Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas movement was kind enough to respond to my article entitled 'Religious Arrogance'. However, I wish he hadn't done so as his response was as ugly as sin. Hamas considered what I wrote “distortion” and “part of a campaign that is being carried out by some people in the interest of a political group whose aim is well known; to conceal the political downfall of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], and to attack forces of resistance and opposition in the interest of settling matters,” according to the Hamas spokesperson.
Moreover, towards the end of his speech, Dr Abu Zuhri said that whoever attacks Hamas “needs to remember that the trench that is opposite Hamas is the trench of the occupation and enemies of the nation. Therefore he must reassess his position; he is either with Hamas and the resistance, or with the enemies of the nation.”
The spokesman’s response clearly demonstrates Hamas’s way of thinking; it believes that everybody should support it and must not criticize it otherwise they are deemed supporters of the nation’s enemies who choose to stand in the occupier’s trench!
This is how Hamas sees matters, in a completely naive and superficial manner. The movement fails to understand that there are people who are enthusiastic about the Palestinian project as a whole, not about the organizations and individuals. One must say here that President Mahmoud Abbas cannot be compared to the leadership of the Hamas movement; Abbas is a political figure who deserves support.
Hamas does not want to acknowledge the extent of the damage that it dealt to the Palestinian cause or face the suffering it inflicted on the people of Gaza, for which Hamas is partly responsible. Yet Hamas still sees things according to the perspective that ‘You are either with us or with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas].’
Dr Abu Zuhri spoke with clear pretentiousness, as he said that those who criticize Hamas are those who defend settling matters, forgetting that his movement is the one that is seeking and defending appeasement, which means losing all Palestinian rights and handing over the Palestinian cause to those who exploit it for even longer, thus prolonging the suffering of Gaza.
That is not all; Dr Abu Zuhra is accusing me of distortion because I said that Hamas has equated itself to Islam as it demanded that President Abbas repent for criticizing the movement. It is doing the same thing with regards to the author of this article, as Abu Zuhra is saying that whoever attacks Hamas is on the side of the occupier and the nation’s enemies. This is the exactly the same approach that Hamas followed concerning Abbas; he criticized Hamas and the movement considered this criticism equivalent to transgression against religion and by writing about it, I have joined the occupier’s camp!
I was neither mistaken nor exaggerating when I said that Hamas is afflicted by religious arrogance. How else can one interpret the comments made by Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of the Hamas coup government in Gaza on the movement's 21st anniversary to the would-be Hajj pilgrims who were prevented from performing the Hajj pilgrimage by the movement?
Haniyeh said to them, “It wasn’t in your destiny to witness the great day of the Hajj pilgrimage; God destined for you to witness the great day of Hamas on Palestinian land, and you will be rewarded.” Is this rational talk?
Is a day for Hamas propaganda, during the peak of Palestinian division, equal to one of the five pillars of Islam, to the extent that this false day has come to be equivalent to the great day of the Hajj [namely the Day of Arafat]? Didn’t we say that every statement that Hamas makes represents an error and that every error means that the Palestinian division will be a long one?!
*Published in the London-based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on Dec. 17.