often do not value their freedoms until they lose such freedoms—neither do these students. Can they go to Gaza and experience what it is like to live under the rule of Hamas?

In fact, it is up to the government to deal with these student movements. The actions of the students could lead to big questions about how governments and institutions handle and understand terrorism. 

These students do not have the right to block an entire university. They could protest peacefully outside without disrupting other students. Blocking the entire university or forcing others not to enter campus really can never be part of free speech.

No doubt, these students have picked up some ideas from Hamas and Islamist ideology. They want to force everyone to agree with their views. Social media footage shows how violent some of these protesters are. Some of them are seen praying in front of the police to stop entering the campus.

Overall, terrorism and radical Islamist thinking will not lead to peace in the world, nor will such ideas and behaviors bring any promising future to universities or schools.

Before they call for a ceasefire or put pressure on Israel, these students need to understand what drives Hamas. They should speak out against Hamas and demand the unconditional release of hostages and the unconditional surrender of Hamas to free the people of Gaza from their control.

Otherwise, focusing only on what Israel does but not finding the root of why can result in unfair demands. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. If they do not grasp the root of these issues, they will have a hard time making positive changes in the world and avoiding future conflicts. Rather, their lives will inherit Hamas influences, which is seriously alarming for the peaceful world.

About the Author
Purna Lal Chakma is from Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, one of the most persecuted Christians. He studied M.Th. and has 14 years of experience pastoring in an Islamic-majority country like Bangladesh. He is an experienced person about how radical Islamists see Christians and Jews. He also knows how Islamists think about Israel. Now, he is just a simple travel blogger in Tokyo.
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