Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Dissident Voice: "Hamas’ commitment to democracy is nothing new"

For some reason many people labor under the misconception that Hamas is a non-democratic movement. The following two paragraphs are excerpted from an essay that seizes upon this unfortunate error, fires Qassam rockets at it, and hurls it off the roof:
[...] Hamas have their own Islamic strategic objectives, but they promote these by democratic and civil means. They have always maintained that the Palestinian people are the ones who have the final say on these issues by means of democratic elections. Dr Salah Bardawil leader of Hamas in southern Gaza said on this issue in the Arabic language Ashasrq al-Awsat on 30th January 2006: " . . . Hamas has absolutely never and is absolutely not thinking of the enactment of any laws that impose Islamic teachings and force it upon society." He said religious teachings are followed when they are accepted by the people "not when they are imposed by terrorizing and frightening". He explained that the Palestinian people know of the lenient approach of Hamas which has resulted in the movement winning more Christian votes than some of the other secular movements and considered the accusations that Hamas were planning religious coercion to be "a wide propaganda campaign that national, international and Israeli sides are engaged in, in order to disfigure the movements image."

Hamas’ commitment to democracy is nothing new. Ever since its inception Hamas has expressed its commitment to the democratic will of the people no matter what their decision. The paraplegic leader of Hamas, Sheikh Yassin who was killed by an Israeli air strike in March 2004 stated back in 1989 in the Arabic language daily Al-Nahar: "I want a multiparty democratic state, and I want whomever wins those elections to assume power." When asked by the interviewer if this would still be the case if the Communist Party were to win the elections Sheikh Yassin replied "I would respect the wishes of the Palestinian people even if the Communist Party won."[...]
Glad that's cleared up.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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